Some hours before his show at this year’s SPOT FESTIVAL we had the chance to talk to RANGLEKLODS. We spoke about his music, his live-performances, growing up and about the mechanical sounds of the world…
How would you describe yourself and how would you describe your music? And why should people listen to your music?
Esben- Well…I think they should listen to it because it tries to do something new. I would definitely say that it would sound like nothing they can put their finger on exactly. ‘Cause it is inspired by very many and very different things. Well yeah…so I see it as very eclectic music, because I listen to so much different music and I always have. So I have no intentions of like making just a pure house-track or hip-hop-track or whatever. What I really want to do and what I naturally do when I sit down and make music is do something that contains a lot of different elements and then my job is to make it fit, to make the things go together. And luckily that is something that happens naturally. And I really think I…I’ve made a lot of different music and been involved in different bands and such, but it was really not before I made the first RANGLEKLODS sketches about 2,5 years ago that I found the kind of music that I was supposed to do. I really think that this is it, because it fuses the things that I love and it does so in a way that makes sense and doesn’t seem forced. And that’s very important to me…that when it is not…that when you listen to you don’t think “ah so the drums are inspired by hip-hop and then there’s an 80s synthesizer and so” and then you know that’s often what people do. They like tear apart different genre-definitions. And what I hope to achieve with RANGLEKLODS is that you don’t think like that, you just listen to that and say “well this really sounds great and it’s a new take. And something that does seem familiar.”
Sounding like RANGLEKLODS and doing your own genre?
Esben- Yeah, exactly.
So what about the name? It’s a strange name…
Esben- Yeah…even in Danish it doesn’t mean anything. And that’s what I wanted. I tried to find a band-name and then it just occurs me that what I wanted wasn’t a band-name, because I’m really tired of all these names that you hear and then you think of this one specific thing. That already makes you think of the music in a specific way. And what I hope to achieve with this name is that people just listen to it without any preconceptions at all, ’cause the name is just blank. It sort of could be anything. The other thing about is that it’s a sound that I like. In Danish it is pronounced in another way than in German or English…it doesn’t matter to me…I mean there is not like there is on right way of saying it either. The sound of it is nice and I have to say this name a lot, so I’m just glad that I like saying it. So that’s all of it…the short story about the name.
Is it your first time at SPOT FESTIVAL?
Esben- I actually played here the last year as well and I was like one of the completely unknown people at the festival last year. But it made a huge difference, I mean that’s definitely why I’m as far as I am now, because things are going pretty well in Denmark. It’s a great way of gaining a wider audience. Maybe not through the audience that’s here, but through guys like you, that are genuinely interested in music and look for something different. And I just like the fact that you can gather a lot of very music interested people, so it’s a concert I’m looking forward do and I really wanna do my best.
So you play with a band or…
Esben- A two-man band. I’m one of the band-members. I have a live-guitarist with me who does all the backup-voices. That brings a lot of energy to the show. Of course I have to cut out many of the guitar parts and she plays them instead.and then she also just builds upon that don’t have any guitars in it. But the important thing to me when I play is playing as live as I can. I am not interested in playing a perfect concert where it sounds like the album. The point is that the people can go home and listen the album, but I want to show that the music can also sound like this. and I want to make it an experience. And it’s both for the audience’s sake but also for my own sake, ’cause it makes it continue being fun. I love being in the studio and I love playing concerts and I love the complete difference in those two situations. When I’m in the studio I’, very detail-oriented. I want everything just the way I imagine and sometime it takes a fucking day to make the kick sound right. The pace can be really slow sometimes. In the concert-situation you have that singular moment to do as well as you possibly can and that’s it, you cannot go back. And that’s something that really speaks to me, because I’m in the studio so much, so it is really nice to get away from that and have a complete difference there. So I take a lot of chance, I try mess it up, I try to make it uglier instead of making it more beautiful, ’cause that’s the kind of concert I’d like to see myself in. I like the party-thing and I like to see concerts where for instance one of the guitarist’s strings break during a song and you can see that he’s like “what the fuck am I gonna do?” and then he figures it out and he just does what he is supposed to do in a different way. That is the essence of a live-performance. That’s where you can see that a performer is truly talented, that he can improvise. I’m dealing with a medium where perfection is what happens if you do nothing. As I said that’s not what I’m interested in, so I try to manipulate the tracks a lot, make them sound different. And often I wouldn’t say that it doesn’t better. Sometimes it does and sometimes I’m like “Wow fuck I should have done that on the album”, but sometimes it’s like “Wow that wasn’t perfect, but it definitely had some energy.” And people can see that it is very much live. It’s about interacting with the audience. I think it’s a dialogue.
So how do you get the people into your show?
Esben- It’s not like I tell anecdotes during the concerts. There are few remarks but I would say that it’s through the music and the performance during the songs, that I try to interact. That’s maybe the most difficult, but it’s also the most effective way of getting your message through. I’m not too happy about these concerts where there’s like a two-minute minute break between every song because they have to tell you they made it. I mean that’s not why I’m going to a show.
Do you have a special message for the people? What about your lyrics?
Esben- I definitely try to have a sort of message in the lyrics. It’s not like life-changing messages or revolutionary messages. I would more say that it’s sort laying out an atmosphere that they can recognize – for instance in Clouds I’m talking about that very very brief period between childhood and adulthood where you go from the rules of being a child to the rules of being an adult and you feel for just a month or two that there are no rules, because you know that your through with the childhood-rules but you don’t know the adulthood-rule-shit. I just have very strong memories about that brief period. I think most people have and so it’s like I’m trying to tell a story that reminds them of something in their own life.
Was this special moment the moment of freedom for you?
Esben- There was definitely freedom about it, but there was also a lot of chaos, doubt and insecurity about it. As a human being you probably are happy when you know which rules to play by. There were good days and there were really bad days in this brief period. To me…every time I listen to this track it reminds me of this time – both the atmosphere of the music and the lyric, because it is a very dreamy track. So it’s about setting a mood. Actually I would more say that it’s about making people retell their own stories to themselves than it is about me being in confession box telling them about my life. A lot of what’s in the lyrics is not stuff that I’ve experienced. I’m not a singer-songwriter but I do see myself as more like a story-teller, but I don’t mind if there’s a lot of fiction to it. I just have to be able to relate to it otherwise it doesn’t feel true.
So you see yourself more as an artist than as a musician?
Esben- I see myself as an artist in the way that I know that there is more to music than just the sound of it. There’s a whole message that you have to pass on and that’s why I also have a live-technician with me – to make it more than just a sound. It should be a visual experience as well. What I try to do when I make my music is to create soundscapes that sort of draw a picture that makes you to go to places, because it is very effect-heavy. It’s not a band recorded in a room and you can understand it all…I try to make it into a unique space.
What do the words “hope” and “passion” mean to you?
There’s music in everything.
We need to pay attention to this as well.
Esben- “Hope” – right now I have RANGLEKLODS in my brain all the time, that’s what I do. So “hope” right now is the hope of also finding an audience in Germany – because it’s my primary target right now…and Britain as well. And “passion” is definitely the fact that it’s in my mind…just about from the moment I wake up until I go to sleep again. It’s not something that just happens when I play a concert or when I’m in the studio, I’m very much inspired just by walking down the street and listening to the sound or the mechanical sounds that you can sometimes encounter that can have a beat and a rhythm to it. There’s music in everything. We need to pay attention to this as well.
from Copenhagen, Denmark