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Sven van Thom - Seit Du weg bist

Photo: Loob

Sven van Thom is one of the many names the musical chameleon Sven Rathke has adopted over the years. It is the alias the man with the horn-rimmed glasses and preppy style started using in 2008 when he embarked on a solo career.

Sven, who was born in 1977 in a small village north of Berlin, has come a long way since the day his recorder teacher gave up on the 7-year-old after only one hour of practice. The youngster was part of several hip hop groups during his high school days and started playing the guitar at the age of 16. Artists such as Pink Floyd, The Beatles and Nirvana were his biggest influences.

Sven first entered the German and Austrian Top Ten charts as singer and guitarist of the pop band Sofaplanet in 1998. Later on he founded the band Beatplanet which was inspired by East Germany’s beat music of the 1970’s. But Sven has always felt compelled to also show his talents as a solo artist and became known as Sven van Thom.

Needless to say, there is a story behind this alias. “People often don’t recognize me, even after they’ve already seen me three times. Apparently, there’s something very inconspicuous about me – just like a ghost or a phantom”, Sven explains his unusual choice of name. His music, however, is not unremarkable at all. Be it with his debut album “Trauriges Mädchen” (Sad Girl) from 2008 or the follow-up “Ach!” (Oh!) from 2012, the Berliner always tells great stories about everyday life.

In his songs, Sven Rathke/van Thom keeps transporting his listeners from one emotion to the next: you laugh one second and then catch yourself crying. His answer as to why he chooses to be so multifaceted is as simple as it is clever: “Basically, I am a sad person but in the long run, I feel uncomfortable on stage when I only sing sad songs. That’s why there has to be some silliness, too. I feel better when I’m looking into smiling faces. The audience can smile from time to time – but not all the time.”

Listen to Sven van Thom’s “Seit du weg bist” (Since You’ve Been Gone) and see which emotions this song brings out in you.
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Lyrics (PDF, 50 KB)
Worksheet (PDF, 3 MB)