Talking music, Manson and ginger tea with Germany’s finest.
Max Gruber, performing under his alter ego Drangsal, is one of the most exciting artists around at the moment. With his unique blend of indie rock and post-punk, he mixes in ’80s influences to create dynamic and exhilarating music.
Having recently released his track “Allan Align” in the UK and getting ready to perform at the Lexington on 20th March, Max is causing a stir in the music scene and shows no signs of slowing down. We grabbed a minute with him to find out all we could about the rising rockstar.
When did you first start getting into music?
Too much, too soon! As far back as when I was a toddler it must’ve already been a herculean task to get me to move away from our TV – I religiously binge-watched MTV, VIVA and VIVA2 and was thus exposed to a wide variety of music from a very early age on. My mother would listen to Journey and Styx ironing upstairs, my father would blast tapes from left from when he still owned a bar with Tuxedomoon, DAF or The B-52s on them at the same time and at an excruciatingly high volume in his basement and I simply sat in the middle and listened. I became gluttonous when it came to music and dead-set on finding out about every band there is, as music would become the only thing that could constantly provide joy to me. It still is that way today.
You’ve said that you were a massive fan of Marilyn Manson when you were younger…
As former WWE-superstar Kurt Angle liked to put it: “It’s true, it’s true!” For some time I believed that Manson embodies everything that is fascinating about music and I don’t think that much has changed since.
There are influences of bands like Depeche Mode and The Smiths in your music. Who would you say are your main musical influences?
Everything I hear influences me, whether positively or not. It is quite clear though that at the time of writing and recording Harieschaim I was rather enthused by and indulged myself heavily in listening to Rod Stewart.
Describe your sound in three words…
Just like TOOL.
“I became gluttonous when it came to music and dead-set on finding out about every band there is, as music would become the only thing that could constantly provide joy to me. It still is that way today.”
Where does the name Drangsal come from?
It is a seldomly used German noun that translates to tribulation or hardship. I found it peculiar, equally catchy and dismal. It helped ousting the funeral parlour of the same name from its top position on Google.
Can you tell us about your newest single “Allan Align”?
I remember writing it very clearly: It was 5 years ago, I sat on my bed and wanted to create the missing link between DAF and The Smiths. I pressed record and I think I succeeded.
It comes from your album Harieschaim. What was your creative process for the album?
In the liner notes for Harieschaim it says: “I sing and sing and sing what’s true, for there is nothing else I can give to you” and I still hold on to that sentiment. As so many artists before me I could never manage to stay sane working nine to five. I need to sing because I literally cannot do anything else, I need to write in order to not feel useless, for when I start feeling useless I simultaneously start thinking too much about my life and my surroundings which in turn leads to anger and depression. I’d rather utilize this lingering anger and depression as fuel and thereby convert them into something much more enjoyable.
You’re currently touring! What’s your favourite thing about performing live?
The amount of free ginger tea and berating an unsuspecting audience.
What else do you have lined up for this year?
After playing London the 20th of March I am heading straight into the studio for a couple of weeks to record another full-length record with producers Markus Ganter as well as Max Rieger of All diese Gewalt and Die Nerven that will hopefully outdo Harieschaim, after that it’s mostly festivals.