INTERVIEW: LOBSTERBOMB on Berlin Punk Rock, COVID Life, New Single ‘Sense’

Berlin rockers LOBSTERBOMB are “edgy,” but you won’t see them in a Gap commercial anytime soon. They scream. They shout. They are the future of post-pandemic rock.

By JD Brant

LOBSTERBOMB is a pandemic baby. Formed in 2020 on the DIY platform We Formed A Band on Instagram, this prismatic three-piece outfit is a wild ride. After listening to their debut EP “Go! Go! Go!” I fell in love with band members Vic, Crayon, and Nico’s frenzy-fueled punky glam rock sound, namely because they make me miss my teenage years. You know, when MTV still played music?

I was introduced to the New York Dolls scene through an MTV VJ. You might remember him. His name was Jesse Camp, and he was the voice for all non-conforming music geeks who still had a soft spot for reality television and celebrity culture. This was an inventive period for punk rock (No Doubt had ended the Tragic Kingdom tour, bringing ska punk to the masses in real time), and Jesse Camp’s televised frocks-and-frills broadcastings reimagined what it meant to be a physical-copy consumer during a watershed moment for MTV and its ratings board.

It was now cool to “play up” a character on TV so as long as the talent was there, and the late 1990s were boiling over with it thanks to big wigs in A&R departments. Never before have we seen so many different genres and styles on a world stage side-by-side, sliding up and down the countdown. Never before have we seen so many different flavors of person standing shoulder-to-shoulder outside of the studio windows at Total Request Live, a skater boy next to a goth chick next to a Michael Jackson super fan.

In this TRL universe, there was thirst, a co-existence in the name of what Crayon described as “appetite for culture” when referencing how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected those in Berlin’s techno-dominated music industry. A&R departments seem a thing of the past. Now, indie acts are promoting, marketing, and scaling their own businesses in a new disruptive, watershed moment for post-pandemic rock. This appetite is of its own fruition.

LOBSTERBOMB, along with the rest of the world, has witnessed once-cherished dive bars go under while others struggle to stay afloat. Now, patrons abroad and in the U.S. are itching for a comeback. We may not have our footing quite right, but our stomachs are growling ferociously.

LOBSTERBOMB, who sound off on their influences in written communication with me, is swiftly becoming a major player in the rebirth of the DIY punk and glam rock scenes in a post-pandemic gig economy. They are in the middle of promoting their new single “Sense” while continuing to play venues around Berlin. Yes, they are punk rock if you wish, but you can’t restrict them period. In the spirit of a famished fat kid opening up a happy meal, I was more than thrilled when they accepted my interview request.

I keep reading that you guys met online through the platform @weformedaband. I’m not familiar with it, and I know many of our readers may not be. Is this a Berlin-based thing? How does it work? 

Vic: It’s a platform created by the members of the band Gurr on Instagram. It connects people who are looking for bandmates via hand-written ads. It’s not really active anymore however it connected people all over Germany, not just Berlin.

Very curious: What are each of your backgrounds? Are you all pursuing music full-time? Are you students? 

Vic: I’m a freelance illustrator and started making music for fun. I hope to be able to do both equally in the future as I don’t want to give up my day job because I love it! It also comes in handy for all the band related designs.

Crayon: I try to spend as much time as possible working on music and creative projects, and bounce around crappy jobs in between.

Nico: I split my time between music and working for different brands as a creative consultant.

You haven’t been working together as a band for as long as many veteran bands have, so tell me, what’s the collaboration process been like for you all?

Vic: Since Nico and Crayon are the songwriters I’m focusing on the beat mostly. I learned that in group settings it’s quite helpful to divide the tasks and it’s been working quite well for us.

Crayon: From the start, the collaboration worked pretty easily. We all ultimately want the songs to be as good as possible but also we want to be in a band to be fun, so we don’t tend to over-stress on the little things.

Nico: I enjoy the creative process and flow we share together a lot. Everyone has different strengths they can bring to the table and it makes this project so much fun. 

Go! Go! Go! was released in July, and is a fantastic project. How did you link up with Akne Kid Joe on the collaboration?

Vic: I’ve known them for a while because we’re from the same city – Nuremberg. They used to play without a bassist, too, so when we recorded our first single “Yes Yes Yeah” I asked them how they mixed the recordings to make up for the lack of bass. Then Peter did a little pre-mix for fun and we loved it. So he was hired. 

LOBSTERBOMB performing “Yes Yes Yeah” off their album, Go! Go! Go!

I hear so many different styles on your EP. Tell me, who inspires you musically?

Crayon: I was inspired by 70s glam rock, Bowie, T Rex, Queen etc. and a lot of pop music.
Vic: Chronologically from 2013-18; Garbage, The Libertines, The Black Keys.
Nico: For me, Muse, Nirvana and Motown.

“Sense” is certifiable, somewhere, some way! Is this a song based on personal experience?

Crayon: Lyrically it came from a few places. Firstly, how people organize their lives according to their own internal logic, which may be different and seemingly chaotic to someone else.

Secondly, how various medications can dampen the strength of your emotions or reactions and how difficult it can be to find a balance between the benefits of treatment and the negatives of side effects.

The song was also written with live shows in mind, I wanted some audience interaction which is where the “I just want to scream” line comes in. Happily, people have joined in as planned when we have played the song live!

How has the music scene in Berlin been affected by the COVID mandates? Basically, what’s life been like for you? 

Vic: In the second half of 2021 we were incredibly lucky to have had so many opportunities to play. However it’s really hard to plan ahead and we had to be quite spontaneous. We used the downtime wisely for the recording of “Sense” and to film a music video.

Crayon: It has been hard for a lot of venues and we really hope they survive because we would like to play shows in them. On the plus side, there are so many new bands and artists coming up here right now, I am optimistic that the local music scene is in a really good place. 

Do you guys plan to tour? What about shows in the United States, if any?

Vic: Planning is really hard in today’s situation and also as a new band. We’re working on some dates in Germany. We’d love to travel abroad for shows and hope it’ll happen soon.

Crayon: If we get offered a residency in Las Vegas perhaps, otherwise the US may have to wait a little while before we can justify the cost of the plane tickets.

For more LOBSTERBOMB, listen hassle-free on Bandcamp.

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