When Nils Frahm, Sebastian Singwald and Frederic Gmeiner listened back to the music they had made over the course of almost a decade, they recognised something special in what they had done.

As children, Gmeiner and Frahm attended the same primary school in Hamburg where their friendship ignited over a mutual love of cassette recorders - an item several kids in the '80s possessed. Fascinated by the sounds they could capture, they began producing their own radio show which featured field recordings of noises which surrounded them: teachers' voices, playground noise and themselves practising with instruments. In a sports exchange in 1989, Sebastien Singwald spent two weeks at their school. Arriving with a tape recorder draped around his neck, the trio's lifelong friendship established. After Singwald returned home, they remained in contact and began creating music interludes for the radio show of reworked children's folk songs, radio pop and classical pieces - engaging with what they heard in their own way. With an ambition to play as a live band as teenagers, they played at Singwald's uncle's fairground every summer until 1997 when a carousel broke and smashed into the stage, injuring its passengers and destroying their instruments. They parked the band until their twenties, when they vowed to not let the accident overshadow the creativity they shared together.

They began jamming together and recorded the sessions with the device that initially brought them together: the tape recorder. Over eight years, they dedicated time in their rehearsal space to play and collected hours of material, in which they realised the potential to compile an album. Earlier this year, they released The Gamble and are now releasing its accompaniment Oddments of The Gamble. Andrew Darley spoke to Sebastian and Frederic about the band's unique history and recording methods.

The songs on this album came from the same sessions as the debut. Aside from the title connection, do you see reference between the two?

Frederic: Exactly, both albums were recorded during the same period in our rehearsal space over eight years using cassette tape. Our process of working and making songs using the material revealed a bunch of pieces that we felt we couldn't edit down anymore so they became two albums.

During those eight years, was the intention to eventually make a record or was it simply a passion project amongst close friends?

Sebastian: There was no intention at all - we didn't have a name, we didn't talk about making music, we just had several rehearsal sessions over the years and we brought our tape machines with us and had fun playing.

Frederic: We don't work as a normal band, in that we develop songs in a rehearsal space and then go to the studio to record them. We were bored of the typical band process. We just played music whenever we felt like it. There were so many nice times and improvisations, we thought it would be good to record them. We never thought that we would come up with something that we would ever release. Most of the music on the tapes when we listened back wasn't that interesting to us but some were inspiring. We were hooked to certain moments on these tapes so we took them and tried to add or overdub where we could see them going. That's when we started thinking about making an album. We never tried to re-record those ideas because we knew that it would never be the same.

How do songs start amongst the three of you?

Frederic: This is what fascinates us too because we don't know. Sometimes one of us will just start playing around on an instrument and slowly everyone joins in. We could stop after 10 minutes or we could still be playing two hours later. We did become persistent on being more minimalistic as we went. 'Glow' is now around four-and-a-half minutes, but it came from a session that was one hour long without stopping.

In taking months or even years to listen back to what you recorded, was it surreal hearing how you've grown in that time?

Frederic: Sometimes it was the silly moments that we liked, or even the mistakes the tape recorders made themselves like the bass being too loud over other instruments or selecting the wrong speed. The most obscure accidents happened but when we listened back to the material we were able to make something interesting from those mistakes. We laughed about how foolish we were using these crappy machines.

Nils has always spoken about himself as an architect or craftsman with sound. Do you share a similar vision?

Frederic: The way we approached the material we made was inspired by the way Nils works as a producer. We always worked together; none of us took these song ideas home to listen to it individually. The first take approach we had is very liberating because you're not trying to recreate something, but we used things that already existed made them fit within our vision.

Being friends since you were children, was there an instant easiness recording together?

Frederic: When we decided to release the album and other things like naming the band, press photos, song titles, it was a peaceful process but it took us a long time. With the music that was never the case. We never discussed or had different opinions. If someone didn't like a version, structure or an element of a song, usually everyone felt the same. We would all see something was missing. We would work on it more or leave it. Sharing the same emotional approach makes it very unique. When we play together, it's about making it sound good while not taking yourself into account and enjoying it as something beyond us as single individuals. This project was happening whenever we had time. We did want to work on the music, but more importantly, we wanted to see each other. Either in the rehearsal space or Nils' studio, we'd arrange to meet, bring beer and make food. We worked on it while enjoying time together.

Why does the idea of a gamble resonate with the music you recorded?

Frederic: It's about playing around and also the idea of playing with chance. We didn't know which album to release first. We were rolling dices to decide which one to release first. Oddments of the Gamble came from the sessions that were a little bit more playful and a little bit more of a pop atmosphere.

The artwork for both are photographs by Nils' father, Klaus Frahm. Are the images connected to because they do look very different?

Frederic: They are both taken from the façade of a fairground ride in Hamburg. It's from the same series Cheap Thrills by Nils' father, Klaus Frahm. It's this fairground airbrushed pop art aesthetic inspired us a lot. It's a female pilot looking into the sky, watching a plane, but if you look closer you see the metal texture and green fence in front of her. It's the clash of the dreamy fantasy imagery and the cold reality which is hidden in the images. You see the reflections on the metal surface. I think it relates to the music. Similarly, The Gamble cover is more abstract but if you look closely you will see the damages of missing lightbulbs and scratches.

Is there more from these sessions that could be released in the future?

Frederic: There is more material but we don't know what way we are going to continue to work. It would be interesting to go back to our rehearsal space and start playing new stuff.

Hopefully it won't take another eight years. What have your parents said about nonkeen?

Sebastian: My mom loves it.

Frederic: Mine too, although they can't really believe it or take it seriously. Maybe it's because in their eyes we are still little children!

The Gamble and Oddments of the Gamble are out now on R&S Records.