Music

It’s been four years since the release of Felines’ debut LP, Wait, in 2014. Within that time there’s been a lot of soul-searching, a return to normality and a few moonlighting wedding gigs that part-funded the swanky Copenhagen studio where the Norwegian band recorded their new EP, Saying It Twice Makes It Real.

The quartet’s first time recording in such a lush studio, the space facilitated a more thoughtful and delicate sound that fizzles throughout the finished product. “We didn’t wanna continue in the same direction [as we were], and it really took time to find out what other direction we could go, or how many directions we could incorporate,” explains lead singer Asta Louisa Bjerre.

A fresh start and renewed vigour soon set the band towards their new desitination. It was a search that saw the band move through Sonic Youth, Kendrick Lamar, James Chance, Twin Peaks and bursts of ABBA, translating these reference points into a refined EP that builds upon the band’s early surf-garage roots whilst maintaining that fierce, textured energy that first saw them explode onto the scene.

Here we premiere the band’s video for Outside, the first release from the It Twice Makes It Real EP.

Mark Felt: You’ve finished your upcoming EP Saying It Twice Makes It Real, how does it differ from your previous material?
Asta Louisa Bjerre: It’s quite different. When we started playing back in 2010, our focus was on the European garage scene and our music was influenced by that. Also, we were all newbies at our instruments and garage rock seemed like something we could actually do, you know. And since then, somehow we’ve grown older, and in other different directions. We’ve been oriented towards other local music scenes. And well, maybe we’ve gone a bit minimalist. Trying to be simple about what we wanna do.

MF: What were your starting points/references?
Mei Long Bao: We had a long break before we began working on Saying it Twice Makes it Real, so it’s difficult to say. There was probably a new surge of inspirations from all of us. And a starting point that was simply very open.

MF: Did you have any particular records or films that guided you towards this new EP? 
ALB: Well, lots of different stuff. We were listening to quite a lot of Sonic Youth, also r’n’b and hip hop, like Tirzah, Kali Uchis, Tyler the Creator, Ye and Kendrick’s Damn. Also some no wave artists, like ESG, James Chance is always a blast and Arto Lindsay. Bursts of ABBA and Sade… As for other inspirations, Twin Peaks the Return was huge, and Skam, a Norwegian youth series, which was very popular in 2016.

Photography by Dennis Morton

MF: Outside has a very rich and deep sound – it’s quite melancholic. Does this flow into the rest of the EP?
ALB: In a way it sticks out because it’s sort of the ballad of the EP, but the song was one of the first ones in the new batch of songs, so some themes were kind of set right there. Yeah, the sound is maybe richer than some of the other stuff we’ve done, but still it’s just a song, and a pretty simple one at that, and that’s definitely a vibe that goes into the rest of the EP. Trying to stretch time a bit, with nowhere to go.

MF: What have you been up to in the time since your last release in 2015?
MLB: Finding ourselves, as always, is that a dumb answer? Maybe [laughs]. And also other ordinary life stuff, like studying, writing a thesis, finding a job…

MF: Why did 2018 feel like the right time for this new material?
ALB: We recorded it last year, and it takes a while to get all the ducks in a row, you know. We got the chance to put it out on the two amazing labels Crunchy Frog and Burger Records in 2018. Also 2017 was a shit year. 2018 is better.

MF: Where did you record the new EP?
MLB: As payment for playing at a wedding we got some recording days at a really nice studio called Sauna Studio in Copenhagen. It’s definitely the nicest studio we’ve been to. The atmosphere is very warm, and the sound of the room is amazing there. We never did anything as professional and delicate sounding as that before.

MF: You’re based out of Copenhagen, there’s a really rich scene happening over there with some great bands emerging. How is it from an insider’s point of view?
ALB: Well, it’s difficult to say. It’s a rather small city so most people know each other – or know of each other. Probably we don’t feel tightly knit together with a “scene” as such as our style is maybe a bit un-copenhagen-y, but of course we have some great friends playing in other bands, and we support each other regardless of genre and style. We’re just as excited about all the great stuff happening here as everybody else!

MF: Any band recommendations from Copenhagen?
ALB: Oh, so many! Less Win, Visitor Kane, Erna, Fabienne Erato, Excelsior, First Flush and Marching Church. But also Birch, ML Buch is gorgeous, Goodiepal & Pals are making important friends across the borders of Europe, CTM released a beautiful album this year, real good!

MF: Tell us about the Outside video. Whose idea was it and how was the recording process?
ALB: The video artist Michelle Bredahl was a friend of a friend. We loved her stuff, so we didn’t hesitate to ask her, and right from the get go she just got it; the song, the mood, yeah, the things we were gesturing at. And so we met at her apartment one afternoon during summer and recorded some material, mostly weirdness and just us hanging out. She edited it together with some footage she had done previously, and bam!

MF: Will you be hitting the road soon?
MLB: Yep, we have a few Danish shows after releasing the EP in late October. And hopefully some European shows during spring too. Nothing is set in stone, everything is possible

Felines‘ It Twice Makes It Real is out later this year via Burger Records.