Im Interview: Tanner

Findet ihr nicht auch, dass in diesem Blog viel zu wenige Frauen vertreten sind? Ja, oder? Mir geht das schon so lange durch den Kopf, aber ich kann zum Beispiel eben auch nur mit ganz wenigen Sängerinnen etwas anfangen, deswegen ist das hier alles nicht so wirklich im Gleichgewicht. Aber gut, es gibt auch andere Wege um mehr an dieser Front zu arbeiten, sodass ich dafür versuche, einige Frauen aus dem breitgefächerten Musikbusiness zu interviewen. Somit starte ich heute mit der wunderbaren Tanner!

Wer von euch war denn zum Beispiel noch am Anfang des Jahres bei der mächtigen End Hits Records Tour mit Nathan Gray, Matze Rossi, Swain und Norbert Buchmacher? Und wer von euch war davor, währenddessen oder danach am Merch stöbern, um sich mit allerhand Kram von Nathan Gray einzudecken? Mit Rat und Tat steht Tanner hinter’m Tisch, hilft bei Entscheidungen was die Größe/Auswahl betrifft, ist stets für jeden noch so kleinen Spaß zu haben, strahlt Professionalität gepaart mit der absoluten Liebe zum Beruf aus. Charmant, sympathisch und mit dem Herz am richtigen Fleck. Ein unaufhaltsames Arbeitstier, immer in Bewegung, selbst während der Show nutzt sie die Zeit, um einiges am Laptop zu erledigen.

Tanner. Eine Frau, auf die man sich zu 100% verlassen kann, sich auf Tour pudelwohl fühlt und sich mit diesem damals eingeschlagenen Pfad ihren großen Wunsch erfüllt hat. Hoffen wir an dieser Stelle einfach alle, dass sie sich bald wieder in den nächsten Tourbus begeben kann, ja?!

In den vergangenen Wochen kam ihr plötzlich in den Sinn, einen Jahreskalender aus dem Boden zu stampfen, der direkt mehrere Fliegen mit einer Klappe schlägt: es ist nicht nur ein wunderbarer Begleiter für das Jahr 2021, sondern es liegt besonderes Augenmerk auf die 13 Fotografinnen, die ihre erstklassigen Bilder nur allzu gerne für dieses Projekt zur Verfügung stellten. Darüber hinaus durfte sich jede von ihnen eine Organisation aussuchen, an die die Einnahmen fließen soll. Mega, oder? Mit jeder einzelnen Bestellung tut somit jede*r etwas Gutes und kann sich dafür in den kommenden Monaten an diesem Kalender erfreuen. Liebe ich! Aufgepasst: Vorbestellungen gehen nur noch bis zum 10. Dezember, deswegen bitte direkt zuschlagen! Auch für eure Konzertbegeisterten Freunde ist das ein perfektes Geschenk.

PRE ORDER: Shop!

Ausserdem ging es im folgenden Interview um ihre Anfänge, dieses verkorkste Jahr und ihr Leben mit depressiven Phasen. Liebe Tanner, vielen vielen Dank für das Beantworten dieser ganzen Fragen und für deine Offenheit im Bezug zum Thema Mental Health!

Pssst, sie weiß es noch nicht: aber ich habe noch so viele Fragen für sie parat, dass es gut sein kann, dass sie erneut eine Anfrage von mir bekommt, haha. Aber jetzt erstmal viel Spaß mit diesem Interview und vergesst bitte nicht den Kalender!

Beginnings

Why don’t you tell us something about your beginnings: how and when did you stumble into the music business and what did you like so much that you are still working in this business today?

I started singing with my own melodic HC band doing a few smaller Canadian tours in my mid to late teens and then in 2002, I did my first North American tour working for a band, at 19. I got paid $10/day to sell their merch (2 designs, sold in Large or XL). I’ve been at it on and off since then. The people is what keeps me in it. It’s a place that I always feel like I can be myself and where people understand my sense of humour.

Taken at my favourite holiday spot, ‘Travelodge, M25 West Thurrock, UK

Has it always been a dream of yours or were there other career aspirations before?

