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goldenapes2022 byChristianWietrzynskiInterview with

Peer Lebrecht (vocals) from Golden Apes

GOLDEN APES released their EP ‘From the Sky’ on 29th July 2022. It’s an extremely energetic yet delicate and melancholic combination of fine guitars, dark, heart-rendering vocals, and incredible sonic and lyrical imagery built up by this fine, sophisticated material. I took a chance to ask some questions to GOLDEN APES vocalist Peer about the new release, its connotations, and sonic experiments. We also discussed the US tour, new team members, planned live shows, and new things that are on the way. Poetic, beautiful interview - just as expected from a Dark Rock prodigy and an enchanter skilled at magic words may create.

Reflections of Darkness [RoD]: Thank you for finding time to answer some of my questions for Reflections of Darkness. As you know Christian was so kind to share the EP with me and I just want to say it’s amazing and congratulate you on your work.
Peer: Thank you so much for your opening words… There is this early morning sun, which is dividing this little backyard here in a light-filled and in a shady area and that’s exactly what I feel about the songs on ‘From The Sky’. So, it’s a perfect setting for talking a bit about it and your words set the right mood. But let’s wait just for a second… ’til the spectres have passed They are quite noisy with their shouting and yelling, their suspicions and their masks, which hide nothing at all. Divided into two obtuse angles… okay, now we can go….

RoD: Your new release ‘From the Sky’ was out on 29th July 2022. It’s a very beautiful material, refined and delicate on the one hand and very powerful and energetic on the other. What was working on it like and how do you feel about the release?
Peer: A release is always releasing. It is as easy as that. It is always a satisfying moment to let something leave the harbour that was waiting there so long impatiently. To let something leave your head that was sitting tight there for so long. And additionally, this output is something very, very special to us because it’s the first sonic statement of a band that has started literally a new chapter. The last two years felt a bit like rubbing on the textured walls of a cocoon…wounded palms and wounded temples. Yes, we did ‘Satori’, some of us dealt with their solo-stuff…

…wait, one of the masked ghosts is coming over to my table now… he is shaking his head convulsively, hitting his ear hard with his fist… “It’s coming back!” he’s stuttering… “it’s coming back!” I can hear its squalls from down the valleys… but Shhhhh! I won’t talk about it!...

...and we had a few brilliant shows at brilliant places but somehow there was this restlessness, the need to get the taste of hibernation out of your bones and so ‘From The Sky’ is the first new music since over a year now and the first manifest of the band’s here and now. And it is a here and now I’m so glad about and proud of. After ‘Kasbek’ the band fell temporarily into pieces and it’s so relieving to know now that it was just like the bird does, with all the flames and all the smoke, you know what I mean, and finding Gerrit and Frank and Joe finally cleared our heads from the ashes, erased the ruins from the scenery and set the stage for a new start. For a good start. Usually, it always takes a moment to get familiar with each other, to deal with habits and attitudes, with ways and manners but here it fitted from the first moment on. Chemistry and things in conical flasks… Doing the first songs together was pure joy and fun, exciting and stimulating, departure and coming home. It’s the band I was looking for two years now and I can’t wait for the things to come…

RoD: What kind of a sky concept did you have in mind while working on it?
Peer: I must confess that I even don’t know if I would call it a “sky” concept or if I’m able to outline a detailed scheme or anatomy. I guess everyone has his own association with it, something rooted in the back of our heads, in a soil made of culture, religion, lore and science. It’s a bright place, a shelter, origin of light. It’s where the sun takes its daily route, where the gods are said to dwell and where the stars feed wishes and desire. It’s the place where we send our prayers to and the reference for our otolithic organs. But it’s also the place where the dark comes from after the light has left, from where the storms come over us and where the gods are said to dwell. It’s more than navigation, it’s a condition. And yes, the spectres are collectively nodding in agreement. And in the end, it is always a question of your point of view. Where’s your nadir? Where’s your above?

goldenapes fromthesky

RoD: Have there been any life events (apart from those affecting us all) that would influence you artistically to create new songs?
Peer: Muses rarely speak boldly to me. There is no list with topics I want to write about, no table of content, no pagination… it is a bit as with your questions: I’m just looking forwards to where the next one will bring me to. But of course, there are many things that influence your way of looking at things, your perception and interpretation. All these sensorial sediments that cover your minds ground, that grow and compress, blend and transform… it’s what your thoughts are made, the unspecific ones, your dreams, the unpredicted ones. Conditions and events, accidents and incidents, faces, names, places, dates…

Remember that backyard I was talking about in the beginning. It is an unimportant detail, I know, but what will it look like tomorrow? Will there be rain? What will it do to the geometry of shadows? Are the ghosts here because of me or is it a daily routine? And where will the go after passing me? Where will I be tomorrow? Is it bombs or thunder? Is the bird alive again? Is this over there a good-bye or a Hallo? Does anyone notice it here in the backyard? Am I alone? Where are their minds? Where is my mind? A bird sings on a tree… This is how one thing takes you to the next. Ripples on the surface, patterns, amplitudes…

