Capturing Torpus & The Art Directors


Around two weeks ago, I was searching for a concert to photograph and write a review for LeipGlo. When I first saw the artwork for the latest album from Torpus & The Art Directors, a band from Hamburg, I had an immediate connection somehow.

We Both Need to Accept That I Have Changed was released in December 2017. The cover photo of the album reminds me of my Schrebergarten, with the lights giving a nice and welcoming atmosphere and the dog sitting on the chair. I listened to the album once. And again… and again while working from my home office in Leipzig Gohlis.

They happened to have a concert locally in February, at Connewitz’s WERK 2, and I went to check them out. Their style reminds me of Wilco, The Head and The Heart, Ryan Adams, Weezer, and Mumford & Sons.

Torpus & The Art Directors @ WERK 2, 7.2.18. (Photo: Erik Braga)
Torpus & The Art Directors. (Photo: Erik Braga)

But it is hard to define one style for the music of Torpus & The Art Directors.

The latest album is very mixed and one cannot use only one label for them. Some tracks are bluesy, some indie rock, lots of folk, and others pop rock. As a guitar enthusiast, the guitar riffs and solos speak to my amateur-musician heart.

They also have an album featuring covers, called Being Discovered, from 2016. It contains cover tracks such as “Big Jet Plane” from Angus and Julia Stone and “Everybody’s Changing” from Keane.

Just to mention that the band has good references.

The supporting act at their WERK 2 concert was Emily’s Giant, with his low and melancholic voice. His music was beautiful, and the low guitar tuning (in case you’re wondering, I mean the “open C” tuning), gave his performance a warm touch. He comes from Frankfurt but has lived in Leipzig for some years now.

But now back to the main attraction, the quintet from Hamburg. Torpus & The Art Directors gives over 100 concerts per year, and has played big festivals such as Rolling Stone Weekender and Orange Blossom.

Their concert at WERK 2 was quite impressive.

The band had beautiful stage presence and nice interaction with the audience. One interesting fact made the live performance very musically rich: several different musical instruments like the trombone, harmonium, mandolin, and contrabass were used on stage for different songs. Singer Sönke Torpus and guitarist Ove Thomsen sang several songs together, and this really added something extra to the concert.

Missed this gig? No worries. They said they would come back. You should keep up with their bands and their tour dates on their website / Facebook page.

By Erik Braga

Erik is a freelance photographer based in Leipzig who loves photographing concerts, playing his guitar and discovering new music. Born in Rio de Janeiro (1980), moved to Europe in 2004 and never left. He enjoys sunny days and bicycle riding. Vinyl collector, beer fan, father of two children. You can find some of his work @

Cover shot: Torpus & The Art Directors play at WERK 2 on 7 February 2018. The quintet is made up of Sönke Torpus, Jenny Apelmo, Melf Petersen, Ove Thomsen, and Felix Roll. (Photo: Erik Braga)

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