Something is definitely not rotten in the state of Denmark – and that is its music culture. It’s an open secret that we at NBHAP.com share a specific interest in new music from this beautiful country – it’s an easy task since there are so many great acts here that seem to came ouf of nowhere in the past years. WHEN SAINTS GO MACHINE are just one of them but they already made us big fans with their second longplayer Konkylie that was released 2011 and helped building up a huge fan base beyond the borders of Copenhagen.
The synthie pop group with the darkened undertone and the characteristic voice of frontman Nikolaj Manuel Vonsild creates a very unique sound – haunting, soulful and somehow grooving. It’s kind of hard to describe but it captivates the audience. We were abled to witness it recently at this years’ BERLIN FESTILVAL where the group did a stunning performance on the tiny ‘Glashaus stage’ in the middle of night. Right befor their triumphant show we had the chance to talk with drummer Silas and keyboard player Simon about their current state as a band and the work on the highly anticipated new record.
You’re playing tonight at a small stage here at the BERLIN FESTILVAL. What’s your impression of the festival so far? Did or do you have the time to stay on the aream besides your performance?
Silas: Unfortunately we’ve just arrived a couple of minutes and haven’t had the time to see anything so far. But our label !K7 records is hosting the night here with other acts like HERCULES AND LOVE AFFAIR – so I think we might stay here and hang around a bit with all the others.
Since the release of last years’ successful Konkylie it seems like you’re playing in Germany and Berlin very often. Is there a certain reason behind it?
Silas: I don’t know. I haven’t really thought about that I must say (laughs). But – obviously – we like it here a lot and we build a little fanbase here, it seems. It’s always special and the music gets a good reception here, so why not come often?
Any favourite locations here?
Simon: We played in the Berghain in Berlin once.
Silas: Yes, that was amazing. And this tiny ‘Glashaus’ stage tonight looks interesting too. It’s kind of funny, I’ve once played in the big arena next door so I’m a bit familiar with this neighbourhood although I’ve never been here in this sort of ‘back room’. It’s not one big hall, it’s some sort of tunnel, very shallow. I find this very interesting.
Let’s talk about the future. You obviously have the next record in mind since you already teased us with a new single named Mannequin. When can we expect the new album?
Simon: Well, we’re working on it right now. But there’s no specific plan. Hopefully we got something done by next year.
So, no deadline from the label?
Silas: No, we got one (laughs). Maybe before the summer if we make it in time.
Is it yet to early to say something about the sound of the new album? Do you plan a certain change in sound compared to Konkylie?
Silas: It’s hard to say. I personally always need a certain distance to the music to say something about it. I find it kind of hard to define it before looking at it from that distance you get once you finished the record. So actually, I have no idea. (laughs)
Simon: I think I have some sort of idea in my head but it really changes on a daily bases I must say. A lot of directions we’re trying out at the moment, so I’d better remain silent.
[one_half last=”no”][/one_half]You recently won the Steppeulv Awards as best producers in Denmark. Production seems to mark a special importance behind your music’s magic. Are their specific things you gotta notice when creating a typical WHEN SAINTS GO MACHINE track?
Simon: It’s most likely a combination of everything if you ask me. Everyone of us works in different ways and everyone likes different stuff and music but once in a while we agree on one thing while producing a song – and THAT thing is the special WHEN SAINTS GO MACHINE thing. We look for this unique thing, you can say. And than we combine these single ones and – boom – we got an album. (laughs)
So, you are a band that often hung on details like spending hours for finding a certain snare sound?
Simon: We’re very often into just one sound and get lost in the process of creating it. We went through different processes when we were making Konkylie. It started as a more atmospheric and almost film score like record – but than we got interested in different aspects and music so we changed a lot of the songs characteristics. And so they became anthems for everything we liked during the recording process. And we might try a different approach on the new album, something that is also new for us. We might include some of the live experience in the new songs but it’s always a different pair of shoes – recording songs and playing them in front of people.
Silas: The engery of playing together as a band might be more important on the new album. More in a jamming style although we’re not very good with this. (laughs)
Simon: Yes, I agree. It’s a nice musical atmosphere in Copenhagen. There are a lot of festivals during the summer and a lot of acts get booked all the time. It’s a bit comparable to Berlin, I think. There’s a general interest in music which inspires new bands to come up.
Silas: It’s kind of a healthy competition I must say. It’s both – bands still support but also compete with each other.
Simon: Hmmm, that sounds very nice and friendly. (laughs)
Nothing But Hope And Passion always got a certain favour for new Danish bands. Any new act we should know about?
Simon: You might like a new band called THE INDIANS. They just got signed to 4AD. They only got two songs on the internet right now if I’m informed correctly. But they are good – very indie-electronic-folkish music. They are interesting, check them out.
So, finally – what do “hope” and “passion” mean to you personally?
Silas: Hope and passion? Uh, tough question…
Simon: … that needs a tough answer. Go for it, Silas! (laughs)
Silas: Our passion is to create something that always surprises us. Something that keeps making us better. If you make music and you don’t have the feeling you’re constantly developing it than you might as well stop making it, in my opinion. We feel like we always inspire and challenge each other – that’s passion for us.
Simon: And for hope I must say – as cliché as it sounds – that I hope there will be peace on earth.
WHEN SAINTS GO MACHINE
pop / alternative / electro
from Copenhagen, Denmark