Four years after releasing their acclaimed debut record the German siblings HUNDREDS are finally back with new material. Their second album Aftermath will be released tomorrow – the perfect occasion for NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION to have a little chat with the duo’s female part Eva Milner about their long break, the English language and how it feels like to work with her own brother.
Your second record will be released on the 14th of March, four years after the release of your self-titled debut album. What did you do during these four years? What has changed for you?
First we’ve been on tour for two years. Then there has been a little break – about half a year- because Philipp became a father. And then we’ve also changed territorially. I stayed in Hamburg and Philipp moved to Wendland to rent an old farm. That’s where we built our new studio in and worked the last one and a half years. That’s virtually what has changed for us. We didn’t work in cities any more – like previously for the first album- but really out in the sticks, where nothing’ s happening. And I always shuttled around. For that reason the space has changed. And of course does the approach from the first to the second album change a lot. Because you’ve got – in our case – this infrastructure, in form of a label, a management and an audience. And that creates – I wouldn’t call it pressure- but you certainly know that there are people now, who count on it, who wait for it. In the first place we’ve been of course interested in making progress. And I think we’re also a bit slower than other people. But that’s not bad – at least in my opinion.
And how did this new environment influence the record’s sound?
I think – to tell the truth – when you know that we’ve recorded the album there, you can hear it. But I can hardly judge that because it’s too close to me. I don’t know what it would sound like if we had recorded it in Hamburg. In this way I always had the possibility to roll through the meadow, to go for a walk or to go swimming in between and in total quiet. And that’s of course not possible in a major city. Therefore I think it has been a much more focused work and that you can hear it.
What does the title ‘Aftermath’ stand for?
It’s a word I came across a long time ago. It’s part of one of my favourite songs – from KASHMIR. I just liked the word. I’m generally a word-keen person and write words down which delight me – especially in English. I look up the word and just really liked it and never forgot it. Then we wrote the song Aftermath. It was obvious that the song would be the album’s title-track. And that it involves our new sound – everything which is new and that it also builds the bridge building between first and second album. We just thought we could name the album like that – unless something better came to our minds. We tried different names, but this one always won out. Literally it means ‘reverberation/ afterpains’ – so it can bee seen as positive or negative. And then it also means, very simply – I think in old English- ‘grass clipping’. Thus when you’ve mowed the lawn, what remains afterwards. [laughs] It fits somehow. And it generally fits into our story – thus this long, extensive touring and then needing to recollect oneself and trying to find out: where the journey goes next.
You already mentioned that you’re writing in English. Is there a special reason for it?
I’m actually listening to a lot of German music. I really like it. And of course I tried writing in German but I realised, no, I can’t play around like in English. English is a kind of building kit for me. There are so many words – so many great words – and they all sound a bit softer and it’s easier to draw and make comparisons, I think. Especially drawing pictures, using metaphors. I just like it better. My German attempt really remained one attempt. I’m telling you, it was horrible. [laughs]
So we can’t expect anything in German from you, in the future?
No, no, under no circumstances.
You just talked about the fact that you like German music. Do you have any favourites?
I am – of course you can’t hear that in our music – a big TOCOTRONIC fan. Especially since the White Album. [laughs] I think they are brilliant. I like their gestures, I like their lyrics- I just like them. They’ve accompanied me half of my life. And – let me think – I like GUSTAV – a woman from Austria. Previously I listened a lot to DIE STERNE – ‘Hamburger Schule’, everything imaginable up and down.
And generally, do you have a favourite LP or artist at the moment?
At the moment I actually listen a lot to HAIM because it always makes me cheerful. At the beginning I didn’t like the record and then somehow it’s just always has been on and somehow it sneaked in. But it’s more for butt-shaking than contemplation. It has a lot of motion in and is really sunny, I think. Apart from that, I think JON HOPKINS is great. I listened a lot to ALT-J. And I need to catch up on some stuff that I missed out on in the last half year. I still have a lot to do with regards to this. ARCADE FIRE, for example. I didn’t listen to their new album yet.
I already have tickets for Dresden, but didn’t have any time to listen to it yet. But I want to take the time for it. They are one of my favourite bands. I’ve listened to them for a long time as well. Anyway, thanks, you’ve confirmed it. [laughs]