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dimanche 8 juin 2014

Album de la Semaine : Lower - Seek Warmer Climes


Seek Warmer Climes

Interview de Lower, par Jenn Pelly de Pitchfork

Pitchfork: What did you guys originally bond over musically?
Anton Rothstein: I never talked about music with Adrian when we first met. We had no intentions of playing a defined genre. We try not to bring what we listen to into Lower, but we keep failing. Saccharine Trust, Bauhaus, and Venom P. Stinger were influential on my idea of the band. And now we bond over Crisis, Nirvana, newer Scott Walker, the Germs,Rudimentary Peni, Echo and the Bunnymen. I am still mostly into hardcore punk. These days I listen to a lot of real rock music: Les Rallizes Dénudés, Brainbombs, Rusted Shut. 
Pitchfork: Was there a mood you wanted to express with Walk on Heads?
Adrian Toubro: There wasn't, but in the end some sort of gloomy mood obviously emerged.
AR: We're not aiming for joyous or sunny tunes. Someone labeled it "downer punk" and "depression rock." I don't know if I would say "aggressive," I would rather use "afraid."
Pitchfork: It seems like most of the punk coming out of Copenhagen right now is pretty downcast. Do you think there's a reason for that?
AR: It's easier to write about how bad you feel and make it genuine than to write about how everything is cool. I know it can seem like there is really depressing output [from Copenhagen] musically, like everything is gray all the time. But Copenhagen is not all gray. Some people are positive. But I don't feel like expressing that vibe.
Pitchfork: Adrian, how long have you been singing in bands? Your vocal style also has a darkness to it.
AT: I've always been singing since I was a child. When I was a kid I acted as a street musician for a short while with two friends where we sang for money. But I haven't been singing in a band (besides small hopeless projects) before Lower. Perhaps I have a partiality to a darker and more melancholic approach, but it all comes down to my intuition.
Pitchfork: When Lower started there had been a new punk scene forming around Iceage and Anton's other band, Sexdrome. Did you feel somewhat inspired to start Lower because of what was going on musically in Copenhagen?
AT: Personally, I had a secret desire of starting a band years prior to [Lower]. When a few bands around me started to pop up, I decided to take action. First and foremost, I was inspired by the fact that a few people I was acquainted with were playing while I wasn't. Musically, I can't say that I was inspired by the scene, because when we started there weren't that many bands I was aware of-- not like now.
AR: Copenhagen is kind of separated into two underground scenes. There's been a really strong hardcore scene for quite a few years; there was a golden age from 1999 to 2005, but then it kind of died, and there was nothing really going on. And then the scene we are a part of started when Sexdrome and Iceage played our first show together; we just randomly ran into Iceage and the scene grew from that. I think it inspired people to play in bands. Basically, all the bands now consist of 15 to 20 people. It's all inbred.
"All of our shows have been static as fuck: 
no movement, no blood, nothing. It should be that way. 
There is no reason to dance or fuck around in a pit."
Pitchfork: What kind of places do you play shows in Copenhagen?
AR: Most have been at this abandoned car repair shop called Mayhem, which grew out of the experimental noise scene three or four years ago. It was granted by some cultural authority to a bunch of innovative people who wanted to start a workspace for bands and artists that are a little to the side of the mainstream. Our rehearsal room is there, and there's a show space, too. It feels like home. It's just a barren room with nothing except some poles and chairs. Our first show there was a true Copenhagen show, the 29th of June, 2011: Sexdrome, Sejr, Iceage, Love Potion, Redflesh, and Undergang. There are always people around who create stuff.
We've also played regular venues. We played one bigger venue in Stockholm and it was really weird. You are controlled by sound guys who don't really care about the music. They just care about the limits they're allowed to produce [sound] within. It kills the energy. I would rather play for 70 people in a small, cramped place than 300 in a big venue. I don't care much for bigger places. I don't think the other guys do either.
Pitchfork: On "Craver", Adrian is singing about boredom and breaking past it towards something better. Where did the idea for that song come from?
