Due unfortunate mistake, on SPECIAL INTEREST #8 magazine, LR interview was published in raw format, which was only draft of audio recording. Version proof-read and corrected by artist himself remained unpublished, so here it finally is. In form it was intended!
I think now for the first time ever Copenhagen is a place where something is happening. I remember when we did the posh isolation two day fest at Utmarken a Swedish guy came up to me and said; “I always hated Denmark for doing only the worst music on the globe and now you are doing only good shows for two days”. I am very proud of the Copenhagen scene today, everything happened so fast and now, here we are.
Playing composed material is the only way I really like to work. I have a hard time improvising, but especially in live shows it would be uncomfortable for me. I like to try and recreate actual songs and at the very least have an exact idea of the direction the show should take and the story that should be told.
I think the live situation is extremely important. You learn from it in a different way than recording and releasing. It is almost like going to an exam. All that you’ve been working on for ages and turned blind and deaf from it, but in live situation you get to see how it works, how the crowd reacts and how you react yourself.
Most of my live activity within industrial music has been with the Damien Dubrovnik, a duo that i do together with Christian Stadsgaard with whom i also run Posh Isolation, for me Damien Dubrovnik is an ideal project to perform live with.
latest LR show i had an additional live member and it turned out to be a very good addition.
I think you learn a lot from playing live and you figure out what is what. the experience of a live piece can be very different from listening to the same thing while sitting in a comfortable couch. something can be very nice in the comfort of your home and your stereo, but in live situations it might not work. Thus there is pieces recorded that will never go into live show and also the other way around. Mostly the live shows are the raw versions of the already recorded pieces.
There has been so much focus on touring with Damien Dubrovnik so LR shows have been rare. you get used to the luxury of being two guys on stage and 4 hands instead of 2.
partly thats also the reason that the latest live show was with borrowed hands. there is also a challenge in presenting a personal piece, as a duo? there is a danger that some of the intimate feeling would disappear. so thats the next challenge, keeping it intimate.
I think when discussing industrial and noise music, it should be mentioned that there were no scene before now and there are no old heroes or gods and there for there is no rules. And if you wanted to learn to do something, you had to write someone in a different country or sneak peak into their gear when they were around.
To not have anyone tell us; “this is what you are supposed to do” had a very positive effect. Maybe in some ways it is more difficult to start from the scratch, but it also had the advantage that there were none we had to live up to. Basically when we started, it was me, Klaus and Christian. and since there were no one else we were kings from the very first day.
Klaus had roots in the punk/hard core scene. I had been in a “noise rock” band and Christian was the only one doing actual noise. I met Christian at noise concert and Klaus at punk concert once. And we started talking about noise and next week we went to Christian’s studio and he plugged in pedals for us and we were throwing around metal junk. This is only about 4 years ago.
Denmark is one of the easiest countries to live in. I think while that is quite something, it also has a downside to it. We were talking about Americans before and when you talk to them, they have quite different mentality – it’s either you do it or you don’t. And for a general Dane – he would just talk and not really care to do anything. And it’s broadly respected that you can talk and not do anything. I have always hated this attitude even when i have caught myself falling into it. But over the last few years i have seen that energy disappear from the “industrial scene” or maybe it should be called “our scene” instead, for it really is much more than an industrial scene. That makes me very happy to see that we all now manage to use this ground we were given and make the best out of it. Honestly i cant think of a better place in terms of quality projects of all kinds and it is hard to keep track by now.
Sometimes it’s very natural when you do the music with someone else you try to form some sort of vibe around the project and it’s easier with artwork and a new name that helps. Really i always worked best with projects, i was never into “jamming” almost always there has been an idea before the work takes place. That could also be a reason why i am and have been in so many projects/bands, i don’t like the word band, it feels like a rock and roll term and if anything i don’t want to do rock and roll. There is generally a reason why two different projects could not be done as one, sometimes it is obvious and sometimes less.. really it is also a constant process of learning and trying out different forms helps me learn.
My solo(main) project is LR, which is short for my name and I think I did that on purpose cause I couldn’t really change it for I should’ve changed by name.
