Almost Twins in Interview

by | Music, music interview

Almost Twins is an indiefolk act from Leipzig based around their singer and songwriter Max Grüner who not only looks but also sounds like the second coming of Erlend Oye of Kings of Convenience fame. So if you’re out there missing your fave plaintive indie band, sing hallelujah! We catch Max Grüner in interview.

indieRepublik: Tell us a little bit about your musical background

Almost Twins: I started taking guitar lessons when I was 8. When I was 11 a friend of mine introduced me to the Beatles and all the artists form the 60’s and 70’s like Jimmy Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Pink Floyd. We spend endless hours trying to write our first songs imagining being John Lennon and Paul McCartney. 😉 I started home recording when I was 13 and kept on exploring and experimenting in this field inspired by artists like John Frusciante and The Notwist.

The connection to the classical guitar never broke up so I decided to study world music guitar in Dresden and travelled to South America fascinated by Argentinian and Brazilian music. I spent some months in Buenos Aires taking classes before coming back and finishing my studies in Dresden. I try to stay curious and always try to find something new to explore in every song I write.

indieRepublik: How did you get together as a band?

Almost Twins: I started Almost Twins in October 2021 when I moved to Leipzig. The original idea was to record a solo album with guest musicians from my new hometown and thus connecting with the local music scene. In May 2022, I organised a solo concert in a small coffee called Café Lux, where I was planning to perform some of my new songs with my flatmate Laurenz who now plays the saxophone in the band. While we were on holiday Laurenz showed a demo version of our current single “Hands/Trees” to his friend Valentin and Betram and they both fancied to play this gig at Café Lux with me. We asked Raphi if he wants to join playing the drums and after one rehearsal it was clear that something special happened. All of a sudden, we were five people on stage, and we couldn’t believe how well it went, so we decided to stay in this constellation. Soon after, Arne came in for Bertram and completed our current band setup.

indieRepublik: How does the songwriting process work for you / in your band?

Almost Twins: For current songs I mostly tried to bring a basic version of a song to the rehearsals, which I can already perform as a solo version with acoustic guitar. Then everybody is doing their thing, and we arrange it together. Some parts of the songs changed drastically playing them together and I always welcome the creative input of everyone involved because I often encounter music to be richer when there is a common musical vision instead of having only one person’s head and heart involved. 

I’m always keen to try out different approaches towards songwriting so it’s likely that material on a follow-up album might develop differently.

indieRepublik: Where do you get your inspiration from?

Almost Twins: Being in the nature, books, new instruments and gear, travels, going to concerts, the ups and downs of live, love, friendship, actually having to leave the house to be on time for an appointment but instead picking up the guitar, tuning my guitar in weird ways so I have no idea what I’m doing, playing and listening to music from artists I love like Adrienne Lenker, Jose Gonzales, Fleet Foxes, Radiohead, Florist, This is the Kit, the Beatles and many more.

indieRepublik: What music do you listen to when you’re touring?

Almost Twins: ADHD, The Notwist, Hochzeitskapelle, Dekker, Bibio, Bonobo, La Force, This is the Kit, Junip

indieRepublik: What was the last concert you went to?

Almost Twins: Adrienne Lenker at Admiralsplast Berlin. She just seems such a fascinating person to me. Strong and fragile at the same time. I felt a little star struck and I think most of the audience did.

indieRepublik: What was your biggest stage fuck-up?

Almost Twins: At a show the local sound engineer drifted off and sat on a controller which switched off the PA System in the middle of a song. He apparently didn’t notice until our own sound engineer, unable to do anything about it, came over and woke him up.

indieRepublik: How would you like to see the music industry changing?

Almost Twins: I think the devaluation of music through the streaming services is a big problem for artists and the music industry. At the same time, I find it amazing that people all over the world can bump into your music on a playlist they follow. But I think it’s important to have a fair revenue for the artists. One idea in this direction is a limited amount of streams available until one has to buy the album or the song, as it is realised on „Bandcamp“ for example. Another idea in this direction which I like is „Patreon“, a website where you can support your favourite artists directly with a monthly contribution.

indieRepublik: How would you define indie? What do you personally think it means?

Almost Twins: What I encounter characteristic to all the different facets of what might be called Indie music is a certain curiosity in sound and production which can be more experimental than in Pop music, for example. I think the vibe and the emotion a certain type of production creates plays a big role in Indie music and is part of the creative process.

indieRepublik: What do you like most about indieRepublik?

Almost Twins: I appreciate a lot, that there are people out there who love and support indie music. That’s what keeps the scene alive!

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