With two shows down already, Stergin is hitting Shoreditch on his coffee shop tour. Stergin is an Austrian musician who is all about experimenting with music, as well as with venues, as is clear with his tour of coffee shops around London. Playing an acoustic set with just a guitar (and another surprising “instrument”) Stergin is taking his music back to basics. He will be showcasing a selection of his old and new work, featuring songs from his new album, Grow, which will be released in January, as well as his awesome covers, which featured in his Monday Evening Bathroom Sessions, which are a must see. Speaking to him in an “independent” coffee shop (well…Starbucks) we talk about his music, his inspirations and how he pissed off a lot of Kei$ha fans.
So what made you choose coffee shops?
Coffee shops for me are places you meet friends, where you have mostly interesting conversations with strangers and a lot of my songs, a lot of my music are inspired by conversations with friends or strangers.
I also like the environment that the coffee shop is, also in London there are so many cool little places, like the cool little independent coffee shop we are in now and I just thought it would be a really cool idea and be a change and not just always trying to get gigs but finding alternative venues.
And this is the first time you would have performed in such environments? So it will be a bit of an experiment for you?
Yes, exactly, I don’t quite know what is going to happen and whether the people will like it or not like it but I’m excited about it.
What can we expect from them?
I’m playing on my own with just my acoustic guitar and I sing and I have a toothbrush that i’m gonna be playing as well.I’m gonna be playing songs from my bathroom sessions, which was a series I did a year ago. Some other songs are from the newspaper article songs and other songs are from my upcoming album ‘Grow’, which I recorded just a couple of months ago and will be released in January.
Originally from Austria , what made you choose to work as a musician in London ?
When I was like 21 I worked in Los Angeles for a human rights organisation because in Austria we still have military service, which is mandatory, so this was my option to that. I had it in my head that I wanted to live in Los Angeles and when I was there it really sucked, it was this whole plastic world. For me, Europe is a better place and London has people from all over the world, you get inspiration from so many different people, it’s also very hard, so you have to work hard to get your music out [there] because the audience is very critical, so I like the challenge.
What was it that first got you into music?
I have this funny story, one of my earliest memories was when I was about four or five years old , I was listening to Bill Hayley and rock n roll music and I loved the saxophone and really wanted a saxophone and then one Christmas I asked my parents for a saxophone but then I got a glockenspiel. It’s still a mystery to me today.
How did your Monday evening bathroom sessions come about?
As a song writer it is very important that you keep doing stuff, like only 9 out of 100 songs are any good, so my first idea was to start a routine, so every week I would have 4 hours [playing] that would need to be done, even if I took a cover, I still had to arrange it, I still had to learn the song and then somehow, people started to like it, the bathroom was just the best room in the house for acoustics and it looks cool.
Must have been a challenge for you as I know you challenged yourself to cover whatever was number 12 in the US charts.
It was very funny in a way because everybody hates Justin Bieber but if Justin Bieber was number 12, you’ve got to do it no matter what but then actually you discover, even there in the production, something you can learn from it and add you’re own style.
Covers seem to attract viewers, was it your intention to gain fans this way?
Well there are so many covers out there that are like little girls trying to get famous, for me, of course it was to attract listeners but also because it was a lot of fun, even if I pissed off a lot of Kei$ha fans!
So you received emails from people reacting to the covers?
Uh-huh, yeah, some people loved it, some people hated it.
What was the worst email you received?
Just like it’s so awful or this is the worst thing I have ever heard!
New Album in January, what can we expect from it?
A friend of mine described it at a road trip through the Austrian mountains with chemicals. So its like songs with proper song structures but then they break out into open bits, improvised bits, weird bits! It’s with string instruments but also electronic elements, it’s somehow experimental but still accessible….I hope!
His next show will be #Guardiancoffee at BoxPark, 3rd December 3pm.
Alternatively he will be at:
Vintage Bean Cafe, Brick Lane: 5th Dec 7:30pm.
Kahaila, Brick Lane: 6th Dec 5pm.
For more information on Stergin and his upcoming gigs visit:
Credit: Main pic is by Awakenpoise
Pic right by Adrian Meth