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Interview von: Matthias Rauch mit Thomas Husmer, am: 30.12.2004 ]

Nach Under Byen bahnt sich die nächste große Überraschung aus Dänemark an und zwar die zehnköpfige Kopenhagener Formation Efterklang, die mit ihrem Debütalbum „Tripper“ schon jetzt wesentlich mehr einfahren als einen Achtungserfolg. Natürlich werden sich auch die Vergleiche mit den Isländern von Sigur Ros wohl nicht vermeiden lassen. Sind doch vor allem die manchmal fast klassisch anmutenden Streicherarrangements nicht gerade unähnlich, doch auch die Grundstimmung des Albums transportiert diese grenzenlose Melancholie und Nachdenklichkeit mit sich, wie sie wohl doch nur von nordischen Bands erreicht werden kann. Wir sprachen mit Thomas über nordische Stereotypen, die dänische Musikszene und Eskapismus.


Musicscan: I am sure not everyone is familiar with Efterklang in Germany, so please give me a brief run-down of what Efterklang is about and how you all got together.

Efterklang: The Band was formed in early 2001 when Mads, Rasmus and Casper moved from Als to Copenhagen. Those guys had been playing together for a couple of years before Rune and I joined the band. Later on Karim, the visual maker, joined as well. I don't really know how we got together. I guess it was just a matter of lucky coincidence. Efterklang is what most people usually understand as a band. But Efterklang is also a group of very different individuals working together as a collective. Each of us comes from different musical backgrounds and therefore each of us has different approaches to the music. This often leads to numerous discussions, but generally we try to maintain an open attitude towards the different ideas that pop up. In that sense nothing is really taboo. We like to experiment with whatever comes by, and we love to integrate elements that are unknown to us. Efterklang consists of six core members who compose and arrange the music. But besides that there is a group of our friends connected who in many invaluable ways contribute to the whole picture.

Musicscan: I am sure your music has been described as cinematic numerous times and you also try to incorporate a visual aspect in your life show. How important is it for you to create some sort of visual stimulus? In how far does the music interact with the visual element?

Efterklang: It’s very important to us! Our music and visual elements are in complete sync. We think of the visual element as an instrument in the band.

Musicscan: How do you go about creating the video collage score?

Efterklang: Usually Karim would pitch us an idea that we then discuss. After that it is all up to him. We have been through numerous discussions about the overall visual expression, and it is therefore unnecessary that we all participate in the video making.

Musicscan: How does the songwriting process work in your case?  It seems like it is a rather long and tedious process due to the fairly great number of musicians and the unconventional song structures and the very detailed instrumentation.

Efterklang: A song often starts out as a simple loop or beat on the computer. On top of that possible harmonies and melodies are being tried out. And usually a basic form is laid down as early in the process as possible. We are fortunate to have our own studio to work in, and we consider this to be an instrument equal to others. The studio gives us the freedom to experiment along the way and essential layers are often added even long time after the music has been given its basic form. This of course affects the time we spend on a song, and we do indeed sometimes overwork our songs. I guess we have killed several good songs by overworking them, but that is just the risk when we work the way we do. We also tend to have an overproduction of sketches and many of those can be very far from the thing you hear on “Tripper.” We simply like to experiment with the songs and with the process itself. Whatever idea someone comes up with, it will probably be worked on out of curiosity.

Musicscan: How did you get in touch with The Leaf Label and how has the cooperation been so far?

Efterklang: We got in touch with The Leaf Label simply by contacting them. They listened to some of our rough sketches and I presume that they liked it. Working with Leaf has been nothing but great so far. They are very nice and committed people. They also have a great rooster that we are proud to be a part of.

Musicscan: Do you deal with any particular themes on your album?  What importance do the lyrics have in relation to the music?

Efterklang: We don't really work with any particular themes in our music. We simply work with music. The lyrics are of course important to the music, but no more than other elements are. In many cases the lyrics are being worked out later in the process and in many cases no one besides Casper knows what is actually being sung. This gives the listener the opportunity of filling in his or her own theme to the music.

Musicscan: What makes for a good song in your opinion?

Efterklang: In my opinion a good song, or a good piece of music is comparable to a good story. Such a story can be told again and again without loosing its value. It might even gain value from being rewritten. A good story can also be listened to and enjoyed by different people in different ways.

Musicscan: Would you consider it a compliment or rather criticism if someone termed your music "escapism"?

Efterklang: Music is about expressing things that are not always visible to us in our daily lives. Music can be a powerful tool when it comes to creating mental spaces that are different from the ones we experience in our rational state of mind. If someone calls our music escapism, I would consider this a great compliment. It indicates that our music has an impact on some people.

Musicscan: Would you agree that there are certain elements of Danish music and traditionals in your music?

Efterklang: No, not that I'm a ware of…

Musicscan: Is there something like a Scandinavian aesthetic when it comes to music?  When listening to a broad range of Scandinavian records, I found that most of them portray a certain kind of nostalgia or melancholy that is sometimes quite obvious and other times rather subdued.  Would you agree?  Why do you think that is?

Efterklang: It has probably something to do with the weather. All Scandinavians have the long and dark winters in common and this could explain the nostalgia and melancholy thing you are referring to. We really can’t help discovering the mysticism about moody Scandinavian music.

Musicscan: Do you feel like part of the Danish music scene or do you think you are doing your very own thing?  Do you feel personally and artistically connected to any artists in Denmark?

Efterklang: We feel connected to Under Byen and some of the Danish electronica names like Skyphone, Opiate and Dub Tractor. We don’t see ourselves as part of a Danish scene. There isn’t one yet. There are lots of great bands coming up, so maybe we can build a scene upon it soon.

Musicscan: What inspires you on a daily basis apart from other music or art?

Efterklang: I personally get a lot of inspiration from watching people. The homo sapiens is a funny kind of animal and it is always amazing to follow its actions.

Musicscan: 3 current favorite records, books and movies?

Efterklang: Music: Max de Wardener - Where I am Today; Colleen - Everybody alive wants answers. Joanna Newsom - The Milk-eyed Mender.
The Bicycle Thief (Zica 1948), Blue Velvet (Lynch 1986), The Return (Andrei Zvyagintsev 2004). We should read more books.

Musicscan: What can we expect from Efterklang in the near future?

Efterklang: A radio single and video (Swarming) A re-release of our Debut EP Springer in April, hopefully concerts in Germany somewhere in the first half of 2005. The later half of 2005 we will make a new record.

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