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The Picturebooks

+ Paper Bullets + Gorilla Warfare + In Ransom

It's not surprising that The Picturebooks recorded their 2014 album, Imaginary Horse
[Riding Easy Records], in the same garage where they regularly refurbish and repair
motorcycles and choppers. The German duo—Fynn Claus Grabke [vocals, guitar] and
Philipp Mirtschink [drums]—capture a raw, rich, and real energy befitting of the room's
natural reverb, industrial aura, and spiritual spark. Most importantly, the record also
begins to rev up the boys' career like never before.
Fynn and Philipp first crossed paths at a local skate park. Becoming fast friends, they
realized their mutual interests extended beyond shredding half-pipes and into music like
The Smiths, The Cure, and Minor Threat. Soon, they began writing songs together,
utilizing equipment Fynn's dad Claus had accumulated over his years as a musician and
record producer.
After two independent releases in Europe, the pair played major festivals such as Sziget
and toured with everybody from International Noise Conspiracy to Spinnerette.
Simultaneously, they garnered international attention for their motorcycle builds and
received prominent profiles in tastemaker publications including DICE Magazine,
Kustom, and many others.
They made their first trek to the United States in 2013. Following an explosive
Hollywood gig supporting Eagles of Death Metal for DICE, they embarked on their
inaugural North American tour and buzz began to organically spread through word of
mouth and social media, specifically Twitter and Instagram. By the time they returned
home, the group had inked a deal with Riding Easy Records.
The Picturebooks retreated to their "garage" in order to record Imaginary Horse during
early 2014. Mirroring their daredevil skateboarding ethos, they broke rules while
recording. For starters, there was considerable physical space between the musicians
and the microphones, and it wasn't simply a sterile studio environment. The concrete
floors and airy expanse contributed to the sound, and the overall atmosphere proved
quite a propos.
"It really helped us formulate our style," declares Fynn. "First of all, the studio is in the
middle of nowhere. There are forests and fields around it. You can focus on making
music without any distractions. Our goal was to come up with as unique of a sound as
possible. We recorded everything in the garage with two mics next to our motorcycles
fifteen feet away from us. I would basically sit on my chopper and sing. We got this
incredible, real reverb. It was just awesome."
In fact, Fynn even sees quite a few similarities between building a rock song and a bike.
He smiles, "Coming from skateboarding and then making music, motorcycles were an
extension from both of those pursuits. Building your own bike, you decide the colors,
choose the bars, the engine, and the frame. It's like producing a song."
They even constructed their own instruments to boot. Fynn picked up thrift shop guitars
in Los Angeles. Influenced by the tribal sounds of Native American music, the frontman
built custom percussion and augmented his guitars with bells. Moreover, Philipp
decided to eschew playing cymbals and adopted large Toms, which he bashes with
mallets instead of sticks.
They conjured true fire in the garage with that astounding, untainted reverb and their
personal arsenal of modified instruments. That fire pulsates through the first single
"Your Kisses Burn Like Fire". A hulking beat gives way to a bluesy guitar twinge before
Fynn howls the titular refrain.
"David Bowie used to write one word on a piece of paper, and then he'd put all of these
words together to make lyrics," explains Fynn. "I was really intrigued by that technique.
This song came together in a similar way. Of course, there's a girl, and this feeling of
being lost lyrically. That hurts, but it comes out in the performance."
Meanwhile, the title track takes flight on that distorted hum and booming echo before
slipping into psychedelic territory. "I had an imaginary horse when I was a kid," the
singer recalls. "He was called Pon Pon, and he was with me all the time. He was that
companion by my side. It was so crazy I had to write a song about him."
"PCH Diamond" tells a vivid, cinematic tale of the band's time in Huntington Beach, CA
at the Sun'n Sand Motel. Fynn's lyrics paint a picture of Southern California pulp as he
recounts one night in particular.
"The Pacific Coast Highway is always the first place we go when we arrive from
Germany," he says. "It gives you this strange feeling. We spent three weeks at the hotel
in Huntington, and so much happened. The lyrics are a story. I bought this diamond ring
from a guy who told me he was a 'Shaman'. It was the cheapest piece of shit ever that I
paid too much money for [Laughs]. However, you don't want to fuck around with a
shaman so I bought it. It made for a good song subject!"
Ultimately, all of these pieces form a blues rock pastiche that's as individualistic as it is
infectious. The Picturebooks' Imaginary Horse becomes a reality for rock 'n' roll now.
"We never wanted to sound like anybody else," concludes Fynn. "We've done
everything possible to create something our own. I hope people see that, hear it, and
feel it."

Doors 6:30PM, age 14+


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