Gurr photo by Marco Leitermann
Interview with Andreya Casablanca and Laura Lee | By F. Amanda Tugade
On Instagram, Andreya Casablanca and Laura Lee of Gurr reveal that the secret to having fun fully relies on your best friend. Their off-centered selfies and short clips of band practice give a sneak peek into their friendship, their fitted high-waisted jeans, and their recent tour with Bleached. Casablanca’s razor-sharp bangs perfectly complement Lee’s disheveled blond hair.
Recording at the studio, playing gigs at various spots, catching up with friends, and traveling together are the new normal for the Berlin punk duo as they prepare for the release of their debut album, In My Head, on Oct. 14 on Duchess Box Records. “Sometimes, it feels like the band is our friendship now,” Lee says. “I mean, we rarely do anything else anymore when we are together but make music. A couple months ago, we decided to plan a date night again and went to the cinema to see a movie.”
Watching movies and listening to music are what brought the two together to begin with. Casablanca and Lee met in October 2010. College students at the time, the two retreated to Lee’s apartment to write songs about the movies they watched. “I also remember that one afternoon—I think we barely knew each other—we booked a flight to England and decided to travel for five weeks,” Casablanca says. “There, we basically already told everyone we had a band, so when we came back, that idea started to take shape. We’ve been friends for around a year before we started the band, but it surely is a huge part of our friendship.”
That connection is evident in their video for the album’s single, “Moby Dick,” which clocks in at two minutes and 50 seconds and features the two dancing in front of a green screen. Their moves are not choreographed; it’s as if Casablanca is back in Lee’s apartment and the two are trying out a few moves right before rolling up to a campus party. “We were dancing to the song in the studio while mixing, and Andreya looked at me and said, ‘Why don’t we just do a video like that?’” Lee recalls. “We had done two music videos before and none of them had really worked out, because the ideas were always very ambitious. So, the idea to do something very simple appealed to us.
“It’s also our first single, and we wanted the people to get to know us,” Casablanca adds, “and that idea captured our spirit essentially. I love to dance silly to songs and record it and just laugh about myself.”
That insight, too, is just a glimpse of what’s inside Lee and Casablanca’s heads. “A lot of the songs are kind of daydreaming about other people’s lives,” Lee explains. “‘1985’ is about the life of an older guy living in this fantasy rockstar world; ‘Yosemite’ is about the life of a guy Andreya met briefly flying to L.A. that she later read in the newspaper had died.”
The phrase “in my head” pops up on the songs “Klartraum”—which is German for “lucid dream”—and “Diamonds.” Lee says, “We didn’t want the album to have a ‘title track’ since the album title should independently stay for a collection of songs. Some of them are real stories, some only in our heads, some of them you might think they’re real, but then they’re not—just like a lucid dream.”
In My Head dives into 11 fast, catchy tracks. The duo—who describe their style as “first wave gurrrlcore”—draw inspiration from a variety of acts, including the B52s, Jeff The Brotherhood, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and The Beatles, to create their own sound. They also look to artists and writers to help their music transcend beyond songs and capture moods that create moments.
That moment—for now—is caught up in In My Head’s album cover, which features Casablanca and Lee in the backseat of a car. A piece of a city landscape is painted behind them. They are in transit. Next stop? “The next big thing is that we are going on tour with Jimmy Eat World in Germany,” Lee says. “Those will be the biggest shows we’ve played so far. We are super excited and peeing our pants a little too. We will also play a small tour when our album comes out, and then, get ready to tour a lot next year, and hopefully, play in the U.S. as well. That would be a dream.”
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