Swiss band still burn with passion for music
One of Switzerland’s most successful rock bands are back after an absence of two years with a fresh sound and a new name.
Between 1998 and 2002 Gölä were at the forefront of the Swiss-German music scene, selling over half a million albums and playing to packed concert halls.
The band’s success rested on a mix of catchy rock numbers, soulful ballads and the strength of their Swiss-German lyrics.
But in 2002, at the height of their success, Gölä decided to take time out from performing.
Two years later vocalist Marco Pfeuti, guitarist Zlatko (Slädu) Perica and keyboard player Thomas Gyger are back together as “Burn”, with a new CD of the same name.
Although the musical style has changed little, this time the lyrics are in English.
As Burn explained to swissinfo, the name and language change are a deliberate attempt to move away from the band’s past, hugely successful though it was.
“We decided to end the Gölä thing when we thought that’s the highest peak we can reach,” said Thomas Gyger, at 27 the youngest of the trio. “We got kind of bored of it after a while and wanted to move on.”
According to the band, the change to English is designed to spread their appeal beyond German-speaking Switzerland.
“With Swiss-German music we were in the Swiss-German part and that was it. There was no chance to get out of it,” said Zlatko Perica. “So this is maybe a new opportunity for us.”
“You want to reach new people, to reach a new audience,” added the Croatian-born guitarist. “It would be really great if we could get out of Switzerland.”
The switch to English also reflects the band members’ preference for the language and their musical upbringing.
“It’s not our mother tongue,” explained lead singer Marco Pfeuti. “It’s just what we love to do most.”
And writing in another language posed no problem for the anglophiles.
“It came naturally,” said Perica. “There was no Swiss German except ‘The Way you Make Me Feel’ – that’s the only song we translated into English because we thought it’s a cool song… and it fitted in.”
The change in language meant a change in name was also needed, said Pfeuti, the band’s heavily tattooed frontman who worked as a manual labourer before his musical career took off.
“Gölä doesn’t sound that cool in English. It sounds a bit Turkish,” he laughed.
“If you change the lyrics, the language and everything, you’ve got to have a new name so there’s no confusion,” agreed Perica.
“If you want to listen to Gölä, you know it’s Swiss-German; if you listen to Burn, it’s a wholly different thing.”
Burn was a natural choice of name for the band because all three members have had a longstanding, consuming passion for music, explained Pfeuti. And also because it sounds like Bern, the band’s home canton.
“I go to California on holiday almost every year,” added Perica. “And every time someone asks me where I’m from I say ‘Burn’. I think that’s cool.”
swissinfo, Morven McLean
Burn are: Marco Pfeuti (vocals), Zlatko Perica (guitars) and Thomas Gyger (keyboards).
Between 1998 and 2002 the band were known as Gölä and sang in Swiss-German.
The chart-topping band won awards in Switzerland and their concerts frequently sold out.
In 2004 the band reformed and issued a CD entitled “Burn”.
In compliance with the JTI standards