INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
Since bringing out their debut EP in 2015, young German quintet Giant Rooks, comprising of vocalist/guitarist/percussionist Frederik Rabe, guitarist Finn Schwieters, bassist Luca Gottner, synth player/pianist Jonathan Wischniowski, and drummer Finn Thomas, have been making waves in their native country, and all over continental Europe, with an atmospherically dense blend of indie-rock and art-pop, led by a powerful vocal delivery.
Last year, the band released their second EP, ‘New Estate’, to an enthusiastic response, and now, having been on a European headline tour over the past month, the highly-rated five-piece are about to unleash their mesmerising live set on British soil.
The collective spoke to me about what the UK crowds can expect, as well as a few of the experiences that they have had in the last three years.
How did the band get together?
Our lead-singer, Frederik, and our guitarist, Finn Schwieters, are cousins. They have played music together since the age of ten, and they met the other members at school some years later. In Finn’s basement, we started the first approach of writing our own music three years ago.
From where did the name Giant Rooks originate?
One week before our very first gig, we needed a name, so we brainstormed for two days long before agreeing on Giant Rooks, because we liked the pronunciation.
What are the band’s main musical influences?
It’s not that easy to specify our style of music. We listen to a diverse array of music, maybe that’s also the reason for our musical variety. To be more precise, we love the likes of Bob Dylan and Bon Iver, as well as Arcade Fire and Alt-J.
What would you say was your approach to songwriting?
Often, Fred presents his ideas and suggests chords, melodies or some beat patterns, then we develop a song’s structure while jamming and we always record it on our mobile phones. A few weeks later, we either like or want to modify an idea. After that, we go into detail and work on sounds, as well as on lyrics.
Last year, the band brought out their second EP, ‘New Estate’. How was the recording process for that?
We spent nearly one month in a cosy studio in Cologne. At that time, three out of the five of us were still at school. We had to manage some difficulties, and the whole process took a long time, but we really enjoyed it.
Recording in a professional studio was a new experience for us, but we had the privilege to work together with some great people.
And how well do you all think the reaction was to the EP?
Overwhelming. The EP release helped us to play shows all over Europe, and to spread our songs. We are really thankful to everyone who has supported us so far.
Over the last couple of years, the band have played gigs and festivals all over Europe, as well as supporting the likes of Kraftklub, The Temper Trap, and Mighty Oaks. How were they as experiences?
So exciting. We played in huge venues in front of so many people every night. We learned a lot as well, and they showed us how to perform on big stages. It’s so hard to grab everybody’s attention when you’re playing in front of thousands.
And you’re currently on a headline European tour. How has that been for you all so far?
It always feels surreal standing on stage in front of so many people. We are so thankful for everyone who has come, and is coming, to the shows.
Later this month, the band will be playing their first UK headline dates. What can the Brits expect from you?
These are our first headline shows in the UK, and we are going to enjoy every second of it. It is a dream that comes true, and we want to give that feeling back to the audience.
This June, you will be appearing at Rock am Ring, Germany’s largest music festival, at the Nurburgring, on the same bill as the likes of the Foo Fighters, Muse, and Gorillaz. I can imagine that’s something you are all very much looking forward to.
It’s nuts! It’s gonna be wicked sharing the stage with bands we’ve been listening to for ages.
What are the band’s plans for after that?
We are going to write some new music, and record some more songs in the studio. It’s very exciting to see what’s gonna happen!
You’ve already achieved a great deal in what has really been a short space of time, but is there anything you haven’t managed to do yet that you would like to?
We feel like we are only at the beginning of everything. As a next step, we wanna record a debut album that we’ll be proud of in twenty years!
‘NEW ESTATE’, THE SOPHOMORE EP FROM GIANT ROOKS, RELEASED THROUGH HALDEM POP RECORDINGS, IS NOW AVAILABLE TO STREAM, DOWNLOAD OR PURCHASE FROM SPOTIFY, iTunes, APPLE MUSIC, GOOGLE PLAY, AMAZON MUSIC, SOUNDCLOUD, AND THE BAND’S OFFICIAL WEBSITE www.giant-rooks.com
GIANT ROOKS WILL BE PLAYING THEIR FIRST HEADLINE DATES IN THE UK LATER THIS MONTH. FURTHER DETAILS CAN BE FOUND BELOW:
MORE INFO ON THE BAND CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES: