After a string of hit singles and sold-out tours, German band Juli took a healthy timeout to make sure they didn't get overwhelmed by their success. Now they're back with a new album and a new sound.
Juli lead singer Eva Briegel now balances motherhood with concert tours
With hits like "Perfekte Welle" (Perfect Wave) and "Geile Zeit" (Great Time), five-piece band Juli helped usher in a new wave of German-language pop rock. In October 2010, their third album, "In Love," debuted at number four on the German charts. Singer Eva Briegel and guitarist Jonas Pfetzing spoke to Deutsche Welle about digital jamming sessions, managing the merry-go-round of stardom, and juggling kids and concerts.
Click on the link below to listen to DW-RADIO’s Hits in Germany, featuring German band Juli.
Deutsche Welle: Why did it take four years for Juli to release its third album, "In Love"?
Eva Briegel: After our second record we were on tour for about three-quarters of a year. After that we took a break, with each of us devoting more time to our private lives. We all moved to different cities and took some time to get our bearings. About three years ago we started exchanging sketches for songs and talking about what an album might look like if we were to want to make another one. A year and a half ago we were back in the studio.
Jonas Pfetzing: We were never the quickest bunch when it comes to writing. But being out of the public eye was incredibly important for each of us - to assess who we are as individuals outside of the band. We asked ourselves what we want out of life: Do we want this? Ultimately you come to the realization that you don't really need it - you don't pin your happiness on whether you're getting publicity or not. I think it was one of the smartest decisions we've ever made as a band.
The band hails from a small university town in western Germany, called Giessen
It sounds like the group needed time to digest its initial overwhelming success.
Pfetzing: We had to let it sink in and understand everything that happened. We were kind of steamrollered by success. There comes a point when you have to process it. For us it was important to come to the decision that we wouldn't simply stick to the formula that brought us commercial success and keep doing that for the next 20 years.
It was all wonderful, but has nothing to do with who we are right now. So in some ways, this felt like a debut album. At least we tried to generate that frame of mind by saying, "We don't exist; we're in the process of finding ourselves."
Do you think that's necessary for a band to progress musically?
Briegel: If you're lucky, you develop personally - whether it's forced or not. In my opinion, a record should reflect that. I don't believe for a minute that a band is seriously interested in artistic progress if it sounds the same after 20 years. I think it's important because the people in a band reflect how an album sounds. It'd be very sad for the musicians if nothing changed even after 30 years.
"In Love" represents a different sound for the band, heavier on studio effects
You've said you've used a lot more electronics and studio effects on your new album. Won't it be difficult to perform the songs live?
Pfetzing: The rehearsals went surprisingly well. We recorded the album before ever having actually played the songs together. That was also a conscious decision. Interestingly, we're less scared now than ever before. We knew that we didn't know how we'd perform live but we said we'll worry about that when the record is finished.
Juli is known for German-language songs, and there are no English songs on the album, so why did you choose an English title, "In Love"?
Briegel: One reason is that we don't have a pigeon-hole mentality: German band vs. English band. We also thought that the English term - or "Denglish" term - "in love" is more fitting than the German term "verliebt," which we found too narrow.
Eva, you're on tour for the first time as a mom. How do you juggle childcare and concerts?
Briegel: With meticulous planning. My partner's joining us on tour. My family is around. We'll sleep on the tour bus with the guys, but there'll be a door between us with the rest of the band up front and us in the back. It's a double-decker and all partying will be down in the lower level.
Interview: Andreas Zimmermann (daf)
Editor: Greg Wiser