Enter Shikari [14/09/2017]

With this interview started an autumn marathon of interviews and concerts. I also met great people from Play It Again Sam, letting me near all the amazing bands, pushing me to get to know their history and discography. So, there you have it, first of the series, starring Enter Shikari.

It’s been a really hard day, wasn’t it? You squeezed a lot of interviews in one day.

Rou: Yes, it’s been a long day, but we’ve met really good people asking good questions.

Let’s kick it off with a question “how would you describe The Spark in three words”?

Rou: Honest, diverse, aqua (laughter), very aqua.

This album is in a different style from you previous work.

Rou: It feels like a new era. It’s very fresh.

What differentiates your new album from your previous work? Tell me about your inspirations.

Rou: It is very different, a lot has happened in a few years leading up to this album, there’s a lot to process. I think we wanted to make things more lucid. Looking on our previous work, one Shikari song sounds like 5 different songs. There’s just so much going on. We wanted to make this one a more focused album. As well as making it a lot more honest and very open, not being afraid of showing human vulnerability and all sides of human experiences. It’s very different for us, we also worked with new producer, David Kosten.

What about the music videos? Live Outside and Rabble Rouser show a specific pattern, giving viewers strong Westworlds vibe.

(Laughter)

Rory: You know, it wasn’t necessarily intentional, to make a specific music video. We’ve just sent the track out there, to different directors, they came back with their ideas. We just liked Bob Gallagher, the director and his idea for Live outside video, and how it turned out, so we went to him again for Rabble Rouser. He’s really nice to work with. In a way, it fits with the retro futuristicky kind of vibe. We are not really premeditated. One thing happens, then something else happens, then something else happens and before you know it, things get into one, really. But I am not sure, how the rest of the videos is going to be.

A song Take my country back caught my eye instantly. It has a very controversial title. Without lyrical background, I was not sure, which way will it go. It seems though, it’s your response to everything, that has happened in the world lately.

Rou: Yes, exactly that. I think there’s a worrying vibe in the mindset and philosophy of nationalism and the far-right position of just kind of cowarding back and shutting up your own country in this little cage, without foreigners. It’s really sort of fearful, cowardly position. It doesn’t help us progress as a society, as a species. It’s getting a lot of traction, Europe, UK, America, it’s something anyone could have predicted like 10 years ago, if you said nationalism will become very dangerous again, people wouldn’t believe it. But here we are, in the epicenter or it and it’s really frustrating. This song’s all about that, Brexit and Trump, the two biggest influences.

Yes, I can relate, Poland is going back to Medieval Times. 

Rou: Yes, I’ve heard.

I’ve put my hands on your album just yesterday, but the song Airfield got me instantly. What about you? Is there any song you like the most?

Rou: Not really, because we’ve just made it. It’s just all so fresh and I love it all.

So, there is no favorite child?

Rou: At the moment, I’m particularly liking Undercover Agents.

Rory: Yeah! Me too actually.

Rou: But it will change every day.

Rory: Also Rabble Rouser, but it literally just came out.

And which one will be the hardest to play live?

Rou: Oh, few of them.

Rory: I don’t know, I mean, technically guitar line is boring. (Laughter) There’s nothing like really complicated. But Rob made this mental drum part in Shinrin-yoku. The beat lasts like 8 verses, but it’s mental, it’s just wrong, he made it purely on logic. When he played it, I was like “What is wrong with you?”. (Laughter) But it just sounds like Rob. I can’t wait to see him play. I imagine he would have to grow another arm or something.

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Let’s talk about the cover for The Spark. I don’t even know how to describe it, really. 

Rou: It’s influenced by minimalism, retro-futurism and kind of brutalism as well, the architecture of it. What you see on the cover, the instrument, that’s the keyboard I’m going to be playing on tour, it’s being 3D printed, so I can’t wait to play it. We just call it The Machine, kind of ominous. You know how music can often be sort of guiding light, it can help people through various things and that’s why there’s a radar there. Also, the dots creating a triangle, which is our logo. It has a lot of layers. And aqua, of course aqua! Freshness!

Like water and a new life.

Rou: Exactly.

Thank you for your time, I am really looking forward to seeing you again in Warsaw.

Rou: We can’t wait to be back as well. We love it here. Poland has always been amazing for us.

Rory: There’s something about Polish and Russian fans, they just go the extra mile to show you, you really are appreciated.

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Heidrik [12/05/2017]

Heidrik is a lovely Faroese artist, with a strong Tim Burtonish esthetic and magical voice. Last year I had a pleasure to meet him and chat a little about his artistry. If you haven’t had a pleasure to get to know his music, you can find it on Spotify / Soundcloud and watch all of his music videos on Vimeo.

You are a man of many talents, a musician, filmmaker, painter, it seems you turn to gold everything you touch. Did you ever consider music school instead of film school?

Thank you very much! No, not really…or I was at this 6 month music course in Denmark so I have done a bit of school regarding music. Film for me was something I felt I needed schooling for. It’s so much technical stuff you have to do to be able to make a movie. So many people involved and it’s a big machine you have to start if you do film. Music you can make alone without problems so that’s why I guess I felt more that film school would be more a thing I would be able to help me regarding film.

