Introducing: The Krimis
We spoke to Max Müller about his new post-something solo project The Krimis and the debut single 'Dull'
Already over a year since the first European lockdown, we're starting to see a stream of releases created during this time. For many artists, the traditional way of making music was disrupted as their bands, musical projects and social lives were put on hold, pushing them to explore songwriting in a different way. Turning to home recording and never asking the question “Can I even play this live?” creativity has flourished and we’re now enjoying the diverse output from a period in time we’ll probably never forget.
Like many others, Stuttgart based Max Müller’s (Hiding, Kife Eyes) only option to maintain musical output was to ‘go solo’ and The Krimis were born. Although the story is familiar, the sound feels fresh, considered and perfectly old and new at the same time. Their debut single ‘Dull’ combines an existential spoken word narrative over layers of jangly guitars, a timeless combination that sounds like The Velvet Underground via Lewsberg.
Hey Max, great to meet you (virtually). I stumbled across your debut single ‘Dull’ after you followed the blog on Instagram, it's a really impressive piece of work. I’d love to know a little bit more about you and the band, is it a solo project and where are you based?
Hey Tom, thank you so much for asking and thank you for the warm words! I am really overwhelmed by all the positive feedback I receive for ‘Dull’. And yes indeed, very nice to meet you - even though it is virtually, but what isn’t these days right?
I am currently based in Stuttgart, Germany. I moved here for my studies 4 years ago from Berlin where I lived for 5 years before that.
I wrote the first The Krimis songs in March or April 2020, when the first lockdown hit Germany. I was actually planning on recording vocals for my other band, Hiding, and had a few shows of yet another band, Knife Eyes, lined up. But since everything got canceled, I had time on my hands. It got serious when I decided to buy an interface. Steve from Trve Peak helped me to set everything up and even gave me Logic lessons via Skype. He really helped me right from the start and later also produced, mixed, and mastered the songs.
I love the description ‘Post-something tunes from a post-twenties guy.’, it’s something I absolutely relate to. How long have you been making music and what other projects have you been involved in?
It’s funny because it’s true. I struggled to find a genre description that fits my music, since a lot of influences come together in the EP. Recently it was described as eggpunk, I guess that kinda fits. Like, I definitely fit the description I found on the internet - there is no denying that. Also, it sounds quite ridiculous, I’ll take it!
Currently, I play in a Post-Punk band called Knife Eyes and the Indie-Emo outfit Hiding. Another project which also emerged last year needs some more time before I can properly talk about it. Maybe that is one of the upsides of last year – a lot of new music is being written while it is not really “happening”.
Your debut single is a beautiful track and it reminds me of The Velvet Underground a lot and feels refreshly pre-punk in a post-punk world. What were you listening to when writing the track?
Thank you very much! I actually never really listened to The Velvet Underground, but I get the reference a lot, I should definitely listen to them more, I think! I wrote the EP over the last year and since I spent a lot of time at my desk, I was listening to a ton of music. I definitely had a heavy Australian Punk phase with bands like Vintage Crop, Ouzo, R.M.F.C. and many more. Besides that, I listened to Bands like Dry Cleaning, Lewsberg, Shame, Fontaines D.C. but also artists like Courtney Barnett or Kurt Vile and a lot of 80ies Post Punk like Gang of Four or Stranglers.
For The Krimis I wanted to merge style elements from my previous projects and make it a mixture of punk and indie – having 2010 indie bands in mind. I’m not sure if it worked, but here we are!
The spoken word vocal performance is extremely powerful, what inspired you to deliver the lyrics in this way? Lyrically, the song is touching on existentialism, were they inspired by literature at all?
Ever since I listened to La Dispute’s ‘Here, Hear’ I always wanted to try to write music which uses mainly spoken word and combines fiction and music. I liked the idea of fusing these two fields and wanted to give the lyrics a bit more space, to not squeeze them into melodies and song structures.
I definitely had a type of Sisyphus in mind when I wrote the track. Since I study literature, I can’t really deny an influence, but I wouldn’t say I was touching on existentialism on purpose. I was writing my Bachelor Thesis when I started writing for The Krimis and the pandemic just hit Europe. My friends and I (like everyone else I guess) were bound to these dull routines to generate an income to pay our rents but also trying to finish our studies, thinking about what awaits us in the corporate world of the future. Which in a sense captures the idea of existentialism: Trying to find meaning, while everything seems to fall apart.
As a bit of a recording nerd, could you tell me how and where you recorded the track? Maybe share some of the techniques? Do you have any interesting songwriting processes?
I am so bad at this actually, like all the technical stuff. It started with me buying an interface last year in March, I guess. Via the license of a friend of friend I got access to logic. With the help of Steve from Trve Peak I started recording. But most of the songs are written on an acoustic guitar and then later with programmed drums, played into the computer.
At first, my songwriting process for The Krimis was really outside of my comfort zone, since I am a sucker for feedback. I only ever played in bands, and I like sharing ideas and kicking them around till a song emerges from shared ideas. For The Krimis I had a few people who actually listened to the songs in the early stages and gave me feedback. There are tons of acoustic and weird drafts on my laptop now, with ridiculous names. In the end I didn’t spend too much time on the actual recording. I wanted the songs to have kind of a spontaneous ‘live feel’.
‘Dull’ is the first song on your upcoming EP, what can we expect from the record?
The EP ‘Buzz’ has 4 songs and they all head into the same direction but in a different way. I decided to release ‘Dull’ as the first song, since it kinda captures the essence of the EP. The three other songs take different turns and show my influences in a different light. The same theme from different perspectives, so to say. They express a dystopian mood and are often concerned with the immediate surroundings and inner feelings of the protagonist. Referencing Marshall McLuhan’s The Medium is the Message I’d say the EP and the songs place themselves in the constant buzz of music, political discourse and individualist ideas of life. I really can’t wait to share them.
I am looking to get in touch with some indie labels to see if I can take it all up a level. If that goes south, I’ll keep on putting stuff out by myself. I’m happy either way. Expect new music in some form soon!
Do you have any shows lined up for later in the year? What’s next for the Krimis?
Unfortunately, not! Since the pandemic is still keeping us in shutdown, we can’t even rehearse, but things are starting to look a bit better and I’ll definitely try to book shows for next year. I really cannot wait to get The Krimis on stage. I’m really excited for the songs to be played live!
What’s next for the Krimis?
At the moment I am planning the release of the next song. I hope to prepare a video for it. Basically, I will release every song as single which is partly due to the fact that the pressing plant needs quite a long time to get the 7” ready. In November, the EP will be released on 7” and tape via Polaks and rds records. Last but not least, I’m also working on new songs.
‘Dull’ is the first single from the forthcoming debut EP ‘Buzz’ and is out now. ‘Buzz’ is due for release in November on Polaks Records (France) and rds records (Germany).