Olivier Massey on 22/2/12
WhoMadeWho are on fire right now. About to release their latest album, Brighter, on Kompakt and hitting London as the first date on their European tour tomorrow night (February 23rd), you can not only be at that gig but hang out with the band beforehand by telling us where in Denmark the band are from- just send your answer here and we'll let you know if you've won today.
In the meantime, Pulse's Olivier Massey had an epic chat with the Danish three piece and uncovered some interesting plans for an album of cover versions, a love of Led Zepp and a USA tour...
Pulse: Hey guys, thanks for taking the time to talk to us today. First and foremost, who are WhoMadeWho and what do you guys do? WhoMadeWho: We are a three piece band and we have been touring Europe and the rest of the world for seven years I think. We haven't visited the UK so much, maybe because the weather is too similar to Denmark, I don't know. We are two lead singers, bass, guitar and drums. The drummer is also a house/techno DJ so the electronic part of our music is always there.
How did you guys meet and what made you want to start a band? We met seven years ago one Monday night. I got an email from my friend who asked me if we could do something for the fun of it and we jammed then recorded three songs that ended up being the demo that got us signed to Gomma in the end! it started up as a side project but slowly over like four years it grew to become our main thing kind of coincidence. We started off recording a few songs so that the drummer Thomas Barford could play as a DJ and there was a really great chemistry when we went into the studio together and pretty fast we started getting some cool live bookings all over Europe so it kind of started from there. At the beginning for many years we did not really know what was going on and we just went with it but now these days, with the last two albums, we have become more serious about it.
You hail from Copenhagen, Denmark. Does your city inspire you in your sound? are there any artists that inspire you when producing? Yeah I would say that when we began we weren't inspired at all by Copenhagen because I think the scandinavian sound is more melancholic it's not very techno in anyway. It is starting to be that way mind you but when we started we were kind of the ugly duckling around here and we did not get many bookings in Denmark we mainly played south of the Danish border. I guess Scandinavian people are into more melancholic sounds.
You formed in 2003 and since have released a string of Eps and two LPs, thats quite a discography. Your new album "Brighter" is out on Kompakt on the 5th of next month, tell us a little about it. It's like a part 2 of 2 albums, we did one last spring, already one year ago. We recorded an album "knee deep" that was supposed to be a mini album / EP but it turned out to be almost a full album. There was kind of a darker more experimental side of a big pile of songs that we divided into 2. So the first part of the songs was released a year ago and the second part will be released under the name "Brighter", and as the title suggests its like the dark songs on the first album and the more traditional songs on the second one. and it will be a biiiiiig pop album [laughs]
Tell us a little about your studio set up, how you go about recording tracks and the creative process behind WhoMadeWho? That changes a lot, we are definitely not the kind of band who goes into the studio, and hooks up the bass, the drum, the guitar and records away. We are very inspired by the electronic way of working I think whereby we take sounds and put them together, treat them, loop them electronically in the computer but the sounds we treat and work with are the sounds of our own instruments. often we start up a beat, start jamming away and then we keep the sounds and loops we feel have something to them and we slowly build it into a track and then we have built the track we start putting vocals on some of the songs. that's normally the way we work but sometimes when we work like this we like the vocal a lot but feel that the tracks aren't strong enough so we set about remixing ourselves to make a new track underneath the vocal. That is a method we often use.
Your latest LP is singed to the mighty Kompakt records, how does it feel to be part of such a prestigious label? It feels really great, the knee deep album was also released on Kompakt but that was a mini album. With "Brighter" we feel, the same as when we started with Gomma: we went places where people didn't know our name but as they dig Gomma they showed up to the concerts and checked us. I feel it's the same with Kompakt but just on a larger scale so people think it's more serious I feel and there's always a lot of attention when they release something. I also think that "Brighter" is not the usual stuff they release so people will be excited and think: "hey what's going on?!" It feels very good, they are music lovers and they seem to just have a big following of music lovers because they think if its Kompakt it's good. So it's great to be a part of that family.
Now I see you have got quite an expansive European tour coming up (I'll be coming to see you in London!) where else are you set to play? and what can people expect from a WhoMadeWho live show? We are playing everywhere, I don't know the tour really. I just get on the plane and my manager tells me where to go [laughs]. We are playing the larger cities in Europe then some festivals in the summer and a USA tour in the fall. I think people can expect normally, even though our sound has changed a bit and we have a new album called "Brighter" I think the live show is just going to be just a small improvement on what we do live which is try to build up the best atmosphere possible and try to get the best of electronic concerts where you play for the audience and make them dance in a very ancient tribal sort of way combined with the whole stupid rock'n'roll kind of thing where you crawl the over the speakers and do all the crazy rock'n'roll shit! it's a very nice combination of the two things, normally we are very lucky because it makes everyone go crazy, so it should work out great for all the crazy drunk english people this week [laughs].
So what things can we expect to look for in the future from WhoMadeWho, obviously you mentioned a USA tour, but is there a fourth album on the horizon? Yeah yeah yeah, now we have a short break because we had a big workflow because of the two albums. This may be a secret but we are collecting cover versions at present: we are getting artists we really like cover our sounds, doing acoustic versions of them. we don't know if you are aware of our green versions album we did many years ago but it is going to be something like that but in a different way. We have lots of cool people helping us out for this.
Now this is a question I ask everyone I interview for Pulse Radio, if you could curate your own night and pick anyone you wanted to to play, who would you chose? [breathes very deeply] thats a TOUGH one, very very tough. I think in one room I'll have Sebastien Tellier, he's made some really cool albums and some great stuff with Daft Punk that I really like. The other should be… hmmm… dead or alive? If I can pick dead ones as well! Maybe a very young Led Zepellin!
Wow, thats a great shout, I'm a big fan of Led Zepellin so great answer! Yeah I think its a good shout too, yeah I'm a huge fan. I've got a recording from when they played on National Danish Radio in the 70's really nice recording! It's them just rocking away and like fifteen teenagers sat around them with long hippy hair, it was amazing!
WhoMadeWho play London's Old Blue Last in Shoreditch tomorrow, February 23rd. For more tour dates, head here.
WhoMadeWho release Brighter on Kompakt on March 5th
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