We all experience feelings of a certain narrowness throughout our lives, don’t we? The rural environment of our childhood, the cities that we lived in for too long, the music that once meant the world to us and now is reduced to a pale memory. And that’s okay basically, because, hey: there’s a whole world out there. Especially creativity relies heavily on the urge to push things forward. If Germany has to offer only one artist who shares these values and who’s reluctant to limitations of any kind, it’s definitely Konstantin Gropper and his ultimately grown bedroom-project GET WELL SOON.
Gropper soon outgrew his small hometown Biberach in Southern Germany where he started out as a classically trained son of a music teacher. The pop-academy in Mannheim then was the place where his first recordings were made but the strict and business-oriented norms concerning music didn’t work out for his project either. GET WELL SOON basically became Gropper challenging Gropper. In 2008, his first full-length Rest Now Weary Head, You Will Get Well Soon then was something very few thought would be possible to create for a German twen from nowhere: the epicness and boldness of British pop-attitude, the thoughtful sadness of a student of the philosophy and the playfulness of French chansons all came together in songs of highest international standard – all of it accomplished by only Gropper himself, who didn’t have a band around at that time.
GET WELL SOON have been aiming for the special moments but over the years, it had to be taken into account that Gropper’s project was not designed to fulfill the needs of an audience in the first place. 2010’s sombre Vexations, to which Gropper referred to as a ‘meditation about stoizism’, was criticised as being top-heavy here and there, 2012’s Scarlet Beasts o’ Seven Heads then turned the musical depression into a wild and lustful trip through Italian horror-scores and retro pop. Lately Gropper got into producing Hip Hop-records and scored theater-plays as well as movies himself. So what we know for sure about GET WELL SOON at this point is that we can’t be sure about their next steps at all. Being asked about his workload and various simultaneous projects the calm and controlled mind behind all that admits:
“I’m very bad in scheduling. I always have either nothing to do at all or I have to finish three projects at once. While I’m on tour. And the deadline is always yesterday. But the mix of my own music and commissional work is ideal for me. Not just in an economical way. To be a small part of a big project keeps you grounded.”
And to rest grounded is critical as GET WELL SOON‘s music is ridiculously unafraid of the really big gestures and background-concepts. Carrying on that tradition, this month will see the release of not one but three new EP’s, all of which bound together by a certain red line but working as single pieces of art as well. Reflected in the fact that it’s a vinyl/digital only release. Therefore the answer to the question: ‘Why not putting out a new record instead of three EPs?’ is crystal clear:
“It just wouldn’t have matched. An album should be a coherent piece work not just a random collection of songs. Each EP has its own unique concept. I am a strong believer in the album, which is why I couldn’t put these songs together on one LP.”
And yet again, the span of sound that GET WELL SOON create on this triptych of music is impressive. The Lufthansa Heist, the first of the three EPs to arrive, is described by Gropper himself as his salute to College Rock and Grunge, the kind of music that once made him want to pick up a guitar. Including typically tongue in cheek slogans like ‘We invented the insurance plan, instead of staying home.’
Henry though, the second EP, cuts it all lose in terms of ethereal songwriting. Titles like Promenading Largo Maggiore, You Wouldn’t Hold My Hand or Mail from Heidegger hint at what GET WELL SOON perfected in over the years: creating new narratives within a diverse, post-modernism-like reference-wonderland. Be it geographically or philosophically. So what is it, that keeps Gropper getting back to other lives, times and places that often?
“I love to use the biographies of others as my own metaphors. And I love the artistic freedom of not having to be accurate about that. I hope I don’t get sued at one point, but so far it has been a very inspiring way of telling stories. I got the idea from Alexander Kluge. He wrote a lot about the ownership of the biography. In his work you never know whether it’s fact or fiction. Or maybe like this: the fact becomes fiction, because it gains a different meaning in a different context.”
Speaking of different contexts – this is where EP number three comes in. Greatest Hits is a collection of exactly that: six evergreens of pop history reinterpreted by GET WELL SOON. And as always, these are not mere cover versions. That would be far too easy, right? Instead, Gropper puts songs like GEORGE MICHAEL’s Careless Whisper or THE STRANGLERS’ Always The Sun into different frames, bending their initial meanings and emotional statements into strangely familiar jewels. Really, we can’t wait to hear more from that and chances are that there’s more to come in some form as the bandleader mentions:
“I just love covers. The list is long, believe me. I probably started about 20 versions for this. My goal is never to create a better version, but one that is as different as possible and still works.”
Once again, GET WELL SOON report back with a gentle, classy bang. As uncompromising artificial, crafted and ambitious as pop’s big fictions have to be, but at the same time grounded and polite in everything they do, Gropper and his band create a sort of mass compatible insider pop. With lots of things to discuss about and moments of simple bliss. Music that’ll make us look in each others eyes while we knowingly nod the head, listening to discussions between Heidegger, Zeppelin and Kenneth Anger in the Rififi Bar.
Oh, by the way, what did the mail from Heidegger say? ‘I am buried under work, I can‘t get back to you now. I’m very sorry’; and Gropper adds: ‘At least he had the decency to write back.’ Fact or fiction? It doesn’t matter really. At least not in GET WELL SOON‘s cosmos.
[one_half last=”yes”]GET WELL SOON
The Lufthansa Heist/Henry/Greatest Hits
Label: City Slang
THE LUFTHANSA HEIST
01. The 4-3 Days
02. A Night At The Rififi Bar
03. The Pope Washed My Feet In Prison
04. SciFi Gulag
05. Staying Home
02. Age 14, Jumping Off The Parents’ Mezzanine
03. Promenading Largo Maggiore, You Wouldn’t Hold My Hand
04. Mail From Heidegger
05. You Will Be Taken Care Of
01. Lucifer Rising II
02. Careless Whisper
03. Oh My Love
04. Always The Sun
05. Rocket Man
06. Till I Die