Who are The Beauty of Gerina? what is ‘Skeleton Dreams’ about? how have they changed in the last 15 years, find out all that and more with this music promotions interview
Can you start by telling everyone about The Beauty Of Gemina?
Michael Sele: TBOG seems to be a project because of all the different line-ups in the past, but for me, it’s still a kind of an indie-rockband. It’s changeable in many ways and so every record in the past had its own instruments, sounds and atmosphere. I’m Michael Sele, singer, songwriter, producer of TBOG. In 15 years I’ve recorded and published more than 100 songs and instrumentals in my own studio. Over all these years, I’ve worked live and also in the studio with a lot of different guest musicians and also in different formations, from reduced solo and trio performances to an ensemble with 7 (additional violin, cello and even saxophone) musicians on stage. Mac Vinzens on drums is the only musician who has been a part of the “band” from the beginning.
Your new single is called “Apologise”. What’s the story behind it?
Michael Sele: This song is about the human dilemma, knowing the time to say good-bye but having no words to say it. A song full of light and darkness at the same time, I also tried to bring an atmosphere of departure in the arrangement.
Can you tell us more about your album “Skeleton Dreams”?
How did you write and record it?
Michael Sele: It was a long and silent process. For months, I had been working with my acoustic guitar or my piano and only my iPhone. Countless small recordings of fragments, song ideas, chords, vocal lines and phrases. After this period, I started listening to the demos again and again, handpicked my favs and started the final recordings in my own studio. The album will be out in the UK in February 2021.
How are you inspired to write a song?
Michael Sele: Creating by doing is my concept. Two years ago, I was the guest speaker at a graduation ceremony, where young designers, graphic artists, goldsmiths and people from other creative jobs received their qualifications. I had to talk about inspiration and I told them that hanging around and waiting for the “muse” is the wrong idea. Being creative is hard work! So, fortunately there still is so much music and so many words in me and if I take a guitar and start jamming, there are so many things to tell.
What’s the best description of your sound?
Michael Sele: After a concert, a good friend of mine gave me the perfect description and I feel free to quote – a mix of warm, hypnotic blues, ambient melancholia, and earthy, indie-influenced folk.
You received the Gonzen cultural prize. What was your reaction when you won? And how did it feel to win it?
Michael Sele: It really made me proud and I was honoured. At the ceremony, I played a short solo performance in front of a completely mixed audience and the reaction was incredible.
Over 15 years you’ve released 9 albums. In your career, how would you say music has changed? And how much would you say, has your music changed in these 15 years?
Michael Sele: The essence of music is the same but of course there are some aspects in music that have changed a lot with Spotify and all the streaming platforms. There are millions of songs available today and most of the listeners will not invest more than 20 seconds to discover new music. So it’s hard and sometimes also frustrating but that’s the way it is.
My own song writing has changed a lot. In the beginning, there was the challenge to play as many notes as possible and the first recordings were huge arrangements with 100 tracks or even more for only one song. Over the years and with every record it has developed into less tracks and less notes. The challenge today is to play only the notes that are really necessary. I like to work as reduced as possible.
What music are you currently streaming?
Michael Sele: A good mixture of my all-time favs but also newer acts. I have always been a passionate fan of music and started collecting LPs as a child/ teen. Classical music is a part of this. Especially Bach, Puccini and Wagner have always fascinated me. But then I often listened to artists like David Bowie, Bob Dylan or the early albums by Mike Oldfield and Pink Floyd.
Do you have any touring plans (in safe times)?
Michael Sele: In October, there are 15 concerts scheduled in Germany and Switzerland but at the moment the agency has to start to postpone all the dates because of the Corona Pandemic. It’s a very sad situation for all of us but maybe a miracle will happen.
What can we expect from your live shows (for anyone who hasn’t seen you perform live yet)?
TBOG live shows are buzzing with energy and there are always top musicians in the band. They contribute many years of live and studio experience as well as having expertly mastered their instruments, which they always use with great sensitivity, which is so conducive to the respective song.
Tell us about some of your career highlights?
Michael Sele: Opening for The Smashing Pumpkins was pretty much at the beginning of our career with TBOG and so it was very exciting and simply a great event. It was also the first time on a stage in such a huge stadium. I think we will never forget that. Sometimes I think we faced this risk quite playfully and naïvely.
Then the first time at M’era Luna Festival in Hildesheim and the Amphi Festival in Cologne are just as important milestones as the numerous tours that led from Russia to Greece and from Denmark to Portugal. We’ve played more than 200 concerts in 20 countries. Other highlights include performances at the renowned Jazz Festival in Montreux and the Greenfield Festival in Interlaken, concerts in Prague, Madrid and a recently sold-out show in Mexico City.