Katrine Grarup Elbo
Lisa Marie Vogel
Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in music and who or what have been the
most important influences on your musical life and career?
Katrine: I attended my first concert by the age of five – days – and grew up listening to classical and symphonic music, as both my parents are musicians. I remember watching the orchestra thinking, “wow they seem to be having a good time, especially the violins, playing those beautiful, sad and forceful melodies all together in a big group!”
Marie-Claire: When I started studying cello in Leipzig, the movie ‘Under the skin’ dropped and the
music by Mica Levi had a huge impact on me. There were many great releases of string players mixing acoustics with electronics around that time. I started to use a set up with cello, electronics and voice that would allow me a creative space in bands and collaborations of various genres.
Lisa: Music is a form of communication without words and that has inspired me ever since I started. I meet and have met many inspiring people on my path and love the way you share
musical moments and learn from each other – whatever genre people come from. Also practising by myself has always worked as some kind of meditation for me.
Who or what inspired your upcoming recording, ‘Zephyr’?
Katrine: Up until now, our focus as a group has been put entirely on researching the use of our string instruments and our abilities to play them, deriving from our classical backgrounds. We wanted to create something together as a group; to curate a safe playground where the ideas flow between us and a joint creativity arises. All sounds presented on Zephyr come from either the instruments, our effect pedals, or ourselves, so in that sense we have been very dogmatic.
MC: I am mostly inspired by sharing music and playlists with each other. Sharing what kind of sounds inspire us and to research on how it is possible to develop or how to get close to such sounds by using the instruments that we’ve learned since we were kids (violin/viola/cello). Also what inspired the whole group I guess is that we pushed each other in learning new tools or trying new things out- like singing or creating individual sample libraries, focusing on producing.
Lisa: From the very beginning we had a common vision to explore the possibilities and realms of string instruments when manipulated by effect pedals (and DAWs). Each of us had different wishes of what she wanted to learn and try out – for example creating bass drums and beats or playing chamber music with the pedals functioning as our 4th instrument (sort of).
We let this vision take us to the place that is now Zephyr.
What have been the greatest challenges of your collaboration as a band so far?
Katrine: COVID! And the fact that we are in three different places/countries most of the time.
MC: There were some shows planned with Broken Twin and Gyða Valtýsdóttir – but both didn’t make it because of the pandemic.
Lisa: Yes, definitely Covid – different locations, travel restrictions and three freelancers trying to make their finances work out.
Which performances/recordings are you most proud of?
Katrine: As we ‘aired’ as an ensemble in December 2019, most of the time since then has been influenced by lockdowns and restrictions. However, we have managed more or less to keep our output alive, releasing lo-fi snippets from jam sessions with DIY video material through our own channels. Although recording our first full album together at the Funkhaus was without any doubt a milestone for us as a group, I am personally very proud of the work that has been shared up until that point. I think we managed to keep the spirit of toechter alive in spite of the distance, while simultaneously investigating the aesthetics and potential of our wishes, ambitions, and work.
MC: Yes I agree. It has been a journey already. I like our pure improvisations. The three of us
improvising, recording it and editing it as a group. I’m also proud that we explored since our
DIY-series more the percussive range of our instruments and how to creatively use them in
electronic production and that we started singing as a group!
Lisa: I’m very happy that we try to challenge ourselves and look for toechter’s sound aesthetic in different drawers. I’m proud of our DIY improvisation releases in 2020 as well as our album Zephyr which is much more produced and we have been exploring the universe of post-production and creating beats. They show very different strengths and I feel that we are developing together!
What do you do off stage that provides inspiration on stage?
Katrine: I try to seek out and experience as much as I can from other artists in other fields, be
it dance, theatre, museums, and of course music. Enduring expressions, vibes, focuses, ideas,
etc. from other artists is the fuel that keeps me going creatively. Yet also just going for a walk, reading the newspaper, having good conversations with friends or strangers, or observing some peculiar scene from my window sometimes brings interesting new thoughts to mind.
MC: Two years ago I moved to Helsinki with my partner and our daughter; being a family surrounded by a different culture and living by the sea provides inspiration.
Lisa: For me being close to nature and in a place away from careers and the speed of the city
gives me most inspiration and head space.
Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?
Katrine: I think our music fits both intimate spaces and massive epic venues, which as a thought I find extremely liberating. Before covid, we played a concert in one of the smallest venues in Copenhagen (Øen, located in the district of Nørrebro), and I thought it was perfect, but I could totally see (and hear) us play one of the big, more industrial scenes of Berlin, like Kraftwerk or Berghain, or a classical venue like the chamber music hall of the Berliner Philharmonie as well. Playing a string instrument you have both the potential to get really private and whisper your music in the audience’s ear, and to open up all of your sound and be really majestic. Having this spectrum at one’s disposal is already a true gift, and as we also add electronic effects and new layers to our instruments, thus at times present very dark, heavy, and industrial sounds, it seems obvious to embrace and cherish the gap between big and small crowds and venues.
What is your most memorable concert experience?
MC: Once we were playing in Sweden in the village where Lisa has a house- Gerlesborg Art
School. The audience, the nature and people we were surrounded by was truly magical
Lisa: I agree, that was also my most memorable toechter-concert experience so far!
As a musician, what is your definition of success?
Lisa: Stay curious, humble and true to yourself – and get to work with people who inspire you!
MC: to learn stuff and keep an open mind – it’s good to stick to your instincts and what
What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to
Lisa: Trust your own intuition. A good technique gives you even more possibilities to express yourself. Curiousness.
MC: stay tuned into what your taste is!
Where would you like to be in 10 years?
Katrine: Touring the world with toechter!
What is your most treasured possession?
MC: family and that I learned this instrument that led me to inspiring collaborations.
Toechter’s debut album Zephyr is released on 1st April 2022
toechter (the German word for “daughter”) comprises musicians Lisa Marie Vogel, Katrine Grarup Elbo and Marie-Claire Schlameus. Using their classical training as a starting point, they explore the percussive and lyrical range of the acoustic instruments, drawing on sound effects created through pedals and vocal textures. The ensemble create electronic beats and soundscapes by manipulating the acoustic sounds of violin, viola and cello.