Wir sind Helden Biography
Wir sind Helden was a German pop rock band that was established in 2000 in Hamburg and based in Berlin. The band was composed of lead singer and guitarist Judith Holofernes, drummer Pola Roy, bassist Mark Tavassol and keyboardist/guitarist Jean-Michel Tourette.
Wir sind Helden Band Members
- Judith Holofernes (real name: Judith Holfelder von der Tann)– lead vocals, guitar
- Pola Roy (real name: Sebastian Roy)– drums
- Mark Tavassol – bass
- Jean-Michel Tourette (real name: Jens Eckhoff)– keyboards, guitar
Wir sind Helden History
Before the formation of Wir sind Helden, singer-songwriter and guitarist Judith Holofernes was performing in Berlin clubs as a solo artist and had self-released the E P Kamikazefliege (1999). The band was founded in 2000 after she met drummer Pola Roy and keyboardist/guitarist Jean-Michel Tourette at a pop music workshop in Hamburg. Soon thereafter, Mark Tavassol joined the band as bassist.
The idea behind using the word “Helden” (which means “heroes”) in the band name was to reclaim the word for the antiheroes (“Der Begriff ‘Helden’ wird jetzt so inflationär benutzt. Wir wollten ihn zurückhaben für die Antihelden.”). In addition, the band name was also inspired by German band Die Helden, which was the first band Holofernes saw performing live, and by the song “Heroes” by English singer David Bowie, whom Holofernes has cited as a role model for the band.
Wir sind Helden self-released the EP Guten Tag in the year 2002 . Despite the band’s lack of recording contract, the title song was played by German radio stations and its music video was aired on the rotation of MTV Germany. The band consequently attracted the attention of several record companies and then signed with Labels, an EMI label. The growing interest in the band also led to Holofernes being invited to appear on Die Harald Schmidt Show, a late-night talk show on German television.
In February 2003, Wir sind Helden’s debut single, “Guten Tag”, was released , and the follow-up single was “Müssen nur wollen”, released in May 2003. The criticisms of modern-day life in both songs brought the band to the attention of newspaper culture sections. Both singles entered the German singles chart, where they reached No. 53 and No. 57, respectively.
The two singles were followed by Wir sind Helden’s debut album, Die Reklamation, which was released in July 2003. In addition to uptempo, punk-influenced songs such as the previously released “Guten Tag” and “Müssen nur wollen”, the album also includes melancholic songs such as “Die Zeit heilt alle Wunder” and “Du erkennst mich nicht wieder”.
German news website Spiegel Online declared that Wir sind Helden’s sound reconciled the good sides of New Wave and Neue Deutsche Welle with the modern era, and it named Die Reklamation as one of the most important CDs of 2003. In his review of the album, Stefan Friedrich of music magazine laut.de described Holofornes as the woman currently writing the most intelligent, witty and beautiful German song lyrics. Die Reklamation entered the German albums chart at No. 6 before peaking at No. 2 and eventually selling over 500,000 copies. At the 2004 ECHO music awards, Wir sind Helden was the recipient of three awards.
Wir sind Helden’s second album, Von hier an blind, which was released in April 2005, saw the band become more introspective and less political compared to Die Reklamation. Speaking in an interview, Holofernes stated that the album was concerned with asking what was it deep inside that prevented happiness (“Ich habe mich gefragt, was mich tief im Inneren davon abhält, glücklich zu sein”). Von hier an blind went straight to the top of the German albums chart and stayed in the top 10 for twenty weeks. The album also charted at No. 1 in Austria. Two singles from the album, “Gekommen um zu bleiben” and “Nur ein Wort”, were both top 30 hits in the German singles chart.
Wir sind Helden was one of the headliners at German rock music festival Rock am Ring in 2005, and was one of the acts performing in Berlin as part of the series of Live 8 concerts. The third album by Wir sind Helden, Soundso, was released in May 2007 and reached No. 2 in both the German and Austrian albums charts. Speaking in an interview, Tavassol explained that the common theme of the album was that of distribution of roles, individuality, and personalities within the various roles (“Es gibt dabei einen roten Faden, das ist das Thema Rollenverteilung, Individualität und letztendlich Persönlichkeiten in den verschiedenen Rollen”).
