With Psapp, the song comes first. It is KING. But with each listen, more and more layers reveal themselves – an organ turns out to be a layer of ambient recordings, carefully crafted into an instrument. What seemed to be a drum kit reveals itself as an assembly of bones, logs, clicks and bicycle parts. Is that a crushed fly on bar four? Almost certainly. It's possible to hear the songs in a different light depending on how close you listen, too – a blast on headphones exposes the perfectly arranged madness in its full beauty.
Carim’s musical youth was spent in German recording studios. A self-professed failure at the school recorder and a frustrated guitarist, Carim learned his chops recording bands like Einstürzende Neubauten and Die Toten Hosen and even worked at Can’s famous Inner Space studio, always dallying with music of his own on the side. Galia grew up in a household running amok with records, art and books. After struggling to learn violin and piano (she preferred her 1988 vintage Casio SK-8 sampling keyboard, which the band still use), at 8, Galia graduated to a more-ideas-than-action ‘band,’ “GO,” formed with her brother. Twelve years ago Carim met Galia and after that there was no way back. After a few low-key releases they unleashed their debut Tiger My Friend on cult label Arable before Domino Recordings released their second long player, “The Only Thing I Ever Wanted”, and with its blend of homemade electronics, meticulously scored elastic bands and heartfelt pop, it struck a chord with all who heard it. What followed was an intense and thrilling few months which took the pair around the world, touring with their 6 piece band, exhibiting their art around Europe, posing topless in Paris, receiving another couple of BMI Awards*, putting David Shrigley’s art to music and continuing to acquire so many instruments that their collection began to spill out into two rooms. With all their musical dreams being fulfilled, playing to audiences of thousands and hearing their music trickling out of cinemas or the telly was pretty strange and soon, Galia and Carim couldn’t help but return home. Away from the dizziness of life they retreated to their studio to start making sense of all that had happened. The result was third album 2008’s “The Camel’s Back”, (it was nearly the straw that broke it).
After touring that record around the world, picking up another couple of BMI Awards* on the way, the band headed into a period of hibernation. By the time they awoke, big changes had happened in Psapp world. The studio has moved to a castle in Germany complete with turrets, and extreme domesticity has been celebrated and explored in their fourth LP “What Makes Us Glow” (2013).
2015 saw the band invited to play at David Byrne’s Meltdown where with their 6-strong live band, they managed to weave together a warm and surreal show incorporating live bingo, a Powerpoint presentation and 900 individually named pipecleaner cats.
Some bands disappear, either dissolving into a mess of acrimony or slowly drifting apart as life tugs them in different directions but for Psapp, the pull to continue creating together conquered distance and all the complications of being alive.
While the drivers for its creation may have changed - out with all nighters, in with daylight, dedicated musicianship and the inherent joy of being together, Galia and Carim’s skill in creating magic little songs continues to shines through. Psapp are eternally glued together whether they like it or not.
Psapp are, and always will be:
Carim Clasmann and Galia Durant
* for the track Cosy in the Rocket that opens TV Show ‘Greys Anatomy’