Introducing primal blues-rock duo, The Picturebooks

The Picturebooks at Black Deer Festival

Hailing from Germany, The Picturebooks are a motorcycle mending, chopper and skateboard-riding, blues-rock duo, creating dirt tracks across the globe in the biker and rock n roll scene.
This garage blues band consists of Fynn Claus Grabke (in charge of vocals and guitar) and Philipp Mirtschink (on drums), who met in the local skatepark in their hometown of Gütersloh and realised they shared the same daredevil skating mind-set and more – they’ve hung out pretty much every day since.
Soon after their chance meeting, it was clear their mutual interests extended beyond the skatepark, with similar music tastes drawn upon through the likes of The Cure, Minor Threat and The Smiths – this meant one thing – time to make their own rock n roll. They got to work, in more ways than one, and started to rehearse and write songs in the same garage used to repair and refurbish motorcycles and choppers, amped with a skateboard ramp just outside, and a place the German duo have previously described as ‘paradise’.

The Picturebooks Black Deer Festival

In a previous interview with Lounder Sound, The Picturebooks reflect on the start of their gritty journey, saying: “Being from a small town like Gütersloh where nothing’s going on, where there’s no scene or anything like that, you have to come up with something otherwise you either die or end up in some kind of 9-5 job.
My dad had a studio on this farm at some point where he would record bands, and we would help him out every once in a while. At some point we rented out the barn next to it and started building and repairing our bikes in there, then used it as a rehearsal room to practice and write songs. We also built a skate ramp outside. We just made it our own little paradise in a place where before there was nothing”.

Tearing up the rulebook across all of their passions as standard – and spurred on from their Native American influences, they started making their own instruments in their concrete garage, by building custom percussion, adding chains and bells to their feet – not a drum cymbal in sight – Fynn would buy thrift shop guitars and sing far back from the microphone – and Philipp maintained large toms that were struck hard with mallets instead of sticks.
The result – an unsullied refurbishment of instruments unable to be mirrored and equally aggressive (and loud) blues rock.
The first two indie releases in Europe saw the Harley-riding pair explode onto the festival scene and tour with Spinnerette and international Noise conspiracy. Afterwards, they retreated back to their motorcycle garage in the middle of nowhere, where Fynn would literally be sitting on his chopper to sing, ‘Imaginary Horse’ was released in 2014 via RidingEasy Records, packed to the brim with punchy percussion and gritty, seductive vocals.

The hard-rock blues duo then signed with Another Century Records in 2016 and released their follow-up (but just as raw) ‘Home is a Heartache’ last year. Speaking to Punktastic about their first-released track from the album, Guitarist/Vocalist Fynn Claus Grabke explains…
“Like every other song on this album, ‘Zero Fucks Given’ was recorded in our motorcycle garage next to our studio. We played the music live with just two room microphones to utilise the natural reverb of the stony garage, and later overdubbed the vocals in the same manner. We were looking for some additional percussion for that specific song and found that the huge old and rusty chain that we lock up our motorcycles with was probably perfect. We set up a little wooden platform, and Philipp would just drop the chain in a certain style to create a great pumping percussion. The song has a lot to do with the way we live our lives – we created everything we are and do ourselves. We wouldn’t have it any other way, zero fucks given!”

When talking to Lounder Sound and questioned about the skate/bike/rock n roll connection, the answer was simple – “It goes hand in hand for us. When you build a bike, you kind of go through a similar creative process like you do writing a song. You choose what colour, what kind of handlebars, what gas tank, seat… and so on. And skateboarding is just somewhere in between everything we do. You see this world differently when you’re a skateboarder. It’s hard to explain and only skateboarders will understand this”.
The Picturebooks will take to their saddle and ride into Black Deer festival on Friday 22 June when they headline the BOLT stage, as part of a seven-date UK summer tour…