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Bernd and Nico meet at a bus stop on their way to a musicians' workshop somewhere in the countryside of northern Germany in 1996. During that weekend they discover that they like the same books as well as the same beverages, that they have very similar musical tastes - and that they have been living two streets apart from each other in Hamburg for two years without knowing it. Back in Hamburg they find a rehearsal space for their respective bands and start writing music and playing onstage together.


Very enthusiastically and very much without any considerable sucess, although they still claim that those bands were actually really good.
They make a habit of loading a car with all their gear each August and retreating to Bernd's parents' house in Italy for two weeks, hanging out, writing music, and playing fierce boccia tournaments.

As a side project, they start in 1998 fooling around with samples, electronics and different grooves, which will eventually lead to what we now know as naomi. They keep on struggling as songwriters while having lots of fun with their new electronic project. When they play those new tracks to friends and fellow musicians, most every time every listener seems absolutely thrilled. They wonder.
During Bernd's stints as a radio DJ for a big radio station in the south of Germany, one of his colleagues suggests in 1999 they should send a tape to Mole Listening Pearls in the nearby town of Neckargemünd. Which they do...

The "Mole-people" having been instantly charmed and the first 12" record from naomi containing four tracks (That´s Right) was released in 2000. The press is enthused.
In April 2000, both having been forced out of their respective apartments at about the same time, they decide to move to Berlin, now sharing a flat which also contains their studio.

More 12" releases, compilation tracks and remixes follow, a fact which helps naomi refine their sound, skills and knowledge. They produce loads of new tracks and ad some vocals, thus slyly smuggling their incurable habit of writing pop songs back into the electronic context.

Soon they finish their debut album "Everyone Loves You" which is released in April 2002.
The track "Go" is chosen for the Amnesty International TV spot which is broadcasted all over Germany. Mole headquarters is informed about hot phonelines at Amnesty International's PR office: the song seems to have hit a nerve.

While drafts for the second albums are developed, Nico also publishes short stories and works on his first novel by teaming up with his partner in crime Thomas Mersch.
Durimg the year 2003, the second albumcalled "Pappelallee" grows and finds a shape. The British Rock approach of sharing a flat makes the sound more personal, compact and intense than their debut. Pop influences and song structures became even more manifest in naomi’s second album which also carried along the "small radio hit" of "King Kong Is Not Dead".

"Pappelallee" was finally released in 2004. At the same time the first novel of Tobias Königshausen (the writer's pseudonym of Nico Tobias) and Thomas Mersch is published as one of the 2004 key publications of Knaur Lemon.

Süddeutsche Zeitung, one of Germany's most respected broadsheets, described Naomi’s sound as a "perfect balance between bittersweet harmonies and relaxed rhythms which seemed to be the privilege of Air and the Pet Shop Boys". The KulturSpiegel enthused about "elegant, dreamy but always modern electro pop" and the Rolling Stone gave four stars - meaning "fabulous". But a band who made it onto more than 70 compilations worldwide must have something special, don't they?

Naomi’s third album „Aquarium“ is their best one so far - more pop than ever, and as intriguing as exciting. The duo abandon their earlier love of wide soundscapes - hence no predominant samples this time, no echo loops and padded sounds. Instead we get reduced, almost minimal arrangements, guitars and Wurlitzer piano, Mellotron and sparse synthesizers over dry hip hop beats.

No instrumentals anymore, not "tracks", but songs, real verse-chorus-songs, and they're all great. If yo ask for an example: Just listen to the first single "Another Bite Of The Apple".

What was hinted at on Pappelallee has now blossomed over the stretch of a whole album: Bernd Lechler and Nico Tobias are fantastic songwriters.

These songs are pleasant songs, striking but deep, chiselled but emotional. They are populated by protagonists you know from your bathroom mirror: the abandonded lover in "Perfect Day In Hell", writing helplessly to his ex from the emotional desert or the daydreamer in "Personal Big Bang" whose future seems so bright he'll never get going.


The resulting soothingness sounds like a contradiction in terms, but Naomi pull it off with their idiosyncratic mix of luminous melodies and equanimous understatement, big emotion and laconic detail. Mind you: "Needle On The Record" and "How Many Loves" make it clear that you can dance to confusion.

By the way: "Aqurium" was mixed by Patrik Majer (got the "Echo 2006" as "best German Producer", produced "Wir sind Helden " among others) and Peter Schmidt (Blumfeld, Rosenstolz).


Hard disks can be hiding places for musical treasures - fragments or entire songs, forgotten sketches, melodic bytes left behind. Once in a while someone opens the treasure box and is richly rewarded.

Berlin electro-pop duo Naomi tend to record and arrange up to ten different versions of each one of their songs until everything feels right. Only the respective final takes ever see the light of day. For Tweak (2008), Naomi collected some of their favourite alternative versions. But that's just half of it. Tweak also contains seven entirely new songs - new as in never released, not in any version. Some were written only recently, others are songs which for some reason or other didn't quite fit on their designated albums. Or so Naomi felt at the time...
The half-finished "Trust" lay sleeping on some battered hard disk for years. Now it turns out to be one of the best things they have ever recorded. "God Knows What God Knows", with its angry preacherman fighting a choir of angels, dates back to even before their first album.

The track seemed too dark to be included on Everyone Loves You but has kept haunting the duo ever since. The same goes for the optimistically melancholic ballad "The Party", which fell off Naomi's last album, Aquarium. Other tracks are studio reworkings of live versions Bernd and Nico liked especially well: "Singing about the fear of ageing in "Fade Out" just felt much better to a mean synth sound and beat, as opposed to those softly chiming guitars of the album version."

