WHOMADEWHO at The Round Table
August 25, 2015
In anticipation of the upcoming WhoMadeWho show at Grand Central next Thursday September 3rd, we reached out to the band just to get to know a little bit about their process, the physiological makeup behind their latest album Dreams, and some fun facts that are sure to pump you up for their performance. The event will be bursting with intercontinental talent thanks to sets from three magical bands; WhoMadeWho as the prominent Scandinavians, the Russian funky band Pompeya and Krisp from our very own South Floridian music treasure chest.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with WhoMadeWho, their most recent record, Dreams is a well-rounded sumptuous one with just the right amount of sexy bounce to it that creates an irking desire to dance, but can also be enjoyed through headphones in a chill environment. The same words could be used to describe the band, individuals who, according to Jeppe Kjellberg’s interview, seem like energetic creatives with a purpose.
“We are honest Viking-men from Scandinavia experiencing the world as we see it. We do what we want, and have fun doing it. That’s what matters. That’s what transcends in the long term”.
Sitting back and enjoying life is one of the featured emotions that surfaced the first time I sat back and listened to Dreams in its entirety. Enjoy laughter, fun and even pain, because the dark winters always invade, whether they are metaphorical or limited hours of gray sunshine in the deepest, darkest corners of the coldest season. The album is a journey that hops back and forth from their frisky debut tracks like “Rose” to unexplored territory that includes relaxation, some screaming, as well as open and abstract melodies. Check it out for yourself here while you sit back, enjoy and learn a little bit more about a vibrant Danish band that needed to be added to your playlist, like yesterday.
Prism: Tell us about the name of your band. Does it have anything to do with the AC/DC album?
Jeppe Kjellberg: When we formed the band, our label was very quick at releasing our first EP, so suddenly we had a deadline. We had to come up with the name of the band for the print of the vinyl. Tomas Barfod, who is a DJ, browsed through his collection of obscure vinyls. There he found this album from some (in his opinion) pretty unknown rock-band. It was the name that sounded less terrible of all the names we came up with at that time, so it stuck.
Your last record Dreams has a nifty version with commentary on Spotify, what inspired you to include this?
Spotify asked us to do it, and I think Tomas Høffding enjoyed making it. It is important for us to show what is going on under the surface of the songs.
What personal and collective dreams did Dreams come from?
In general all people in the creative business are dreamers. In this band we also dream a lot. The subconscious is a strong source of inspiration… when we write lyrics the first draft of a song will often be based on fragments from the subconscious. Then, later we figure out what is actually going on emotionally, and we finish the song. On the album Dreams, we wanted to peel down the songs to a minimum production-wise and realize a new side of the band, dive deeper in to the songs without to much hands around it.
Tell us a little about your creative process. How do you build a track from scratch?
We have many different approaches to writing a song. The classic WhoMadeWho recipe of a song is that Tomas Barfod sets up a session, with some cool sounds and a beat. Tomas Høffding and I, Jeppe Kjellberg, join in and we establish the instrumental skeleton of a song. Thereafter, Høffding and I each go into our little cell and try to come up with melodies or lyrics for the track and decide via democracy which bits and pieces we like. We repeat this cell situation a couple of times until we end up with the structure of a real song. That is the first part of the process. 95% of the songs we do, end here. The last 5% we work on further, and if we’re lucky they end up in the album.
You’ve said that you are all curious and adventurous, how do those characteristics play into your music?
The adventurous nature of the band is what fuels our creativity, especially the excitement of trying to do new things. We always try to keep pushing each other in new directions, to create something new. Every album brings a new concept, a fresh challenge. It is very dear to us to move around like that. Some people have tried to commercialize something we’ve done in certain periods. Once we where asked to keep playing in tight skeleton outfits or women’s dresses, which we had fun doing at that time, but at that particular moment we all knew, it was time to move on. It was time to put the focus on the music, which is the dearest for us all. Commercial suicide, maybe? But, we never had any regrets. We need to feel good about who we are and what we do. People can feel our excitement when we perform or when they listen to our music. We are honest Viking-men from Scandinavia experiencing the world as we see it. We do what we want, and have fun doing it. That’s what matters. That’s what transcends in the long term.
You’ve mentioned that the Scandinavian love of melancholy somehow found its way into your music, could you expand on this?
Since day one WhoMadeWho has been about fleeing the “Scandinavian melancholy”. At the time of Knee Deep 2011 we had established ourselves as a festive and physical live-band. We needed to try to expand the palette of emotions. It felt very natural to do so. We always lived in Scandinavia with dark and cold winters. There is a strong vein of sadness in our nature, so in the end we have also tapped into that a little.
You are known to have used the “double or die” technique in which you vowed to double your fan base with a new album or put the band to rest. Where did this come from and has it been a successful tactic? What is it that drives you to success?
We are very ambitious and restless, so this tactic has somehow worked for us. Even though it might sound pretty scary…. it keeps us “on our toes” alert, alive and awake.
You all also have solo careers, how do you juggle everything?
Since we are all very restless, it is a necessity once in a while to do other things such as collaborations and side-projects. They always give us new inspiration and ideas. It helps to put the band in perspective. After a break from recording and touring (which is very rare) we always meet up with new ideas and inspiration.
What is your favorite crowd to play for? Is there a specific venue that gives you the goose bumps?
It can be very different types of events. Big festivals are epic in one way. We love that. Yet at the same time we played a small festival last week where we got completely blown away by the crowd. If we have a good crowd, nothing else is important.
The million-dollar question: how do you guys listen to music and what is on your playlist?
We are serious music consumers listening to loads of different cool stuff on Spotify, mainly. Personally, I am (at this very moment) enjoying a playlist called “Road-Trip” that my friend DJ Tennis, who lives here in Miami made. It’s amazing and has 290 very diverse songs.
Be sure to check them at out Grand Central next week and buy your tickets here!