The Danish rock band THE FLOOR IS MADE OF LAVA is coming up and got great feedback at this year’s Reeperbahn Festival. So we took the chance to talk to singer Tobias Kippenberger about coffee, Germany, BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, shitless scares before concerts and a lot more. Enjoy!
Please introduce THE FLOOR IS MADE OF LAVA.
We’re your first kiss
and your latest crash on a moped.
We’re your first kiss and your latest crash on a moped. Your big brother and your best friend’s little sister. We’re the people’s band, and nothing more than part of the people.
What do you want the people to know about you and your music?
That you should take it very personally.
Please name three key words to describe the year 2012 for you as a band.
First off, COFFEE. It’s kept us awake while producing our third album, it keeps us going through these busy days and it’s 1/3 of my favorite drink, Coffee Punch – coffee, schnaps and sugar, try it! If you don’t have schnaps, it can be replaced with vodka…
Secondly, I’d have to say GERMANY. My father is German, and I was born in Frankfurt a.M., so it’s somehow always been this distant part of my identity, and finally we got to go on tour and release an album down there.
Finally, CLOSURE. We’ve been through a lot of soul searching this year, and it feels like we’ve come out on the other side, ready to show the world our beautiful faces and badest behaviour.
What do you think was the key to your success in your home country Denmark?
I think that we represent a no-nonsense and very unpretentious type of rock music, but at the same time we don’t really fit into the cliché of the stereotype rock band. I always think of us as a clash between bad taste and good taste – you know, kinda like BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN. He represents guilty pleasures just as much as he represents something profoundly honest and true.
What is it like for you to also gain a foothold in other country’s music scenes now? Do you feel like you’re on the right path?
Well, it’s always been difficult for us to comprehend the terms “success” and “foothold”, it’s not something that we really feel in our daily lives and we don’t put anything into it, but it feels absolutely great to be out playing in other countries, and there really is no other path for us.
Being in a band means you have to be ambitious and determined about what you’re doing. Have you ever thought about this when you started to make music?
Yeah, we’ve always been extremely ambitious, but only held up against our own expectations to what our music should be like. It’s very important to us to challenge ourselves and push the limits of what we are and can do as a band. You know, success is so temporary, but at the end of the day, you have to look yourself in the mirror after all your albums.
There’s this latent sadness always lingering in your vocals, which turns every song easily into a profound and enigmatic soundtrack of a life. What is it that creates this very unique singing of yours?
Wow, I’ll take that as compliment, even though I’ve never thought of my voice that way. But I do think I know where it comes from… I saw this guy on TV the other day. He was from Somalia, but lived in Denmark for many years, because he came here to learn how to sail. Turns out he was just elected fucking president of a region back in Somalia, and he was then asked to describe a few characteristics about Denmark. He said that “the people you love the most, are the people you mock the most”. I think that comes off as very melancholic to people of other countries. Also we live under a thick, grey sky 10 months a year, which somehow must inflict with the general mood up here – there’s no fucking light! On the other hand it all adds character, and although we might be shoegazers by heart, we always keep our heads high.
What are your inspirations to produce these intense rock sounds? What artists do and did have an impact on your music making?
Well, we’re four very different personalities, with very different tastes in music, but if I should try to somehow sum it up, I guess you could say that Lars (guitar) wants to be Johnny Thunders, Asbjørn (drums) wants to be Brian Wilson, Simon (bass) wants to be Fred Cole and I want to be IGGY POP.
What does freedom as musicians mean to you?
It means to have the privilige to not give a shit what anyone else than yourself thinks of you and your music.
I’m always scared shitless
from the last 30 minutes before
the concert and up until about
10 seconds into the first song.
You guys are famous for your passionate live performance on stage. How do you feel like before and after a show?
Honestly, I’m always scared shitless from the last 30 minutes before the concert and up until about 10 seconds into the first song. I imagine it feels a bit like parachuting. You’re excited when the plane takes off, bored when you’re waiting to reach the right altitude, having a lot of second thoughts before you jump, and then you juts let go and enjoy the ride. Our reaction after the show depends on how bumpy the landing was.
What are your future dreams as musicians or rather: will THE FLOOR IS MADE OF LAVA be your future?
We’ve always dreamt somewhat differently in the band, and I think that’s one of our strenghts regarding how much we push each other artisticly, so as long as we can keep doing that, THE FLOOR IS MADE OF LAVA will be our future. In some sense, as long as we can agree to disagree.
Last thing we would like to know: what do the words ‘hope’ and ‘passion’ mean to you?
What it’s all about.
THE FLOOR IS MADE OF LAVA
from Copenhagen, Denmark