The Great Dictators
MY recent interviewing has taken me…
all over the world. Although I have travelled a lot and featured artists from various parts; it has been a while since I included a Danish act. The Great Dictators are a fantastic band who discuss their latest single, Killing Fields, and how it came to be. I was interested knowing how the group formed and what the scene is like in Denmark right now – and whether the guys are coming to the U.K. to play.
I ask how the music has moved on since When I Waltz (their debut E.P.) and what their musical tastes are; how all the disparate sounds and genres formulate into something cohesive; if they get time away from music to reflect – what they would say to any new artists emerging.
Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?
Great, thanks. Our week’s been pretty hectic with the release of our single and working on new music but, all in all, very good.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?
Well. We’re The Great Dictator; we’re from Denmark and we love beer. We also love to explore as many genres as possible - as long as the end result is something that will subtly rock our worlds. The overall genre is definitely some kind of melancholic Rock, though.
Killing Fields is your new song. Can you tell me what the inspiration behind it is?
Killing Fields, first of all, marks a step in a new direction for us; both genre-wise and as a band. We’ve been listening to a lot of, mostly, Electronic acts lately: Porches, Blanck Mass; Zola Jesus etc. Then, Dragut bought a drum machine - and, then, the rest is history.
The song, itself, is about the difficulties we as humans can have communicating with each other. The world is a dark but, also, a beautiful mess. There’s a lot of crap going on but hope tends to pop up; even though it’s only through small glimpses.
It is cinematic and dark; it mixes different shades together. Did the song come together naturally? How does a (The) Great Dictators song come together?
Dragut wrote the song and played around with it at his flat. Later on, we all brought our ideas; played around with it in our studio and made it sound like it does. That’s, basically, the standard procedure for every song.
Is there going to be more material arriving? What are you working on?
There sure is.
As of now, we have the groundwork for an E.P. - that is set to be released late-2018. Killing Fields is the only finished track, but we’re working our butts off with the rest of the songs. We also hope to have one or two more singles ready before the E.P.-release.
How do you think you have changed since your debut E.P., When I Waltz?
We’ve definitely grown more as musicians - and the band constellation has changed a lot. All in all, we’ve grown more secure in what we do and stopped minding all the B.S. that tags along with being an underground act – that, sometimes, tickle the surface of local fame. We’re also more open to constantly exploring new musical directions and, hopefully, keeping our melancholic vibe intact.
How did The Great Dictators come to be? When did you meet one another?
Dragut started the project in 2011 as a musical collective, where Jakob was one of the first band members. Chris joined later on - and then it all made sense being a trio.
I hear shades of Country and Folk; some Metal and Indie strands. Which artists inspire you all? Did you all grow up around music?
None of us grew up with musicians in the family, so it probably has more to do with our own discoveries and equally-music-interested people around us. We’re all (just) passionate music lovers with different backgrounds. Chris’ favorite genre is probably Math Rock; Jakob is into Electronic music and Dragut is a complete sucker for all genres.
Denmark is where you are based. What is the scene like there now? How does it differ to the likes of the U.S. and U.K.?
The scene, right now, is pretty standard and ordinary. It’s not necessarily a bad thing...
It seems like it’s imitating what’s going on in the rest of the world; also the U.S. and U.K. Streaming services, Pop singles and short attention-spans seem like they’re dominating, but still, there’s a cool and vivid underground scene of great acts. But, they don’t get the attention, support and money they deserve.
Can we see you tour soon? What gigs do you have coming up?
We’re planning on (playing) gigs sometime after the summer; plus, a grand release show and a tour in early-2019.
Will you play the U.K. at all? Do you get out this way a lot?
No promises, but we’d love to have some gigs in the U.K. We have it in mind so, hopefully, next year.
What do you all hope to achieve, personally, in 2018?
We’d like to drink more wine instead of beer. We still love beer but wine seems more sophisticated. Adult fluids, you know.
Have you each got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
We supported Daniel Lanois when he played in Denmark a couple of years ago. He was an extremely cool dude and, fortunately, he was up for a really awkward selfie. But, in general, the band is about friendship, constantly meeting and working with new people and delivering new tunes that resonate with our fans. We’ll continue the journey and we’re up for more adventures.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Write some good songs, make some good music: it might take a while, perhaps a whole fuc*ing lot of years, but keep on working on your own voice and then all the hard work suddenly begins - with all the boring mail-writing and mingling; spending money you won’t see again but, hey: believe in yourself and then all the rest is quite unimportant.
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
We really dig movies, so that’s a common panic room. We also like the soothing voice of Sir David Attenborough. But, music is our biggest passion - so almost everything has something to do with music…
Finally, and for being good sports; you can each choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Christoffer: G Is for Jaile by Gallops
Jakob: Emerald Rush by Jon Hopkins
Dragut: Metal Gods by Judas Priest
Follow The Great Dictators