RoD: You mentioned before that there was a bit of experimenting with keyboard sounds that we can hear on the EP. Could you develop on that? What other novelties - from your perspective - can be traced to ‘From the Sky’?
Peer: Actually, the part of the keyboards / synths in the gamut of sound has changed since we did ‘Kasbek’. The moment when the process of composing and writing moved from the rehearsal space to my private room. Our sound was always very guitar-driven and the keyboards had an escorting, accentual function only. Riverbeds and melodic details. But while working on ideas separately and on my own, the synth became the main and only instrument, had to fill every position now and I realized the power and atmospheric intensity this offered. There were so many new colours on the palette, so many textures for the fabric. Not that the guitars became less important but the balances were shifted, the Ying and the Yang met in the middle. And every other new or unknown ingredient you might detect in the new songs results from our condition here and now, from the place our views have moved to since then, from the input and stimuli of the new constellation and the things time and history do to you…

RoD: Tell me about the new members of the band. How did you guys meet, decided to work together and how is the cooperation going?
Peer: As mentioned above - I’m so glad about and so proud of the band’s status quo. It’s really the first time for a while that it feels right. On a personal level, musically and neuronal.
There were a lot of things going sadly wrong in the last few years and there was a room, abandoned but dedusted now and then and carefully kept in the condition as when its former dwellers left and it’s almost enthusiasm to feel life in there again. Noises and spirits, footsteps and handles. And maybe this is part of the new songs’ patina, the joy of playing together, to stir molecules and shake hands afterwards. And it was so surprisingly easy to doff the condition of being strangers, to feel this kind of unsuspicious normality while playing even the most antique songs together. I really hope that the credits will list Gerrit, Frank and Joe for a long time from now on...

RoD: You completed the US tour back on May 7th - there were 6 cities including New York, Washington, or Baltimore on your agenda - could you tell me more about your experience related?
Peer: What to say - it was brilliant. It fitted every expectation we were able to collect during the two years we had to wait for it. Three weeks before the original date and entering the plane in 2020 that eschatonic virus swept over the globe and all things changed. But looking back I feel quite glad that it happened this way (not the pandemic necessarily but the delay) because it was the band of 2022, which had to make this trip. Definitely. It was the first big jaunt in this new constellation and so it was an expectation doubled - new faces, new coordinates… and so it was blast doubled - internally and externally.

goldenapes2022 byChristianWietrzynski

We really had a great time. There were so many amazing and brilliant people we met on our way and we felt so welcomed and home wherever we stepped out of the car. Nichole, Michelle, Ashley, Michael… everyone who put so much efforts in bringing us over there, making us feel comfortable and not a single moment being in need of something. And the warmth, kindness and thankfulness of the audiences (not a matter of course in other regions) just blew us away. Not to mention the great artists and bands we met during these few days, from Pilgrims of Yearning to The City Gates - new telephone numbers and new playlists. Being on the road can be stressful and being on the road can be exhausting but this was two fabulous things combined: holidays and making music. Perfect. The bags are still packed and we can’t wait to get back as soon as possible…

RoD: A set of nice tour vignettes in a form of a video under the title of ‘Last House On Norwood Ave’ giving some insights into your US journey was released. Can we expect any more snaps of that kind? Who came up with the idea to create it?
Peer: It wasn’t a big thing actually. Of course, were filming and taking pictures, things that tourists commonly do and, in the end, we wanted to manifest some of our memories and say thanks to all and everyone involved in this brilliant adventure (Bowie song quoted - check.)…

It’s a lovely little snapshot and it feels good to remember…

Trivia: The last house on Norwood Ave was our accommodation in New London and it was such a beautiful and strange place (as seen in the intro and the outro), filled with so many things and details, with so many stories and embedded memories… it felt a bit haunted and it felt a bit fallen out of time… Thank you Kendall, hope you are well…

RoD: When can we expect a full album of GOLDEN APES? To what extent does ‘From the Sky’ give a foretaste of what’s to come?
Peer: Yes, we can. Promised. Actually, we’re already working on it. It was due to the current situation that we decided to do some kind of EP first, to get familiar with each other’s way of working, thinking, being creative… when we entered the studio back in February, we were quite new in this constellation and so the whole process became some kind of indicator, a blueprint of how things can work. And it obviously worked quite well. We just chose four songs from a pile of about 20 already written and laid down as demo versions, so yes, aside from preparing for the upcoming live shows in autumn, our main goal is to work on that album, hopefully, shaped some time in 2023.

RoD: Moving on to live shows: Dark Spring Festival was cancelled, but I know there are new events scheduled for autumn with you headlining - on 30th September 2022 in Berlin with WISBORG and TUNES OF DAWN for example. Are there any new live dates set at this point?
Peer: I know there are a few but I’m not so much involved in this managing process for providing guaranteed details and history taught us that destiny can be quite on impulse and has a weird kind of humour, so all dates confirmed can be found on…

RoD: Apart from the new album, what can we expect from you?
Peer: I hope only good things! I don’t like to fabric the future too much; the present feels too enjoyable for this now. I hope there will be noises and melodies, stages and highways, words and backyards, ghosts and many birds in the trees. No expectations, just wishes…

RoD: Thank you very much for your time!
Peer: Thank you so much for this joyful conversation!

Picture by Christian Wietrzynski (Momentary Photography)

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