When Indians and Rumpistol play their two concerts at this year’s FROST, they will not be alone on stage. Joining them is 70 musicians from the symphony orchestra Copenhagen Phil. This will be a once in a lifetime experience for both the artists and the audience. We have asked Jens Berents Christiansen from Rumpistol and Søren Lykke Juul from Indians to interview each other about the concerts, their expectations and collaboration.
History and Inspiration
Jens Berents Christiansen, Rumpistol: We got to know each other at that time when you were playing keyboards in the electro jazz band Badun. Today, you still have some electronic elements in your music, but the overall impression is more indie folk. What have you taken with you from the electronica environment?
Søren Løkke Juul, Indians: Indeed, we have known each other for a while now. We spent a lot of time together in the electronic milieu, which existed in Aarhus back then.
Jens: Aarhus was the central nerve for Danish electronica in the early 00’s with DIEM, Prototype, Jazz Juice etc.
Søren: I was really fascinated by all of you, who had your own projects rolling, and realized quickly how hard you have to work in this business. You guys were part of so many different projects such as record labels, festivals, album recordings and stuff like that. Back then, I was more that guy who took the train to Aarhus from time to time to record Rhodes on some albums, I stayed in the background and looked over the shoulders of people who spent hours programming beats with attention to every tiny details.
Søren: You’ve just been to New York. How was your trip?
Jens: It was overwhelming because it was my first New York visit. I took in the city’s atmosphere, met a lot of people and visited the city’s clubs and venues. I also played in China Town with Blue Foundation and got a rather spontaneous booking at Santa Fe, New Mexico, which is a really crazy place. It was weird to find that people on the outskirts of America actually know my music! I guess you must have experienced that a ton of times at your American tours?
Søren: Yeah, it’s kind of a strange feeling when people know your music, even though it has been made far away in Denmark. I get just as surprised no matter how mange times it happens. I often wonder, just before I enter the stage, how privileged I am to be able to visit a venue to tell stories and communicate an atmosphere. Last time I had that thought was at a concert in Phoenix where a large audience had turned up a Friday night. The atmosphere was really great – people were standing close to the scene and were listening intensely all through the concert.
Expectations for the Concerts
Søren: I am already really excited about the concert and a bit nervous as well. What if something goes wrong? There are a lot of people involved in this project! And many people on stage at the same time. It will be quite a challenge. How do you feel about it?
Jens: I am really excited about this as well – it is something I’ve always dreamed of being able to do. When you rearrange your songs to strings, it is the ultimate test to see if the compositions are strong enough to stand by them self. My beats and all the production details are stripped from the new arrangements. I only have to concentrate about playing the piano, which also makes me kind of nervous, because I’m not a piano specialist!
The small bits I have heard from Copenhagen Phil sound really promising, so I’m really looking forward to fix the last details and rehearse it all. And you, do you feel prepared for the task?
Søren: I have to say that I’m excited! I haven’t had a chance to listen to the orchestral arrangements yet and I guess I won’t hear it until rehearsals two days before the concert. It makes me a bit anxious, but there is nothing else to do than let go of all control and trust that it will turn out well. I am really looking forward to this and I’m positive that it will be beautiful.
Jens: I have actually heard the arrangements for ’Magic Kids’ and it fully lives up to my expectations!
Solo vs. Teaming Up
Jens: I have gotten really nice response to my remix of ’Magic Kids’ (Indians song, red.) and I would very much like for us to work together again. How do you generally feel about writing together with others? Do you work better alone?
Søren: I think you did a fantastic job with the remix of ’Magic Kids’. I like how you gave the song more time and how you added new sounds, which went very well with the song. Really cool! It would be fun to do something together again, and the thought of working in new constellations in the future is not strange to me.
I find that there is a special energy in something that is done for the first time. It becomes sort of innocent. I like that ☺. At the moment, I like working alone. Even though it means more work for me, and sometimes is a big challenge, I like deciding everything for myself from time to time. Jens, you must know all about that feeling with all your projects? You have been a one-man army for a long time.
Jens: Yeah, I have, and I definitely think it both has its pros and cons. There is an enormous amount of freedom associated with working alone, but at the same time you risk to lose the bigger perspective, especially in the finishing of a song, where it’s crucial to get a new set of ears to listen to the music. Often some surprising stuff come out of a collaboration with others, for example when Martin Nygård Jørgensen and Christoffer Møller, who are in charge of the arrangements of the string instruments, interpret our work in new ways that we wouldn’t have had the fantasy nor the skills to do myself. And that indeed is a gift that you can bring home to the one-man army.
Visit Indians’ homepage here. Visit Rumpistol’s homepage here.