Urban Walrus, arguably the most monotonous band in the world, was founded in January 2021 by Fabian Koerber, a Swiss-born multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter.
Urban Walrus is a fairly sluggish mammal that prefers to maintain a low profile and rarely appears on social media.
Instead, emphasis is placed on songwriting, recording, and dissemination.
Musically and lyrically, Urban Walrus needs little introduction; the music and words speak for themselves.
August Rain is a gorgeous, well-produced, laid-back song with exceptional vocal and instrumental arrangements. The Song discusses the impermanence of existence, sudden shifts in life, unexpected turns and strokes of fate concerning our powerlessness in the face of our own impermanence. Check out the song and the exclusive interview below:
1. Can you tell us a bit about where you come from and how it all got started?
URBAN WALRUS: I was born and raised in Switzerland, Zurich Region. Studied in the UK and spent a couple years in Asia, before I returned to Zurich a few years ago. I started to play Music with an old classic-guitar, and a bunch of Cat Stevens Songs, learning my first chords. Soon after I felt confident enough to form my first band when I was like 14. Back than, being loud was our prime goal. However, the Band soon split-up and new Bands were formed, just to split up again… The usual process, I guess.
2. Did you have any formal training or are you self-taught?
URBAN WALRUS: A friend of the family played in a band and had a little home recording studio back than. He taught me the very basics. Apart from that it was mainly self-taught.
3. Who were your first and strongest musical influences and why the name ‘URBAN WALRUS’?
URBAN WALRUS: Its almost impossible just to pick a few. Anything I have ever listened to has a certain impact. Its a wide range from Neil Young to Oasis, from Chili Peppers to REM.
Urban Walrus ? Just like the Beatles Song “I am the Walrus”, there is no deeper meaning to it. Its just a silly play of words, a riddle if you will, and just like the Song, it remains unsolved… even to me.
4. What do you feel are the key elements in your music that should resonate with listeners, and how would you personally describe your sound?
URBAN WALRUS: Honestly, I never really think about that. I just write a Song and if I like it, I record and release it. And normaly there are some people like me out there who like Song as well… Nothing has to resonate really. They like it, I’m glad. They find a deeper meaning to it, great. They find it all crap, that’s ok too.
I can’t even describe my “sound” – it develops from song to song. Some reviews said, it sounds like classic rock, some blog said, its more like REM, next one said it sounds like Oasis… I guess, thats ok. As long as they like it.
5. For most artists, originality is first preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you? How would you describe your own development as an artist and music maker, and the transition towards your own style, which is known as INDIE?
As an Independent Artist, I enjoy the luxury of doing what I like and what feels right. Therefore I don’t care much about genres, styles or concepts. If it sounds right to me, I reckon my “fans” will like it too. These days you don’t release albums any more, you release song after song. This makes it more exciting and you can change or try something new at anytime.
6. What’s your view on the role and function of music as political, cultural, spiritual, and/or social vehicles – and do you try and affront any of these themes in your work, or are you purely interested in music as an expression of technical artistry, personal narrative, and entertainment?
My lyrics are all about personal experiences or thoughts I have, things I observe, wrapped up in metaphores and symbols. I never lecture or preach anything. I choose to be a musicican, not a politician. If I had an influence lets say like Bono, I would probably be on the same page as him. But I am not, so it keep it out of my music and let him do the dirty work.
7. Do you feel that your music is giving you back just as much fulfillment as the amount of work you are putting into it or are you expecting something more, or different in the future?
The day I start to see music as “work”, is probably the day when I would quit. Music is total fulfillment to me. The process from the early idea of a song until it gets released and hits the first 100k spotify mark, or get airplayed, is more than I could ever ask as a pay back. With every release I see my audience is gowing. I love it.
8. Could you describe your creative processes? How do usually start, and go about shaping ideas into a completed song? Do you usually start with a tune, a beat, or a narrative in your head? And do you collaborate with others in this process?
Very often it starts with a melody in my head, that sort of fly to me. I grap my guitar and try to follow it. I try some chords, add some words and see where it leads me. Sometimes it takes months until I can call it a song, sometimes it never becomes a Song at all. And sometimes I write the whole piece in a few hours.
9. What has been the most difficult thing you’ve had to endure in your life or music career so far?
URBAN WALRUS: Like most people, I have had difficult times. The hardest is when you lose some one dear. When life changes upside down within seconds and there is nothing you can do about it. Sounds like the lyrics of “August Rain”…
10. With social media having a heavy impact on our lives and the music business in general, how do you handle criticism, haters, and/or naysayers in general? Is it something you pay attention to, or simply ignore?
URBAN WALRUS: I’m a bit unique in that particular point. I am hardly on any social media. I tried TikTok recently, because our songs get distributed there. And what an utter crap, that is! Its just amazing what stupid stuff gets posted there. On the bright side, I have finally learned that we are all living in Matrix and that the earth is flat 🙂
11. Creative work in a studio or home environment, or interaction with a live audience? Which of these two options excites you most, and why?
URBAN WALRUS: I got my little studio at home. I do most of the recordings there. With the raw tracks I go to the studio, we edit some of the song, do some additional recordings, lots a singing, add keys to it, and thats it. Im very glad I have my good friend Jeannot Steck as my producer. He has worked with many international artists, such as Lee “Scrach” Perry, Eddie Harris etc. He sure is an important part of Urban Walrus.
As to life-performance: Sorry to say, but its overrated!
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