FROM a duo based out of Belfast…
it is to a band from Copenhagen. I speak with Masasolo about their upcoming album, At Sixes and Sevens (out on 27th October) and what we can expect from it – and the reason for choosing that title. I wanted to know how the band started out and what the music scene is like in the Danish capital; the artists that have inspired Masasolo; why the past week-or-so has been a rather good one - that has involved some fortuitous surf weather!
I learn more about the band’s tour schedule and whether they are coming to the U.K.; a few new names to check out – and how their album differs from their E.P., Breakup.
Hi, Masasaolo. How are you? How has your week been?
Hi, Music Musings and Such. My week has been great, thank you.
I had a surf and, yesterday. The big Hurricane Ophelia from Ireland got to Denmark. Instead of being devastating - as in Ireland - it turned out to be some pretty good surf when it got to us.
I am still high on this (smiles).
For those new to your work; can you introduce yourself, please?
We are a band from Copenhagen, Denmark that started in February 2016 when I (Morten) put out the debut single, Really Thought She Loved Me. That song kickstarted us and turned us into a band - and we have been playing and making music as 'Masasolo' since then.
With Masasolo; we try to create gloomy and transcending music that still have a core of catchy Pop melodies.
At Sixes and Sevens is your new album. Can you explain the title and the stories that go into the record?
’To be at sixes and sevens’ means to be in a state of confusion or disarray - and is a phrase I use in the first song of the album, Just as Real. The funny thing about the phrase is that it properly originates from an old game of dice where, if you would bet on ‘sixes and sevens’, you were betting on your entire fortune.
I felt that the phrase corresponded really well with the ongoing theme of the record - which is the mixed feelings of getting older. When I was younger I felt confident about where my life was going. I took a Masters degree in Sociology; had relations I thought would last forever and knew my own morals and values. But, without noticing the direction I had taken, all of a sudden found myself in a place I would never have predicted. It wasn’t better or worse: just not really what I’d expected.
This left me in a sought of groundbreaking existential confusion, which I was really surprised about…the fear of not finding your place in life
How do you think it differs from the E.P., Breakup? Did you take in a lot of new sounds and inspirations for At Sixes and Sevens?
Hopefully, you’ll recognize our sound from Breakup... but I think it differs in a lot of ways.
The obvious thing is that it doesn’t deal with a break-up - but this album is also way more ambitious in many ways. We’ve spent ages in the studios trying to balance (the relation) between doing original and experimenting music but, at the same time, not losing ourselves in the experiment - and keep the music concerned with the fact that people should like listening to it.
This has been the most exciting exercise ever...
Was it a natural process putting the band together? How did you all find one another?
Most of us actually grew up together and played together as kids - so we’ve always been on each other's radars.
We all come from the countryside of Denmark and, I guess, there is some identity to that - even though we now all live in Copenhagen. In any case, when we formed Masasolo; it was pretty easy and obvious that we should play together. Now, one-and-a-half-years later; we’ve added a new synth player, Peter, to the group.
He’s awesome and a fantastic musician - and he’ll be joining our concerts from now on...
Tell me how music came into all of your lives? Was there a single moment you realised music was what you wanted to pursue?
It’s more the other way around...
I have tried, most of my adult life, to stop pursuing music and get a normal job. When I grew up, everyone in my family played music and, therefore, it has always been such a natural part of my life. I have played, toured and recorded music all of my life but, when I ended my education in social science and started working, I suddenly realized how precious my life with music was - and that is was slipping through my fingers.
This was when I started writing songs for Masasolo...
I am interested in Copenhagen. What is the city like for a young musician at the moment?
Copenhagen is great - both as a city and when it comes to music. There’s a lot of things going on and there is, like, a pretty good eco-system of venues where you can go and test your music to an audience. On the other hand; Copenhagen is expensive (just like most capitals in Europe) and this puts pressure on the Alternative scene. I have friends living and playing out of Liverpool and they can rent studio space for no money - which I quite envy, sometimes.
Is there quite an active scene for musicians? What kind of genres are popular in the Danish capital?
The most recent thing that has happened in Copenhagen is the rise of a new Post-Punk scene with bands like Iceage, Lower; Less Win, etc. Masasolo isn’t part of that thing but I’ve really enjoyed following them and listening to their music. That whole thing was pretty exciting.
Our band is like a mash-up of really good friends that play in different constitutions, such as Palace Winter; Sleep Party People, Luster and more.
That’s, like, our circle (smiles).
How does it make you feel getting attention from sites in the U.K.? Is it quite humbling getting recognition from international sources?
Yes, of course.
It’s really hard to describe how fortunate you feel when people take an interest in your music. It’s one thing when your friends and family like it...but, then, when people from far-away start writing; you become humbled and full of confidence at the same time.
It really fuels the fire.
Who are the new artists you recommend we check out?
You should check out our bass player, Jake, and his band, Luster. This is the coolest new thing around right now....
Or, if you haven’t heard Mikhael Paskalev, yet; you should check out his new album, Heavy – it’s heavy stuff!
IN THIS PHOTO: Mikhael Paskalev
What tour dates do you have coming up?
We just played in Norway and, afterwards, we have a short tour in Denmark this fall. We are working on a longer tour in spring 2018 - where we, hopefully, would come by the U.K. again.
We haven’t played there since late-2016 - and we miss you guys.
If you could each select the one album that means the most to you; which would they be and why?
This answer you get way too often but.... The Beatles with Revolver
Nothing compares to it! In this album, they find the perfect relation between musical experimentation and Pop music. I can always return to this album.
Another, and not that over-used answer, is Angel with Pure X
When I started writing for Masasolo I was listening to them all the time - and that album is just sublime.
What advice would you give to artists coming through right now?
It’s really hard not to sound like a cliche - but climbing the ladder in this business you’ll find that the cliches are there for a reason. One cliche I find useful is that, as long as you stay true to yourself, it gets so much easier dealing with the people (and the ups and downs you are gonna meet along the way).
Christmas is not too far away. Do you all have plans already or will you be busy working?
We take every holiday chance we’ve got to work; so, yeah - Christmas is already booked with studio-time.
Finally, and for being good sports; you can each name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
Niki & The Dove - Play It on My Radio
Mikhael Paskalev - Needles in Our Hearts
Luster - You've Got the Heat
Shanghai - Mine, Mine, Mine