Founded in 2006, the German-based synth-pop group The Sweeps share a deep fascination for analog synthesizers, 70s string machines, the Fender Rhodes E-Piano, and drum computers from the 80s. The group consists of Kristina Brodowski, Christoph Duwe, Niels Wesner, Johanna Hanf and Lena Götze. The group has released 9 albums so far. The Sweeps are based in Hamburg.
How did you decide on the name the Sweeps?
All of us like the sound of analog synthesizers – especially their filter sweeps…
How did the group come together?
Christoph and Niels were on the same school in the 80s and met again by coincidence around 2005. Christoph played keyboards since his childhood, whereas Niels was just a hobby keyboard player with a little collection of old synthesizers. One day we`ve transported these synths to Christophs studio – and the first instrumental tunes saw the light of day. A few of them were in a classic “verse/chorus” scheme – so we needed someone who could sing these songs. Christoph knew Kristina from another project – and asked her if she would like to appear on these new tracks. She kindly agreed – and completed THE SWEEPS in the summer of 2006.
For someone new to The Sweeps, which albums should they listen to first?
We think they should listen to our latest albums Morning Maniac Music (2015) and Bright After Sunset (2016).If you also include our forthcoming album The Comfort of the Twilight Zone – it’s a bit of trilogy.
What do you love about living in Hamburg?
This city is a lovely place: the people seem to be cool, but mostly they are pretty open-hearted. Although there`s a population of nearly 2 million and the shopping streets are vibrant and electrified, there are also a lot of parks and beaches where you can be alone if you want to.
How would you describe your sound/style to a stranger on the street?
Melodic electro pop – by some optimistic melancholic guys.
You’ve released a few albums. Do you have something special planned for #10?
Not yet, because we are still in the middle of recording and producing album #9. But it should be something special… 😉
Do you ever get ‘writers block’ when coming up with songs?
Yes, sometimes it`s an uphill struggle. But with 2 songwriters in the band – Christoph and Niels – it luckily never happened to both of them at the same time. We think it`s helpful to listen to plenty of music by different artists and from different periods. All of us like the songs of 70s/80s (super) groups like Fleetwood Mac, ABBA, Carpenters, Supertramp – to name a few – and more contemporary electro acts like AIR, Goldfrapp or Zero 7.
Are there places in Hamburg for people to experience music like yours?
There are some small (music) clubs – e.g. ASTRA-Stube, Freundlich&Kompetent, and Marias Ballroom – who have great staff and a cosy atmosphere.
Where do you go to in Hamburg to get inspired by creativity / art?
It could happen anywhere. Or not… 😉
What’s the story behind your upcoming release The Comfort of the Twilight Zone?
As mentioned before in some kind of way it’s the last chapter of a trilogy carrying and showing the changing, varying moods all of us are confronted with throughout a day (and the entire life).
Finish this sentence. Disco is…
…like the steady rhythm of a heart that beats.
What’s your idea of the perfect live show?
A superb light show, a receptive audience, all of us performing with each other in harmony – and synths which stay in tune.
Where’s your favourite place to take out-of-town guests in Hamburg?
The river ELBE.
What brings a tear to your eye?
Tears of joy > children, good music & movies, people who help people.
Tears of sorrow > war, hunger, pollution, opportunism, lack of empathy.
What are you listening to non-stop right now?
Lee Hazlewood (Kristina), Steely Dan (Christoph), America (Niels).
What are your hopes & plans for 2018?
As a band we hopefully will finish our new album this autumn and are heading for a release party on Christoph`s birthday in early December.
Apart from this all of us of course have their private, familiar hopes and plans for the second half of the year.