AT: [When writing lyrics] I sit down and twist my brain for a day, and the next day I do likewise. This process can take an hour or several weeks. The lyrics to "Craver" are definitely the ones I'm most satisfied with on Walk on Heads. It's about frustration with boredom and the hope that is created when something new occurs in everyday life. Being in such a situation [myself] pushed me to write about it. I've been very bored and lethargic in periods of my life-- it's one of the worst conditions I've experienced. I'm afraid of ending [up] there again.
Pitchfork: The EP title comes from a lyric on "Pictures of Passion". On the song you also describe this image as "a relic of fascism." What are you singing about?
AT: It's a picture of any show anywhere where one person is the center of attention.
AR: We thought it sounded cool. All of our shows have been static as fuck. No movement, no blood, nothing. It should be that way. There is no reason to dance or fuck around in a pit. The word "fascism" is just a way to express how you feel when you're onstage and you can walk on heads and oppress whoever's watching you. It's not about Lower, though, and I don't think you should bring political issues into it. It definitely doesn't have anything to do with actual fascism of Italy or Germany. It's just an image. None of us are fascists.
Pitchfork: What else are you inspired by lyrically?
AT: What inspires me changes very much from time to time. Right now, I'm very inspired by clichéd imagery and motifs that have swollen pop music lyrics for decades. Something very fascinating-- or maybe awful-- happens when it seems like an artist has a list of certain words that have to be included in their lyrics; the more trite and abused the words are, the better. I also like Scandinavian poets, novelists, and lyricists such as Edith Södergran, Karin Boye,Aksel Sandemose, Tom Kristensen, and especially Cornelis Vreeswijk when it comes to lyrics.
Pitchfork: Adrian, what have you been up to besides Lower?
AT: I'm 23, so it has mostly been school. In 2007, I went to Tanzania, Africa, by myself, where I worked at an orphanage, building toilets. And later on I went traveling down through Tanzania to Malawi; that was a strange experience. Lots of fucked up things happened down there. I almost got kidnapped in Dar Es Salaam. Besides that, I've done what a usual school boy does in Copenhagen: played soccer and watched a lot of movies.
"Objective popularity is not mandatory to fulfill your dreams."
Pitchfork: Did you go to Africa right after high school?
AT: What you call high school, in Denmark we've got something called gymnasium. I went to gymnasium for one year and it was so excruciatingly boring that it almost killed me. So in my desperation I dropped out and got employed with some strange jobs, such as minibar-refiller and porter in a hospital-like facility. I worked for half a year and then went away to Africa.
I had some romantic idea from watching too many political thrillers about expatriates living in foreign countries-- solving diplomatic issues, being the intermediary who would help countries negotiating different interests, [make] peace perhaps. And eventually find myself a beautiful wife who worked with Red Cross or something and settle in Africa.
But I ended up in a fundamentalist Christian organization, which didn't at all live up to my romantic anticipation. I had to participate in prayers every morning [at] 7 o'clock! And I'm not religious, so it was quite unnecessary, plus the preacher spoke Swahili so I couldn't understand a word for an hour or two. After a month, I went traveling through the country. 
The combination of being bored, wanting new experiences, and watching movies like The Constant Gardener and The Year of Living Dangerously made me flee to Tanzania. But when the three months was up, I really wanted to go back to the Danish welfare state. [laughs] I still believe someday in the future I'll end up a diplomat solving different crises. 
Pitchfork: Are there plans for Lower to tour the U.S.?
AR: I don't know what the future holds, but I would like to. I've been admiring bands from Copenhagen touring the States for the last 10 years. But you don't have to be Iceage to do that. You can just trick customs at the airport, go in, and play lots of shows; the DIY way of doing it. Objective popularity is not mandatory to fulfill your dreams. I've heard so many really good stories from bands who just toured for five weeks in a smelly van with nothing but themselves. I'm quite sure it will happen someday, but I only dare to dream of it right now.
Line up :
Kristian Emdal
Simon Formann
Adrian Toubro
Anton Rothstein
Label :
Tracklist :
01 – Another Life
02 – Daft Persuasion
03 – Lost Weight, Perfect Skin
04 – Unkempt and Uncaring
05 – Expanding Horizons (Dar es Salaam)
06 – Bastard Tactics
07 – Soft Option
08 – Craver
09 – Tradition
10 – Arrows

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