Berlin based South African Lucy Kruger now returns with The Lost Boys to announce the details behind her new studio album ‘Transit Tapes (for women who move furniture around)’, which lands on the 4th June 2021 via Unique Records. Written by Lucy Kruger and forged in a tiny 34°c rehearsal space in Berlin, ‘Transit Tapes’ melts dreamy indie rock with dark folk and returns 12 pensive tracks exploring restlessness and a yearning to feel alive. DMCWORLD dives in for a world exclusive…
Hey Lucy! Welcome to DMC. Where in the world can we find you today?
At the moment I’m in Haga Haga, a small village on the wild coast in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. I used to come here every holiday until I was about eighteen. This is the first time I’ve visited in more than ten years. It’s surreal and very special, especially after a long and cold Berlin winter.
You have a full LP on the way and worked with a new group of musicians. What was the process like for creating the album and working with new people?
Lovely and intimidating and lovely. Working with new players in Berlin felt a little like musical dating. I was excited and self-conscious. In many ways the songs were quite well formed before I brought them to the band as I’d written them in a way that they could hold their own if it were to just be me and the guitar delivering them. In some ways that made the process simpler, but in other ways the specificity of the feeling, rhythm and dynamic meant the band had to find a place in and around what was already there. It’s not always so simple to do that, particularly with more delicate tracks, but Martin, Liú and Andreas were all extremely sensitive to the songs, highlighting the nuances instead of submerging them. I started to rehearse with Martin (the drummer) in Berlin, at the end of 2019, and with Liú (the guitarist), in Amsterdam, at the beginning of 2020. The whole band only came together for a few long weekends before the actual recording. We had hoped to have a couple of shows together first, but of course with covid that wasn’t possible. The whole thing felt a bit ambitious as none of us had played together before and I really wanted to record the tracks live, but everyone was extremely focused and present for the rehearsals and the recording sessions and it was intense, absorbing and very lovely – just how I hope creating will always be.
Any particular highlights from the times you were writing the album?
Well I wrote the album in the first year and half after moving to Berlin. The whole experience was new and overwhelming and I was asked to pay attention in a way that I hadn’t in a while. I was so in the midst of a mess of feeling that when I did eventually write, it was a very meaningful way of unpacking my response to the experience of change. A kind of playful conversation. Giving it the band, a collection of players from different parts of the place I was starting to call home, was a very sweet way of celebrating the slow-growing familiarity.
The recording of ‘A Window’ felt like one of those rare moments when everyone is somehow on precisely the same sound or wave length. A room full of warm tension and a light and a lifting. Sweet suspension.
The albums called ‘Transit Tapes (for women who move furniture around)’, what inspired this name?
The tape theme is a continuation from ‘Sleeping Tapes’. Somehow ‘tapes’ has the quality of casual or intimate documentation or instruction. When I was younger my siblings and I used to record ourselves on cassette and tape our favourite shows from the radio. We also used to have tapes that would accompany books. I wanted these albums to be accompanying soundtracks to an experience – a sort of playful instruction to speak about or look at things that can feel heavy or unnecessarily private. A way of not being alone inside of experiences that can feel very isolating. The first was a tape for sleeping and the second is a tape for traveling.
A couple of years ago I heard a man speaking about how every time he came home his wife had moved the furniture around and how it unsettled him. Something in the small story felt like unintentional poetry and struck a nerve. A domestic image with a powerful undertone that holds a sense of restlessness to which I and these songs can deeply relate.
I’m trying to throw the furniture right out the window for this one.
How is this project different from your previous album ‘Sleeping Tapes’?
I suppose Sleeping Tapes is the tiniest babushka doll. One that I carved quietly in my room without a clear end point in mind except to move my own hands. Once the album was complete and I could see it’s form clearly, I gathered some strength from the observation and of course the actual experience, and decided to keep shaping and playing, this time with some kind of clear centre. ‘Transit Tapes’ is a second layer to encase the first and to keep growing the story. It’s a bit braver and more sure of itself. Or at least of where it wants to go. Or at least that it doesn’t want to go.
You’re from South Africa, and the LP was recorded in Berlin – do you travel a lot?
I moved to Berlin almost three years ago now which has of course made touring Europe much more accessible, and I do go home to South Africa at least once a year. So I am travelling much more than I used to but it’s mainly between SA and Berlin and the very short stops that touring allows.
How has the pandemic and restrictions impacted your lifestyle and creativity?
It feels like such a big question. Sometimes I find it difficult to speak about an experience from which there isn’t yet distance. An answer can require (and cause) such a definitive feeling. I’m afraid of committing, or something silly like that. But very generally – when there is change and disruption that is out of my control I seem to be better at moving with it than when I feel there is something that I could/should be doing to shift it. I was very lucky to receive some funding to make a record which gifted me the headspace to focus on writing and playing. I think my experience would have been very different without that. I don’t always find it easy to focus and all of this time and space and lack of distraction has given me a way in – something I’ve been seeking out for a while.
What are your plans for the future? Do you plan to write and record in a similar way again?
I feel like I’m starting to become more comfortable with the idea of play and experimentation. An attempt to let go of the idea of right and wrong or good and bad. The more I make, the less afraid I am that the songs will disappear, and that as precious as they are, they’re also not at all. Which is freeing. So I’m hopefully just going to keep playing.