Clare and The Reasons say they wanted a change of pace when setting out to record their third studio album. So the Brooklyn chamber-pop outfit relocated to Berlin for eight months to make KR-51, a new album named after the model of moped scooter they rode around on while in Germany.
1) Best place to have a beer?
Clare: The Prater Brewery is great. They have a mean schnitzel too.
Olivier: In Berlin there’s beer everywhere, and it’s really good. The best place to go actually -- you go to a little store, you buy your favorite little Pils or beer in the bottle and then you bring it to an outdoor park where you can play ping pong outside and have a little sip of beer while you practice your ping pong skills.
2) What’s the deal with ping pong in Berlin?
Olivier: They are brewing beer and ping pong champions.
Clare: It’s so fun -- we really played almost every day.
Olivier: They have cement and netted tables all over the city -- out doors. The nets are made out of metal. When you hit it -- it’s like “bing!”
Clare: I would like to write a piece of music based on a ping pong ball hitting that metal net.
3) Best place in Berlin to see music?
Olivier: Berlin Philharmonic at Philharmonie Hall. We got to see them play Shostakovich Symphony No. 4, and Takemitsu, it was amazing. Really really great.
4) Favorite place in the city for quiet contemplation?
Clare: Anywhere! Quiet is very sacred there…except when there are rallies and marches.
5) Your most surprising Berlin discovery?
Clare: The old East German radio studios. It was extraordinary – a complex that looks like the biggest hospital you’ve ever seen, but it was all radio studies, orchestral halls. These rooms went on and on for as far as the eye could see. They had the best equipment sound, everything, in the world.
Olivier: It’s been abandoned and all the equipment robbed out of it somehow…but now, because the rooms are so incredible, people are moving back inside and renting studios. It looks so old and funky.
Clare: And it has that East German smell. It’s very specific.
Olivier: It’s very funky -- it feels like zombies are going to come out of every door. It’s really creepy.
Clare: We recommend visiting.