Somewhere back in – not so far away – 1985, a band called Pink Turns Blue was born in Berlin, Germany, who was supposed to stigmatize the map of dark music forever, especially in Post Rock and New Dark Wave music, making a name for itself as part of the first generation of gothic rock in Germany. Pink Turns Blue became an integral part of the ongoing Dark Wave music, having their main weapons their dark sound with the mysterious synthesizers and the introverted lyrics (which become intense with the theatricality of the vocal performance each time). And if all of this makes your heartbeat hitting loud, think about enjoying those legends live in Thessaloniki a few days from now – Athens enjoyed them about two weeks ago. Wouldn’t it be good to show some light in the band’s past, just so to be better prepared for their visit here? Yes, it would.
It all started with Thomas Elbern (vocals and guitars), Mic Jogwer (vocals, bass and keyboards) and a drum machine. More specifically, in 1985, with Elbern being a member of Seltsame Zustände (a band belonging to NDW – New Deutsche Welle) and wanting to set up his own band in Cologne, he put up an ad in the local newspaper. The ad was answered by Mic Jogwer, leading to the creation of a band under the name Pink Turns Blue, a name taken from the homonymous track by Hüsker Dü. Their first steps followed the paths paved by The Chameleons, Joy Division, Souxsie and the Banshees, and of course early The Cure, The Velvet Underground, Killing Joke, Jesus & Mary Chain and Hüsker Dü.
In the beginning of 1986, drummer Marcus Giltjes and keyboardist Ruebi Walter joined the band. Immediate result, the “Young Talent” prize from the greatest German radio station WDR, a prize which was accompanied by a studio session with producer and radio presenter Volkmar Kramarz. With the change of the year, Mic Jogwer left the bass for the guitar duties and Ruebi Walter, left the keys to catch the bass.
In August of the same year, Pink Turns Blue signed with the newly established record label Fun Factory! The band recorded some new songs and went on to re-mix the existing material from 1986 for the debut album “If Two Worlds Kiss”, released in October 1987. Always trying to find a “deep”, atmospheric sound with multi-dimensional lyrics, the band felt better from the beginning to be singing in English, which was objectively a disadvantage for the German market but an advantage if they wanted to create a global fan base. And that’s what happened. The crowd embraced warmly the band from day one, making ‘Walking On Both Sides’ their first hit and ticket for their first appearance on television. From October 1987 to 1988, the band kept going on tours. In fact, they were invited to tour with the Yugoslavian band Laibach, and Jogwer became friends with their sound engineer, Janez Križaj. Križaj invited Pink Turns Blue to record their second album in Ljubljana. To pay for the recordings, PTB illegally transported studio equipment across the border. From then on, they climbed to number five of the Swiss charts!
** In the spring of 1987, Tom made his last appearance with the band and left the rest without a guitarist and with only half of the songwriters. To get the songs of both songwriters a fair chance, Tom and Mic agreed to share copyright in all the songs (as was the case with Lennon / MacCartney, for example). That’s why all the songs that were written between 1985 and early 1987 were credited to the name “Elbern / Jogwer”.
In August 1988 the single “Touch The Skies” was released and Pink Turns Blue performed their first concerts in England, France, Switzerland and the Netherlands. In October the band released their second album titled “Meta”, which was heavily influenced by the heavy keys used by The Cure. During the recording period, PTB had been experimenting with their instruments and equipment, and made several changes that translated into a more peculiar musical expression. So in conjunction with the band’s growing musical capacity, new sounds and atmospheres were created, making ‘Meta’ a bold step further for both the band itself and its listeners. More and more often, ‘Meta’ began to be characterized as the official invention of “Dark Wave”, giving more and more impetus to the band’s reputation. Sales of the album exceeded 2,300 copies in 8 weeks. The second single, “Your Master Is Calling” gave them televised time on Tele 5 while the track itself kept playing constantly on many radio stations and is their most popular song to date with more than 2.7 million YouTube hits.
The third album “Eremite” was also recorded by Janez Križaj in Ljubljana and was completed in August 1989. However, their record label Fun Factory faced financial difficulties and Pink Turns Blue was forced to move to a subsidiary called Our Choice, which released the album in April 1990. With “If Two Worlds Kiss” and “Meta” having gained so much reputation in Post Punk and the wider Dark Wave scene, Pink Turns Blue had begun to re-experiment. A major step in the changes included the use of a drum machine combined with Marcus’ normal-drum recordings and the hiring of drummer from Slovenia, while the use of keyboards and more expressive guitars has increased. Some of the tracks are more theatrical than usual, while other tracks have remained on the classic post-punk composition structures. The track that stood out most was “Michelle”. The mix for “Michelle” was made in Manchester and the track was released in October as a single. In early 1990, Ruebi Walter’s younger brother, Reinhold took over the keys, and drummer Marcus Giltjes left the band.
