Interview: Family Of The Year

Family Of The Year im Interview beim Soundkartell

Family Of The Year haben sich ein wenig Zeit gelassen zwischen dem letzten, selbstbetitelten Album „Family Of The Year“ und ihrer neuen Platte „Goobye Sunshine, Hello Nighttime“. Drei Jahre um genau zu sein. Drei Jahre, die die Bezeichnung „Achterbahnfahrt“ wohl am besten beschreibt. Am Freitag ist das neue Album erschienen. Wir haben mit den Brüdern Joe und Sebastian über Vergangenheitsbewältigung, Erfolgsdruck und undankbare Biker gesprochen.

Family Of The Year im Interview

Nina: Congrats on your new album! How are you going to celebrate the release?

Sebastian: Thank you! We’re going to have a really nice dinner at Clärchens Ballhaus. It’s a really cool place. We’ve been there before a few years ago. It was Thanksgiving and we went there to have our Thanksgiving dinner together. And we decided to go there again today. And maybe we’ll dance.

N: Would make sense.

S: True, since it’s a ballroom..

N: The title „Goodbye Sunshine, Hello Nighttime“ seems a little dark. You’ve been going through some struggles in the past. Was making the album a way of coming to terms with things you had to deal with the last few years?

S: Yeah, I think it’s the recognition that we’re going through a transition as people, as individuals. And going from being young to being mature adults, as a band, trying to take us up from being a younger, smaller band to be a larger, older, more mature band. I think that we were just recognizing that there was a lot of change going on and when we found those words within one of our songs, I think it just all made sense.

N: „Latchkey Kids“ is also a song about growing up – literally. It’s about your childhood and growing up with parents who would let you face your own fears and give you the freedom to develop your own personality (“I could be whatever I wanted”). How did you decide it’s the right time to write about this specific topic? Why not earlier?

Joe: Like when we were kids? Haha! I just realized that we sing a lot of songs about when we were young. And I think some people just never get over their childhoods. I mean, it’s such a affectionate time, a emotional time of your life and you let those things come back to you. But I didn’t really decide to write a song about it, it just kind of happened. It’s a song, that just came out like that.

N: So, I guess you are the mastermind when it comes to songwriting, Joe?

J: (laughing) Don’t blame me for that!

N: No worries! How does the songwriting work for you then? Are you writing on your own and present the complete song to the rest of the band or do you also sometimes jam together to get songs completed? How much is everybody involved in the process?

J: We don’t really jam songs out.

S: We haven’t jammed recently. One song on this record, we have written in a kind of songwriting atmosphere. We would sit down in front of an instrument and pen and paper and just write a song. In the past it was more jamming or just throwing ideas around, but this time it was a pretty controlled atmosphere and direct conversations about what we’re trying to do. It was kind of a tidy process but it was pretty inclusive. Everyone in the band got involved this time. I think we will forward writing as a group more, and in the past we’ve written as a group more.

J: But this time it was more creating in partition, like me and Sebastian would write or me and Chrissi would write together. That’s also different ways to finish songs.

N: And how do you decide on which song is going to to be released as a single?

S: Oh, thats a good question! It varies and there’s a lot of other people that have an opinion. At this point, we don’t know what a single is. You know, there are songs that we really like, and there are songs that we could listen to over and over. Sometimes that’s not the same choice as the record label has. Fortunately, on this album we all seem to be eye to eye on these things. I think it just has to, sort of, be a song that resonates with us, that is special to us. Something that we feel comfortable playing out into the world and talking about.

N: „Hold Me Down“ must have met the criteria, since it was the first song to be fully released. Is it also your favourite track on the record?

S: No, „Hold Me Down“ is not my favourite song.

Family Of The Year im Interview

Family Of The Year im Interview

N: Which ones are your personal favourites then?

S: I really like „I‘m The One“, because I co-wrote it. So I feel personally very close to that song. I think that it’s just very real, and very simple. And I think sometimes the simplest things are the hardest things to do.

J: I like „Latchkey Kids“ the most. I don’t know, I think I was just overwhelmed and feeling it the most. I love the chorus, I really enjoy it.

N: Talking about special songs. In 2012 you had a breakthrough with „Hero“. Do you sometimes feel as if you’re being reduced to the success this one song brought you? Like people always mentioning this one song in particular, when there is so much more you’ve done?

S: No, I think having any hit is just beyond what you imagine when you start playing music. It’s like: how did we end up here? I don’t know! We just keep going. The fact that anybody wants to ask us about anything we created is just amazing. We’re glad you are here, we’re glad we are here. „Hero“ specifically has brought us so much. It’s one of the biggest things that has happened to us in our entire lifes.

N: Would you ever imagine it to be such a success?

S: We didn’t expect it to be the success it has been. We didn’t expect any of this at all. We actually didn’t have any expectations when we started.

N: With all the success the song brought you, did you ever feel pressure to keep up with it when writing new songs?

S: (laughing) When I hear this question, I feel like „Should we feel more pressure?“.

J: No. We understand that every record we make, we just start from scratch. There’s always pressure to be successful, but also, if we are happy with the music we create, we are also going to be happy. But we as a band are really happy, and nothing is going to be a let down to us.

N: That sounds like a pretty healthy way of thinking!

J: It has all been such a fucking wonderful experience. In the end, we don’t feel too much pressure.

N: On tour you experience not only wonderful things. Can you remember the worst gig you ever played?

J: Yeah, I can! The worst gig we ever played was after „South by Southwest“ in Austin, Texas. Right after the festival we played in a really tiny bar somewhere in Texas. And it was the only time in my entire life, that I played something and nobody clapped. Not even the bartender. It was a tequila bar full of bikers. We were supposed to play four songs. After the first one a few of the bikers clapped and where like: yeah, good job. And then we played another song and literally no one clapped! Maybe they just didn’t like our songs.

S: Yeah, it was really bad!

N: Sounds very ungrateful. What was your best show?

J: The best show we ever played was in Québec, Canada. It was probably the same year. We had a gig at a festival there and I almost missed it, cause I missed my flight but I made it in time and the energy on stage was just amazing. It was a great show.

S: It was 5.000 people, a little festival, Joe even had a broken hand so he wasn’t playing the guitar. And we were about to play the show and he wasn’t even there yet and was like: oh man, this is gonna be so shitty. We thought about cancelling the show. But then, when he got there on time he was like: yeah! We’re gonna play this show! And the crowd was so psyched and in the end it was a really, really good show.

N: Being on tour so much also means meeting a lot of different people. Is there any encounter or situation you keep in mind, because it was so special to you?

S: (laughing) Yeah, there are so many… ehh…

J: (laughing) Great characters, you mean?

S: Yes, haha. One comes to mind, a few years ago we crossed paths with Bone Thugs-N-Harmony in a hotel hallway. And they were like: (rapper voice) you guys are staying here? Cool, let’s hang out! So they all crashed our room and we had some weird afterhour party with Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. That was really weird.

J: That was very weird!

S: What else happened? We had tons of stuff happened.

J: There are amazing fans, that keep reappearing to our shows, that you just become friends with after a while. They just keep coming back and we tell them: you are fucking awesome! And you are completely crazy. You know, we are all about our music and we travel for our music. And they do this, too. So they are immediately in the family. Those people make it worth keeping up!


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