Tag Archives: Jan Kerscher

Like Lovers – Fire

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“No Strings Attached!”, this could have been the alternative title for Like Lovers’ newest EP Fire. The mastermind behind this little gemJan Kerscher seems to write music with an unattainable ease, which makes every aspiring musician / songwriter burst in utter jealousy; and I’m not even exaggerating. Recording 2 EPs within one year whilst simultaneously producing / recording bands in his studio is something that deserves my biggest respect and I guess this guy enjoys doing several full-time jobs at the same time.

The opener “Easy” is an easy-listening indie pop piece that gets you from the first second on with its catchy guitar riff and edgy structure, something completely different from the atmospheric opening track “Again” on this year’s first EP Former Selves. Speaking of no strings being attached, this was the first thing that came to my mind when I first heard Easy; as the song funnily reminded me of The Beatles’ approach in songwriting after they left their boyband image behind and started experimenting on a new sound and attitude, with no coercion or preconception of what could be wrong or right. The only right thing to do is start jamming and to me Easy obviously is a track that started as a guitar jam.

Luckily though, this short EP does not get boring in terms of songwriting, as the next track Satellite could not be more different from the first track, which is a good thing. Variety is a must in singer / songwriter music and Satellite is the proof of how it has to be done. What begins with an acoustic guitar and Jan singing about the desire of love (which could easily drift into a sticky kitsch love song) turns into a decently impulsive groove combined with a memorable vocal melody. Satellite could be the key track of this EP if it wasn’t for the next track Fire, which definitely is my favorite song. The fragile, almost minimalistic structure of the song, the dreamy vocals and the chimes are backed with 2 pumping drum tracks offering the right balance between atmosphere and dynamic.

The last track Nowhere is the most driving track with its rhythmic bass line and would almost suit for dancing. Again, the chorus melody is pure catchiness that is topped with the berzerk sounding guitar at the end, making it a very pleasing pop song and I have to admit that I am positively surprised by this EP. Writing music is an unthankful task demanding perfection once you decide to do it seriously. Jan breathes music and he’s got what it takes to write and produce memorable and enjoyable music. I jokingly ask myself if he’s got something to hide under all his talent, be it a reading disability or maybe an irrational fear of complicated mathematical tasks; because he’s brilliant and devoted at everything he does so there must be something he’s not good at. Maybe football?

You can get the EP on Bandcamp for free, but I would appreciate if you would pay for it! As I already mentioned several times before, independent artists do not live of love and air alone. Thank you!

Like Lovers – Former Selves

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You might have probably read the name Jan Kerscher in case you’re an avid reader of our dear blog. As a short introduction, Jan Kerscher is a German aspiring producer based in Bavaria who’s well known for his recording skills. Luxembourgish bands like Inborn or Dirty Crows are the perfect proof for his unquestionable talent in motivating and pushing musicians beyond their personal limits. I’ve experienced it firsthand during the pre-recordings from Dirty Crows‘s debut album and I have to admit that I do have an enormous respect for this guy!

If Jan’s not busy recording new gems or performing on stage with Inborn, he’s still got enough output to share. This time with his solo project Like Lovers, debuting with a 6 track EP named Former Selves. What you can expect is a nice blend of post hardcore with post rock and indie / emo influences. The artist / band describes the style as a “post-songwriter project influenced by everything between Björk, Jeff Buckley and Beck” but there’s a lot more, obviously. The first time I listened to the EP it reminded me of Circa Survive, a band that I personally appreciate quite much.

The opening track Again nails it by being powerful and atmospheric at once, and boy, can he sing. This is post-emocore at it’s finest, simple and catchy, just the way I like it. Imagine this band playing on stage with 2 guitarists and the wall of sound experience will be fullfilled.

Teach me the right then is a fragile, acoustic dirge that is depressive without drifting too much into pathos. This is heartbreak and pain as it should be. Sad, gutt-wrenching and disturbing at once.

Honestly, I cannot help myself but think of Radiohead when I listen to Serious Man and Walls. The latter reminds me of a mix between Reckoner and I might be wrong but the track profiles as a Like Lovers song instead of being a Radiohead copy. But the real strong point of the EP is the variety of genres and talent in songwriting / performing. Too long and the acoustic version of Serious Man are the complete opposite of the opening tracks and could easily make every singer / songwriter burst in jealousy.

It is quite easy for me to write about music but the hardest task to me is to make / create good music. The worst part is to compose something with which you’re thoroughly satisfied and that can be presentable to a broad audience. Like Lovers can be more than a side project or a “past-time activity” and I’m really looking forward to where this big talent and potential might be leading.

Former Selves is available on Bandcamp for 6 bucks. Buy the EP and support the artist, please!

Interview with Jan Kerscher

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Jan Kerscher is a young and ambitious musician and the founder of Ghost City Recordings, a recording studio in Bavaria. In our little interview he told us about his work and his view of creating music nowadays.

El Gore: There are probably not many young men nowadays who start a production company, can you tell us how you came up with the idea?

Jan Kerscher: To me – as probably for most of the artists I work with – music is the most personal and fragile thing I can imagine. Dealing with emotions in such a way is only possible in a private space that comforts and suits a creative team. Back when I started recording with bands, we were always hiding out in my parents’ basement or attic or somewhere. One of my recent hideouts was – as you might know – ‘The Fiction’ in Luxembourg, where we recorded most of the Dirty Crows album. Thus, the basic idea behind Ghost City Recordings was (and still is) to provide a permanent hideout right in the middle of nothing where any artist can stay for weeks in order to create. So there it is. We just needed that hideout. We had no other option than come up with a plan and build it.

EG: How much subjectivity (from the producer’s side) do you think ends up in an album or single?

JK: That depends on the individual producer, really. In my case – I think, I add a lot of my own personality to the records I make. When I work with artists, most of the time I focus on where the “sound” comes from rather than indulging in the technical side of recording it. Obviously to me, it’s more important for the musical expression than having a bad/wrong guitar part being recorded brilliantly.

But in the end there is always a level of ‘subjectivity’ with every producer. If you look at it from this side of the glass, not giving yourself too deeply into the recording process is also a very personal decision and can be an argument to work with a specific producer if the band or artist has a very distinct vision of their sound.

EG: You’re said to be very happy to try new and unconventional things while recording, can you give us examples and do you think that experiments are more important than ever before in music history?

JK: Weird methods are the best methods. It frees the artist’s mind from thinking too much about what exactly he’s doing and playfully distracts the whole crew from the sometimes intimidating studio situation. Very recently, I did a vocal recording session in the forest. I clearly remember the moment where I proposed the idea to the band. Everyone was smiling instantly – the sheer idea filled everyone with euphoria in just a second. In creative terms – this is the one perfect working condition. And when we finally got to track – between all those trees and birds chirping – it was golden. Everyone was feeling light and not at all overly focused – just letting it happen. The result is a bunch of wonderfully natural vocal takes – also we kept the birds in the background and separately miked up the distant ambient of the woods and everything. It added a really nice ambiance to the whole record!

I think a good set of unconventional methods help you to widen the scope of your artist. It gives them the space to unfold in any direction they want to go. It feels free yet earthed. Also, it keeps studio work thrilling and inspiring. I love it.

EG: In a portrait you say that you have no master plan considering neither recording nor your own life. Have you ever had the feeling that things won’t work out in the end, be it in a recording session or in life?

JK: Definitely so. It can be awfully hard at times – not knowing if you’ll bring your business through the next months. It makes me doubt about myself and confronts all of my projects with essential questions. But I consider that a significant part of being creative and self-determined and I have found my peace with it. Actually, it can be really healthy. It makes you rethink everything you do on a regular basis.

And even sometimes it would not work out at all. But failing means learning at the same time which is no bad thing at all.

Basically, life’s a matter of decisions. The “it won’t work out” feeling is just a reminder to go over your decisions again.

EG: Ghost City Recordings offers workshops this August, can you tell us what this project is all about?

JK: I am always motivated to educate future sound engineers / producers and share my experience and philosophy with them.

The upcoming workshops in August deal with the regrettably popular misconception that one can record in almost every space and a good mixing work would fix the quality of your recording. I want to teach young and ambitious recording engineers to get their technique right in a way that they can get a good signal out of everything, everywhere they happen to do a record.

Also I don’t want kids to send their mixes away to the big foreign names – thinking their music will be sounding like their big idols. That doesn’t make sense. They’re making money out of the kids and abuse their function as role models. It makes me sick seeing all those kids, spending tons of money into something that their alleged idols won’t put the adequate amount of love into. If you want it to sound like yourself – do it yourself. Or go find someone who is really trying to understand you. That’s much better.

Find out more about the Ghost City Recordings workshops: http://workshops.ghostcityrecordings.com

Pictures taken from the video made by Rocksofa.