Actually, it’s hectic, concerts have to be postponed and a lot of things seem uncertain. The atmosphere in my whole team is positive and we are looking forward to the next steps. Release of the next video and single is pending – news coming soon!
Are you out of lockdown now? How did you cope over the last few months?
Total lockdown is over, but almost the complete culture and music scene is suffering from the consequences of this lockdown. Slowly the scene is awakening now. The last few months were a time full of contrasting emotions. There were very stressful moments but also moments full of light. For example, seeing my kids during the home-schooling period was an interesting experience. As a family we also had the time to rediscover a lot of things together.
Can you tell us a bit about your background and where you come from?
I am Liechtenstein-born, but I grew up in Switzerland. Now I live with my family in a small village near the Alps. I have my own studio here, where I write and produce my songs. At the studio I do almost everything on my own, playing most of the instruments, recording myself, planning, mixing. As a producer I literally pull the strings.
When did you first start getting into music and what were your early influences?
I learned playing the guitar when I was a youth, playing the piano and I was an ambitious and diligent pupil. Especially playing the classic guitar was an intensive part of my work for years. After some first experiences with different band projects I studied a couple of semesters at a jazz school, which was interesting, but this was not my scene. Mainly I wanted to write music and songs and after these projects, where I was a guitarist and producer, in 2005 I founded TBOG. For the first time in my life I was the singer as well as the songwriter.
I have always been a passionate fan of music and started collecting LPs as a child/ teen. In my collection there were plenty of different genres, from rock to blues, from jazz to folk, industrial, electronical music and classical music were part of this. I was fascinated by composers especially such as Bach, Ligeti or Wagner. But then I often listened to artists like David Bowie, the early albums of Mike Oldfield, Pink Floyd, Kraftwerk or Joy Division, The Cure and U2.
How did you get the band together?
One constant band member is Mac Vinzens, with whom I had already played with in the psychedelic rock band “Nuuk”. At the beginning it seemed to be a Studio project. For live gigs we engaged new musicians, but these guys were never constant band members.
Have there been any line up changes over the years?
We had a lot of changes in the past and I will get a new Live line up in place for the new tour. I’ve recorded and published more than 100 songs and instrumentals in my own studio over all these years but you have to know I’ve worked live - and also in the studio - with a lot of different guest musicians and also in different formations, from reduced solo and trio performances to an ensemble with 7 (additional violin, cello and even saxophone) musicians on stage. On every record and tour the line-up was different. Mac Vinzens on drums is the only musician who has been a part of the “band” from the beginning.
The band has been together a very long time now and you’ve had a lot of success across Europe. What do you think when you look back-would you change anything or are you happy with the way things turned out?
Generally speaking, I am very happy. I have worked and still work hard for my success, without a professional management or a huge record company. Of course, you must learn a lot of things regarding the music business the hard way. Besides, mistakes happen because of inexperience or you unfortunately have bad advice. I was often lucky with the musicians, but of course there were also difficult times with various disappointments or setbacks.
Recently you have had some health issues and had major heart surgery. How did this affect you personally?
Last year I had to undergo unexpected surgery and my world turned upside down for weeks. It was a very difficult time for me and for my family and it was a kind of ‘life reset’. During this time, I was thinking about a lot of things and I knew that there would be changes in my band as well as in my life, which really happened.
Did it affect your song writing?
Before this break, I had already written a lot of demos for the album and after the long period of recovery, I felt that something was different and I had to reset myself in a kind of way. I do not know what happened, but I am sure that this life-changing experience had a major impact on the following work and the final lyrics.
Tell us about your latest single ‘Apologise’ – what is the song about?
It’s a song about the human dilemma, knowing the time to say good-bye but having no words to say it. A song full of light and darkness at the same time. The music has a lot of positive energy; the lyrics are full of conciliation and confidence.
You have an album coming out called ‘Skeleton Dreams’ (the title alone is pretty dark!) – tell us what we can expect from the songs on the album?
It’s again this mixture of warm, hypnotic blues, ambient melancholia, and earthy, indie-influenced folk. It was my concept to bring different colours to the arrangements like organ, piano sounds and a lot of shivering Fender Jaguar guitar. I jammed a lot during the song-writing process and I fell in love in the sound from the beginning. For all the hypnotic blues elements in songs like “Rainbow Man” or “Maybe God Knows” I wanted to bring in the spirit of a typical indie rock band. There is also one special remix on the album I made for a sampler of the Sonic Seducer Magazine they asked for and it was just fun to work again with the computer and all the electronic “toys” again. And also good to now I didn’t forget how to create music with it 😊 but the basic sound of TBOG today must be as organic as possible. This was and is still my vision. On the Skeleton Dreams album, there are a few electronic elements like loops or synthesizers I like very much. So, there is no acoustic or unplugged dogma at all. Also for the Live line-up. My drummer Mac Vinzens will integrate electronic samples as additional elements to his traditional rock drum set.
Looking to the future, what new ambitions do you have for the band?
Due the pandemic we had to postpone all shows of the Skeleton Dreams Tour in Germany to 2021 and also the concert in Lausanne in Switzerland. It was a very sad and frustrating decision. Fortunately, the booking agency could find new dates for all shows. Right now we have scheduled 4 more concerts in Switzerland, and I think we can realise all of them. So I keep my fingers crossed. There will have some restrictions of course but it’s so important to play a few shows even when the audience will be much smaller. It’s been so long now and I’m sure the fans need it as much as we do. Then I hope that one day we can go back to Mexico and South America, it was a blast and still in my mind!
Finally, do you think you might tour in 2021?
I‘m sure it will be possible again.
'Apologies' is available on Spotify and Soundcloud now.