Interview: Me and My Drummer

Me and My Drummer - Photo by Thomas Kierok

Me and My Drummer - Photo by Thomas Kierok

Me and My Drummer is as straightforward as band names come; it refers directly to vocalist and keyboardist Charlotte Brandi, and her drummer, Matze Pröllochs.

The two live in Berlin, but initially met in 2009 in Pröllochs’ hometown of Tübingen, where both were stage musicians for theater productions.

“We have a very very cool composer who casted us and who kind of sort of set the first brick of the wall,” Brandi said, crediting much of their musical knowledge and growth to the composer. “It was kind of a bit of schooling.”

And because playing in theater productions also entailed a lot of downtime between setting up the stage and the actual performance, Brandi and Pröllochs often used that time before shows to jam together in the auditorium.

“That was so cool because we kind of played [ourselves] into a trance…before the actors had to come on stage,” Brandi said. “[And] that was the start. The feeling was big and nobody was there and we got to know each other musically.”

The time working together in close proximity established a common ground between the two, and it made sense when they decided, six months later, to form a band, regardless of the fact that both came from different musical backgrounds.

“I always tried to play in as many different bands as I [could] because I wanted to learn all the styles,” Pröllochs, who took lessons and played in progressive rock and jazz bands, said.

Meanwhile, Brandi came from a home in which both of her parents taught themselves to play music, thereby passing on that love of music to her.

“They always did music for [their] whole lifetime and at home we listened to lots of folklore from all over the world…simple stuff, but melodious, stick-in-your-head stuff, sing-along stuff,” she said, explaining how it has shaped her musicianship. “I personally lack the theoretical background for this clever kind of stuff, so I would always play it from my guts. I would always just make noise and not think about it too much, and the limitation of a pop song is the convenience.”

About a year into the band, the two made the decision to go for broke, with both of them moving to Berlin to pursue Me and My Drummer full-time. And while many of their friends and family members were skeptical about what they thought was a reckless life choice, Brandi and Pröllochs knew it was important to give it their all.

“This is everything we have,” Brandi said.

Whether the two were lucky or just hit the scene at the right time, things began to pan out for them, and just last week the two signed a deal with Sinnbus Records. This winter, they will record their debut album.

Of course, not everything in the band is easy-going. In fact, the two readily admit that they constantly argue.

“The time when we rehearse is always tension. But not always negative tension, of course, because otherwise we would split up,” Brandi said. “And of course the musical setup, the instrumental setup, is very challenging because we are only two persons and we are both have big egos and everything. Everything’s challenging. It’s a total challenge, the whole thing.”

Pröllochs agreed, saying that there is a constant struggle between the two during songwriting, because both of them are constantly at odds with one another while working to find a musical balance that doesn’t compromise their intention.

“The tension…is really necessary because it makes the whole thing always living,” he said. “Most of the time it’s structure and who does how much, like the drums are not too present…or the bassline on the keyboard is not too [much].”

But that kind of combat is what happens when two strong characters meet and decide to make music together, and both readily admit they’d rather have to harness their emotions and creativity, than not have enough.

“Sometimes I feel like my hands and his hands are like wild horses that have always to be kept on the…grassland…because when we would do as we want to or as our hands want to,” Brandi trailed off, while making the motion of her hands flying away. “So we always have to pull it back and serve the song.”

But as they both acknowledged, the tension is not necessarily bad, and it only exists in the rehearsal room. Otherwise, when Brandi and Pröllochs are on stage, the chemistry between the two is more than apparent.

“It goes really deep, and we’re completely into it, and we love to be on stage together, and it’s [our] own language we talk together,” Pröllochs said. “I don’t know another man or woman in this world…with whom I can speak that way musically, and that’s really the best thing.”

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