Willi-Bartels-Treppe, 2012

Hamburg is dark at night. When we meet Islands at the Knust venue in the evening before their show the nice spots around are all either too dark or too loud for recording our session with the now Los-Angeles based Canadians. So we embark on a nightly excursion and take the metro to Landungsbrücken, Hamburg’s touristy hot-spot but also a great place for watching the lights of the city at night. Singer Nick and his bandmates jokingly explore the busy riverside, spot free-running rabbits and eventually climb up the stairs to Hotel Hafen Hamburg, a former sailor’s home allowing a beautiful outlook over the river Elbe. With this backdrop Islands head into a beautiful, melancholic and bluesy version of “Lonely Love” from their recent album “A Sleep & A Forgetting”.

Michael Luger
Sound Recording
Sarah Brugner
Post production
Michael Luger


Willi Bartels’ nickname was no less than „King of St. Pauli“. The 1914-born businessman gained local popularity and honour in Hamburg’s famous St. Pauli district as an investor and real estate developer, hotelier and owner of Europe’s most modern brothel back in the 1960s. After his death in 2007 the stairs leading up from Landungsbrücken to his Hotel Hafen Hamburg – connecting the riverside with the heart of St. Pauli – were named Willi-Bartels-Treppe and inaugurated with a festive ceremony.