Browse through the bio for Echo Bloom and you’ll maybe be surprised to find that the band’s founder, Kyle Evans, eventually caught the muse he was searching for in Berlin – quite some distance from their current home of Brooklyn, New York.
Completely submerged in the German culture, Evans found inspiration in dusty libraries along the Spree and long, quiet bike rides through the city. He holed up in an apartment and woodshedded for months, the seclusion allowing him the perfect environment to completely focus on his work. After a few months, he left Germany with material for three records.
Each of those albums is completely different, so much so he likened them to different seasons, different countries and finally, different colours which would give rise to their titles: ‘Blue’ would be the more folk-oriented of the group, ‘Red’ would be more country rock, and ‘Green’ would be more classic pop.
They recently went back to where it all started for a tour of Germany, a pretty full-on tour – 35 gigs in total. Kyle agreed to write a guest tour blog which we’ll be featuring over the next few weeks. He provides a very honest insight to life on the road and organising such a tour…as well as cultural differences between countries.
Echo Bloom takes Germany, Part 1
Goddamn it I’m tired. I’ve been up for 30 hours, sorted all the spontaneously spawned unsortable things that pop up at the last minute before a trans-Atlantic flight, not forgotten my passport, met Cody, flown across the ocean, haggled with a beautiful rental car agent for what turned out to be a Mercedes Benz passenger van the size of a Greyhound, driven two hours, fallen asleep at a roadside McDonalds, picked up Aviva in Bremen, disassembled said Mercedes Benz passenger van, driven another two hours to Osnabrück, and unloaded and setup a metric shitload (in German “scheißeload”) of equipment. It’s the first moment I’ve had to myself before the first show of our 2015 German tour, where we’re booked for 35 shows. Are you supposed to be this tired? Aviva doesn’t look this tired. Does Aviva require sleep? Unclear.
Some people are incredible for one reason – the members of Echo Bloom who will collectively share a van and a general sense of linguistic confusion for the next month are each incredible for many. Aviva is kind, and has the ability to incandesce like a bulb, illuminating any room she’s in. She also doesn’t require sleep (damn her). Cody is unfailingly good-natured and easy going (quite useful when you’re driving 4500 miles with someone over 30 days). Cody requires sleep (Cody is my man)! We are still dreaming of Jason, currently biking through Washington DC (and who will join us in two weeks (more on Jason later)). It almost goes without saying that each of these people are stunning musicians, but to reinforce the point, each of these people are *stunning* musicians.
We’ll grow close over the next month. But while we have a hope of that in this moment, our immediate focus is on determining out the right mixture of coffee to mix with the requisite pre-show adrenaline. And figuring out the setlist.
Sidenote – shows in Germany are long! When we play in the US we’ll typically get a 45-60 minute slot. That’s room for a standard set of songs and 1 or 2 new ones usually. But in Germany we frequently play for 2-3 *hours*. I’m hoping at this time we don’t exhaust our setlist after 90 minutes and fill the next hour with a Spinal Tap-esque jazz odyssey. The setlist must compensate for this. Therefore I have put every song we know on said setlist. This currently seems like a really good idea.
There are a lot of people here. There are a lot of very quiet people here that speak as much English as I speak German (which is bad because the English equivalent would be: “beer! yes! America!”). I feel like I harp on the differences between the US and Germany – but, damn – German audiences are so different than American ones. The last note of the last bar of every song rings out. Silence gradually fills the room. We have definitely stopped playing. “I wonder if they li-” APPLAUSEAPPLAUSEAPPLAUSE. They are just so *polite* here.
AAfter our second set and encore…
Damn, an encore! How can you be tired after something like that – I mean, we’ve been up for 33 hours but I’m ready to run a marathon. Maybe not a marathon – maybe like a Turkey Trot. But I feel great! Time to pack everything up, get back into the van and drive to the evening’s lodging. I wonder if Cody snores? (Cody snores. But he says I do too. Cody is a liar.)
Where are we going tomorrow — München! Where’s München — looks close to Munich — ah! They’re the same thing. Those Germans – so playful! OK, so we’re in Europe and definitely still in the same country, so it can’t be that long of a dri— 6 HOURS. WTF Europe.
In our next installment, we play songs of death and addiction for a room of 200 8-year olds, almost miss our show in a 600-year old cathedral, and step our toes into Austria.
Photo Credit: Ulla Heynes