Collider

Collider

The polychrome complexity of noise and melody

interview by Francesco Nunziata

The danish Collider, one of the biggest revelations of 2019, are responsible of a polychrome musical fresco in which noise and melody chase each other tirelessly, exchanging impressions on shoegaze, noise-rock, jangle-pop, math-rock, folk, progressive and psychedelia. Teased by their fascinating debut album, we contacted them to find out more about their music, their influences and their projects.

I discovered your record by chance and I was immediately impressed by its ability to put together many different styles and genres. That said, let's start from the beginning: how and when did the Collider adventure begin?

Troels: Mikkel and I have been playing together since childhood, making lo-fi productions in our Southern Jutlandic teen rooms. Later on we met our groove ass friend and bassist Johan in gym. During some years we had several projects constantly collaborating on developing a unique expression, something to transcend the everyday life. We lived and did everything together. We always had this kind of bubble around us, like trying to escape everything else.
For some time people were spread out on the globe, Johan trained as kung fu ninja, in China, Mikkel lived in Portugal and Troels lived with Marie in an apartment in Southern Denmark, where they were pretty much isolated from the rest of the country, this was where they (Troels and Marie) started writing songs together.
Marie had played in a famous folk duo with her twin sister, and already toured hell of a lot and made records at a very young age. Marie’s feminine approach and experience in music mixed with the guys’ spontaneous, trashy and laissez faire way of creating made us a strong group and a lot of trouble.
When everybody came together from each corner of the world, we moved in a to shitty 12 square meter yellow room in Amager, Copenhagen, and Collider was born. We played day and night, and slept together on one mattress under questionable conditions. It was the only thing we did.

On your facebook page, you define your music as "nugaze / fusion / psych / prog / lo-fi". I would say that is a fitting definition, like your name, Collider, which refers precisely to the clash, to the collision of things, of emotions, etc.. Which one of you got the idea?

Troels got the Idea from a Lilys song. The word seemed like a concept but at the same time it’s kind of an action.

71063300_936274693399174_6412027732137345024_o_01Am I wrong or in some passages your music also reminds your fellow countrymen Mew?

Mikkel: I don’t really think we thought about Mew throughout the process of creating the album, but Troels, Marie and I were huge fans as kids. I remember when Frengers came out, and it was in the school library’s couple of tiny CD racks. Strangely enjoyed the cover. Took it home. Got Stoked.

Troels.: Mew introduced us to huge, adventurous dreamy songs when we discovered the band around the age of 12. It made an unforgettable, deep impression, walking around in nature in spring as a kid listening to their progressive landscapes, not like any other music we’d heard before at that time. Mew is a very unique band, and doesn’t really fit into any particular scene, I think we are a bit alike in that way.

On the surface, your music is damn chaotic, yet - correct me if I'm wrong - I think it's the result of a damned reasoned writing. Incidentally, I find the work of the flute very interesting throughout the album...

Marie: The chaos is a result of both composing and intuition.
And thanks… since I don’t really share the same kind of musicality as the guys, I have an advantage there. Seems like the music is just coming out in another way. I guess my past in music is quite different from theirs.

Which are the bands and the musicians that have most inspired your music?
First of all, our core songwriting comes from a very spontaneous place and we rely a lot on truth of intuition. But the layers outside the core of the songs is of course inspired by many different musical aesthetics.
In the time when we started to live together, we had a total obsession with trashy sounding indie rock, mainly from the 90s. The list could go on forever, so this is a little random cutout: the experimental fucked up bands Swirlies and Polvo made a huge impact in terms of twisting rhythms, tempos and smashed sounding instruments, other noiserocky bands like Drops Nineteens, Yo la Tengo (with their boy/girl aesthetics and unedited sound), early records by Brian Jonestown Massacre, Lilys, Medicine, Helium, Deerhoof, All Natural Lemon and Lime Flavors even Hella and of cause Sonic Youth also had their impact. Besides that I would say the vulnerability and odd sounding textures of slowcore acts like Seam, Red House Painters, Duster and Codeine. Additionally the pale naivity of british shoegaze acts like (to name a few) Pale Saints, MBV, Lush, Ride and the scottish twee band Pastels. Outside any category there’s beautiful music like Mahogany, His Name is Alive, the first fragile hyper-melodic works of Magnetic Fields and also the vibe of Stereolab.
When Collider started in 2015, we mixed it all with contemporary vibes, we watched from the world around us. Pairing different layers of music which could seem incomparable. We were mixing the 90’s thing with inspiration from the “vaporwave” genre (hong kong express, New dreams ltd.), loads of modern psych/indie pop bands like; Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Connan Mocassin, Tame Impala, Caribou, TOPS and so on, but never really one band stood out, it was more like a general zeitgeist. We also really digged the crazy, multilayered lo-fi pop of Ariel Pink’s haunted Graffity, and the endless minimal melodies of Arthur Russell.
In 2018 in LA we saw a live concert by the math/experimental band Palm, they really blew our minds. Their style is so complex and kind of reorganizes the rock arrangement structures, that was super inspiring.

