The Great Escape

Los Angeles, CA

In light of a new upcoming album in 2017, California indie-band, The Great Escape, have released their latest single, I Can't Resist. We caught up with the band after they'd come off the summer festival circuit, and as the release of a new album draws nearer. We talked to Malte and Kristian about how the band came together, their new single, what they want the audience to get out their music, and much more!

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G: How would you describe your sound to someone whose never heard you?

Malte: We get inspired by the 60s and 70s when music was still raw and unpolished.  When we write we imagine Hendrix, Stones, Beatles, Janis Joplin having a big jam-out-party… Recently a music blog just called us "the missing link between The Black Keys and The White Stripes” haha, we were really flattered!

G: How did the band come together?

Kristian: Malte and I [have made] music together since forever it feels like, it’s been more than six years… A couple of years ago I heard Ingrid sing at a party in Venice and the whole room went quiet in an instance. You could hear a needle drop. She has such a unique voice and such a strong aura. Fortunately she was up for jamming and writing some tunes with us for what became the second The Great Escape album. We just wanted to write a couple of tunes and ended up writing the whole album in only four weeks…

G: Tell us a bit about your new single, I Can’t Resist. Where did the original idea for the song come from? 

K: I think the guitar riff was there first and we jammed on it with those tribal tom drums. It was like a tank that can bust through anything and so the lyrics naturally developed in that direction. The song is very much about female power, it’s about standing up for what’s important to you, following your passion and don’t let anybody hold you back. It’s becoming aware of your true needs and passions to the point where every cell in your body screams to realize your dream… Until you can’t resist.

M: Funny detail: I tried to replay the original guitar riff, but it never sounded as gritty and confident as the first session take. So we went back to the first take! Something we did quite often on this album. It's the emotion that counts, not perfection. 

G: Is this single a sign that there is a new album in the works?

K: Yes, there will be one more single coming, and in January 2017 the whole album

G: Can you explain the interview project you did along with the single? 

K: We were not interested in doing another video with some dudes with guitars in some warehouse… Making videos for us is another playground to get creative and we wanted to put an additional layer of substance in it, create awareness to people you usually don’t see in social media. Malte and I bring out boards to this great ding-repair guy, Sherman, who’s 74 and as passioned and excited about surfing as a 15 year old, with great stories from 5 decades. So we thought, in LA there must be plenty of old folks that followed their passion and are still going for it. And see, the oldest we interviewed was 96 years old, with the energy of a 30 year old… Very inspiring!!!

G: What was the most memorable part of that project?

M: When we interviewed Jean Veloz, the 92 year old dancer, we all had goose bumps most of the time! She seems like a little girl, the way she smiles, talks and moves her hips when she dances - she is just amazing! Such an inspiration, such a role model - that moment we knew we had something precious to share with this video. It seems like she figured out how to stay young at heart. 

G: What do you want the audience to get out of your music?

K: Well, I think one main message is hidden in the song Gold, which also gave the album title Universe In Bloom, a line from the pre-chorus. In the second verse it says: “Let me feel not understand” and later, “Honey you don’t have to figure it out / Honey all you got is gold”. 

Nowadays everybody is so mind-driven, which makes a lot of people pretty miserable. They end up questioning everything, having high expectations towards them self, their friends, family, their life and get frustrated over them instead of just BEING and feeling and totally surrendering to the moment. 

When you switch off your mind and just feel and be, you plug into a much bigger source. that’s true happiness, that’s being free. no judgement, no evaluation, no problems, just the raw feeling of the moment. That’s the real gold, that's what we try to express in our music and in the lyrics.

G: What's your favourite album that's come out this year?

K: I like the new record of The Last Shadow Puppets, the side band of Alex Turner of the Arctic Monceys. Such a moody eclectic album. And of course Blackstar was a masterpiece. 

G: Have you spent any time touring in Canada? If so, what has your experience up here been like? Did you get to do any hiking, or explore any major cities?

K: Unfortunately it didn’t take us to Canada with the band. But we have good friends from Montreal and Vancouver and of course know it’s an amazing country.

I do a ton of hiking in the LA area like the Santa Monica mountains and the sierra mountains up north with my dog Lily. But I’d love to check out some serious hikes up in Canada.

G: What are some lesser-known California bands that Canadians should be checking out?

K: Gaslamp Killer is one of the most interesting current electronic artist and he's from LA. His live shows are insane.

M: Leftover cuties is a great band, their keyboarder, Mike Bolger, played accordion on Life Is but A Dream which is on the new album.

G: Where is the best place to get coffee in your hometown?

K: Haha, our second living room is Groundwork on Rose Ave in Venice Beach. It’s two blocks from each of our houses and it’s been there from the very start when Venice was still a bad neighbourhood, with gangs and violence. Back then Venice was also a shelter for artists and musicians (and bodybuilders!!!) since it was so cheap to live. That has changed quite a bit, but Groundwork is one of the original places.

What are 5 things the band can’t live without?

K: 

Sticky Fingers Wax, The Rollling “Freakin” Stones, Lola Wines from Napa Valley (my dear friend Seth is one of the most passioned winemakers there is!).

M:

Cheese, my old Jeep… and very bad jokes!

Thank you for chatting!