What we consider home varies from person to person. For some, it’s simply the town and the people they grew up with. For others, it may not be so straight forward. On Home, Berlin-based singer-songwriter Unknown Neighbour (Sascha Zemke) explores how we can build a home of our own, no matter where we come from.
“I wrote this song a while ago and I think it’s my most intimate one,” explains Zemke. “The lyrics kind of summarise my music – my songs, my message, my artist name – but also me as a person. Writing, producing and performing. ‘Home’ has been a rollercoaster of emotions. It’s a pile of hope for those who always had a room but no home. Music gives me so much strength and I hope that this song will do the same for some of you!“
Home is an intimate piece of indie-folk led by Zemke’s warm raspy vocals and his acoustic. Like a new foundation, they’re joined by an electric and banjo, piece by piece, and are woven with delicate keys that gradually build and swell with harmonies like embers. Through thick and thin, new chapters are added to our lives covering our cores, “like the rings of old trees,” and Zemke perfectly captures this in the accompanying video for Home featuring a close friend of his.
I spoke with Zemke about the inspiration, his friend Frank, and more. Read and watch Home by Unkown Neighbour right here.
What was the inspiration?
It starts with the title of the track. I know and cherish some other songs called ‘Home’ but they all have in common that they tell the story of a wonderful and peaceful home. A place where you come from and where you belong.
But there are so many people out there who don’t have such a warm image in their minds when they think of the place and the people they grew up with. That is what my song is about. About building your own home, no matter where you come from and against all the odds from in – and outside. The video should illustrate this. A home that is yours. Not a perfect one, you share it with your doubts and inner demons but also with the people you found on your path. A young child is, of course, the strongest picture of a new start, a new chance.
Can you elaborate on some of the imagery used?
While writing the script for the music video we discussed the profession we wanted our main character to have.
A man, a woman? A pc worker, a craftsman? We decided to support the idea of building your home with a character that has a craft profession. This is also the reason why we included a construction yard in our video.
Where was the video filmed?
We shot the video in an old country house near the Baltic Sea in Germany. We found the house on the internet and were happy to book it for one weekend. The location was of course very important and we were looking for a sparsely furnished, unrenovated, and old cabin where the main character lives in. It should look like a house/home he built/maintain on his own. But it shouldn’t look too cosy or kind of romantic. We wanted the house to look lonely when the main character is alone in it. And we were lucky that the unsettled weather supported our idea.
Near the house, there was also a beautiful lake where we filmed the group scene in the evening.
What was your favourite part of the process?
I was very lucky to get my friend Frank aboard for this project. Frank is not only optically a totally different person. We live very different lives but share a vision of the world we want to live in. And we also share a real understanding for rough times we both had to go through. This connects and I was so excited to see if we could capture this on video. Frank never stood in front of a camera before so we all had no idea what will happen.
But very soon the cinematographer Peter and I recognized that there was no difference between the Frank we know and the Frank in front of a camera. That’s the best thing that could happen!
Any behind the scenes stories you can share?
The little boy in the video is called Karlo and he actually is the son of Frank. Shooting a video with little children is very challenging because you never know what will happen. But Karlo performed just like his dad – by ignoring the camera and just being himself.