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On a ride with PICTUREBOOKS

As the story goes, Flynn Claus Grabke and Philipp Mirtschink met some years ago at a skateboard park in Germany.  A mutual interest in motorcycles and music sparked an immediate friendship and then a musical alliance. Fast forward a few short years and they are recording with Lzzy Hale and Chrissie Hynde…wait. What?! Yes. These guys are the realest of deals. Their music is raw, stripped down, and genuine, which quite frankly, is what we all need now. They have been likened to the Black Keys and The Pack A.D. I see them as awesome and absolutely indispensable. We had a chance to ask them a few questions. Gentlemen…     


Thank you for your time and congratulations on the new album. How are things in your part of the world?

– thanks for showing interest in us! Things are great over here in our hometown Gütersloh, Germany. I mean we can only speak for ourselves and in our personal situation with our own studio here and us living together… this whole pandemic had been a lot easier for us then other bands or fellow artists.

Your sound has been described as “Biker Blues.” Is this a developing trend? Or is this all you? Who are some of your Blues influences? Are you familiar with R.L. Burnside or Otis Taylor?  If not…you are welcome in advance. 

-haha we’ve never heard anybody say that to be honest, and hands down wouldn’t even know what defines a blues song. We´ve never professionally learned to play an instrument and only use them as tools to express what’s going on in our hearts. We believe that trying to follow a genre in art gives art this Olympic feel where these artists did a better job copying the original than this artist, you know what I mean? We’ve always tried to create our own sound and for some reason, that sound sounds blousy but we don’t know why. Have heard of Burnside before lately because someone posted a video of him. Never heard of Otis but will listen to it later for sure.

Your new album features a flurry of notable artists. Why are so many people so eager to jump on the Picturebooks train?

– gosh, that’s a good question that I don’t even know if I can answer right, the one thing I’m confident about though is this, we are all in the same boat at the end of the day. I mean we all are and this crazy time right now has proven that. But artists, art lovers, journalists, club owners, labels, publishers… we all have one thing in common, we’re fans first! That’s creating a very unique vibe and helps us all to navigate through such rough times because this passion for art is immortal and will always find ways to keep going and it’s almost like the worse the conditions the better and more interesting the art. So what I’m trying to say is, we are blown away by the artists that collaborate with us on this album and feel so honored and grateful about it but at the same time it was a no-brainer for us all and we just enjoyed the process of creating art together.

The artists on the album.  Did you get to meet them in person or is it largely virtual? Any standout moments while recording?

– we did record some in-person like Dennis Lyxzen (refused…) who we visited in his hometown Umea. This was a lot of fun and honor as he’s one of our heroes and the reason why we are doing what we are doing the way we are doing it, to be honest. To now hang out with him in his home and record his vocals in the refused practice room was bananas! Also, Elin Larson (blues Pills) was recorded face to face. Stayed in her hometown in Sweden for a weekend and had the most beautiful time ever with the whole family and kids and dogs running around all day, making food together, and in the middle of it all written and recorded the vocals. But a song like “Corina Corina” feat Neil Fallon (clutch) was different. A lot of facetime calls and we recorded here in Germany and he recorded himself in Washington DC. This was super interesting and the way we did It with most artists on this album. Again gets to show you that art will always find a way to express itself. Lzzy said it best “ it felt like we were in one room together, jamming out and recording this song1 NO DOUBT in my mind.”

Regarding the ‘Hands of Time’ album. You made a pact not to listen to any music during the recording so your sound would not be influenced. Personally, I would go insane inside a week. When you relented, what was the first thing you listened to? 

– haha yeah that can be tough. Not sure what the first thing was I listened to but it may have been some sonic youth or something. I know that I wanted to listen to something a little more challenging because the only music we heard was radio here and there when people listened to it or something the local bars played. I remember hearing a Katy Perry song in a cab thinking “that´s not too bad right?” I knew that this had to stop soon then haha

You will be on tour with Lzzy Hale soon. What can we expect from a Picturebooks concert? I have friends in Stuttgart; perhaps we can meet up at the April 12th show.  

– that’d be so rad. Can’t wait to hit the road again! It’s been too long!

Since you are musicians and motorcycle enthusiasts…  What is the greatest experience music has provided so far? What is the greatest experience you have ever had on your bike?  Bonus question from my wife: Of these three bikes, which would you choose? 

  1. 1966 Indian Chief
  2. 1972 Harley XR750
  3. 1962 Norton Manx

– about the bikes, we take all 3 of them, we honestly don’t care what people ride as long as they are having fun riding and don’t behave like assholes. When it comes to experiences on a bike, the thing about that is, usually, the only moments you remember afterward are the catchy ones where something bad almost happened or even worse, did happen. I guess the best moments are the ones where you just zone out and just ride into nowhere. It’s hard to remember these moments because you’re not even there when they are happening. I guess it’s almost like an autopilot thing where you’re in this meditative state of mind and become one with the motorcycle and the road and everything around you, being 100% in the now. 

We thank you for your time and wish you all the best. Hopefully, we will see you on the road. Stuttgart perhaps…  Any parting words for our readers? 

– everyone that is reading this, thank you for giving a fuck! Keep on keeping on and arrive right here, right now! It’s all we got! Show up for yourself! EVERY DAMN DAY! Make it Happen!


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