Calling all Gurrscouts, fans of fun garage punk, and any person that has a love for new music—
Gurr creates sounds that will make you move your hips, lyrics that will have you singing by the end of the song, screams that will remind you of Grimes, and a brilliant energy off & on stage that pulses through your veins.
On January 23, Gurr played an intimate Köln show at a DIY venue in Ehrenfeld that was hosted by the DIY punk show community, Sollbruch Konzerte. Gurr’s high-energy set made you forget that it was a Monday evening as they played loads of their fabulous tunes from their latest album, In My Head. Even though this album was released at the end of 2016, it has been one that I have on repeat as 2017 is off to a rolling start. Between its catchy lyrics, fun guitar riffs, occasional screams, and beachy/garage vibes, Gurr is a band that all types of people could easily get into.
I got to meet Laura and Andreya, two gals from Berlin who are behind the sounds of Gurr. We had a lovely chat before they played an amazing set and talked about their new album!
Sav: How did you gals become a band?
Laura: We both went to the same university in Berlin for the same program, North American Studies. At first, I think we were both a little bit skeptical of the other one because we both knew we were into the same music and stuff and I think it took us some time. We both had a mutual friend called Simon, who later took a lot of our tour pictures and went on tour with us. He said to me repeatedly, “You have to meet Andreya. I think you guys would totally get along.” And eventually we overcame those skepticisms of the other and hung out like every day. We went on a trip to England for four weeks and told everybody we already had a band and then we came back and followed through with it.
Sav: Where does your band name, GURR, come from?
Laura: It’s a little bit of a pun on my fear of pigeons because Germans say that pigeons make a “gurr” sound. We also thought it was aesthetically cool— just something short, 4 letters.
Andreya: It sounds a little bit like “gurrl,” but it wasn’t like we wanted to sound like “gurrl.” It was funny because Laura’s phobia and it was a good name because it sounded powerful.
Sav: When you come up with the actual music behind the lyrics, do you jam together? What is your writing process with that?
Andreya: I think we barely jam, but if someone has an idea already and usually you’re stuck with it, then you just bring it to practice and then we think about stuff together. Sometimes pieces lie around for a long time, and then we pick it up again and then collaborate on it. But it usually starts off by ourselves, and then we do it together. It’s rare we are in the practice space and we are like “Uh, yeah! Mm, that’s a song!”
Sav: Do you write the lyrics together?
Laura: Sometimes we write them together, but I would say most of the time Andreya writes the lyrics. And I wrote the German song, Walnuss, on our album and the lyrics to #1985.
Sav: How would you describe your sound?
Andreya: I think now on the record it’s more like indie-ish, or tamer. But we’re still garage rock or garage punk. I wouldn’t say we are super punk, but people always call us that. I think it’s because when they see us on stage it is very punk energy, or a very energetic show. I still think we are very poppy with poppy melodies.
Sav: Who are your main influences behind your music?
Andreya: It’s tough because we listen to a lot of different music. Sometimes we have a mood and then we really want to create something like that. Or sometimes a solo already sounds similar to something we like, so we try to get this energy from that song. But I would say that Laura likes a lot of Brit rock and pop, or also stuff like Veronica Falls. It’s all mixed. Sometimes I just want to have the vibe of a Grimes song, something that sounds weird. We have this one song that we just wrote, and I wrote it first with a synthesizer and then we tried to see how we could do it with just guitars. We are always doing something different.
Then I got into a deeper chat with Laura and Andreya about the “Riot Grrrl” label that has been linked with them in a couple different articles.
Sav: I’ve seen the Riot Grrrl label pop up around your band in a few different articles. Does it mean anything to you? How do you feel about it?
Andreya: When I was growing up, it was really important to me—these bands and seeing women on stage. And then I got into more female bands, like this band called Be Your Own Pet, a punk indie band from the States. I was super into being like, “Yeah! Women!” But once we started our band, people have labeled us “riot grrl” all the time. Sometimes we read reviews and it’s not about the music at all, but it’s more like “Of course they make riot grrrl music.” I want to still be a person that likes riot grrrl, but being labeled like that all time really sucks. I think Laura even told me that Kathleen Hanna said in an interview that she is sick of hearing questions like “So you’re the riot grrl front woman.”
Sav: It’s hard to find that balance because you’re doing something that you love and want the respect from that, not just because you’re a woman playing music that is mostly male based. So where do you even begin to find that balance?
Andreya: Yeah, it is important and it is also very important that this niche disappears—especially journalists in Germany. The Guardian did a review of our album and I don’t even think it mentions it once. It’s just about the music.
Laura: In the States, you had riot grrl and The Breeders, for example, and this whole grunge scene that was at the same time where women in music weren’t necessarily political. Of course, you’re political by being a woman in music, but they had their own artistic issues that they wanted to deal with in their music besides feminism. I think in Germany we haven’t had that yet, so everybody is really concerned with “riot grrls.” As soon as they hear a woman screaming on stage, they think it’s “riot grrrl” music.
Sav: Do you know the band Hinds? Yeah, they have the same problem too.
Andreya: Yeah, yeah! Their music is even further away from bands like Bikini Kill.
Sav: Can you explain “First Wave Gurrlcore”?
Laura: The label grew out of that anger of this riot grrrl tag. For us, first wave means we don’t want to be associated with a wave of feminism or something—we want to do our own thing, and that could be “gurrlcore.” It has our name in it, so it came out of not knowing what our genre is. I don’t think we are hardcore or anything at all, but there is something in our performances that is kind of powerful and hardcore. We didn’t come up with it though. We asked our fans to come up with a good genre for our music and then one girl submitted that and we really liked it.
Gurr is a band that is creating and playing music that feels pure and real to them. They both have a deep passion for music, and they come together to create a fun and unique sound to share with the world. They are another band that falls into my favorites because of their honesty within their songs and when they play on stage. Gurr is one to watch in 2017 as they head over back over to England to do a couple of shows and then to SXSW to debut in America. Go show them some love by listening to their album, In My Head and following their Facebook page to stay up to date with all the crazy things they are getting up to.