The fourth studio album of Pink Turns Blue, “Aerdt (Art + Earth)”, was recorded from January to February 1991 in Ljubljana by Mic Jogwer and Ruebi Walter as a duo, since Marcus left the band – objectively not so but at least they did not see it so much. So “Aerdt” actually became a studio project, sealing the band’s post punk / dark wave era. In essence, Ruebi and Mic were in Ljubljana, staying in a place belonging to Janéz Krizaj, without heating or other comforts. They resided in a double bed with a mini electric heater desperately trying to raise the temperature somewhat above zero. So, Ruebi, Mic and Janéz spent the most of their time together in the studio and they did a lot of experimenting, but they wanted to create eccentric pieces. At the same time, the ever-expanding rave scene in England acted as an influence. “Aerdt” became the band’s most successful album with “Waiting For The Son”, “Seven Years” and “Catholic Sunday” becoming awesome hits while the use of “Aerdt” and “Andy” in movies around the world, further increased the reputation of the band. In all practical matters, we are talking about a record whose main elements include murmuring, the 909 drum machine, tambourine, some keys and guitar.
In spring 1991, after finishing the album ‘Aerdt’, Mic Jogwer and Ruebi Walter moved to London. The song “Seven Years” from ‘Aerdt ‘was re-recorded in a dance version and released as a single in September. In early 1992, two more dance oriented singles followed: “Overloaded” and “Star”.
In May 1992 Pink Turns Blue recorded their fifth album, released under the title “Sonic Dust”, an album through which we were introduced to the new drummer of the band, Louis Pavlou. Sure, because of the influences, the changes were many in their style, in their genre, etc. That Post Punk/ Dark Wave movement of Germany’s Underground scene of the late 1980s meant nothing in England. The dominance of the rave movement began to spread everywhere, to the point where everyone started to put dance loops on their already indie-defined tracks, asking DJs to make them remixes and so on. But in the case of Pink Turns Blue, their new manager, Eric Härle, helped them broaden their sound without losing their identity. Although we are talking about a record that had very good tracks as a whole, the production was well below average, burying the songs. Pink Turns Blue were missing their old fire, dark atmosphere and mysterious embrace.
In December 1992, Pink Turns Blue recorded their sixth official album “Perfect Sex” with David M. Allen, producer of The Cure and Sisters Of Mercy. It was the first time that PTB had a real producer. For some strange reason, a demo tape had fallen into the hands of Allen (they gave some demo copies to people outside the clubs where they attended bands they liked), and he was fascinated because it reminded him of his young punk years. He called them to his studio, Funny Bunny, and within two weeks they recorded everything. All of this naturally influenced the musical performance, making PTB’s sixth album packed with atmosphere, depth and intensity. It was released after some delay in 1994. Louis Pavlou decided to leave the band this year to go on recording with The Cure the album “Wild Swing Mood”.
In 1995, Pink Turns Blue disbanded. Mic Jogwer later remarked that with the move to London, the band lost its musical orientation and spread itself too thin. Mic Jogwer made a career in the music and media industry producing CD ROMs and websites.
In April 2001, Mic Jogwer produced three songs with Violetta Superstar, the band of Brigid Anderson which was released in October 2001 on a compilation CD (Die fiesen Diven). The two formed an electronic duo called Orden and started to write songs together and recorded some demos.
Early 2003, Thomas Görnert, the manager of the Wave-Gotik-Treffen in Leipzig, requested a performance of Orden and he addressed Mic Jogwer’s band Pink Turns Blue. Jogwer and Andersen persuaded Thomas Elbern, Reini Walter and Louis Pavlou into a one-off Re-Union show and Pink Turns Blue performed at the Wave-Gotik-Treffen in June 2003. Following this, the band reformed and played as headliners at M’era Luna 2004.
The restart was announced in combination with a greatest hits album called Re-Union.
The seventh studio album Phoenix was recorded in Berlin in winter 2004/2005, mixed by Janez Križaj in Ljubljana and released in April 2005. The album received ‘album of the months awards’ in three music magazines (Sonic Seducer, Orkus, Zillo) and spent eight weeks on chart position 3 in the German Alternative Charts.
The eighth album, Ghost, which came about in the same setting in fall/winter 2006/2007 followed in May 2007. The release was presented at the Wave-Gotik-Treffen 2007 and again got ‘album of the month awards’, made it to chart position 37 of the annual German Alternative Charts.
In November 2009 the band recorded their ninth album Storm with the singles Storm Rider and Run From Me which made it to chart position 2 in the German Alternative Charts. Storm also got critical acclaim from the mainstream press and brought international attention and festival invitations.
Since then, Pink Turns Blue haven’t released another complete album, but that doesn’t mean that the love of the crowd towards the band is lost or that we will not enjoy them in their upcoming concert. I’m sure they will give us their best, so I’m not worried about anything.
More information about their concert in Thessaloniki can be found at the following link: