Conny Ochs and I go way back after first meeting him when he supported Wino on his first solo outing, where I was simply captivated by the solo stylings of this German troubadour. Part Townes van Zandt, part Nick Drake, part Neil Young and part simply Conny Ochs can be used to describe his sombre tones, and with that in mind, it is with great pleasure that The Sleeping Shaman was asked to stream his latest studio recording Future Fables…
Future Fables is out now on LP/CD via Exile On Mainstream Records and read on for more info…
Conny Ochs struck out on his own as a solo musician at the turn of the millennium, after having spent many years fronting heavier bands (such as Zombie Joe, Baby Universal) in his native Germany. Ochs’ solitary venture saw him make a marked departure from the direct sounds of modern rock, letting the influences of revered folk singer/songwriters like Woodie Guthrie, Townes van Zandt, Nick Drake and others inform his firm new direction across the course of multiple LP’s and appearances. Alongside his savvy combinations of acoustic and electric guitars, Conny owns one of the most incredible and natural voices out there; a soulful and dynamic, clean style that can bring about absolute joy through the simple things life offers, or of purely melancholic end-time inner blues.
Earlier in 2015, having finished and released Freedom Conspiracy (Exile On Mainstream) with fellow Scott ‘Wino’ Weinrich (St. Vitus, The Obsessed, Shrinebuilder), Ochs continued touring and playing live to a growing audience hailing from all kinds of musical backgrounds, before returning to the studio later in the summer, once again with producer/engineer/studio owner Thommy Krawallo, with whom his lauded sophomore album, Black Happy and both collaborative albums with Wino were created in full analogue fashion. When Conny arrived, the Kabumm Studio had just relocated from its historic location in Berlin (in a former East German and Soviet government radio complex) into the wilderness of a rural Brandenburg village. Conny went in with a bag full of sketches and licks, inhaling the raw atmosphere of the surroundings, a yet unfinished house full of instruments and equipment in the middle of nowhere, also trying to find its place. In this unstable environment was birthed a new start for Conny, letting in much more than a breeze of fresh air by widening his instrumental repertoire to drums, electric guitars, piano, bass and organ. The lyrics and stories circulate more than ever around people encountered and journeys undertaken over the past years – the album title referring to our tendency to give an unwritten future some kind of tangibility through dreams and visions.
“We find and leave traces for the future. The lives that cross our paths and the lives we lead just as much as the dreams and visions we share – growing to be from what this future will be inspired and made of. This is the journey these songs are about.”
In these troubled times people would seem to believe only in tangible reality, only in things they can touch, feel, hear or smell, while impalpable things like the future seem to remain untouched by dreams, resultant in a reconstruction of mankind, arguably chained to reality. Conny’s songs focus on the interplay between storytelling and visions – this he carves into the rough edges of his organic and sparkling music. Keeping his approach pure and from the heart, Conny Ochs reaches a stark authenticity that draws you in and makes you a part of the music, his travels and struggles, and his search for freedom in life and song.
Photo Credit: Christian Thiele