I’m doing Damien Dubrovnik project with Christian Stadsgaard. In some ways Damien Dubrovnik is my main project, sometimes even more than my solo work. We recorded the first album when i was very young and it was my first proper experience with recording and creating a piece of work. It is impossible for me to listen to the recording today without feeling sick from it. But the project has gone a long way since that, and i cant help think that a lot of things would have never happened if it wasn’t for that first record.
recently we have worked very hard with another project that has been going on for long now, Vår (used to be War) that i do with Elias Bender from Copenhagen band Iceage, but that could fill another interview.
And then there is Olymphia and Caucasian Colony, Sexdrome, Skurv, Croatian Amor, Hvide Sejl and more, but really it is all project driven.
In this context it might look absurd to say, but really i never wanted to be a musician and still to this day i don’t consider myself one. I never woke up one day and thought “I am going to be a noise musician”. I still don’t think like that, i use it as a tool for some things and i am very happy with the tool, but it is not me, it is something i do.
Growing up in Copenhagen i had a lot of friends forming punk/rock bands, dreaming of “making it” and i was never interested in that. I stuck to visual arts and it was not until i “found” noise and industrial that i even considered that; “maybe it is possible to be on a stage and do something that is not totally stupid.”
Still today when i work with sounds, i really feel like i am working with images. For me it is all the same thing, drawing, recording, performing, collage work, writing, the design of a tape cover.
ALBUMS vs. RELEASES
I released my first solo album with LR last year on vinyl through Posh Isolation entitled “Exile” based on a Poem of the same name by the Jewish German writer Hans Sahl.
That was a very big thing for me, and it still is. The whole process took about two years and it was horrible getting through it. The thing with exile is that i really hadn’t done much before hand, i was still very new to everything and recording a full album all by myself and even using someone elses words for it, it was a big task for me, it would be today still. I met this poem of Hans Sahl “Exile” and ripped it from a brochure and had it in my pocket for a very long time before i started the actual work on the album. It became this thing, when i would put my keys and my wallet in my pockets before leaving my home in the morning, i would be sure to bring the small sheet, ripped from the brochure, as well. Maybe it went like that for half a year before i began the work. I still have the sheet, lying in my window.
Full albums is the ideal way to work for me, but at the same time it is not something you do every day and i feel more and more that my/our smaller cassette releases gets a feeling like “small albums”.
since the beginning i have used tape releases also as a way for myself to keep track, that could maybe get some people to feel that i released more than i should have, but honestly i can say that i never released something without a reason to do so. that i released something that wasn’t brilliant, that i can only agree with but it has been an important part of the process for me since the beginning, a way of understanding my own work. Maybe it could even be considered egocentric in a way to release the stuff when it’s experimenting, but personally it has always helped me to get it out of my own tape deck, and in to someone elses.. Even if you do just 50 copies of the tape, it will be easier afterwards to meet it. It makes a natural distance to release something, it makes it easier for me to validate it and learn from it.
I think it could be added that i always had a love for sketches, the unperfected and raw emotion of sketches and the voyeuristic feeling they leave you with. I saw a collection of Munchs sketches recently and the energy portrayed in these rough charcoal and ink drawings, almost surpassed the energy found in his masterpieces. The raw emotion and the fact that the communication is not thought into it at that point.
The latest LR releases “Excerpts from a Divorce” tape and the “Påsk” tape, done as a collaboration with Arv & Miljö, both consciously utilizes sketching to form actual pieces. leaving them unfinished and unrefined. The title “Excerpts from a Divorce” gives it away i think, that everything on the tape is excerpts from a story and should therefor not be seen as “songs” in the normal sense. I like that idea of an action happening and you are only presented with a few seconds or a few minutes of it, you don’t have the privilege to see it through, there is no happy or sad ending and no moral at the end.
I never had a big interest in any of the specific “regular topics” of noise music. I have no real obsession with serial killers, I don’t know much about nazism or past genocides of any kind.
I think that two most important subjects in art and therefore also Industrial or Noise when put into the context is Sex and Death. It doesn’t matter if it is a Throbbing Gristle record, a Con-Dom tape, a Munch Painting painting, a Genet poem or a beautiful piece of architecture.
