PHOTO CREDIT: Alexis Saile
I have been speaking with Janick of…
IMAGE CREDIT: Alexis Saile
Tim Freitag and he has been telling me how the Swiss band got together and what the music scene is like in the country. I ask what the story behind the single, By Your Side, is and what it was like putting the video together; what music inspires the band and what comes next for them.
Janick discusses an album that means a lot to him; how he chills away from music; which Swiss artists are worth watching; what advice he would give to artists emerging right now – he ends the interview by selecting some good songs.
Hi. How are you? How has your week been?
Hi. Great, thanks! This is Janick, the singer of the band. We’ve just announced a four-part instalment of individual, unique October remixes of By Your Side. The remixes couldn’t be more different from each other: there’s even an Electro-Swing version of it. It’s crazy! Every Friday in October we drop a single, so keep an eye on our socials or follow us on Spotify (smiles).
For those new to your music, can you introduce yourselves, please?
We're a band of brothers (from other mothers!), totally on our own; surrounded by a small patch of friends that help us out; steadily and continuously building up a growing, loyal fan base. We're trying to create a unique sound that levitates somewhere between melancholy and euphoria. Some say reminiscent of Bono and his band, probably because of our track, Bruises. Others compare us to Tom Odell or even Phoenix. Journalists and people in general try to put things in boxes; I like that it's kinda hard to do that with our sound: every song stands on its own.
How did Tim Freitag get together? When did you find one another?
I met Severin Graf - our bass player - in 2013 at Dynamo Zurich at my rehearsal studio. He was practicing just next door with another band and people told me that he’s one of the best bass players of the city. I knew that I needed the best people to get a great band, haha, so I watched him for a few days and what was pretty obvious was that he always drank Coke. One day, I went up to him, offered him a coke and invited him to my studio to listen to some demos. He liked it; I asked him to record on a few songs with us and play live. He said ‘yes’. That’s why he’s in the band. To keep him in the band, I sometimes still give him a Coke…but I guess that’s not necessary anymore (smiles).
Daniel Gisler is our keyboard player. He was the latest that joined the band in spring 2017. He actually told me that he has no time and could only join us for one concert. I didn’t really believe him but, to make sure that he stays, I organized a photographer that took a band photo before the soundcheck of that one concert that he said he was gonna play. After the concert I told him: “Sorry Daniel, you can’t quit; you’re now on our official press photo”. He said that’s cool and since then he’s been loyal to me.
PHOTO CREDIT: Biho Song
Lorenzo Demenga is also a founding member. He was in love with a song that we never released called Dream Again. In every rehearsal he says, “Let’s play that song”. He believes that it’s gonna be a world hit and told me once that he’s not quitting the band before he can play drums on it. That’s why I will never record that song: so he will never leave the band.
Nicolas Rüttimann is our guitarist. He was there from day-one. Actually, our first producer showed him the song, Another Heart Has Lost Its Place, and that was the tipping point. He said that, if we’re recording the song, he’s gonna be in the band. I did just that. And he even organized the shooting of the music video. Also; one of his dreams is to be on a poster with Tim Freitag in a music store. Let’s hope that never happens! I fear that if he reaches that goal that he’ll think he’s achieved everything now and can retire.
By Your Side is your new song. Can you talk about the story behind it?
I don’t really like to talk too much about the lyrics: I like that people can make up their own story or attach it to a feeling. Sometimes, other artists destroy that for me when they explain in depth what they thought. But, on the surface it’s a classic love song and the muse isn’t reciprocating with the same feelings.
Talk to me about the video. What was it like to shoot? Who came up with the concept?!
I really don’t like to swim. Never did. This year, I had a date with a girl; she wanted to go swimming; I said I’m cool with it; she went into the river of Zurich and I just sat there and watched. It was so embarrassing. After she was done we had a drink and said goodbye to each other. She never called or texted again. To defeat my swimming trauma, and to finally get a girl, I decided to do a music video in the water.
The boys staged it like a group therapy; chose the smallest spa and told me to go into the water with them. It helped: after the shooting, I started to go to the lake of Zurich almost every day at night, all by myself, to decompress. It’s actually quite beautiful. But, hey; Mick Jagger’s daughter said in an interview that she never saw his father dipping even a toe into the water…so it’s actually not that embarrassing anymore for me (smiles).
Do you think there will be more material coming down the line?
Yes, definitely. We can’t wait to release our next single by the end of November 2018. In spring 2019, we’re finally dropping the album.
You are a Swiss band. Is there a healthy and varied music scene there?
There are amazing Swiss artists around. From Blues-Metal band Zeal and Ardor (Tip: Devil Is Fine) to the Pop group Boy (Tip: Seven Little Numbers); amazing Indie artist Sophie Hunger (Tip: Tricks) or German singer Faber who is conquering Germany at the moment (Tip: Wem du’s heute kannst besorgen).
PHOTO CREDIT: Alexis Saile
If I were to travel back to your childhoods; what sort of music would I find in your collections?
I was a big DJ Bobo fan. For Severin, our bass player, I know that he only started making music because of Celine Dion. Lolo, our drummer, still secretly listens to Kylie Minogue when he's feeling sick or down. Guitarist Nicolas never listened to music before Tim Freitag and Gisi, our keyboarder, only listens to Harry Potter audiobooks in a permanent playback loop.
What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?
Getting the last tracks of the album to a safe place in the recording process.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in your mind the most?
In 2017, we performed at the Parterre in Basel to an audience of twenty people - ten of those were friends from Zürich. Problem for us was there was an FCB match that very night!
Barely a year later, we played during the BScene to a full-house in the Kaserne Basel. But…BOTH concerts were fantastic. It doesn’t matter whether you make ten or three-hundred spectators happy; the pleasure is the same.
Which one album means the most to you would you say (and why)?
The Mars Volta - De-Loused in the Comatorium
A friend introduced me to them when I was sixteen. I listened and really did not like them at all. Because I liked the guy, I really tried to understand why he likes that band. I tried for two weeks and finally I got into them. Sometimes, it’s nice when music isn’t opening up from the beginning. And, every time I listen to them, I discover new things and sounds. I also just love Cedric’s voice and Omar’s guitar playing.
PHOTO CREDIT: Biho Song
Might we see some tour dates coming up? Where might we be able to catch you play?
After our intensive Breaking Hearts Tour this summer, we’re taking a little break. We’re playing a few gigs in Switzerland in November and December but take a step back to focus on the album recording. The record release party will be in Kaufleuten - Zurich’s oldest concert venue - on 14th April. We’re very excited. To keep up to date with our tours, just check www.timfreitag.com or follow us on Songkick.
What advice would you give new artists coming through?
Don’t dream; work hard!
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
I like to decompress in the mountains. I always do that shortly before I’d get a burnout. It helps (smiles).
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose some songs and I’ll play it here (not any of your music – I’ll do that!).
As my guys are not here, I’ll take the liberty to choose five songs that got me through:
Hindi Zahra (ft. House of Spirituals) - The Moon
CAKE - Never There
Kunzite - Minerals
Warhaus - Leave with Me
Two Face Twin - Socotra
Haha! That last one is cheating, actually: it’s a song from my side project together with the amazing singer Carla Fellinger! Check it out.
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PHOTO CREDIT: Alexis Saile