My friends’ band Figure Four got signed to a US label when I was 17. As soon as they started touring around North America, I knew it was something that I wanted to try and be a part of because I’d barely travelled anywhere at that point. I was 18 or 19 when I took a plane somewhere for the first time. I wanted to see the world, so touring seemed like the easiest and best way to do that.

What was your very first tour and how did it go? Were there any stumbling blocks or funny experiences?

My first tour working for a band, Figure Four, I took a 72hr bus ride from Winnipeg to Columbia, South Carolina. They were flying in from a tour in Brazil and I was supposed to meet them in Virginia, but the van had broken down (as it does). I almost got denied at the border on the way down because I was green and I didn’t realize that I needed working papers. Luckily the border guard had mercy on me. That would absolutely never happen these days.

What tips would you give to others who are also interested in a life on tour? What should the first steps look like to gain a foothold?

In my experience, it’s all about who you know, so I would say to network and meet as many people as you can, but be genuine with your relationships. Don’t just try and be friends with someone because you think they might be able to help you. Work hard and remember you’re there to do a job first and have fun second. Reliable people are hard to find, so don’t be flaky.

What does a classic day on tour look like for you? Which tasks do you have? What do you enjoy and what is less enjoyable?

It really depends on what role I’m doing on what tour. I had one day in summer 2019 that stretched for 24-hours working from load in to load out, whereas on my last tour in February, I was able to take a nap in the afternoons which was very luxurious. I generally like being on the move, so any task that has me moving around is always great. Less enjoyable are the uncomfortable conversations you sometimes have to have with people to keep the machine moving. That’s never fun for me (or probably anyone I suppose).

Women are still in short supply in the music industry. What do you think is the reason for this and what should change?

I’ve been lucky to not always be the lone woman on the road, but the ratio of men to women is still fully outrageous. I suppose the simple reason for this is that it’s often hard to break systems unless a conscious effort is made. In the last few years though, I’ve seen a rise in women touring in the industry in many different roles; bus & truck drivers, pyro & lighting technicians, audio engineers, etc. There is still a long way to go, but I remain positive it’s only getting better.

Calender

How and when did the idea with the calendar come to your mind?

Seven weeks ago, I was folding t-shirts at Evil Greed, thinking about what I could do to help raise some money this year, and the idea of making a calendar popped into my head.

‚The time is now‘- how did the title come about?

What it means to me, is that the time is now for things to finally change. That’s not necessarily just meaning for women in music either. If this year has taught me anything, it’s that we can no longer go on living how we have been.

The calendar can only be ordered until 10 December. Why this short period of time?

I was speaking with a colleague and he said that generally speaking, you sell most of what you are going to sell with a pre-order item within the first week. At that point, the calendar will have been on sale for 14 days. There are some boring logistics involved, but basically, I want to try and make sure everyone, including our international customers, receives it by the end of the year.

How did you choose the photographers? What do you like about their work?

I started by first asking Martina Wörz if she was interested. I know her the best out of the whole group. From there, it was just a snowball of recommendation to recommendation. I like that a lot of the photos looks like beautiful art to me.

What was important to you when selecting the charities?

I think all the charities are really great, but I did not select any of them. I wanted the photographers to feel a little more connected to the project, so each of them chose one for the proceeds to be donated to.

What connects you with Evil Greed?

I am currently working at Evil Greed. The project wouldn’t have been possible without them or my friend Kaytee Trudeau.

What is so special about this calendar? Why should we all order one?

Aside from it showcasing the work of 13 incredible women, and that all profits are being donated; throughout the calendar there are also some prominent women in history’s birth dates listed, along with a tidbit of info from their inspiring lives. I definitely learned a lot researching all of the names.

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Mental Health

When did you first realize that you suffer from depression and anxiety? How did you learn to live with it?

