PHOTO CREDIT: Konrad Tosti
STEPPING into the weekend with a confident stride…
ALL OTHER PHOTOS OF DESMOND: Rasmus Kongsgaard
can only mean a chat with the fantastic Danish band, DESMOND. They have been telling me about their new single, Cardboard Palace; what we can expect from their upcoming album; how they got together – the guys answer the question regarding possible U.K. gigs.
I ask them about new acts to look out for and what they hope to achieve before the end of the year; what the scene is like in Copenhagen right now; whether they each have a favourite memory from their time in music – the band members select some cool songs to end the interview with.
Hi, DESMOND. How are you? How has your week been?
It's been good! It’s always exciting to release new music into the world. So far, the response to Cardboard Palace has been great. We’re looking forward to releasing the whole album, which we are very proud of. (It will hit the stage on 17/8).
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?
We are a Copenhagen-based band who plays a mixture of Synth, Indie and Pop-Rock. You know; it's always been difficult for us to categorize our music with a specific genre. 'Genre' is relative and is, therefore, dependent on the ears who listen. We just create the music that we love.
Cardboard Palace is your latest single. What is the story behind it?
Cardboard Palace is this story about this stockbroker-kind-of-guy who had everything in life: the family, house; car, big career etc. but he flew too close to the sun and lost everything. Still, he refuses to acknowledge this new reality and ends up constructing a reality of his own. Even though he lost it all, this rich wolf of Wall Street-kind-of-guy won’t take off his fine suit and suddenly he finds himself living in a cardboard box, calling it his ‘palace’.
We released Cardboard Palace first because we think it encapsulates a lot of our ideas on the album, especially contrasts. The track is kind of upbeat and happy - for a sad story about a guy who hit rock-bottom. All four of us know about the feeling of losing something precious on our own behalf: the story is about how you deal with it. To what extent do you suck it up and start over vs. resisting, fighting and burying yourself? It’s about not realizing that you sabotaged yourself and then you accuse your surroundings (for) the ‘injustice’. We wanted to tell that story, both lyrically and musically, in a fun and maybe kind of tragicomic way.
The song is from your upcoming album - released later this year. Can you tell me what sort of songs and ideas will feature?
Contradictions, as a concept, is good for telling stories and communicating specific moods. Contrasts are a big part of what we like to examine in the universe of DESMOND - both lyrically but, also, musically. (But, always with a sort of balance). Balance is also something it took us years to finally embrace. We have finally discovered that it's the track that dictates what we individually play and not our ego.
It's always: what is best for the song and not some drum pattern that Alexander (drums) spent hours constructing. If it doesn't suit the track, it goes into the bin. Everything we do has to feel balanced and natural. We hope that the album will reflect this.
When the lyrics for our E.P. were written, a character was suddenly created; a man who ventured out to seek his purpose. At the end of the last track of the E.P., he stood at a crossroad - to end or extend his journey. No one really knows what happened to him, but he might have slipped unto the album….
The album contains stories and moods that all four of us can relate to. We like the idea that our lyrics contain parts of all of us...or at least a story that we can share with one another. The album consists of various themes, e.g. songs about difficult relations but also songs about a space odyssey and a cool diamond thief. We like to think of our DESMOND-universe as vast and with no limits. If the story has integrity or is just plain good fun - or both, for that matter - it will be told. You will be taken on a ride with this album…and we can’t wait to unveil it.
How was it working with Carsten Heller on the record?
Carsten is this super-cool guy who did all sorts of things that we admire. The fact that he agreed to work with us was huge. We were kind of nervous in the beginning, but he turned out to be the most relaxed, hardworking guy who just loves music. He has great ideas and is always a servant of 'The Track’. Carsten has this ability to figure out exactly what we want without even telling him.
Carsten and his team have had a huge impact on the Danish music scene and have received great recognition. It’s an honour to work with these guys. We’ll never forget the first early versions of our tracks that Carsten sent us. It was unbelievable.
How did DESMOND get together? When did the magic start?
Three of us, Christian Snorgaard (Guitar), Andreas Snorgaard (Bass/Synth) and Alexander Topsøe (Drums), are childhood friends and we grew up very close to each other. We listened to groups like The Cure and The Police and used to jam to their songs. As we grew older, we turned the tempo up a nudge and devoted ourselves to music like The Killers, Bloc Party and Phoenix. All of us have gained a lot of different musical experiences throughout numerous band constellations.
Eventually, we took a couple of years off the stage to finish our individual educations but decided to restart our music two years ago back in 2016 - that was when we ran into Asbjørn Storgaard (Vocals). Asbjørn was a perfect match to the first compositions and sound in general and he quickly became a part of the group.
You are a Copenhagen band. Is there a good and growing music scene there right now?
Very much, indeed! The ‘competition’ is sharp but, actually, it's not competition per se as there is plenty of room for everyone. Good music is always appreciated: bands like Minds of 99 are doing great, great things. They are very inspiring to us as they always keep things ‘real’. They have this very defined sound but are not afraid to stray through different genres, if the track dictates it. Also, the band When Saints Go Machine; they have the same spirit.
Denmark is a small country with a lot of talent - and we have lots of music festivals and venues which provides new music to the people. The Danish people are used to going out to concerts which is important if you want to reach people with your music. There is some sort of cohesion among the Danes that music should be experienced, not streamed.
Where are you heading on tour? Where can we catch you?
We really want to go abroad and are, therefore, planning and raising the money we need to get going. Of course, the U.K. is a top priority for us. A lot of our musical inspirations come from the U.K. and we would love to perform our show there – and, hopefully, this interview can contribute to that. Until then, we are focused on the shows we have here in Denmark and we’re planning our first tour here as well.
Our next gig so far will be 17th August, together with the album release.
Might you come to the U.K. before the end of the year?
We really want to - and we’re working on it! That would be a dream come true.
What do you hope to achieve in 2018?
Hopefully, the album will be well-received and give us as a group the boost we want to go even further. Even now, we have new material on the way. We’re also working on some really cool ideas for music videos that we hope we’ll get to shoot in the near-future.
Have you each got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
At the beginning of the Desmond journey, we played a gig at Christiania in Copenhagen which was really overwhelming as there were more than two-hundred people attending the concert. That was a really big deal for us at the time as we were still brand new back then.
But, the one memory that neither of us will forget is the feeling we got when our producer Carsten Heller sent us the first productions of our tracks. It’s a weird feeling hearing yourself like that: it made it real and we got even more motivated to reach our goals.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
We all hold the group Phoenix in high regard. Their compositions and their shows are just marvellous and they always seem to develop themselves between their albums. We really respect that.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Don’t sign the first and the best deal that comes your way: consult professional people like a union. Believe in your work and don’t let people tell you otherwise. Work hard: you gonna’ regret it later if you don’t….
IN THIS PHOTO: Klippenberger
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
The Danish artist Klippenberger just played a fantastic show at the upcoming music festival SPOT in Aarhus, DK. That was breathtaking…you should check them out. If you’re into Black Metal, we can recommend our friends from the band, Morild. They are conquering the Danish Metal scene at the moment and are rising stars.
IN THIS PHOTO: Morild
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Well. We chill when we’re WITH music, not away from it. But, actually, we all love football, especially the Premier League, so we can’t deny streaming a game or two during practice.
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).
Thank you; we really appreciate it!
Christian: The Police - Bring on the Night
Alexander: M83 - Midnight City
Andreas: Phoenix - Fior Di Latte
Asbjørn: Kashmir - Bewildered in the City