By Benji Chapman, Deputy Co-Editor
Anna Erhard is a Berlin based singer-songwriter well-versed in the field of DIY music. Her fearless approach to tackling new genres began when she launched a 5 piece collaborative folk project Serafyn. The quintet launched with a hands on approach, touring France in a busking tour to take their music straight to the streets. More recently, Anna's solo work has garnered online attention with Campsite (2022) accumulating a small following online preceding her most recent success with 170 making the rounds on Radio 6 Music. "In Germany, radio stations are kind of... not so great" Anna tells me chuckling, "It's really mainstream."
Anna tells me how British radio has been a refreshing change of pace from the German alternatives with legendary disc jockeys like Steve Lamacq and Marc Riley playing her new single. We share a moment of reverence for Radio 6: "I can discover a lot of bands there" she says, whilst I describe my introduction to the station by both my dad and sixth-form history teacher. Its satisfying to hear that the UK radio stations stand out from European counterparts in promoting upcoming artists and keeping more independent artists boosted alongside the mainstream and Anna is certainly grateful.
Of course, it would be remiss to mention the dramatic clash between friends that inspired said single: the eponymously titled 170 was spawned from a debate between Anna and her friend whilst travelling. "Not who's the taller one" Anna decisively corrects me as I question her. "She said that she was 170 you know, and I was like no! I am!" The weeklong fight may have lead to some awkward moments between the friends, although thankfully the spat has since ended, but it was certainly worth it for cheery single and its well-deserved radio play.
The song is a delightfully playful tune washed in 90's nostalgia but with an electronic peppiness. The song's layered countermelodies and spacy drums feel like a slacker anthem straight off a Breeders record, although I'm curious if the song's chirping keyboards and ecclectic squaks have been taken from a Tom Tom Club influence. She refuses to divulge too many musical secrets.
One influence however Anna is acutely ready to explore is that of Bristol's music scene. "I've never been there and there's so many cool bands from there... I like this band This Is The Kit," a folk-rock project signed to Rough Trade who equally made their name through Radio 6 airplay. "The band Fink, they were like an important ingredient with the old band... They invited us to come and open for them in Germany, I was just like oh my God!"
Its satisfying to hear that someone shares a love for Bristol's local scene, and doubly gratifyig to know that its bands like Fink and This Is The Kit have extended their reached beyond Bristol into collaborating with artists like Anna from across national borders. If there was ever proof the city is effective in promoting the arts, its now, as Anna subtly geeks out over meeting the band and playing for them.
Anna's softer folk sounds from her career in Serafyn have been revitalised towards a more electronic direction which maintains her spontaneous can-do attitude but captures something poppier than before. "I never start with the guitar anymore really, I just play around with a drum machine or some synths." Its clearly a direction she's taken to: building on loops and writing about "things that don't really matter at all, its so much fun to write it... It's fun to write and its fun to listen to."
Certainly a cheerful passion project, Anna is going to be an artist to watch for her intoxicating enthusiasm to her work: its clear that she's making music that is core to her artistic intent, strengthening the authenticity of connection between the music and Anna's personality.
Featured Image: Sonja Stedalmaier
Have you listened to 170?