I’d say I realized this in the last five years or so. And let me start off by saying that this is something I generally don’t speak that openly about, especially to write this down in a public forum. It absolutely gives me great anxiety to do so. I would rather never speak about it, but I know that it will eat me alive if I don’t so I’ve been trying to be more open about it in the last few years. We all tell each other “it’s okay not to be okay” but then I still feel like a lot of us are walking around pretending with a smile pasted on our faces. People are dying by suicide – People we would all never think are suffering. We need to all start opening up and sharing the darkness we’re independently but collectively going through and normalize it. This is me trying to help normalize it.

I have the hardest time when I don’t have anything to do or any purpose. I imagine that definitely isn’t exclusive to me. I always compare myself to a Border Collie, and I am happiest when I feel needed and have tasks to do. I need to move, use my brain and be active to be in the healthiest state. Touring gives me those things plus community, so that’s why I enjoy it, but the comedown after can be pretty rough at times.

What is your opinion about therapies and medication? What experience have you been able to gain in these areas yourself? What has helped you the most?

I think that EVERYBODY who is lucky enough to have access to therapy should get it. I think medication is absolutely necessary as well for some people. I have done a little bit of therapy before which has really helped. I am in the midst of trying to get a therapist now through my insurance, but any kind of German bureaucracy is a total nightmare.

How would you describe yourself if you were in a depressive phase? Which symptoms are causing you the most trouble?

I feel like I am in quicksand and I can’t get out of bed or do anything. Sometimes I will be in bed for a couple of days. The future feels hopeless. I get extremely overwhelmed by the simplest of tasks and then beat myself up for being so incompetent. I don’t want to talk or see anybody. The only thing that feels like it will bring me comfort is my complete solitude.

Who or what can cheer you up or help you through difficult times?

I am VERY fortunate to have a strong, tight circle of friends and my Mom that I can be candid with.

What worries and fears are your daily companion?

In the last three years, I’ve been fairly consumed with death and losing those that I love. I am extremely close with my parents and my Dad almost died in 2017. That really rocked my world. There have been a couple other close peripheral deaths in my life in the last couple of years that have exacerbated those feelings. It sometimes feels like landmines are going off all around me, and I’m just waiting for the one underneath me to blow.

Many people still do not regard depression as an illness – how do you view such opinions?

It absolutely is an illness. I believe Western culture’s individualistic way of living is doing extreme damage to people’s psyches and we really need to focus on rebuilding proper communities.

Anything else you wanna add?

I feel like I do a pretty good job at hiding that I struggle at times. The idea of sharing anything vulnerable about my depressive episodes makes me want to crawl out of my skin and hide, but I know how lonely it can feel when you’re in it and if it can make someone reading this feel a little less lonely, then I think it’s worth it. Remember, it really will get better.

2020

At the beginning Corona was not taken seriously in many countries and was labeled as a normal ‚flu‘. What was going through your mind when the infection and death rates continued to rise?

I think like most people, I was scared. This is something we’ve never been through in our lives and we didn’t know how bad it was going to get. I live across an ocean from my family, and my parents are older so that definitely added to that fear.

Your opinion about mask deniers and conspiracy theorists? What do you think causes this defensive attitude coupled with wild speculations?

Short answer: I can’t handle them. In my opinion, if wearing a mask can save one life, then you should wear a mask. I’ve been wearing one at work for 8+hrs a day now for nearly the past 2 months and it’s really not that big of a deal. In saying that though, I suppose everyone just feels out of control and are dealing with everything in very different ways.

Foto: Sven Hoppmann

How were the first months for you when it became clear that you wouldn’t be able to continue your work for the rest of the year?

The first months were pretty dark. Not because I couldn’t tour, but because of all of the uncertainty, financial insecurity and because of the separation from my family and friends. I turned a corner in the summer though and have been on a fairly positive path since them.

How do you currently make your living?

I’ve been working at Evil Greed since June. EG is an online merch store. I feel extremely fortunate to have a fulltime job. I have no idea what I would be doing otherwise.

It’s definitely not an easy year for people with mental health issues- how do you handle it?

There have been some really low lows, but I just try and remember that they too shall pass and I try and let myself have low days.