Mensch, Monique in Australia, 2019

Image courtesy of Mensch, Monique!

Folk On The Road

Mensch Monique!: Interview at Cobargo Folk Festival

Mensch, Monique! were in Australia earlier in 2019, playing gigs, house concerts and festivals. I caught up with Jule and Georg at Cobargo Folk Festival to find out how musical and family life had been treating them since the days of The Beez.

We spoke under a blazing sun, with welcome shade from the café marquee, perched
precariously on milk crates, sipping on ginger and lemongrass over cubed
ice (just brilliant on a baking hot day).

Cobargo Folk Festival 2019

Bill Quinn: How long has Mensch, Monique! been going? What are you doing? How is it going?

Jule Schroder: Well, actually, Georg and me, we have been playing since 2007.

BQ: And how about music?

JS: Exactly! Playing music! (And we’ve been playing together longer than that!) But I was in a band called ‘The Beez’; for such a long time.

BQ: The Beez? Can you spell that? I’m not familiar with this band.

[If you can’t pick up the irony in that sentence, go to where you can read just one or two articles about this band by the authour over the past decade.]

JS: Tee Hahr Eeh Bee Double Eeh Zsedh. We were one Australian, one American, and two Germans.

BQ: And one of the Deutshes is now Australierin!

JS: That’s right. Deta got married to Rob a long time ago and now she’s got her spouse visa.

So, anyway, I was playing with The Beez, being busy. And there was just no point [after the birth of first child]. We couldn’t play gigs. Or we could, but it was just too hard.

So when I left The Beez in 2014, we said, “Let’s write some songs together”. And why not in German? And that’s what we did!

And it just takes a long time. You know, we’ve got two kids now. But we do it in our own tempo. Our own speed, you know? And we love it!

BQ: That’s very interesting that you do your songs in German, with English being the lingua franca for the world, the language that the majority of the planet understands. Tell me about when you perform in Germany. Is it 100% in German? Or do you mix it up a bit?

JS: We mix it up, but it’s really interesting because I talk to a lot of musician friends from Germany, and we came to the… schluss? … conclusion that we just HAVE to write songs in German because it’s our language.

It just doesn’t make sense that we only write songs in English, because that’s not our language.

And it’s a bit hard to sing in German, I must say. And what is really interesting for me is, because I write most of the melodies, I don’t think in German when I write the melodies. I can’t do that. It’s really interesting.


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A Punter’s Perspective #40: Don’t Mention The Wall! (Interview)

Don't Mention The Wall! Rob and Deta Rayner. Image courtesy of Rob and Deta.
Don’t Mention The Wall! Rob and Deta Rayner (Germany). Image courtesy of Rob and Deta Rayner.

A Punter’s Perspective

Random observations on the wide, weird world of folk from the side of the stage

#40 Don’t Mention The Wall!

First published on the Timber and Steel blog on 2 January 2013
Second published in Trad and Now magazine, January 2013

Berlin folk pop band The Beez have been frequent visitors to Australia in recent years with their latest tour taking place at the start of 2012. The band is now taking a short break at the start of 2013, however, band members Rob and Deta Rayner will be coming to Australia very shortly with a new show: Don’t Mention The Wall! – songs and stories  from the fall of the Berlin Wall and beyond.

On a variously muggy mid-summer’s Australian morning or frosty Berlin midnight hour, depending on your hemispherical perspective, I spoke with Rob Rayner on the line from Berlin about the show.

Bill Quinn: The Beez left our shores back in April, was it?

Rob Rayner: It was May. It was the epic tour of four months. We never thought we’d get through four months but we did. AND the amazing thing is that we’re still talking to each other! Continue reading

The Beez are buzzing their last in Australia for 2012

The Beez are buzzing their last in Australia for 2012

Last chance to see this weekend at Mount Beauty Music Festival, Victoria

Regular visitors to Australia, The Beez, will be having one last hurrah at the Mount Beauty Music Festival this weekend in Victoria then wending their way back for a fly out to home later this week.

So take one last chance in Victoria or join them in cyberspace and buy up all their albums:

* ‘Look What They’ve Done To My Song’ is a fresh take on other people’s stuff, and

* ‘Freishcwhimmer’ is all there own — that spelling may be dodgy — can’t find a reference right now and my battery’s about to go kaput!

Listen to the music of The Beez

My article in 2009 on The Beez tour:

Georg taping for Commusication im Berlin, Kangaroo Valley Folk Festival
Georg taping for Commusication im Berlin, Kangaroo Valley Folk Festival


A Punter’s Perspective 16 — The Beez: Portrait of a band at the end of a very long road

The Beez at the (Australian) National Multicultural Festival
The Beez at the (Australian) National Multicultural Festival, February 2009

A Punter’s Perspective

Random observations on the wide, weird world of folk from the side of the stage

#16 The Beez: Portrait of a band at the end of a very long road
First published in Trad and Now magazine, May 2009

‘Is there any point going on with this? I mean, should we just unplug and go acoustic?’

It was late December 2008, one of the first gigs for The Beez from Berlin at the start of an epic four-month tour. Fresh off the plane (and without their usual all-terrain sound man Georg for the first few gigs), things were not going well.

The speaker, Rob Rayner, originally from Sydney but a long-term resident of Berlin, was being polite and patient and professional, but the strain was beginning to show as Julischka’s acoustic bass seemed determined to stay unplugged. The audience was urged to move up front and cluster in the front rows.

Guitarist Peter D’Elia made some gag to help defuse the situation which got no response from the audience, except this from yours truly. ‘Try telling that joke again acoustically’.

‘Hey, I know you!’ D’Elia said, pointing into the second row.

And so was rekindled a friendship that left off in Cobargo in 2007.

This was the start point of the mammoth undertaking that saw The Beez travel to just about every point on the Australian compass, from Darwin to Hobart, from Byron Bay to Perth and many, many points in between. Continue reading