Monday, March 12, 2012

SXSW 2012 Interview: Choir of Young Believers

Denmark's Choir of Young Believers write orchestral chamber pop music for the indie-set. Their songs are full of drama and heartbreak with moments of triumph and shear ecstasy. Their first full-length LP This is For the Whites in Your Eyes the Choir established itself as a band with a lot of promise, earning International critical acclaim as well as a commercial success in Denmark and other parts of Europe. Here in the United States the Choir of Young Believers has developed a dedicated fan-base but has yet to see the same commercial success. Their latest album Rhine Gold is due out March 20th on Ghostly International. It may never get the band U.S. radio airplay but it is sure to garner them that ever-elusive buzz. With Rhine Gold the Choir has taken the lessons they learned from the first record and developed them to their logical ends. There is more drama, more elaborate song structures and melodies that are as haunting and beautiful as ever. They will be playing lots of songs from their upcoming album at SXSW this year. You'll find them playing the Ghostly International showcase at Club DeVille on Wednesday March 14th along with several other unofficial sets at various locations around town.

Choir of Young Believers - Hollow Talk video via YouTube

I had the chance to send some questions to the Choir of Young Believers and you'll find those, along with their responses, below the break.

  • How has your approach in the studio changed since recording This is For the White in Your Eyes?
  • Well, when we started out recording our debut we hadn't really played that many shows and the band was mostly just me and a lot of really cool and talented friends helping out when they had the time. So, we kind of arranged the songs and all in the studio and now we have been a steady group of people for about 2-3 years. We have played a lot of shows and even rehearsed the new songs before we went in the studio were we recorded a lot of it live so everything has changed I would say, and even to the better.
  • Describe the writing process for Rhine Gold. Were the songs written on the road as a group? In a rehearsal space? Privately as individuals?
  • I still start out alone, mostly the core is written quite fast and then I can walk around for a loooong time changing small bits here and there. Then, when I feel I have something good to present, I play it for the rest of the band and everybody does there thing but we still keep everything quite open for new input and such, for the recording process.
  • What genre-labels and/or comparisons do you rebel against when your music is written about?
  • Mostly all of it. In general, I find it quite boring and flat to read, which other bands or genres people think we sound like. At least it's never something I feel I can use for any good.
  • What are some common misconceptions about CHOIR OF YOUNG BELIEVERS?
  • It actually doesn't happen that often but it has happened a time or two, that people have thought that we where a Christian band, which we aren't. Sometimes people also think we are from Holland
  • The artwork for Rhine Gold seems to deviate from all of the previous works. Was that change a deliberate and specific decision? Is there a specific reasoning behind the choice?
  • Actually I did the cover with the same people that did our last cover, Nis Bysted and Nis Sigursson, and I loved what they came up with last time, I think it fit the music perfectly. This time around I would rather have some art work that pushed the music a bit instead of something that supported it because that was what I felt we were trying to do with the musical arrangements as well.
  • What musical or artistic works were you inspired by as a child?
  • Prince and my grandparents.
  • What musical or artistic works have inspired you lately?
  • I listen to a lot of radio. Not so much music stations but mostly political or cultural debate programs on this new radio channel we have in Denmark called 24/seven and i try to read a bit everyday, that always makes me happy. I have a hard time concentrating, but I'm trying and trying and really wanna get better at it. Both of those things inspire me and give me peace of mind.
  • If you were to score a film or have your songs included on a soundtrack what genre of film would you want to be associated with? Are there any specific directors whom you would love to be paired with?
  • I would love to have a piece of music in a Wes Anderson movie.
  • Did you ever have non-musical career aspirations? If so, what?
  • Yes, I secretly dream of being a carpenter. Mostly i think because in many ways it's the exact opposite of working with music.
  • How many band members can we expect to see at SXSW?
  • For the first time we will be playing the states with the full 7-piece band and I'm very excited about it!!

Choir of Young Believers - Nye Nummer Et via YouTube