Soundso saw a development in Wir Helden’s sound, with Neue Deutsche Welle influences reduced to a minimum and the incorporation of further musical elements such as horns, glam guitars and virtual orchestras. The album also saw the introduction of “musical humour” to the band’s music: according to Tourette, duophonic guitars and synthesized saxophones were used because of their cheesiness and charm (“Zweistimmige Gitarren einzusetzen, ist im deutschen Pop genauso verpönt, wie synthetische Saxofone zuzulassen. Wir haben jetzt beides auf dem Album, weil sie schön cheesy klingen, aber Charme haben”).
The first single released from Soundso was “Endlich ein Grund zur Panik”, a hectic synthpop song with a swing and ska climax backing up the choruses. While polarizing fans, the single went to No. 34 in the German charts. After being away from the spotlight for three years, Wir sind Helden returned in August 2010 with Bring mich nach Hause, the band’s fourth album. The band had by then signed to Sony Music following the break-up of Labels. In addition, Wir sind Helden had parted ways with Patrik Majer, who had produced the band’s previous three albums, with the new album being produced by English producer Ian Davenport.
For the recording of Bring mich nach Hause, Wir sind Helden strived to use real instruments over synthesizers. Additional instruments which can be heard on the album include the accordion, oud, banjo and glockenspiel. In addition, bassist Jörg Holdinghausen from German band Tele was involved in recording the album as guest musician and vocalist.
Speaking in an interview, Holofernes stated that Bring mich nach Hause had both a melancholic side and a euphoric side, and cited “Alles” as the song which best embodied these two sides. “Alles” was the first single released from the album and reached No. 36 in the German singles chart.The album itself went to No. 1 in Germany and Austria.
It was announced on the official Wir sind Helden website on 4 April 2012, that the band was going on an indefinite hiatus. The band members cited the distance between their home cities, the demands of their family lives, “signs of wear and tear”, and the feeling of an increasingly impossible undertaking (“…so haben wir trotz numeroser echter Kinder, dreier Heimatstädte und diverser Abnutzungserscheinungen festgehalten an einem immer unmöglicher werdenden Unterfangen…”). In February 2014, Holofernes released her first post-Wir sind Helden solo album, Ein leichtes Schwert.
Wir sind Helden Awards
- 2004: National Newcomer Prize (from Deutsche Phono-Akademie), National Newcomer Prize (from radio vote), National Newcomer Video (for “Müssen nur wollen”)
- 2006: Group of the Year (National)
Eins Live Krone (radio station award)
- 2003: Best Newcomer
- 2004: Best Live Act
- 2005: Best Album (for Von hier an blind)
European Border Breakers Award
- 2005: Awarded for Die Reklamation
Wir sind Helden Songs
- Nur Ein Wort
- Gekommen um zu bleiben
- Guten Tag
- Von hier an blind
- Bring mich nach Hause
- Wenn es passiert
- Ein Elefant für dich
- Die Zeit heilt alle Wunder
- Ist das so?
- Endlich ein Grund zur Panik
- Außer dir
- Du erkennst mich nicht wieder
- Die Ballade von Wolfgang und Brigitte
- Die Konkurrenz
- Rüssel an Schwanz
- 55: Alles auf Anfang
- The Geek
- Müssen nur wollen
- Darf ich das behalten
- Zieh dir was an
- Lass uns verschwinden
- Bist du nicht müde
- Die Nacht
- Die Träume anderer Leute
- Wenn Dein Herz zu schlagen aufhört
Wir sind Helden Albums
- Die Reklamation
- Von hier an blind
- Bring mich nach Hause
- Live In London EP
- Wir sind Helden
- Tausend Wirre Worte – Lieblingslieder 2002-2010
- Sa Itte Miyo
- Wir Sind Helden – EP
- Alles auf Anfang
- Die Konkurrenz