Thunderbird Gerard is the new project from New Yorker Trevor Gerard- the former frontman of London-based EzraBang & Hot Machine. Since splitting the band, Gerard moved to Berlin and hasn’t looked back. Berlin. A country seeped deep in history, matched with a bubbling underground culture and alternative ways of thinking. Currently in the studio recording his first album as Thunderbird Gerard, he muses on what went on in those initial days of making music in another country:
“The first time I came to Berlin wasn’t actually by choice. I did a show in Amsterdam and was refused entry back into the UK. The border guards took my passport and escorted me on to a ferry back to Holland. I was terrified. I sat down on the cabin bed and cried. Luckily, an old friend from Liverpool had just moved to Berlin, so I bought myself a very expensive ticket and got on the train. To be honest, I decided to move here from the first moment. I fell in love with the city… the high ceilings, the alt-bau design, the sprawling streets… the faded grandeur of a dictator’s vision never realised. Months later, when my girlfriend Carina was offered a job here, we jumped at the opportunity.
The first year and a half was rough. The language barrier meant that I hardly spoke to anybody. My girlfriend and I bought a little street-mix terrier from an animal shelter and she became my only friend. I quit my former band, set up a studio in the basement of our little house and this is where the Thunderbird Gerard project was born. During the winter, I’d wake up at 4 a.m. and record until the evening.
Berlin’s a big party city, between Berghain and the whole club culture, cheap rents, cheap food etc, there’s a lot of room to get distracted. I have to confess, I still haven’t been to Panorama Bar. We live in a little house tucked away in a hinterhof in the middle of Kreuzberg. We’ve gained a bit of a reputation for our epic BBQ’s during the summer. We know all our neighbors and their kids. When it’s warm, we can hear them having sex. I think Berlin’s best, when you come with really clear goals. We’ve said yes to things we would’ve never before. Worked with people we wouldn’t have before. “Leave It All Behind” was Carina’s directorial debut and to me it encapsulates both of our times here. We built a home and any success we should find now, I owe to that.”
photo by Reuben Wu