Monday, October 1, 2012

Artist of the Week - Efterklang

Danish band Efterklang are back with their new brilliant album 'Piramida' which is available in Germany since September 24th. Now we got the rare possibility to talk with Rasmus from Efterklang about Efterklang, Piramida, Spitsbergen, Miss Piggy and our socks. The interview was made by Stefan. 

Hi guys! It's great to talk to you. Your last album 'Magic Chairs' was released in 2010 and now you have just finished working on your latest album called 'Piramida'. It will be released in Germany September 24. The making of your new album has started in a quite unusual way. In August 2011 you went on a nine-day audio expedition to an abandoned Russian settlement in Spitsbergen, an island midway between the Norwegian mainland and the North Pole.
Why have you decided to visit this place? Who had the idea?

Soon after we finished our album Magic Chairs we started talking about how to make the next album and one of the ideas floating around was to connect the recordings to a certain location. Fast forward a couple of months and then Filip Nilsson the Swedish director emails us photos from this ghost town of Piramida. He suggested making a music video up there, but it never happened. We could not forget about the place however. We realized it was the perfect location for us. Later we did the film An Island with Vincent Moon, here we experimented with collecting field recordings together and this inspired us to do something similar in Piramida. We went on a hunt for sounds. Later we then manipulated and experimented with these sounds and started writing songs in Berlin.

We saw that you were recording in buildings and on footbridges in this abandoned ghost town. Can you tell us a bit about how you collected the sounds and voices there? If you look back now, what was the most interesting sound that you have found there and why?

The town is full of relics. It was left in a hurry. The world´s northern most grand piano still stands in Piramida for example. We also found an old drumset up there. The favorite dicovery was a weird tank which we named Miss Piggy. You can hear it on Hollow Mountain. The first 20 seconds of that song is played live on Miss Piggy in Piramida. We also used that instruments many other places on the album. See this

Did the field recordings in Spitsbergen influence the songs or did you already have an idea how the songs should sound when you went there?

The whole trip influenced the mood and also the arrangement of the music itself. We realized that when we travelled so far to find sounds then it would be a shame if the end result was as layered as some of our previous albums. Because the more layers you have the less important become the individual sounds. So this album is more spacious and sparse and that is a result of the trip we went on. 

After your expedition, you came back to Berlin and continued writing and recording in the studio. How did living and working in Berlin influence the new album?

There is a whole new group of collaborators on this album. Earl Harvin from Tindersticks lives in Weissensee where our studio also is based. He recorded the drums. Our dear friend Nils Frahm recorded a lot of the piano parts - so did Peter Broderick. Both live in Berlin. We were also lucky to record with the brass players of The Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra. We love that orchestra. Simply stunning.

We have experienced that the core members of Efterklang have been good friends since a long time. Before you have started working on the new album, one of your founding members, your drummer and trumpet player Thomas Husmer decided to leave the band. How did that affect Efterklang and the new album? What is Thomas doing now?

Thomas just became a daddy! we are all still friends. Doing the album as a trio felt quite natural and we are all happy with the process. 

You are known for your exquisite artwork. Who has made the artwork this time and why have you chosen this artist?

We always work with Hvass&HannibalThey know us very well and we trust them completely. They have also been involved in stage design, music videos, merch and so on. They are very ambitious and yet playful and this is a good match for us. They also always come up with a new look for our music that yet seems to follow an overall path. And they are lovely! I´m married to one of them :-)

You will start touring soon and you will also play at Volksb├╝hne in Berlin on December. Can you tell us a bit about the upcoming tour and what we can expect in Berlin?

We will set a new band together for this new tour and we have a feeling it will be our best live band yet - We plan to blow your socks off :-) We will play a lot of new songs from Piramida, but will also dip into the back catalogue.

With Nordic by Nature we are promoting new Scandinavian music in Germany and we are always interested in talented upcoming bands. Do you have any new favourites from Denmark that you would like to recommend us?

Well she is quite well known but I think Anna von Hausswolff is the world´s best artist at the moment. I also like The Late Great Fitzcarraldos and then Jacob Bellens from Murder and I Got You On Tape has a solo album coming out soon which I really look forward to. If you want to get obscure then look into Girlseeker - there is only little material available, but I highly recommend it.

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