In The Studio: Jim Kroft | Boat For Sara


Hey guys!

In April I got to spend some time in my favourite city, Berlin. 
I was there to join Jim Kroft for his 48 hours album recording session.

I have known Jim's work for years and I've found a lot of inspiration in it, as well as in the conversations I got to have with him.
That said, I was definitely very chuffed when he invited me to become a part of the "Boat For Sara" fundraiser.

Please let me tell you more about it below.

Jim Kroft is a Berlin based musician, photographer and videographer.
He's been making music for years and has released a great amount of records and EPs,
yet his brand new release, "Journeys #3" has to be entitled as his most special release.

Jim Kroft online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Instagram

The "Journeys" series is a multi-media project started by Kroft. On his website he lets you know what it is about - quote below:

 "Human life is a journey. We are all born. We all die.
What we do in between defines who we are, and how we are remembered.
 After years as a musician, I realized that I had been living with an unnamed frustration. I wanted to release more regularly than the traditional album cycle. I wanted to to bring my music to people in reality rather than in the cyber world.
More than that, I wanted connection, camp fire, campervaning – to share my music behind the great firewall of China, the desert of the Sahara and the open endless roads of America.
What is music for? Had i forgotten? What are the colours of my dreams, the shape of my subconscious longings?
I decided that in order to find my way, I needed to get lost, to set out into the unknown, and to hell with sense. As a result my »Journeys« project was born.
 It is an independent project – one man, one guitar, one camera. In a fractured and fragmented world, I’ve decided to seek its heart, and to find out for myself what its people think. At my core I believe that human beings want to be unified, not divided, that we want to progress peacefully, that when measured in total it our kindness that will defeat our cruelty. In order to find out for myself, I have set out on my journey."

Earlier this year Jim and his good friend photographer/videographer Bastian Fischer set off for another journey, this time headed to Lesvos and Idomeni - where they spent time at the refugee camps. Their way of documenting these stories has been remarkable; the updates we got online were honest, they were pure, they were shocking and they were real.

You might realise that I'm struggling to write this post. That is because I can't quite wrap my head around this utterly beautiful project which Jim Kroft has created.

The 48 hours album was dedicated to his campain, "Boat For Sara".
The aim of this campaign is to raise money for a foundation called PROEM - AID. They are a team of professionally trained Spanish Rescue Workers.
All profits from the campaign will be used to buy a boat. If the target is exceeded, a better boat will be bought.

I would like to quote Jim again and share the cause of this fundraiser in his words:

"I will never forget last night as long as I live. There is simply no leap the imagination can make to replicate these scenes. Scenes which happen over and over every night, and only the latest of which I have participated in. We arrived at 11pm last night and only finally left at 12 noon today simply because every human hand was needed. And those were by far not enough. During the night, our beach alone handles around 10 boats with I don't know, 40 to 60 people per boat. I'm talking mothers, children, screaming babies, teenagers, Dads, old men and woman.
Freezing cold. Soaked in rain, waves, panic. Some in a 2 hour crossing. Some in 6. At night in the dark. One little girl, lost from her parents, faints in my arms and I don't know if she's going to die of cold right there, and I don't know what to fucking do because I'm panicking and the medics are frantically resuscitating another child. Who does not make it. Who dies, right there on the beach next to me, while her parents scream and scream. And every clever opinion and narrative I've come across just noise and nonsense next to this. You're talking kids dying on our shores next to their screaming parents, and not one measly article in the BBC news today. 
I take off the water sodden top of the girl, SARA and she wakes, freaking out because she does not know where she is or who I am. Her Mum finally finds us amongst the commotion and we get her dry & put warm clothes on her upper body. After that I realise that there is no use in anything but to hug this little girl until she warms up. At some stage by the grace of God she starts even smiling & I poke her nose, she laughs and I realise it's not me getting her through it, it's her getting me through it. We get the family at last into the bus to Moria, and the next boat arrives. I have never scene such a sight, and I salute all the people who suffered the journey and all the INCREDIBLE volunteers and aid workers there - every night."

And so - Jim Kroft and a crew of musicians, producers, photographers, videographers, social media heads and a manager - marched into the phenomenal Blackbird Music Studio in Berlin and recorded an album within 48 hours. 
Everyone involved donated their time, gear and profession in order to create Journeys #3.

