Efterklang - Photo by Andreas Koefoed

Photo by Andreas Koefoed

“When you spend so much time, so intense with the same material, you reach a point to move on.”

For quite a long time it felt like Copenhagen’s EFTERKLANG have been one of music’s best kept secrets. Well, indeed they were. Something strange happened over the past year. It’s not that strange after all when you think about it. The voices who went “God, you have to listen to this music.” and “Please see this band live” got louder and louder. EFTERKLANG are no secret anymore. Last year’s stunningly complex record Piramida was one of 2012’s masterpieces. The whole concept behind it – accompanied by a movie and recently a live album- worked well in combination with the impressive music. So, in the middle of the band’s current summer victory lap, NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION took the chance to talk to Rasmus Stolberg about past, present and future.


EFTERKLANG is getting plenty of attention at the moment. Did you imagine that there would be so much success when you started the project Piramida?
When we’re making a new album, I never know how it is going to be received or what’s going to happen but I’m always super happy and proud about the music we’ve made. And of course you start dreaming and hoping about what could then happen. In Germany, it seems like a lot of things have changed with Piramida. Overall, the history of EFTERKLANG has always been this slowly, steady, growing thing. It always grows a little every time we release a new album, and that feels really nice. Piramida is definitely the biggest project, because if you look at it, there is the album and the film, and then the Piramida concerts and, of course, I’m really happy to see how all of it worked out.


As a band, you’ve got a high level of productivity. How do you manage to be as productive as you are and where do you get your motivation from?
When we’re not on tour, we’ve got a lot of plans and ideas and we work hard. And then, when we go on tour, it’s all about touring. Then, some of the things we’ve been working on while we were not on tour get finished a bit later or while we’re touring. And that is why we seem to be so productive all the time. But it is also true. We play a lot of shows and we do that because we just love it. It is always fun for us.


When you are on tour, you usually play as a six piece band.  Who is on stage with you?
We have a Finnish drummer, Tatu Rönkkö, a female vocalist and piano player, Katinka Fogh Vindelev and we have a German dude on guitar and piano, Martin Heyne. Some of them are new, because every time when we do a new album, we also try to make a new live band. And this time it succeeded. On the last few albums it has always been the same people we were working with and but this time we really wanted to do something completely different. It was also necessary, because beforehand, we used to be four in a band and that guy was the drummer. So certainly there was a whole new field opening about who gets to play the drums, which is quite interesting.


At the beginning of the year you played a concert as a trio. Are there going to be more concerts in this constellation?
I think so, yes. Because we had a real good time and going that direction was really interesting regarding to our arrangements. We’ve been doing so many projects where we go big and then it is certainly nice to discover, that we’re able to keep the thing small. That was very inspiring.

What would you have to change if you’re going to do some more concerts as a three-piece?
We would have to change everything, because we can’t perform any of the songs of the new album with only the three of us. So we had to write completely new music for it. I guess, some of the older songs would work, if we do some kind of a rearrangement. Also, if you’ve been around as so many years as we have, as a live band, people have some expectations. When it says EFTERKLANG on a poster, they have an expectation what the concert will be like. If you suddenly show up as a three piece band, you have to communicate that beforehand. Otherwise, people are disappointed. So, there are some challenges, but it is an interesting thing for us at the moment.


You already spoke about the feedback of the audience. Is there a difference between North American and European audiences?
I think, we do note differences of the audience, but over all, what we realized is, that people come to our shows around the world and they have a lot of things in common. I think, it is quite difficult to judge any differences in different audiences.  What I learned is that there are so many people around the word that share the same dreams and ideas. That is actually what I experienced, more s0 than the differences. In general, when you move to the USA, you realize, that people are quite open and interested in what you do. Of course, sometimes you feel like it is almost fake, but most of the time they’re quite helpful and would like to talk to you. And when we were in Europe, sometimes people were a bit more reserved. So that is maybe the biggest difference, I noticed.


EFTERKLANG: “I think about how I live my life and what is important to me”

During your last concert in Berlin you distributed some fan-greetings to people in Berlin and asked the audience to write down some greetings for the people on Prague, where you had a show on the next day. Would you like to connect your different fan bases?
Is is exactly what you said. It is about connecting people. I think, for the audience it is amazing to realize, that they have a show of EFTERKLANG tonight together with 900 people and yesterday some people in Poland – for example – shared the same experience. And tomorrow there will be a concert in Prague. It makes it a little bigger than just that night. It makes us and also the people feel like being part of something. And those messages share via us, are really really nice. We started it in December and we’re still doing it.


You’ve already spoken about the journey you’re going through as a band by making different records and keep the thing growing step by step. Every of your records has a special sound and stands for itself. Does Piramida feel like you’re arrived at a point, at which you say ‘this is what EFTERKLANG should sound like’? Or is it also a unique project and the next one is going to be completely different?
I think, the next one is going to be something completely different. Piramida sounds like EFTERKLANG should sound at the moment. We all have the feeling that we managed to absorb our thoughts and ideas we had. We have the feeling, that we fulfilled this ambition. But now, soon it will be the time to move on. Because when you spend so much intense time with the same material, you reach a point where you need to move on.


What comes next?
Things are a bit up in the air at the moment. We have a lot of interesting offers, so we have to decide what and how we would like to do upcoming things. Maybe, for us it will be interesting to do some projects, where we get part of it and don’t have to develop everything on our own.


Do you have some kind of a ritual before you go onstage?
Yes. We have that kind of American-high school-football-team-shouting-thing. It is something Peter Broderick introduced to the band and we still keep on doing it. It feels weird when we don’t do it, but I’m not really sure what it means.


Do you remember an exceptional festival moment you would like to share?
I actually remember one from Immergut, the last time we were here in 2010.  I remember it, because we haven’t done many openair shows until that time and at one moment, we got everyone in the audience moving to the side. That looked really nice from the stage. We had a lot of great festival moments. I also remember one, we were at the English festival called End of the Road. We spent the whole day playing ping pong with the people in the woods. And when we were on stage later in the evening, I remember one kid who played with us in the afternoon, sitting on the shoulders of his dad, being super excited to see us. That was so nice.


What should people take home from a festival?
I think, the most important thing to take home is this feeling of freedom, you have on a festival. But also the feeling of being open to new things: new sounds, new bands, new people. That curiosity and that openness are really important for the everyday life.


What does hope and passion mean to you?
It means a lot to me. I think about how I live my life and what is important to me. That’s what it means to me.