If someone wanted to rebuild the sources that are the basis of your sound, which albums should he listen to?

Troels:I think honestly it’s hard to make it up in that way, because the way we put things together and our own intuition in songwriting comes first, that’s the basis, and doesn’t really fit with any of these records; but these have been major signs in our aesthetical search:

Duster - Stratosphere
Drop Nineteens - Mayfield (demo tape, very awesome one!!)
Magnetic fields - The Wayward Bus/Distant Plastic Trees
Mahogany - Dream Of A Modern Day/Connectivity
My Bloody Valentine - Ecstasy and Wine
Pale Saints - The Comforts of Madness
All Natural Lemon and Lime Flavors - Turning into Small
Lush - Scar
Yo La Tengo - Electr-o-Pura
Brian Jonestown Massacre - Diane Perry Tape
Red House Painters - I (rollercoasters) and II (bridge album)
Swirlies - Blonder Tongue Audio Baton + They Spent Their Youthful Days...

marie_02How are your songs usually born?

Mikkel: Some songs like DG, Sniper etc. erupt directly out of improvisations, and are worked out by all of us at the same time. But most are born from Troels bringing some part or an entire song to our room. We often get really high and play the song in several completely different ways, then wrap it up by bringing the different parts together in one messed up piece

What kind of topics did you deal with in your lyrics?

Troels: The Lyrics come nearly always by itself from improvising, and then during the process they’re refined, and what we actually want to communicate gets clearer. Often we recognize them being made for problem-solving inner personal confusion. How can one get out of a troubled psychological condition, how can a reach a certain state of consciousness or what does it take to release our personal potentials? It’s often about contradictions and collisions, dependence of relations versus being alone and independent, questioning experiences with dreams and escapism (as the main way of living) in contrast to the confrontation; the responsibility of the real, outside world, problems with responsibility, which world is real? Also it’s just pictures on our search for the right inspiration, like Daisy, it’s an anthem (like you mentioned in the article) about how to put ourselves in the right crazy chaotic mood to be able to perform this music, very meta.

In "Glockster", I hear echoes of "Isn't Anything", the debut album of My Bloody Valentine. What is your relationship with Kevin Shields' band?

Troels: Okay, okay, okay! it’s a truly groovy record - unreliably beautiful and haunting. To me MBV is all about skiing.. Some bands are just way cooler and ahead of their time.. ..crazy mavericks!
(like german artist Jonatan Mese said; “in art.. ..it has to go too far”)

Marie: Right, you can’t be ahead of your time, following your time.

The cover you chose for the album is very effective in reproducing the "colorful complexity" of your music. Who made it?

Mikkel: Troels made the cover. Took the picture in some garden, and was absolutely sure about it. I was actually not very much for it. Thought it was too impressionistic. So he made 4 different color schemes to try make it fit. I gave in completely when the idea of printing the record in all four different versions came up. That was perfect.

Marie: Troels did it. He took the picture on his phone at my family’s holiday house years ago. He would always walk around taking pictures, but never with a good camera. Quality and high pixelation never really had an interest. I guess it’s more about manipulation of reality. I actually think that looking at the cover, gives you an idea of how Troels’ brain look on the inside.

69179148_911881642505146_5018132350039490560_o_01Are you already thinking about the new album?

Mikkel: We are very much thinking about the new album, and what its gonna be. For now were juggling with a lot of material. Way too much for a single LP and yet it seems like it’s not all there yet. So we really don’t know what it’s gonna be yet, but we’re very excited and pretty sure were gonna drop something in spring.

Marie: Next album will definitely consist of a lot of flirting, rabbits coming out of the hats, as usual, flowers, trouble, wrestling and pizza..

