Tribe House Blog
Posted : December 13th, 2011 by TribeHouse
Our friend Sarah Brendel who is a part of the TribeHouse community in Germany just launched a pre-release of her new album “Before the Mountains” being released on Eisenbahn Records in 2012. It’s an exciting project because not only does she live in the “castle community” (affectionately called Schloss-Roehrsdorf) on the outskirts of Dresden (Germany) but she recorded the entire album & music video there as well.
You’ll get a feel for the vibe of the area in this video of “What a happy life“, except normally there aren’t people running around in vintage clothes riding on wagons watching people play instruments that were built before rocks were invented.
TribeHouse: Tell us a bit about how & why you made this new record “Before the Mountains”.
Sarah Brendel: I made this album to learn …
I’ve always tried to do as much as possible myself, but I never imagined I would be able to produce, arrange and mix an album. That’s probably because in school I was pretty lousy in music theory and in the back of my mind I always had this idea that my skills as a musician weren’t sufficient. For the most part, I had people in my life I considered more talented than me, who were excellent producers and whose support I was happy to accept.
I have entered a new phase of my life however. Having moved to an artist community in a castle near Dresden, and with my friend Arno’s recording studio in the backyard, it seemed natural to produce the album myself. It was here that old paths were to be abandoned in order to encounter something new. Maybe it’s also important to point out that I’ve already had something of a music career, complete with managers, record companies and the whole circus I was eagerly trying to leave behind.
TH: What was the main reason you decided to put this album together by yourself?
SB: It came from the desire to create a sound more like the one I was hearing inside myself and felt intuitively. To follow my natural sense of music, not perfection.Recording this album was a kind of self-therapy. I tried to shut out any outside opinions in order to break through to the core of the songs and give them as much space as possible.
SB: It all started with looking for the right musicians, developing song patterns, searching for sound spaces and instrumentation, trying to simply let the music happen, losing control – especially for the vocal parts – and finally mixing the recorded songs. The whole process and the challenges that came with it have made me stronger and more confident, and have revealed in me a new kind of love for my music. It is mostly about trust, allowing mistakes to happen and even leaving them, and then trusting that my own sense of music won’t abandon me… following my quiet intuition and being surprised by all its beauty. This process has helped many old wounds to heal.
I’ve also discovered how infinitely rewarding it is to make music with friends who were able to feel out the subtleties and help me decorate and embellish the songs I wrote for the guitar. And collaborating with my wonderfully talented friend Arno, has us fantasizing about working as a team in the future. Every song on this album would have also worked with just acoustic guitar and voice, probably because the lyrics always came before the melody. The songs became more elaborate, extensive and melodious, especially through instruments like the violin, cello and viola that were the first to be recorded only after we recorded my voice, drums and guitar live.
SB: Every song has a story of its own and anyone who listens closely can identify with them, but how and what is heard is up to each and everyone.
TH: Why the title “Before the Mountains?
SB: It’s supposed to express the aspect of time. The great Eternal before and after time exists.
TH: What genre would this album fall under?
SB:I make music, that’s all.
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