Controlled chaos might be an illusion after all, but if you try it you might experience a few creative surprises. Danish musicians Andreas Pilgaard and Stine Drejer are giving it a fair shot on their debut EP as Between Mermaids And Me. The two friends have known each other for more than a decade, playing in various projects and bands before, only to now realize that they might be better off as a two piece. “Maybe we had a stereotypical idea that a true band had to consist of four or five people, and that a duo of a drummer and a singer/producer definitely wouldn’t work out,” they told us. Well, luckily it did.

The result is a testament of thriving musicality and creativity and it goes by the name Reality Craving. On their debut EP, the two Danes try to cope with the chaos of our times, unfolding six tunes that mix glitchy electronica with catchy pop hooks, sensitive songwriting with powerful drumming. It’s an intense yet playful joyride and although it’s not something that the duo intentionally strived to get into their music as they tell us. “Maybe we were in an intense state emotionally at that time? Nevertheless, we just wanted to change something musically and do something we haven’t done before and that happened to turn out as this rather intense EP.”

Dystopian dance party

The apocalyptic notion of our times also plays a crucial part in these six tunes (which are also available in instrumental form on the release). Opener HMS Beagle is explained by the band to be an imagery on global warming, how everything escalates and is on the verge of breaking. “With rising sea levels and surroundings in decay you solemnly mark the tragicomic occasion with a dance of solitude, while you fight for survival,” they say and that’s the sort of story set-up you’re getting here. Between Mermaids And Me face the future – as dim as it might be. These songs tell stories about generational conflicts, the depression of the digital age and the fear of losing hope and our humanity in the face of all of that. These are different times, they deserve a different type of music and these two are willing to deliver it.

“We’re both eager to learn new stuff, it’s sort of our musical DNA, so we often discuss what we’re afraid of, musically, and try to go there.”

Photo by Aleksander Eilertsen Espelid

Acclaimed Danish filmmaker Lars Von Trier also had an indirect impact on the EP, especially those films of the Dogma95 ethos. “It’s a set of movies that works with the idea of limiting your creative possibilities to find into the ideas that are strong enough to stand by themselves,” the band explains. “We tried to adopt this mindset working on this EP. For instance, we used time limitations as a creative catalyst. The main idea was that you had an hour to come up with a sketch before you had to pass it along to one another – turns out, that’s a perfect amount of time to come up with an idea that’s worth building but that you aren’t so attached to, that you aren’t open for inputs and changes. It keeps the ideas fresh and the workflow equal in a way.”

Listening to Reality Cravings with that knowledge makes it an even more fascinating experience. The sound of Between Mermaids And Me is restless, raw and ready for adventure while also not shying away from traditional songwriting. Their influences range from Thom Yorke to Lowly, from Aphex Twin to Mew and I think you’ll notice these nods occasionally on the release. It’s that fearless hunger for creation and music that drives Drejer and Pilgaard.

“We’re musicians and artists because we can’t help it and because we love when our music connects with other people than ourselves – no matter the numbers. We don’t fear anything; we’re in the best place possible. We’re making music together, and people are listening to it. We can’t ask for more.“

Reality Cravings is an exciting first exclamation mark from a band that only just got started and is up for more adventures in 2023. The EP is out now on hfn music. Don’t miss it.

Every Monday the NBHAP staff brings an exciting new artist to your attention along with a 30-track-strong Introducing Playlist over on Spotify. Feel invited to follow the playlist and give these talents a spin.

Aside from the Danish duo, this week’s picks include brand new music from artists like ZAAR, Summer FryShe’s In Parties and more.