It’s been some time since my last post but fear not, I’ve got a few things up my sleeve for the coming weeks.
I recently had a conversation with Jeppe Kjellberg, singer/songwriter of the Danish dance punk outfit WhoMadeWho. Formed in 2003, they have been slowly honing their beatcraft and amassing a global fan base with their lauded live shows and dance floor swagger.
They recently released an exquisite LP called Brighter on Kompakt that I highly recommend everyone check out. I really have no idea how the descendants of Beowulf and the Viking hoards transformed their countries into to the yummy music factories they are today but GOD DAMN do they know how to make an ass move!
If you were really into that disco-influence punk rock sound that infected our brains for the better part of the 2000’s thanks to the likes of LCD Soundsystem, The Rapture, and Chk Chk Chk then I am pretty sure these cool cats from Copenhagen are right up your alley.
Based on what I read in your bio, the members of WhoMadeWho come from varied backgrounds, you with an avant-garde Jazz background, bassist Thomas Høffding with a rock background and your drummer Thomas Barfod who is also the producer Tomboy. How did decide on your sound?
We all come from different backgrounds but in 2003, I was playing in Tomboy … it was like this house band. One evening at some after party they started playing all this music from New York from DFA records and the band Chk Chk Chk. It was like this 10-minute instrumental disco stuff and I was like, “This is the kind of music I want to make.”
The dynamic of playing acoustic dance music appealed to us where we can play in front of a crowd for hours, creating a mood and building the music off the crowds energy. We wanted to be a live band that acted like a DJ, playing late and all night long. It has been a gradual process, our sound has changed but we started to become more serous in the last two years, focusing on developing our live show and what not.
All of you are from Copenhagen, what’s up with that town?
Yes, we are all from Copenhagen, its small and cozy… hard to describe. These days Copenhagen is experiencing a more positive era. 20 years ago the music was really bad… where bands were just clones of 90’s American bands. With the growth of the web people have a wider perspective now. The scene is now so international, so vibrant.
Do you fee like you have a good base of fans at home?
Well, we are signed to a German label and we have always been signed to German labels. We always felt like our home was just as much in Germany and France as Denmark. In a way it is strange because the scene is so global, even when you play in a venue 1000 miles away from the last the crowd is similar. Regardless, in the last three years we really feel like Denmark is our home, it appreciates us a lot more.
How is it like now?
Now it’s like an honor to come home. For example, right before we started this interview I was checking in at the airport security in Copenhagen and the security guard knew who I was and he loved our music, I was flattered.
You seem to be very busy in recent months, releasing two albums, Knee Deep and Brighter in less than a year. Are these two projects of a similar aesthetic or are they standalone?
We see the albums like a book series, part one and two. They have a unity because they where made at the same time. Knee Deep is definitely a darker piece while Brighter is more melodic. You can definitely feel a more electro sound in Brighter for sure
Our bassist Thomas has become really addicted to playing the keyboard. I play guitar but have started to play the keyboard a lot more, which is kind of weird for me. We looked as the new album like an adventure of sorts, a keyboard adventure.
It looks like you are skipping SXSW this year after you were well received last year, any reason why?
It is a pity because I really want to go back to that place. We love Austin! It’s kind of like NYC where the city is so different from the rest of the state.
You have a history of playing with a lot of acclaimed bands (Daft Punk, LCD Soundsystem, Hot Chip), groups that personify a nostalgic aesthetic to music from the 70’s and 80’s. Do you feel in a sense that tastes are cyclical?
When I was younger you were “old school” if you listened to Jimi Hendrix, the Beach Boys and so on… now the old school is the 90’s. The 80’s 70’s and 60’s had a lot going on and we are influenced by our past but you need to make your own fresh music.
It seems that there are centers of music throughout the world. For some reason Scandinavian exports a lot more bands from varied genres than countries like the Netherlands or Germany. What is it about the culture that makes Scandinavia so musically inclined?
You know I don’t know really, I think in Scandinavia we have this melancholia that drives our music and perhaps a futuristic tradition.
If you like what you hear, WhoMadeWho are currently touring Europe but are planning to go stateside sometime in September, hitting up the East and West coasts and Canada. There are no plans for shows in Miami but who knows, maybe with a little bit of Nightdrive magic we can do something for all you music lovers out there in Miamiland 😉
WhoMadeWho- Never Had The Time
Posted by: Laurence ‘Pucho’ Henriquez