Interview: Condre Scr

Condre Scr - Photo by Philip Schulte

Condre Scr – Photo by Philip Schulte

Musicians are constantly striving to accomplish certain things in their music, and when it comes to Berlin-based instrumental band Condre Scr, a central theme is atmosphere.

“It’s all about creating specific moods,” the band said. “That’s what we focus on and we do whatever feels appropriate to gain that.”

Condre Scr formed in 2005 in Berlin, and has released two albums: 2006’s Jar Marsen and 2012’s You Are Genius. Although the members have changed over the years, the current lineup consists of five individuals playing drums, synth, bass, and guitars in a constellation of wavering ambient sounds.

For those concerned, Condre Scr is, for all intents and purposes, a post-rock band. But for the semantically picky, such a label is only partially evocative, something even the band contends.

“No matter if that’s post-rock, techno, atonal music or whatever, we humans tend to associate clichés with such labels,” they said. “However, in its good moments, art is all but servant to the cliché. Therefore, when you trust in such labels and use them for navigating through artistic spheres, you will very likely miss out on the precious parts.”

In practice, this means that the members don’t adhere to specific guidelines when it comes to writing, but instead let the sound flow, while taking care not to overdo it.

“There are specific roles in the writing process, but they are not set to certain individuals, and borders are vague,” they said. “Each track is different; one requires length, another one demands volume, and a third needs a particular sound.”

It might also be said that Condre Scr’s songwriting emulates its environment; in the time since its formation, nearly a decade ago, the group has had a share of both activity and inactivity, which came in waves. Along the way, it has also seen Berlin transform, something the city is well-known for.

“It’s no secret that Berlin has a very lively and diverse music scene. The city is a regular stop for touring bands, and also very active in itself, with its locals and musicians from elsewhere, living here. So, there’s a lot of musical input as well as output. That keeps things fresh and interesting,” the band explained. “A rather unpleasant development during recent years is, that slowly but steadily, the wildly grown, subcultural infrastructure of the 1980s and ’90s is being deconstructed. It gets substituted by arranged ‘party districts,’ where everything is planned and controlled, and whose prime intention is to cash in on the legendary reputation that diverse musical activities and subcultures in Berlin have developed over the past decades. But then again, deconstruction makes room for new things. New clubs and venues pop up across the city continually, which is a good thing of course. Nothing is more unappealing than stagnation.”

This idea of constant change is also a theme that will appear on the newest album, set to be released later this year.

“For the writing process of new material, we’ve altered [the] approach and objective,” they shared, adding that the new material will be played exclusively at the upcoming show. “That way, in recent months, we produced a string of songs that are deeper, more subtle, more cohesive than our previous works.”

Of course, for a group with so many members and with so many possible avenues to explore, it’s not always easy to arrive at the same destination. But at the same time, when it does happen, it makes it that much more worthwhile.

“The challenging aspect of the band is to keep all five of us satisfied and to merge the different conceptions, ideas, and suggestions into something that suits everyone,” they said. “The most rewarding moments are those when [it] all comes together and we all agree that we’ve just created something terrific.”

Condre Scr plays tonight at Schokoladen in Berlin. The show begins at 20.00.

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