I can really only talk about toady because I don’t know what the “scene” was like 10 years ago. But i get a feeling of a growing uniformity and it feels like so many are using the same imagery, same themes, same type of lyrics and I find it hard to believe that it is coincidental and that everybody just happens to have the exact same obsessions and the exact same way of expressing it. I think it is something that very easily happens within smaller communities like for instance “The industrial – power electronics Scene” and really it is the power of the scene that is also the danger. There is a surden liberty in the fact that everyone is expected to have some form of background knowledge therefor no one is expected to explain the utter basics of why one works in such and such ways and why one uses such and such medias. However this should make room for a much larger debate of the actual work and the themes and i see that happening very rarely. Its a shame i feel, because for the most part people doing this form of expression rarely strike me as very stupid people.
Caucasian Colony deals with white man’s role in the world. Good and wrong doings
and maybe most importantly the understanding of the world and yourself as a white male in the western world, in Northern Europe.
So when we decided to work with the subject of child witch hunting in africa in was done from a premiss that we can only talk about it from our role as the observer on the other side of the world. I have been in Africa, but I have never seen witch hunting. Thus the whole thing is done from our observations watching random news broadcasts and documentaries and that was the whole point of the project really. The way we grasp it, being an observer in a country as Denmark. It is watching these happenings from a sudden angle. To talk about or indulge in tribal life and rituals would be lying, and not interesting for me. But the role of sitting at your Western luxurious home and getting all this information is interesting. You see it, you think that this is terrible, but then you go on, change the channel, put on a record or something like that. That split second or few seconds, when you think how horrible it is and then you forget, it such a bizarre thing. those few seconds, thats what Caucasian Colony is about.
The emotions that this type of stuff awakens in you while watching news broadcasts, it probably more have to do than the actual happening. It could be almost anything.
However it was interesting to take this topic having in mind the christian colonization, voodoo traditions and the horrible result that the remix of the cultures ended up to. It hasn’t been the idea to exploit grotesque subject for the sake of being grotesque.
EMOTION IN ART
When creating art in every different sense of it, for it to be good, it has to have emotion, but also almost as important is an amount of communication. You can not solely depend on emotion, it’s not enough to stand in the street and scream your heart out when you are sad or happy – it’s not art, or atleast it is not very good art.
It’s a balance between communicating and emotion. And both of these have to be there. That could be a definition of what i think art should be. Emotion itself is ultimately a very limited pallet. It’s not art to punch a guy to the floor at the party or sit at home crying. I think for the emotion to be an artistic thing, there has to be an element of communication. And when something is really good – it’s the perfect balance between the two of these.
It’s like an action movie or a fairytale – you don’t take in all of the different parts of human nature, but only those important for the story you want to tell. In real life even if you did a heroic thing, you still might have to go to the toilet or you forgot your appointment with the dentist, But it is not very relevant for the heroic thing you just did
When you are doing art, you are cutting all that unnecessary stuff away and falsely creating raw emotion. And it’s very important when discussing the artist – he is portraying romanticised picture of the world around him. It goes through a filter so it would be relevant to the people. If I would do music about my daily life, it would be horrible. Either writing the plot for an action movie or painting or recording a noise record, it’s still about tearing away the stuff that doesn’t matter and falsely creating the emotion. Maybe false is not the right word, but when dealing with art, it is not the raw energy and emotion of the world, it’s the raw energy and emotion of the fantasy world.
If you want to paint a painting, the better you know the colors, the better you are drawing, the easier it is to say what you want to say. In the beginning I threw metal objects around and screamed into a microphone and i would never say that that is not a good thing, but it has it limitations. Now I’m exploring sounds, effect and use of different recording techniques, expanding knowledge of ideal ways to use it and so on. It’s not about buying loads of expensive gear. Sometimes it’s ideal to find a way to use an old tape deck or using cheap horrible distortion pedal in the best possible way. For me it is very important to have control on what I am doing. Today everything’s very fixed and composed.
A huge changing factor for me was when my rehearsal space was flooded and i didn’t have a place to be for almost half a year. So uncertain of what of my gear still worked and without anywhere to really use it i did what i could and started doing field recordings. I had never really used that before and i was surprised and amazed of what you can do with a dictaphone.
