If you’ve been on TikTok recently, chances are you’ve already heard the melancholic sounds of Zimmer90.
The German band’s synth-soaked single “What Love Is” became the de facto recap soundtrack of 2023. It’s hard not to be moved by the compilations of travel videos, nights out and foreign locales with the backing of their track, which transforms an Instagram video with it warm nostalgia, like a summer sun.
Zimmer90 are an indie pop delight and have quickly gained a stable footing online with their pensive tunes. With an EP out last September and a new single, PAPER sat down with the band for ostensibly their first interview stateside to talk Tame Impala, piano lessons and their dreams for the new year!
Hello! It’s so nice getting a chance to talk with you. Tell us, how did the band form? I read in a recent interview that piano lessons might have been involved?
Hey, thanks for having us! Yes, that’s true about the piano lessons. We had lessons with the same piano teacher [named Joscha]. He quickly realized that we were both interested in more than just jazz piano and recorded our first songs with us. He produced Movin’ and encouraged us to release our songs. So he played a big role in the band's formation.
Your music has an ethereal, dreamlike quality to it. What are some of your influences as a band?
We have always been fascinated by vast sound worlds you can immerse yourself in. This is how our band name Zimmer90 (English “Room90”) came about. We see music as space. Whether played at a concert or heard by an individual in a room. And we wanted to have this quality in our own music too. I think we are influenced by Tame Impala, Beach House, Men I Trust and so many more... anything that includes wide synth pads haha.
Your song, “What Love Is,” has been gaining traction on TikTok on people’s recaps of 2023. How has the experience of seeing so many people use your song been for you?
On the one hand, it's bizarre because it's impossible to fully imagine the extent of it. It felt a bit strange and overwhelming at times in the last few days. On the other hand, we are extremely happy and grateful. It feels like a dream coming true to share our music with the whole world and reach people who live miles away. That’s crazy!
What’s the story behind the song, and is there a reason you think it’s caught on with people looking back at 2023?
The song is about the crucial moments in relationships when everything is at stake and the important questions are asked such as “Do you even know what love is?” or “What does love mean to you?” This is also where the phrase “Will we stay the same?” developed. I believe that it encourages us to look back and reflect. That's why it fits in very well with the recap trend that's currently happening.
Moving past other people’s recaps, how was the year for you as a band?
The year was very eventful for us. I recently talked to Joscha about it and we said that it feels like three years have passed instead of one. We traveled a lot. We did a lot of things for the first time such as playing our first tour which was very exciting. We got to meet a lot of lovely people and also work with them. I can just say that we are beyond grateful for the opportunities we have been given and for all the beautiful moments we got to share with each other and all the people who follow what we do.
Is there anything you’re looking forward to in 2024?
There's a lot we're looking forward to: playing lots of concerts in European cities, working on our first album and hopefully releasing it in 2024. But what I'm most happy about is that we've moved into our first space where we want to set up a place where we feel comfortable and can create new things as a real Zimmer90.
This interview has been condensed and edited.
Photography: Max Heeb