“It has not been definitively proved that the language of words is the best possible language” -
If this is your first time to hear about Chuckamuck, there's a good reason for that: This is a reach-out project, beyond the personal and commercial barriers that exist for a European band that sings in their own mother tongue.
Language is a tricky business in Rock and Roll, especially for a German band. To resign oneself to sing in English, and be open to the dominant Anglophone music market whilst hoping your tunes resonate with local scenes and fans, not only risks billing a band as less unique, but also denies them the right of native poetry by applying their best-known language to express themselves lyrically.
In the greater music market, it has been acceptable to hear German in parodist stereotypes, such as the robotic nature of Kraftwerk or violent sexual imagery of Rammstein, which are consumable for international audiences. However, over the 14 year career of Chuckamuck, their expressions have varied from their teenage years as “punk rock Rimbauds” into teary-eyed mysticism, soulful desire, despotic vexation and much more. And as dedicated artists and lyricists, they have intimately touched their German speaking fans; however due to this language barrier, they have been frustrated to not share the full “Chuckamuck experience” with fans during their European tours with The Black Lips, King Khan and the Shrines, Beatsteaks, Demons Claws and The Strange Boys.
As founding member and main crafter of the Chuckamuck world Oska Wald says, “You originally think 'its music, it's going to be understood in any language', but Chuckamuck is so much more than our songs, it's an enterprise of our art, animation, live shows, videos, comic books, an entire world we have produced”.
Which brings us to the Language Barrier project:
In essence, this extremely ambitious project is a Chuckamuck “Best Of”, with remakes of pearls from different periods of the band since their inception in 2006, translated into 8 languages (Italian, French, Spanish, Swedish, Polish, English, Hebrew and Japanese), recorded by bandmember and songwriter Lorenz with longtime Chuckamuck engineering pals
Thomas Götz and Max Power at O'tool Studio. Each song is impressively presented in its own unique video clip, defining the images and moods of the band. The whole project was produced over three years with a great deal of patience and heart.
Inspired by the efforts of the Beatles in the 60s, who saw it fit to record awkward versions of their early hits into French and German, as well as the wealth of worldwide 60s bands who recorded pop songs into a “third language” by naively and phonetically singing in English, Chuckamuck wanted to capture this excitement of reaching potential new audiences and actually being understood. Another big influence has been the flawless multilingualism of their Staatsakt labelmates, Stereo Total.
A few elements make this project really special. Firstly, as a Berlin band, Chuckamuck employed the help of their local international family to help with the translations. These world class artists worked together to recreate songs in their own languages, so that the deliveries maintained the life and ingenuity of the original works. These include the sensational Swiss folk musician Melissa Kassab, renown Swedish comic artist Crippa Almqvist, and Japanese cartoonist and animator SHOXXX.
Of particular interest over the record is the transformation of 'Eis Am Stiel', an older Chuckamuck classic, inspired by the joint Israeli-German cult film of the same name. Translated by the bands' newest member, Amit Alcalai of The Gondors, its transition into the original language of the film is notably cultural and impressive. Similarly, the hit "Sayonara" translated makes it sound like the 80s Japanese new wave song it always begged to be and is very addictive. Chuckamuck's anthem to their own ironic ennui of being German and desiring to sound like a 70's Nashville band, 20.000 km performed in French accentuates their honest desire and is incredibly effective.
On top off all this, 11 complete music videos have been produced for each song off of this album, all including original hand-drawn animations by award-winning cartoonist Oska Wald. Three weeks after a particularly rough mushroom trip, Oska had a flashback to a moment of intensity and visual disturbance from the trip – and began drawing, plate by plate, the original animations which would continue for three gruelling years to complete these creative masterpieces. Each clip highlights in leitmotifs what each individual member of Chuckamuck brings to their sound and attitude, which is now available for you to explore, as Chuckamuck has so lovingly reached out to you, in your own language. Do them the favour back of exploring the work of this diverse, energetic, and romantic punk band on the eve of their 14th anniversary!