Step into the dynamic world of VELCROS, where searing guitars and hardcore punk roots collide to create an electrifying musical journey reminiscent of Hot Snakes and Wipers. Formed after a transformative experience at a Radioactivity performance in Leipzig, the band, comprising Fabian Bremer, Nicolai Hildebrandt, and Manuel Markstein, channels their collective passion and energy into a sound that harks back to their punk origins while exploring eclectic harmonic detours. With influences spanning from the Beatles to the Strokes, VELCROS captivate audiences with their unique aura and infectious energy, embodying the enduring spirit of guitar music. (Interview with VELCROS drummer Nicolai Hildebrandt.)
1. How did the band form and what does the band name mean?
Fabian and I have played together in several projects in our hometowns, Wiesbaden and Darmstadt. After moving to Leipzig around 2015 and meeting Manuel and our former bassist Jörg, we started rehearsing again. The four of us shared a fascination for catchy punk songs with an unconventional approach in arrangement, chord progressions or sound design, and it immediately sparked the motivation to create something similar. The band name doesn’t have a deeper meaning for us. It sounds good, it looks good—everything you need for a band name.

2. Previous musical projects? How’d you first get into music?
Growing up in Darmstadt and visiting a lot of shows at Oetinger Villa had a huge impact on me as a teenager. We would form our first bands at the age of 15, I guess, tried out different subgenres in punk and hardcore, and often played just a couple of shows before we were on to something else. I remember having a band formed just for playing one show to open for An Albatross. It was chaotic (obviously), but fun seemed to be the top priority. In a way, one can become a bit sentimental when comparing this carelessness to the complex process of producing music nowadays. On the other hand, it’s great to have the musical background you gain over the years and take your time in writing and producing an album, trying out some of the infinite possibilities and choices. 
Some of the projects we are and have been involved with are AUA and Radare (Fabian), Wayste (Manuel), Rollergirls and Okta Logue (Nicolai), as well as SARG (Fabian and Nicolai).

3. First concert that you ever went to? 
Certainly not the first show I attended, but the initial one that left quite an impact on me, was The Locust in Darmstadt in 2004. I wasn’t prepared at all for what was going to happen and they simply blew my mind. The combination of stage persona, ultra-tight performance, and unique avant-gardistic musical style seemed so convincing to me and impresses me still today.

4. What’s your writing process like?
Usually, the first ideas for a song come from Fabian, who often receives them out of nothing in daily situations like taking a shower or going for a walk. He then records a very rough sketch and shows it to the band. Sometimes the structure of the song is already where it needs to be, but for the album I made a few suggestions on how to improve the dramaturgy by cutting and rearranging the recorded sketches. Whereas the songs on our first EP, “Spit Takes”, were arranged and finetuned together in the rehearsal room, most of the album tracks were written and produced remotely at our homes. This wasn’t done on purpose—it just happened this way, probably due to pandemic habits. Now we feel the need to spend more time in the rehearsal room again for future songwriting in order to add more vibrancy and vitality to the final product. Also, it’s better and more fun to do things together in one place.

5. What other artists or songs inspire your music?
After rehearsing and hanging out together, contemporary bands such as Radioactivity, Cende, and Hot Snakes immediately became common denominators. Yet, our musical palette also drew extensively from our parents’ record collection: The Beatles, Big Star, Tom Petty, The Beach Boys, and Cheap Trick, to name a few. Blending influences from different musical eras naturally fell into place, and consciously playing with these influences became an appealing aspect of our songwriting process. There are certainly art forms that may not be audible but significantly influence the way we approach our work as musicians.

6. What’s the live experience like and your philosophy on playing live? Do you think the music live should be identical to the recorded version or should it be its own thing?
We haven’t performed live with VELCROS yet, but I believe a live experience should always add something to what you already know from a recording. In our case, the most obvious way to achieve this would be to add more energy and roughness, introducing some controlled chaos to intensify the experience. For example, witnessing electronic music played live with real instruments has a bigger effect on me, and I usually enjoy that very much. I remember seeing The Notwist do this live, and it really elevated the songs to another level, adding an extra dimension to understanding the band’s full artistic spectrum and their musical vision.

7. What’s up next for the band?
We’re excited about the release of our first album, “Strange News From The Vault”, on March 22 via Crazysane Records. In the meantime, we’re writing new songs and preparing for our first live shows. Since Fabian played both guitar and bass on the album, we are currently looking for a fourth live member to take over bass duties. 


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