Was Bear’s Den am besten können? Songs, die unter die Haut gehen. Wer auf Gänsehaut-Melodien, mehrstimmige Gesänge und traurig-schöne Texte steht, sollte sich das Folk-Trio aus UK nicht entgehen lassen. Wir haben Leadsänger Andrew Davie zum Interview getroffen. Im Gespräch verriet er, was er von dem rasanten Aufstieg der Band hält, was ihnen am meisten zu ihrem schnellen Erfolg verholfen hat und warum sich seine Lieder so oft um das Thema Verlust und Trauer drehen.
Your career as Bear’s Den seems to have ben quite a overwhelming thing, considering that you decided to form the band in 2012 and played in front of 60.000 people the year after. How do you get along with having become so famous within such a short time?
Andrew: I would actually say that it’s very easy to cope with it, because I don’t think „famous“ is the right word. It’s definitely not like going to the supermarket and get spotted. We’re quite busy, yes. And we just love touring and playing shows and getting back on the bus and maybe do some writing. The rest of that stuff – we’re not really aware of it, you know. And I don’t think we’re really famous at all really.
But it’s probably still a different feeling playing in front of bigger and bigger crowds, right?
Oh yeah, definitely. The fact that anyone likes what you do is pretty nice! We’ve been talking about this before. How bands would say that they work really hard and travel a lot. But I think that there are many people who work really hard and travel a lot and don’t have people applauding them by the end of the day. We’re really lucky! And we’re not taking it for granted! Everytime we go out and play we want it to be a big show and to be good.
An approach every audience appreciates…
Well, I think, the audience is kind of almost as important as a band member. We played shows in front of thousands of people sometimes and they were really quiet and we played in front of ten people and they were like crazy. The audience matters a lot.
And what do you think was the most important thing that got you there?
Well, we’ve been taken on tour with a couple of pretty great bands. Like Mumford and Sons, Daughter, we’ve been on tour with Ben Howard, The Staves, Smoke Fairies took us on tour. They are like pretty good in the Uk. Without all these people actually going „Yeah, what you are doing is alright. Come on around.“ Without that You can play a gig like here and there in London. But you don’t get any better. While touring makes you a better band. You can rehears and you can write forever. But one show can change you as a band.
Why is that?
It’s quite the same when you’re recording. When you’re alone with your music you listen to it in a certain way. But as soon as you show it to a friend and you’re like „what do you think about this?“ comes into the room, you listen to it in a totally different way. So, when you perform in your homestudio and you’re like „hey, this is going great!“. And then you play it in front of an audience and they don’t like it and you’re like „Shit!“. So the audience is kind of a collaborator with the music and they shape what you do. Like „ok, that chord didn’t work really well there. Maybe we should do it like this…“ and that’s really nice.
„Agape“ is a song about love in its scariest kind. The love that you’re afraid to loose. The song was very well received. Do you think this is because everybody knows how it is to be afraid of loosing the love you got and people can identify with this topic so easily?
I really don’t know why that song connects with people. But maybe yes. I think eventually you can live your life and there’s a hundred reasons you do all these weird things that people do. But actually beneath all of that, there’s one thing that’s just as simple like „I don’t want to loose you! And therefore I’m gonna do all this other shit.“ But maybe it’s just something people can relate to. And that’s kind of the aim with all of this: Trying to be pretty honest. And trying to be honest with that stuff I wrote about. And people connecting with those fears you can share the fact that life is quite difficult – what people don’t say very often. And every person out there has a tricky life.
In the song you describe a relationship between father and son and a loss they both have to deal with. You often describe relationships and loss within them. The loss seems to be the main topic in your music, as it also appears in „Sophie“ and in „Above The Clouds Of Pompeii“. Why does this theme come to your mind that often?
Well, for me the the times that are most difficult are the times when I’m most towards writing. When I’m happy I don’t want to write songs but rather go out for a beer or hang out with my friends. So, when those times come and life kind of hits you and knocks you back, and you need to think about stuff – that’s when the whole therapy thing comes. Writing helps me to figure out how I’m thinking about things. Life’s really complicated! And it makes you get out of the game sometimes to figure things out. And personally to me, hearing someone sing about going through something difficult helps me. Like „Ah, shit! I’m not alone! Other people have shit going on, as well!“
Are you already working on new songs?
Yes. I actually spent a week in Amsterdam to write. We’re working on new stuff all the time but still not sure, when we’re going to record it. Maybe next year, maybe by the end of this year. It’s about a year since our album came out. And I think, we really don’t want to stop touring. But we’ve been thinking about new songs this whole time. And now it’s about how to get space time to actually do that. Which is actually a difficult thing because it means we can’t go anywhere during that time. We’ll really miss the touring. But we didn’t enjoy the touring if we didn’t have new songs to play. I think we’re all pretty excited to take another step to try and bring new stuff out.
Are there any folk bands that are still not popular in Germany you can recommend?
Oh gosh! So many! There’s a really cool band called Banfi. The leadsinger is a good friend of ours. And another friend of ours John Joseph Brill, he’s like Nick Cave somehow. He’s pretty fucking good. And I love Christof. There are so many great bands. Alex Fergus is awesome, as well.