“Funeral” is a very intimate album, seems like we can see your soul with every pitch.

Yes, it is a very personal album and I wanted it to be as true as possible. I have been through some things I think I needed to get off my chest. It is a very important album for me because it help me to get closure to a lot of things and helped me move on.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but is the song “Boy” based on true events? It’s truly heartbreaking.

Yes, it is. The song about a boy who died when he was 17 in my home town. He was under constant homophobic bullying and suddenly died and the entire town go silent with guilt by their behavior. I can never forget that morning I heard he died. I was 17 as well and it was such a strange morning. It has sort of haunted me ever since so I felt I had to write the story down. I think it says a lot about us humans and how we behave towards the things we don’t understand or don’t know.

FXxjZXuYtjkMany people, especially young, living in small places, are struggling, when it comes to their sexuality and the world they grow up in. Faroe Islands are not only small, but also isolated.

Yes it’s very hard it small societies I think. Faroe Islands have change a great deal just the past 10 years but when I was a kid, homophobia was a very normal thing. People’s hate and fear was hidden behind religion as an excuse of their behavior. I am just very happy young people in the Faroe Islands wont experience such hate again.

How did moving to Iceland influence your life? Does it inspire you while creating?

It is a lot like Faroe Islands. Just bigger and a bit more modern. I learn a lot here – about myself and about life. I lived in Denmark but I never settled in. I am born and raised around nature and therefor was Iceland perfect for me. I feel very much at home here.

How was to work with Janus Rassmusen?

It was great! he’s is one of my best friends. We known each others since we were teenagers and he has also seen me grow up and therefor could easily relate to the album and help me say what I wanted in the right way. He is seriously one of the best producers around and he’s to humble to for his great talents.

Let’s talk about your inspirations, the cover of “Funeral” reminds me of Tim Burton’s “The nightmare before Christmas”, it’s one of my favorites. Where do you seek inspiration? What helps you most in the process of creating?

That’s funny! Tim Burton and I have the same source of inspiration I think and that’s maybe way you think so. We both are great fans of old black and white silent Berlin movies from the 1920s AND 50s horror movies. So I guess that’s where you may see some resemblance. I find my inspiration in old movies and pictures of old Hollywood stars. The album is called Funeral but I see the album as a very positive album because it’s about letting go and getting peace of mind so you can move on with your life. So I wanted the cover to be beautiful and colorful yet have some of the funeral elements but in a surreal sort of way. So it was not associated to a real funeral but more the symbolic side of a funeral.

You are one of those stars with a pretty unique name, how often is it mispronounced? What was the funniest version of your name?

Well surprisingly it’s not that bad. I think people are quite good at pronouncing it. But I love how polish people have like, cute versions of names so I am called Heniu or Heidriczek. I think that’s adorable 😉

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Warhaus [19/01/2017]

Last year I’ve had a pleasure to interview Maarten Devoldere, known as one of the leading faces of Belgian rock band Balthazar. But Balthazar was not the main topic of our conversation. Maarten decided to create a separate project, called Warhaus and was touring around Europe.

Your solo project had not only a magnetic title, it’s a journey, a dark dream we all secretly would like to live in. What inspired you the most while creating this record?

People I love. People i wanted to love, but couldn’t. Chorine. Pornhub. That Paloma blanca song. My mother. Nights I didn’t remember, so I could refill them up with sweet melody.

Listening to your album I started to wonder, who are the characters you’re writing about. Is there any particular story behind it?

They start quite anecdotal. They’re all about girlfriends or encounters with people. I can link every song to a certain girl, which sounds a bit cliché but yeah, I’m a walking cliché I guess. I try to develop the songs, so they’re recognizable for more people than myself though.

Between the release of Balthazar’s last record and “We Fucked A Flame Into Being” there’s less than 2 year gap, including the European tour and promotions. Did you compose some of the songs in the tour bus?

I worked five years on the album on the side. So I wrote a bit everywhere depending on where I was during those five years. A lot of that time I was on tour, but a lot was written at home as well.

Your vocals have the lead, what about the female voice? I must say, it’s electrifying.

I agree, that’s Sylvie Kreusch, a Belgian singer, who I’ve met on tour. She had an impact on the album in mysterious ways. I guess, I could say she’s a muse, if i believed in that kind of hocus pocus. Which I don’t.

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Are there plans for another record?

Not thinking about that yet. I’ll first make a new Balthazar record with Jinte. That been said as it is a solo project and it’s hard to split as a solo artist. There will probably be coming more before my retirement. [Laughter]

What are the main differences between working solo and creating the record with Balthazar? Do you feel more comfortable recording and performing as Warhaus?

Not really, some things are sweeter, some are not. I guess I like the variation. It pushes you to new directions, whether you like it or not. Playing in a band is about losing the ego and working as a team. Making a solo record is about exaggerating the ego. Which can be fun sometimes.

You’ve played in Poland in 2015 with Balthazar. In February you’ll perform twice, Warsaw and Poznan, in the exact same clubs. Will it be different for you? How do you perceive the Polish crowd?

It’s a different band, it’s a different year and the stars will be aligned differently, so yeah it must be different.

 

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