Wir sind Helden was a German indie-rock band which existed from 2000 to early 2012 when it went into indefinite hiatus. The group has sold an estimated 1.5 million albums worldwide.
During its entire recording career, Wir sind Helden was composed of the following musicians, identified first by their stage names, with legal names in brackets:
Judith Holofernes (Judith Holfelder von der Tann) (vocals, guitar, tambourine)
Jean-Michel Tourette (Jens-Michael Eckhoff) (guitar, keyboard)
Pola Roy (Sebastian Roy) (drums)
Mark Tavassol (bass guitar)
Additionally, Joerg Holdinghausen (bass guitar) toured with them in 2010/2011.
The first three of those formed a band while doing graduate studies in music in Hamburg in 2000, adding Tavassol soon thereafter. Holofernes had enjoyed modest success as a singer-songwriter before, releasing an EP titled 'Kamikazefliege' in 1999, so they were first billed as her backing band.
Later they adopted 'Helden' as a band name, which ended up being changed to 'Wir sind Helden' for legal reasons. Although the name's origins are not exactly clear , it has been commonly perceived as an allusion to either 'Heroes' by David Bowie or 'Helden und Diebe' by Die Toten Hosen, the latter stressing Wir sind Helden's own roots in (post-)punk.
Upon scoring a record deal in 2002, the band gained significant airplay with their first single, 'Guten Tag (Die Reklamation)' in early 2003. Holofernes emerged as the main lyricist, while generally sharing composition credits with Tourette.
Wir sind Helden went on to release four critically acclaimed albums:
Die Reklamation (2003)
Von hier an blind (2005)
Bring mich nach Hause (2010)
The band experienced a commercial heyday from 2003-2007, getting a headlining slot at the Rock am Ring festival in the latter year.
All of Wir sind Helden's signature songs are written in German, although they have also recorded in French, Japanese and Chinese. The band has indeed won praise for both its intricately crafted multifaceted lyrics and rejuvenating popular music written in the German language. In their wake, a number of female-fronted German-language rock bands gained mainstream success, the best-known of them Silbermond.
Musically, early Wir sind Helden were influenced by electronica, punk rock and pop in almost equal measure according to Holofernes. With the passage of time, the band ditched most of its early synthpop sound in favour of a more rocking approach that is arguably best comparable to Britain's indie-rock/post-britpop scene. However, they remain difficult to fit into any one genre because they have incorporated many different types of songs like soft acoustic ballads, cheerful party anthems or even a detour or two into schlager ('Aurélie') into their work.