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Wielding a moody indie sound heavily influenced by Hamburger Schule bands like Tocotronic and Brit-pop acts like Pulp, Tomte formed in Hamburg, Germany, in 1991 and, following a few minor lineup changes, were eventually comprised of Thees Uhlmann, Dennis Becker, Oliver Koch, Timo Bodenstein, and Max Schroder. Tomte released their first EP, Blinkmuffel, in 1996. The band's debut full-length, Du Weisst, Was Ich Meine, followed two years later, and another full-length, Eine Sonnige Nacht, hit stores in 2000. In conjunction with fellow Hamburgers Kettcar, the band created its own label, Grand Hotel van Cleef, soon after that, and their first album on Grand Hotel, 2003's Hinter All Diesen Fenstern, launched the group into the mainstream. The album charted in the German Top 50 that year and yielded two singles, "Schreit den Namen Meiner Mutter" and "Die Schonheit der Chance." The group released another album in 2006, Buchstaben Uber der Stadt (Letters Above the City).