I first heard of German Error message a couple of years ago when 'Everything Is Scary' appeared on my Spotify Discovery playlist. What immediately caught my attention was the album cover. The album cover shows a blurry little boy in a halloween costume carrying either candy or a basket full of catfish (I'm not sure) in one hand, and a toy battle-ax in the other.
Then the song began, and I heard the lyrics:
"Having held it
In my open hands
How did it feel then?"
And I felt sad. Don't get me wrong, it was a good sad. You know a song is good when it makes you feel so much in 1 minute and 52 seconds. I'm not sure what exactly those lyrics mean, but I guess I can ask Paul. We're probably friends now. We're like best friends. Paul is going to be the best man at my wedding. You heard it here first, folks.
German Error Message recently released Murmuring, the first single from a new full-length album Mend. Mend will mark the singer-songwriter’s fifth full-length album, and first since 2014’s Haunts.
We had the opportunity to catch up with Paul Kintzing of German Error Message, and talked about his upcoming album that will be released Spring of 2019. Check it out!
Can you give us a little background about yourself and about German Error Message, and how it all started?
Paul Kintzing: Sure! My name is Paul Kintzing. I grew up in West Monroe, Louisiana and now live in Nashville, Tennessee. German Error Message is my recording project and sometimes band. I started making music in 2003, teaching myself how to play guitar and also experimenting with very basic multitrack recording. I had been writing poems & “songs” without being able to play any instruments for some time, so being able to write and record real songs and play them back changed my world. I was obsessed with recording and learning how to play as many different instruments as I could. Over the next few years the project went through several phases: a solo acoustic thing, a folk duo, a rock band, and then I focused on playing in other people’s bands for a few years. I started writing again and releasing music online in 2008.
Where did the name come from?
PK: A literal computer error message in German. I can’t remember exactly where it came up, what it said, or why I thought it would be a good band name. I started using the name when I was 14 and kept using it beyond the point it made sense to change it. I liked that it was a connection to my younger self.
Do you plan on doing any touring for your upcoming album?
PK: I would really love to if at all possible financially & logistically. Trying to figure that out now.
How would you say ‘Mend’ differ from your last release ‘Haunts’?
PK: Making Mend was more based in experimentation. I tried a lot of new things, creating instruments from sampling & resampling, taking small moments and stretching them out, trying to find what felt right. Haunts was, for the most part, an attempt to make an album that sounded like what I was already hearing in my head and Mend was trying to discover things and get out of my comfort zone.
Do you often revisit your older work?
PK: I don’t too often. I try to focus on making new things, but it is nice to come back to a song or an album months or years later and hear it more clearly. If I am able to play some shows for this album I’d love to play some songs from Haunts and revisit those in a live setting.
What has been your greatest accomplishment as an artist so far?
PK: Making some songs and albums that do feel right when I come back to them years later.
Are there any songs that you’d like to highlight from ‘Mend’ that really capture the sound or the feel you were going for?
PK: I think Murmuring does that best. It was the last song recorded for the album, and when it was done I felt like it said exactly what I wanted it to say.
Is there anything in particular that inspired the album?
PK: My childhood and my relationship to it as an adult. Constant learning and relearning, forgetting and remembering, etc.
What was the process of making this album like?
PK: I had been working on an album for most of 2016 and when it was time to finish it in early 2017 I just couldn’t get it to a place that I was happy with it. I was ear fatigued and miserable and tried very hard to make it work but couldn’t. I may rework those songs at some point.
I started over completely with writing new songs for Mend in Summer 2017 and finished the album in Dec 2018.
What is your favorite thing about creating/making music?
PK: It’s incredibly therapeutic.
What song on this upcoming album has the best story attached to it?
PK: Since it's usually just me alone recording, most of the stories are something like:
"Then I played with a tape loop for an hour and immediately deleted it."
Anything that you'd like for our readers to know?
PK: Mend will be here in the spring! Thanks for reading/listening.
Listen to German Error Message Here:
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