THE STORY BEHIND QUARANTINE FILES
ABOUT THE MUSIC
In 2003 I released my debut album “Shade of Blue”. After that I casually went on making music, but it took a back seat and became more of a hobby. I still liked the idea of releasing a second album one day. I just thought by then I’ll probably be in retirement. Fast forward 17 years to the beginning of 2020 - out of nowhere a pandemic hits the world and triggers what comes into being this record.
1. 8 O’CLOCK NEWS
Mid-April 2020 I had already produced 7 tracks and believed it was actually enough to release a short album. I only wanted to add an epic intro that introduces my work and especially expresses the atmosphere I felt when the Corona lockdown started.
I remembered Sunday, 12th of March, when people were sitting in front of their TVs awaiting the news and the first official press conference with Austria’s prime minister. Lots of rumors of what was going to happen were already afloat on the internet. Soon the complete lockdown would become reality. Although it was a simple fact that it was happening I couldn’t grasp it. It was almost unbelievable. From that moment on I was unemployed. I imagined people all over the different countries effected by the virus experiencing some similar feelings like I did. I wanted to somehow capture the dramatic events happening all over the world caused by a strange enemy. When I searched for a sound I could use for the intro I came across a synthesizer which reminded me of the soundtrack of Alien – I thought that was perfectly fitting this uncharted deadly virus.
In the first days and weeks of quarantine life people spread their ideas for backing recipes and pictures of home-baked goods all over social media. I always liked cooking and baking myself but never managed to bake a good loaf of bread. So I hopped on the train and browsed through quite a few recipes, had friends sent me tips & tricks and watched hours of YouTube tutorials. In the end the most simple recipe resulted the best. With this track I wanted to express the steps of creating the perfect loaf of bread. It starts with merging just a bit of salt, flour and water, let it rest and repeat. In the middle there is me waiting curiously and inhaling the heavenly smell. And then at last I open the oven and lay eyes on my perfect loaf of bread.
Here’s to some fun sides in all of this. I found it pretty amusing to read headlines about the biggest porn provider giving away free premium accounts in Italy. I imagined some people being actually happy about this and giving shout outs to the universe. It is certainly no blessing, but you’ve got to have a little laugh in-between.
4. NEVER ENDING SUNDAY
For me the time of self-quarantine often felt like a never-ending Sunday. The streets were empty and quiet like on early Sunday mornings. Cozily sleeping in without alarm clock, long breakfasts, gallons of coffee. Pure calmness. It was actually nice, but there were also phases of getting very bored of staying at home day in and day out. This new daily grind sometimes felt quite tedious. What’s good and what’s bad about a never ending Sunday at home.
5. I AM NOT A DOCTOR
At one point a wave of people posting childhood-throwback photos hit my screen and it got me thinking about my own youth. When I was young the musician Dr. Alban quite often climbed the international charts. Despite it not being considered cool back then, I really liked his music and bought his records. I was kind of into Europop and still am. For sharing our first name I also felt connected to this guy from Sweden. To this day friends very often greet me with “Doc” or pick up the phone saying “Hello Africa” referring to one of Dr. Alban’s number one hits. So it was obvious to include an Europop-like theme as my personal throwback. While working on this tune I saw an interview with Donald Trump in which after giving medical advice and spreading nonsense he declared that he is no doctor. Trump didn’t fail to entertain with incomprehensible baloney during the Corona crisis. When I heard this unneeded statement I thought: Well, at least we have one thing in common - I am also not a doctor. I am not Dr. Alban. Thanks Mr. President for providing me with a song title.
When I listen to or produce music I always have very clear pictures in my head. This time around I was watching terrifying reports from Italy of heavily suffering people, overwhelmed doctors and lines of trucks removing hundreds of dead bodies. Shattering happenings very close to home. I instantly had this song on my mind. Also thinking of the machines running to keep critically ill patients alive.
