Three decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, it’s time to tell the tale of how a young man managed to escape Germany in 1945, while his grandson made the other way round in 1991, looking for answers that he could only find in 2017.
Minutes To Midnight: Bio
Following a stint as an audio professional in the gaming industry, I have now turned my focus on music production. After extensive experience working with other artists, arranging, co-writing, and mixing, I have decided to tell a very personal story in the medium of a concept album.
After 1989: A Trip To Freedom is my debut solo album. A thoroughly crafted concept, it’s the result of a personal journey through a painful family legacy during World War II and the tumultuous decades that followed.
The Past: Escaping Berlin
Summer, mid-eighties. During a family dinner, after a glass too many, my grandfather let a story slip from his past. Fascists captured and sent him to Germany. He spent four years in Sachsenhausen concentration camp, on the outskirts of Berlin.
The Nazis spared his life because of his craftsmanship as a shoemaker. In April 1945, shortly before the Allies stormed into the city, he managed to escape with a fellow Russian inmate. They crossed Europe and came back home.
I grew up during the Cold War, obsessed by a shared feeling of impending doom. My very first trip was to Prague and Berlin, a few months after the collapse of the Wall. I watched a divided city as it still was, but didn’t dare to visit the camp. Many years later, I was able to put my resolve to the test.
The Present: Back To Berlin
Present day. Once again, I’m back in Berlin, this time to finally see the Konzentrationslager. I’m on the S-Bahn train to Oranienburg. At each station, my mind goes back in time, to the tumultuous decades that preceded the 9th of November 1989. The day when people were able to cross the Wall. I’m thinking about the connection between my grandfather’s story and the convoluted menacing world order that came out of it.
When I finally cross the steel gate of Sachsenhausen, I realise how this whole story is about being a prisoner. Whether in a concentration camp, behind a wall, caught within propaganda or fearing a nuclear holocaust.
“After 1989” Promo
Minutes to Midnight’s album is magical and haunting, giving the listener a way to both experience and reconcile the horrors and joys of the past; a journey of choices and consequences, a path of emotional growth. It is at once rock opera, gothic melancholy, family legend, and historical account. All blending together to create an album unlike any other.Rosa Nadine Sánchez Xochimilco — from the in-depth review of the album
Track after track, Minutes to Midnight takes us to a journey that is both personal and part of the shared history that shaped our lives and the current affairs. Each song is a unique blend of beautifully crafted sounds and samples from crucial historical events, delivered with the help of incredibly talented collaborators.Silvia Maggi
It’s a greatly inspiring album, where the sounds blend perfectly with the strength of the feelings evoked, all mentioned facts being part of our collective unconscious although personal for the artist.Giuliana Graniti
It’s impossible to remain indifferent. It sounds great, everything is so clear and defined. The only thing that’s missing is a jam-packed theatre.Paolo Clementi
Really enjoying the album, so much work has gone into it clearly, a great concept and realisation.Dominic Hall-Smith