... ... a letter for the stars: Knowing... Efterklang

30 abril 2007

Knowing... Efterklang


Rarely you find bands that in few days you start feeling them as essential and they join the selected group that includes bands like Explosions In The Sky, Múm, Sigur Ros,...
Efterklang is a danish band that have just release a beautiful EP called "Under Giant Trees" that could be the most beautiful soundtrack ever created. It has been a pleasure for us to talk to Casper, one of members of the band.

To begin with, I would like to start talking about your first steps in music, ¿when and how did you realise that you wanted to create music?

Of course this answer is different for each member of the band, but for me, music, or the process of creating, really started when I was around 16 years old or so... and then the whole story is quite straight forward from there; I began singing in a band with a couple friends, which was totally new to me, since I'd only been playing drums until then. We played a lot of other cover songs, so many, that I can only remember the bad ones. Then after a couple of years and band changes, it sort of felt quite natural to begin experimenting with own ideas...

It was difficult for you to develop your music idea? Which is Efterklang´s target?

I dont this question, completely, could you maybe reword, if important?
Basically you could say that our musical idea is a result of us wanting to grow and learn. We try not to care a lot about our target. We only have our own ears to please.)

"Under Giant Trees" seems to be like a musical fairytale, do you find songwriting to be something of a real process or something similar to writing short fiction stories? Do you think in terms of individual melodies, or do you conceptualize a whole song at once?

I’m not quite sure to be honest... From where I am today, it’s like small fragments of sounds and ideas put together in the best possible combination.
Sometimes a song contains 10 individual pieces (first created as individual songs), that we've glued together, and sometimes its simply one whole piece that makes a song. But we're definitely not composers that'll sit down at a piano and write a song from start to end. Efterklang is more or less a collage work or raw construction that we’ve painted and polished.


In my opinion "Hands Playing Butterfly" is one of the prettiest songs of your music, could you tell us something about it? Which is your favourite song of your discography?

I like hands playing butterfly too:) It was basically made from a dogma saying, that the piano part of the song should be played with a special position of the hands: the two thumbs should be held crossed all the time like a huge butterfly (therefore the title). Then afterwards we processed quite a lot of piano sounds to kind of create an atmosphere for this "butterfly piano" to live in, those can be heard very clearly in the beginning of the song. Finally, we made a viola voice following the butterfly on its journey... The Piano/Viola part was recorded as a live session on a bright summer day last year. Besides that, we wanted to present the song sounding rather lo-fi and dusty, so therefore we used quite a lot of the time in the post editing; ping ponging the files between an old tape recorder/tapes and the computer.

"Tripper" had an unexpected success, did you ever expect any good reviews? Will it increase your preassure in the making of new songs?

It is, overwhelming and heart warming with so many gentle people writing us or writing about our music! It is an amazing feeling and honor to watch what you've created, somehow being useful to other people as well! This makes the wheels go around and sometime even faster, so its pressure in a nice and rational way...

Your sound is like a mix of different styles like electronic, classic, lo-fi-folk, etc..., how do you describe your own music? We can also find similarities with bands like Múm, Sigur Ros, Amiina, The Album Leaf, Johann Johannsson,...could you tell us me your main musical influences? Could you choose an Efterklang´s playlist?

Your description makes a fair and rough presentation of our music to people that haven't listened to it yet. This will definitely ex- & include most listeners, and hopefully the curious ones will find a way to listen and make up their own mind... That would be the best way to descripe it from my point of view.


I can name drop you a couple of names from my playlist at the moment:
Moondog, Popol Vuh, Richard Jobson, Scott Walker, Johann Johannsson, Brian Wilson, Joemeek, Shostakovich, Eric Satie, Harry Partch, Deerhoff, Chris Watson, Mark Hollis,...


There is an increase in the number of international Swedish, Norwegian, Danish and Icelandic bands, do you think that we can talk about a Nordic musical scene?

Possible yes, but I don't know. I think it’s much easier for the outside world to describe and increase a ‘Nordic’ scene if it feels necessary.


Rumraket is one of your main projects, Why did you decide to run your own record label? Which kind of band do you like to produce?

Earlier on, as we tried to book our first concerts, it was very difficult to get through to clubs or venues. So we decided to arrange our own concerts and set up things our selves. It felt really rewarding to do things that way, so we began arranging concerts for other bands as well. One thing let to the other, and when we did our very first EP; Springer (in 2003) we simply decided to release it ourself in a limited edition of 500 handmade fake fur covers in white. Since then Rumraket and its artists has given us such a lot of inspiration and friendships, plus quite a lot of insight concerning the music industry it self, and it has expanded our network a great deal. We have an overall standard for what kind of music we put out. We have to like it a lot:)

Do you think that the Internet was useful in promoting new bands?

Yes, very much indeed!


Maybe your music could be difficult to play in live shows, How are your live performances? When you're performing what goes through your mind?

Compared to many other bands, I believe our working process is a bit backwards. We create our music in the studio, and then rearrange it so it can be played live. Tripper had around 40 guest musicians, and for obvious reasons it was impossible and also quite boring for the listeners to reproduce the exact same sound on stage. So it made itself impossible to even try. The music is probably more energetic and expressive on stage, from what people says, plus the music appears in a visual context as we have had video collages (made by Karim Ghahwagi) projected during the past many years shows. So I guess the whole presentation of the music is slightly more extrovert than the records. For us its a huge pleasure playing in front of a real audience instead of dusty computer monitors that we do most of the time. So we use to smile and have lots of fun during those tours.

Have you ever been in Spain? Do you know any Spanish bands? Could we see you touring around our country in next future? (I hope in Valencia)

We would love to play in Spain again. We've only been playing once in Spain during the Sonar festival, and that's way too few times:) so we can’t wait to come back again. Valencia sounds fantastic for sure:) Hopefully this coming autumn or next winter will make it up.

What will you be doing in future?

Very soon we'll finish our full length album & then we'll go home to our families for a while, after having been letting them down for way too long. Then we'll come back and start putting a live set together again. And especially the last thing will be quite funny and interesting as we haven't been playing any concerts for nearly 1 and a half year...


And finally, one more question, how can you say A Letter For The Stars ind Danish?

"Et brev til stjernerne"

Thanks for all, We hope we could see you in Spain. Meanwhile, we will try to expand your music around Spain. You really deserve it.

We sure hope so too! We're truly grateful the sweet words you have and will spread around Spain! Many many Thanks! Hope to see you one day in person, until then take care and have a beautiful spring! With love from all of efterklang