You can still order your very own copy, just click here.

Lomography Germany kindly sent us the "Lomo'Instant Wide" + the needed film for it.
I fell in mad love with this camera and had the greatest time documenting the intense hours we spent in the studio.
I believe that instant photography is the most honest and the purest form of photography, so being able to capture an incredibly honest and pure recording session on film, was an absolute dream.

They also wrote a feature about this project in German, so make sure to check it out if you can.

Below I'm giving you a quick photo rundown of two days in the studio with Jim Kroft! 
There will be a more detailed post coming soon, if you have questions you'd like me to cover, please comment, tweet me or message me.  

My stay in Berlin started one day before the recording session. That gave me some time to wander through the streets and (of course) visit my favourite spot in Berlin. The photo above was taken then and there.

The band (left to right): Ondrej Homola (bass), Tom O. Marsh (drums), Ben Barritt (guitar), Jim Kroft (Jim Kroft), George Moore (keys, piano).

Overview of the live room where the band recorded in.

The vocal room where Jim recored vocals and acoustic guitars. 

Tom O. Marsh

George Moore

Ben Barritt

Ondrej Homola



The "hang out" area where some of us set up a little office to do the online and media work, and some legends made amazing food. 

Jim, Ben and producer Chris van Niekerk discussing harmonies and melodies. 

A lot of cables. A lot of thoughts.

Who needs Charlie's angels when there are Jim's angels? 

Listening back to the recorded tracks in the control room. 

Discussing riffs. 

Another photo of the crew listening back to what they just recorded.

The maestro himself, pleased with the craziness of the moment. 

Another one of Jim writing, recording and social media-ing almost at the same time.
The man's a bundle of energy.

On the second day of recording, Lucas Dietrich joined the band and played some bass.

Laptop club photo taken with the selftimer on the amazing Lomo Instant Wide.

And then Gordon Raphael came down to produce some sounds. Everything turned into a whirlwind and a lot of magic happened.
(He also produced The Strokes records!)

(A totally not posed photo there.) (#sarcasm) 



Erik Penny came down for some backing vocals. 

We then witnessed an amazing performance by Ben Barritt and Erik Penny.

This is a snap of Jim and Ben teaching the choir of Berlin based musicians all the lyrics and harmonies.

We took this after we recorded a song called "Redemption" which featured an amazing amount of brilliant musicians. (and some media people who joined for the party)

And them we all squeezed into the control room to listen to the magic we just recorded.

Surprise photo.

The live room from another angle.

The view from the kitchen area at around 3:30am.

The booth after the storm. 


3am songwriting.

3:15am songwriting.

Whilst the musicians were recording, the media people played some table football. I lost by a mile and got a Geordie accent.

Double exposure shot of the whirlwind that is Jim Kroft.

The little amp in the hallway.

Post-work snacks where being consumed.

The last photo of the session. It was a pleasure.

I hope you enjoyed this insight of our "studio marathon", stay tuned for more and please support the fundraiser.

Thank you for your visit! 

Credits // Text & Photography: Vanessa Jertschewske | Quoted text: Jim Kroft | **Lomo'Instant Wide Camera sponsored by Lomography Germany**


  1. On vacation, so finally enough time to check this post out...great moments captured, and I bet it was not easy to pick some for the blog. I still feel the energy from the charity concert and ongoing social media reports by Jim, he is indeed blessed with an incredible energy! Also, I love that in the first group picture, you put "Jim Kroft" as an instrument in the brackets :-) true! Sad we couldn't meet this time, but I hope you cone back to Berlin soon!

    1. First of all, I hope you're having an amazing time! Thank you for taking the time to check this out.
      It wasn't easy at all and I still have to work on the next post which will feature the digital photos.
      Jim is an incredible inspiration and seeing him in the studio with so much energy was fantastic.
      There are definitely plans of me coming back to Berlin soonish. :)

      As always, thank you! :)

  2. On vacation, so finally enough time to check this post out...great moments captured, and I bet it was not easy to pick some for the blog. I still feel the energy from the charity concert and ongoing social media reports by Jim, he is indeed blessed with an incredible energy! Also, I love that in the first group picture, you put "Jim Kroft" as an instrument in the brackets :-) true! Sad we couldn't meet this time, but I hope you cone back to Berlin soon!


Let me know what you think! :)