The past two years have been big for Hamburg band "Wilhelm Tell Me": with the band first losing their drummer Jan Ostendorf and then releasing a very impressive new EP called "A Short Story for the Road". We met the group at Munich's Strøm to discuss their plans for the future, their career so far and the impact modern platforms such as Spotify have on the music industry.
In the three weeks that the new EP has been available on Spotify, it has already shot to the top of the list of Wilhelm Tell Me's most popular tracks. "'Let Me Take You Away' went straight into some international playlists and helped us reach out to people who got to know us thanks to 'So Into You'. Spotify is definitely our channel", Matthias (Bassist) explained. Note that this is the same platform that has been heavily criticised by many musicians including Thom Yorke. Henning (singer) added: "It's fair - of course artists wouldn't mind earning more through it, but it really isn't as bad as some musicians state! Looking at it from a music-philosophical point, it makes sense. We get paid if people listen to our music. In the long term it may even change the way the music industry works: the focus won't be on selling albums in the short term, instead albums will be produced with artists hoping for them to be successful in the long term: that only works through quality." We also agreed that it's a great place to discover new bands. "We're currently into The Neighbourhood, we play them a lot in our bus, and St Lucia".
If there's one EP you should discover it's their "A Short Story For The Road", which I believe sounds more mature than their debut "Excuse My French". "Our lyrics have matured and the production was more professional", Henning told us. However they are aware of the fact that these days it's hard for a band to stay in the spotlight. "Look at bands like 'The Naked and Famous' - when 'Young Blood' was released they were massive. Now the hype has died down. There is just so much fantastic music out there". I wondered whether they were considering adding more music to the endless pool, is an LP on the way? "It's near impossible to get heard out there without releasing an album. The entire music industry is focussed on LPs these days."
We ended the interview by asking which band, past or present, they would most like to share the stage with. "We saw 'Foster The People' live, just before they went big and we were blown away, so I'd like to perform with them. They seem fun," Henning exclaimed.
Matthias gave us some good news for the future: "Playing more gigs abroad in Europe and the US is our big aim for the future," Matthias told us, meaning that music fans in the UK may get to see the band live in the near future.
"Let Me Take You Away" was the song Wilhelm Tell Me started with showing the energy that indie-pop tracks can contain with their sing-along chorus. Surprisingly, the band's second song was "Oh My God"- a song we'd been expecting to hear towards the end. The group's songs were accompanied by dark, slightly mysterious videos shown on a screen at the back of the stage. The said screen was used to show off the music video for their latest single, as Wilhelm Tell Me performed "The Cool Kids". The next songs were from their debut album "Excuse My French" as well as the new EP. My personal favourite "Tourists" was up before the quietest song of the evening: "Crashing Planes", which provided an alternative to their otherwise explosive indie pop tracks. "Fools" and "Trouble" paved the way for Wilhelm Tell Me's most famous song "So Into You", which got the front row dancing and singing along. After playing a version of "Favorite Sound", which somehow morphed into "Let Me Take You Away (Laurid Remix)" the band left the stage only to return for three more songs: "You Are Water", an unreleased new one called "A Little Bit Of Heart" and "Get Up".
Wilhelm tell me played:
Let Me Take You Away
Oh My God
The Cool Kids
So Into You --> Let Me Take You Away (Laurid Remix)
You Are Water
A Little Bit Of Heart