Q&A with Take Berlin + Free Download of “The Fog” (Kate Bush Cover)
Photo: Fabrizio del Rincon
Q&A with Yvonne Ambree + Jesse Barnes (Take Berlin)
Q: Why do you write music?
JB: To see where it goes…every time is like the first time…it’s like I have to relearn how to do it. Plus, it’s the cheapest therapy I know of.
YA: It was just there. I never thought of not writing music – I guess it was always a way of “talking” (even if with myself).
Q: Who influences your songwriting and musical style?
JB: The bossa nova tradition influences my writing and guitar playing for sure. I guess even my style of singing is largely informed by that music.
YA: For singing and writing melodies I am definitely influenced by a lot of American singers from the 30’s - 60’s. They make singing sound so easy and on point. Generally speaking I like all artists who make me wanna listen to what they have to say.
Q: How have your lives changed since meeting each other?
JB: There are the obvious ones…but also countless small changes that develop over time. One is that Yvonne encourages me to finish things…it doesn’t always happen though.
YA: A new home, a lot of international flights, more coffee and even more Brazilian music.
Q: What’s the best part about working together?
JB: Things actually get finished.
YA: We both have a different background growing up with music and a lot of times it feels that my ideas make more sense combined with Jesse´s.
Q: What is it about Brooklyn that drew you there?
JB: It was a natural progression for me to move to New York from the Midwest…more opportunities and more like-minded people.
YA: Our music and writing in the first place but I also feel restless sometimes and getting out of Berlin was good to stay “awake”.
Q: What other music projects are you involved in?
JB: I still pay my bills by playing guitar for other people, all different styles.
YA: I work as a back-up singer for different artists and as a vocal coach.
Q: What other artists would you like to collaborate or perform with? Why?
JB: Caetano Veloso…he’s Caetano of course, but he’s also still a relevant artist.
YA: Many…maybe Gillian Welch and Robin Pecknold (Fleet Foxes) – cause their songwriting and singing inspires me.
Q: What has your favourite show been thus far?
YA: We played a really nice show in Berlin at “Kaffeeburger” last summer – it was last minute and we didn´t expect much but it was definitely a special night with a wonderful audience.
Q: Is there a city or venue that you’d love to return to?
JB: Berlin for sure.
Q: What’s on the horizon for the band this year?
Fall tour in Europe.
Yvonne and Jesse graciously shared this beautiful cover of Kate Bush’s The Fog as an exclusive free download on MTR. Have a listen and be sure to check out their website for more updates and content, including a full stream of their debut EP, Lionize.
Lanterns On The Lake - “Another Tale From Another English Town” (2013)
New single from one of my favourite bands, Lanterns On The Lake taken from their new album due later this year on Bella Union.
Directed by: James Alexander Grieves Cinematography by: Kyle Heslop Starring: Ellie Bindman and Hannah Scott
Lanterns on the Lake is one of the most underrated bands to emerge from the UK indie rock scene. Their 2010 debut release, Gracious Tide, Take Me Home is an impressive collection of beautifully textured and deeply affecting songs. I cannot wait to hear their new full-length!
If you’re in the UK, you can catch them on tour at the following shows:
In the winter of 2011, Jesse pulled a beat-up, old cassette deck from a pile of snow in Brooklyn. A few months later, at a festival on the Baltic Sea, he met Yvonne.
Chance – the occurrence and development of events in the absence of any obvious design.
Yvonne Ambree was performing at the Baltic Soul Festival with soul legends Gwen McCrae and Ann Sexton, while Jesse Barnes was there while touring with New York-based Eli “Paperboy” Reed and the True Loves. The two met backstage just as Jesse and the band were running vocal warm-ups before their set. They took the stage and Yvonne disappeared into the crowd. A few weeks later in Glasgow, Jesse and Yvonne crossed paths again. This time they hung out after the show and would stay up all night, sharing stories of their lives back in Brooklyn andBerlin.
One year and half dozen trips across the Atlantic later, Take Berlin has finished their debut Ep, Lionize. Drawing inspiration from the writing of Louis L’amore and the interpretive style of Joao Gilberto, they use an acoustic guitar and Wurlitzer as the main accompaniment. The emotional and lyrical terrain is rooted in questions that linger and tend to produce more questions. “Lonely Vermona” tells the true story of a mother leaving her daughter and escaping to West Germany in the trunk of a car, while “Kentucky” was inspired by an intrepid alley cat that lives the life of a prince on the rooftops of Crown Heights.
All songs were recorded in a modest Brooklyn apartment and tracked directly to the discarded tape deck. The sparse arrangements and hazy texture of the recordings echo the happenstance from which their partnership arose.