Berlin is a city of electronic music, so it’s surprising whenever an indie rock band pops up, now and again. The latest outset is Wild Years, fronted by Bonnie Strange collaborator Thomas Supersynthesized, who is the co-founder of the happy hardcore duo Grossraum Indie Fresse, which hit the charts in 2015 and skyrocketed to #49 on the Austrian music charts for their single Richtig Nice, which also hit #89 in Germany’s music charts. Thomas has also produced music for the wild Austrian rapper Candy Ken, as well as German hip hop producer and DJ Psaiko Dino . Now, Thomas and his band Wild Years have recently released their debut self-titled EP, which features five songs. We spoke to him about his lyrics, influences and keeping things emo.
LSD: What is the song “Run” about? Who has shaped your musical vision? I hear a bit of Placebo in your music…
Thomas: When writing lyrics I try to be not as distinctive as it may seem. On the surface it is about an uneven relationship, but it could be anything else. My intention when writing was to be more generally. It is about feeling oppressed by something and you try to break free. When I was younger, I was often pushed back and not credited for my efforts. It describes the progress from being a shy loner to becoming a singer, to trust in yourself, to be confident and stand your ground. Musically, I think it is a mix of lots of influences. Mostly i write the instrumentals together with our guitarist Manuel. It is also what he brings into the band, which is a lot of post-hardcore and emocore. Personally I think i get lots of influences from various genres. I do produce EDM, Trap and hiphop, but my musical roots however are mostly punk rock, so it is a blend of all of that. The comparison to Placebo I hear quite a lot, which I like – it is one of the greatest bands out there.
You’re also a producer, can you tell us about what kind of work you’ve done and where you studied?
Thomas: I started out as producer and it took me quite some time and effort to stand out and become a lead singer. About 10 years ago I started experimenting with music production. Back then there was no YouTube tutorials so it took me years to finally put together some bearable songs. I had some different bands by then, but always had a role in the background. I remember being in the studio with one of my bands and our record turned out really crappy. I thought I can do this better and don’t want to be dependent on other people so i started to learn the engineering part myself. Back then the biggest problem was that we all sucked at playing our instruments but it still got me motivated. That ultimately lead me to my studies for computer music and audio engineering. As a producer, I worked together with Candy Ken, Bonnie Strange, Psaiko Dino and Graham Candy. I still enjoy writing and producing for other artists.
Is the single “Circles” about excess and waste and perhaps, Berlin youth culture?
I try to leave the meaning quite open for the listener. I wrote the song about two years ago and it describes the odyssey of many refugees trying to get to Europe. There is a huge contrast between rich and poor and it unveils more and more. The music video should depict this gap with showing reckless kids not giving a fuck whereas the lyrics are about struggling and fighting for basic needs.
What is the message of your music?
To me it is very important to be different and do something new and fresh. So i try to be very open minded and to be influenced from all kinds of art. It bores me if people want to be like their idols and do everything they did too. For me art is about making new tracks, going somewhere no one else was and experimenting. I do this a lot and most of it turns out really shitty, so i do even more. The music should touch people on a deeper emotional basis like good music does with me too.
Nadja Sayej is a culture journalist covering the visual arts, hip hop and travel. As the host of ArtStars* TV, you can catch all her celebrity interviews and more at artstarstv.com or check out her ebooks at artstarsbooks.bigcartel.com. She is also a rapper in Berlin called Snowe White.