7. 28 WEEKS BEFORE
This tune is a homage to the Friday night before the lockdown. I had a very nice evening with friends at a bar. Chatting, drinking, laughing, dancing. Based on this night and of course referred to the very well-known movie “28 Weeks Later” this track formed in my mind. Thinking of completely different and especially good times. Times before Corona.
8. CAPTAIN TOM WALKING
I had just read the headlines of 99-year-old Army Veteran Captain Tom spending the days of quarantine with a charity walk in his garden to raise a little fund for the incredibly brave health care workers, doctors and all the other hardworking people fighting the virus on the frontlines. He aimed to finish his challenge before his 100thbirthday and to raise £1000 but ended up raising over £30 million. The fact that this old Captain broke records by raising millions and then even hit the top of the UK-Charts is really impressive. Simple ideas can have big impacts.
This inspired me to do a simple song with straight beats accompanying Captain Tom walking in his yard. Keep it simple. Keep on walking Captain!
9. DAYS OF NIGHTS
Days of Nights is definitely my favorite song on this album and not only because I spent the most time creating it. It has lots of layers and details and reflects best the kind of music I am into. Because of Corona I suddenly was left unemployed. After a few weeks I started realizing how badly I actually needed this break from my everyday life and the work I happily poured myself into for many years. While enjoying the first warm and sunny days in my backyard, watching the plants awake from hibernation and the birds starting to sing their songs, I thought about the positive side effects the Corona lockdown had on me. I wanted to at least use this time to full capacity. Days of Nights expresses the inner state of mind I was in during this time, appreciating that no one close to me was infected by Covid-19. Enjoying the tranquility and slowness, the warm weather and open windows letting in a breeze of spring. It was also a time when Central Europe was actually urgently awaiting rain. Many years ago I had recorded a nice thunderstorm out of my window. It seemed fitting to put that in. It was the fourth track I did in self-quarantine. During this phase I often turned the nights into days.
10. THE NEW NORMAL
I find it funny that this was actually the first song I did when I sat down in my studio. I wasn’t that happy with the outcome at first but didn’t really care because I thought nobody will ever hear it anyway. But then at the end of April I changed my mind and decided that I actually really want this song on the record. It is the first tune I produced after nearly two decades. So I sat down again to rework it. Listening to it now I see pictures of people on the streets wearing masks, trying to resume normality, uncertain how to remember not to shake hands or hug their loved ones they haven’t seen in person for way too long. We are now all trying to handle this unfamiliar situation within our means hoping at some point it will become normal. The New Normal is the perfect conclusion to my 2nd Album.
ABOUT THE COVER
My original idea was to shoot a portrait of myself in an empty deserted place or in the middle of a huge highway without any cars. I wanted to illustrate the emptiness and abandonment caused by the global pandemic. Photographer and graphic designer NIKOLETT KUSTOS who did the artwork for Quarantine Files took those photos of me. To have an alternative and just to be safe we did an inside shooting as well. The thought behind this one was the other side of it: all of us forced to stay at home for quite a long period of time. It made sense to consider both ideas, especially because the inspiration for this album came from my time in self-quarantine when I didn’t leave my home studio for weeks on end.The final version we chose for the cover is a snapshot Nikolett took before we started with the inside shooting. Later when we went through all the pictures we both instantly connected with this one. It shows me struggling to put on a facemask which didn’t exactly work out smoothly in that moment. The shot captures the new normal perfectly - displaying the latest regulations of wearing protection gear and keeping distance, but also creating distance by hiding our faces and reminding of the isolation. That’s why we both picked this photo for the Quarantine Files.
WHY 10” LIMITED VINYL
I love 10-inch records. For me this is hands down the best vinyl format ever invented. I decided to print a quantity of 300 records of this album and make it a very limited edition. Then I promised myself to never ever have more 10” copies printed than these 300. I chose 8 out of 10 produced tracks for the album. I think they reflect my work best. The A – Side is named “A-fter” and carries the minimalistic, suspenseful tracks. They represent the time after Covid-19. The B – Side collects the more uplifting tunes build for the floor. It’s called “B-efore the Virus”, remembering beloved good old times.