Then there is the previously unreleased radio remix of "Go". Sung by Selda Kaya and later used for an amnesty international campaign, the seven-minute-plus original is included on Everyone Loves You.

What's typical is that listening back to most of these tracks instantly gave Naomi ideas. Instead of relying on nostalgia they couldn't resist trying out a few things. Beats were changed, new vocals recorded, and in some cases they ended up deconstructing the whole thing and turning it into something else and new entirely: "The idea had been to browse through the archives and throw some good stuff together. Instead, we soon found ourselves building new versions out of old versions."
..........................................They call it the Tweak.


The British star producers Xenomania (Pet Shop Boys, Sugababes) recently asked Naomi for a sample (they got it); Naomi's three year old fan favourite "Needle On The Record" is a constant seller in the US iTunes Store; their Myspace and Facebook pages are brimming with love letters from Russia, Mexico, Texas or Taiwan.

In their native Germany they are still something of a best-kept secret, regardless of consistently euphoric press reviews, but this might well change with The Big Shapes (2010), their fifth Album on Mole Listening Pearls.

The abundance of ideas, the songwriting, the attitude - everything has grown bigger, louder and sharper in the Naomi universe. Bernd Lechler and Nico Tobias still show the odd fit of incurable melancholy, but this time any world weariness comes clad in choruses that make you want to shout "Holy Kylie!". The overall sound of the album reminds one of... well, nothing else, really. Massive backbeats carry scratchy guitar riffs, buzzing synths cut through gentle electric piano lines as the Berlin duo digs deep into the pop vocabulary of the past four decades.

"Fujiyama“ is an electro blues with elegiac Melodica and a downright symphonic final, “Candy Floss“ is a lazily stomping contemporary funk pop monster, and what happens in “Hello Fever“ after a soaring cosmic intro could almost be labeled as prog rock.

The thing is, Naomi never play it safe here. They seem to intentionally provoke the coolness police, casting away any tasteful cleverness of comparable indietronic acts and, smiling quietly, they lay it on thick. The Big Shapes draws on the forbidden side of the Eighties (the Phil Collins drums on “Morning Belle“), mischievously quotes heavy metal guitar lines (as for a few bars in “Dragon Tree“), and makes nods toward Kraftwerk and Depeche Mode as well as Chic and the psychedelic Beatles.

Still, like any great fun, The Big Shapes is propelled by great seriousness. “First Things First“ gleefully exaggerates the disillusioned pragmatism of the noughties, “Hello Fever“ sounds like a feverish dream about the financial crisis, “Sleep“ ponders the fact that only those who don’t act at all make no mistakes.

Behind the stoically grooving psychedelic pop of “Don‘t Die Again OK“ there lurks a childhood nightmare, and the vocoder-based final track “I‘ll Be The Past“, possibly the most touching song of the album, is a humble, obviously autobiographically inspired meditation on mortality, almost a prayer.

Reviewing their last albums, the "Rolling Stone magazine" described Naomi as “wondrous“. They still are. Just this time with a bang.



Discography:

2000:
That's Right (Mole Listening Pearls) 12", mp3

2001:
Avenue L'amour (Mole Listening Pearls) 12", mp3

2002:
Everyone Loves You (Mole Listening Pearls) CD, mp3
Everyone Loves You (Limited Edition) (Mole Listening Pearls) 2CD, mp3
Go (Mole Listening Pearls) Promo CD
We Are So Beautiful (Mole Listening Pearls) 12"
We Are So Beautiful (Mole Listening Pearls) Promo CD Single incl. Amnesty International Video

2004:
Pappelallee (Mole Listening Pearls) CD, mp3

Pappelallee (HoloPhon) CD, mp3
King Kong Is Not Dead (HoloPhon) 12"
iTunes Naomi Exclusive EP (HoloPhon) mp3
October (HoloPhon) mp3

2006:
Another Bite Of The Apple (Mole Listening Pearls) Promo CD
Another Bite Of The Apple (Mole Listening Pearls) mp3
Aquarium (Mole Listening Pearls) CD, mp3

2007:
Gone (Mole Listening Pearls) Promo CD
Gone (Mole Listening Pearls) mp3
Needle On The Record (Mole Listening Pearls) mp3

2008:
Pappelallee (Listening Pearls Series #2) CD ReRelease

Tweak (Mole Listening Pearls) CD, mp3

2010:
Morning Belle (Mole Listening Pearls) mp3

The Big Shapes (Mole Listening Pearls) CD, mp3
Dragon Tree (Mole Listening Pearls) mp3

2011:
Sleep (Mole Listening Pearls) mp3

2012:
The Big Shapes (Deluxe Edition) (Mole Listening Pearls) mp3 iTunes only

I'll Be The Past (Mole Listening Pearls) mp3

Videography:

2007:
Gone (unplugged) Video #1

2008:
Gone Video (big | small)
Gone (unplugged) Video #2

2010:
Dragon Tree Video (big | small) -> Pictures from the video shooting

2011:
Sleep Video

2012:
Fujiyama (Live @ Privatclub Berlin) Video


Audio Interview:

2010:
Naomi talks about "The Big Shapes", recorded in June 2010


Tourdates:

2011:
The Big Shapes Tour -> Trailer


amnesty international campaign:

2002:
"
du kannst" (with Franka Potente) and the track "Go"