Before that i always had these ideas of nature sounds when i was recording, but now i realized nature sounded in no way as it had done when i had imagined it. Its far more grotesque and dirty, it is well.. Noise.
I think i have become far more minimal in my ideas of composition, i realized i didn’t need three analogue synthesizers and 20 effect pedals to do what i want and very often found that the more minimal version was the more effective one.
Being presented to the work of Pansonic helped me realize that. Sometimes you hear a frequency and you don’t need anything else other than that.
My interest now is to find a way to deliver a message clear with the least possible sound. Trying to cut away all the unnecessary stuff. Being as minimal, but as meaningful as possible. Having strong ideas in most simple sound sources. Working with a minimal sound pallet you have to be very aware for everything stands crystal clear.
INFLUENCE OF ARTISTS
Obviously there is a lot of writers and artists that has had a very big impact on my work, writers like Jean Genet, Paul Celan, George Bataille, Inger Christensen, Tom Kristensen, Edith Södergran, Kafka.
Painters like Edvard Munch & Anselm Kiefer, but there are so many.
It’s the same process for me – absorbing noise, a painting, a book, a piece of classical music, watching a movie or a performance.
As it is for me creating, there is no real difference, if i am writing, recording, painting, its all the same.
The first proper noise show i played was a collaborative set with Christian Stadsgaard and Dan Johansson of Sewer Election. One of the first noise shows i ever witnessed was a Prurient show, these three all made very big impression on me. Another name that had to be on the list although I only own a single record of him, should be Pulse Emitter with his record Progression to Desolation. I don’t exactly remember how i got it, i had made the poster for a show he played in Copenhagen and i think i traded it for some zines i had done, anyway i got it at a very early stage and it just struck me, it still does when ever i listen to it.
Today i most admit i almost only listen to noise done by people around me, there is so much going on in Copenhagen and Sweden that there is almost no time to listen to anything else, besides that i tend to return to classics like TG and White House, Con-Dom, Broken Flag bands.
For a couple of years I worked at a chamber music festival in Ireland where I for the first time really understood what classical music was capable of, my mothers family is all classically trained and I never liked it when i was growing up. Now i cant get enough.
Anything from Bach & Haendel to modern composers like Xenakis and Ligeti.
Lately my big obsession is the british composer John Dowland.
USING OTHER ARTISTS WORKS
It is not impossible that it will happen again, but for now I can’t say. That’s been done and it took me two years to do it and it was not a very enjoyable experience. To try to live up to someone’s words like that is something that you can not take to lightly and the overall project was very difficult. My new work has gone in quite different directions. It is very personal and writing has become quite a big part of it. There is a lot of subjects that I want to use for LR, Damien Dubrovnik and other projects that it feels natural to write myself.
Its always just been these blows of emotion that decide what i am going to do, something like the Exile poem for instance, it hit me and i was caring that note around with the poem and it felt like the only way i would get it out of my system was to do that album.
The same i could say about “Excerpts from a Divorce” the title just stuck with me and i had to get it out some way.
POSH ISOLATION PUBLISHING
I think it all came very natural. We never sat down and talked about what we exactly wanted to do. Me and Christian work very well together and discussions about releases almost never happens. We never sat down and decided to do a noise label or industrial label or so. For us Posh Isolation is just a catatalyst of the things that we like and that we think should be shared with other people. We don’t have a goal to become neither noise nor punk nor black metal label. Our main goal is to be releasing and distributing quality stuff, no matter what it is, and only quality stuff. And stuff that I think has a role to play. Even though things vary a lot from the label. Sometimes it’s a zine, sometimes punk release, sometimes one-copy release, sometimes black metal release. When ever i look through our releases, put them on the floor and look at them, I want them to make sense. All the releases have some kind of recognizable energy to them. I think it is the pursue of an Ideal, An Ideal for Living? That doesn’t mean that we don’t force anything on the artist being released, but it comes very naturally that some stuff fits on the label and some stuff – not. And it’s very important to put focus on the artist and there should be artistic freedom. Posh Isolation is like a beast of its own and has some dos and dont’s. Not necessarily good and bad. Some stuff might be good, but just not for Posh Isolation. It’s not a normal label, it’s more of an egocentric project.