Troels: The songs from this year’s album was brought to life in 2015/16 and our style since then could be described as more precise, airier, simpler like a condensed edition. We already had enough songs for a new record when we released the first one, but we have an urge to go deeper. This autumn’s tour we tried out mostly new songs and found an open way to play sets with space for some improvisation. I’ve been thinking a lot about Hemingway lately, the past weeks has been all about hemingway’ing; romantic atmospheric time around without too much purpose, to me it’s linked to our new record, he’s gonna affect it in some transparent way.

What do you do for a living besides playing?

Mikkel: We don’t do much besides playing. Marie is finishing her education naturopathy, which is a kind of holistic natural medicine.

Troels: The three of us went to rhythmic conservatory in copenhagen, and had a lot of social support and facilities to make our music.

What is the situation within the Danish indie-rock scene? Do you feel part of it or are you mavericks?

Marie: Fitting in sucks! But luckily there’s a bunch of other mavericks around in Copenhagen. And even though the scene is small here, its a pleasure to be a part of. Everybody is contributing with their own little thing. Some more maverick than others.

Mikkel: We have so many friends from here that do music which we love and support: Tettix Hexxer, Birthgiving Toad, Himmelrum, Disarmer, Realism, Clarissa Connelly, Escho (our label) and the list could go on.
We go to each others shows, play in each others bands and I think magazines and reviewers have really welcomed us too, but some of our places and areas have been abandoned and disappeared, and for the time being it feels like the scene is sort of lacking space, even though it seems it was here a couple of years ago.

Is there anything that distinguishes Danish indie-rock from that of the rest of the world or is it too dependent on foreign models?

Troels: The Danish Coastline is inspiring for indie bands with all it’s width and windy, grey weather. There is defenitely a scandinavian way of being airy and dreamy in rock, for example listen to our countryfellows Entrepeneurs, with all their bombastic width or norwegian band Serena Maneesh (or swedish band Westkust). It’s atmosphere’s sharp like ice, colder and lighter compared to most parts of fx the american indie scene.
We find a lot of sound from everywhere else, but there’s still a tradition especially melodically that’s danish.

Mikkel: If anything really distinguishes the danish scene, it’s probably that it’s quite easy to make music here. also it’s not that hard to find a job. At least compared to some other places.

68512139_905875446439099_858648246908616704_n_01If an Italian wanted to approach the history of Danish rock & indie-rock, which records should he absolutely listen to?

“Dødens Triumf” (the triumph of death) by Savage Rose is an absolute classic, we played a cover by them lately. Funny to link our music to some old progressive danish music.
In our teenage time records like Mafia by Epo-555 (2006), Eggs by Oh No Ono (2009), Zitilites by Kashmir (2003), Lust Lust Lust by Raveonettes (2007), A Triumph for Man (1997) and the other albums by Mew meant a lot. It was a time of lots of very perfectly done works.
It all got smashed later in the experimental contemporary scene with records by bands like Synd & Skam, Thulebasen, First Flush (love their albums “Spira” and “Fu-Wa”), Iceage, Love Coffin, Lower, Pardans and Himmelrum. These are a good way to come across to the danish rock scene.
For the hardcore one’s there’s also advanced progsters Gooms, who recently put out a fluid haunting work; V1 (Descent).
Our friends in Realism made a record called “like seashells to the change”, that we would say is an absolute must; it’s like vaporwave’ish r’n’b crossed with spacey psych rock, very unique. Lasse Bækby, that’s the front in Realism (and also takes lead vocals on Gooms’ V1 Descent) has his project Birthgiving Toad, that’s also some crazy important experimental rock music.

As we are now at the end of the year, tell us what your ten favorite records from 2019 are.

it’s like it’s a been a weird year, ask us about 2018 and records by Palm, Mid Air Thief, Spirit of the beehive, MGMT would pop up easily..

DIIV - Deceiver
Alex G - House Of Sugar
VegynText While Driving If You Want to Meet God!
Vegyn - Only Diamonds Cut Diamonds
Empath - Active Listening: Night on Earth
Girlpool - What Chaos Is Imaginary
Cryogeyser - Glitch
SASAMI - SASAMI
Erika de Casier - Essentials
Birthgiving Toad - Inserts Brahm

And your ten favorite albums of the decade 2010-2019?

Uf, that one’s tough..

Unknown Mortal Orchestra - II (2013)
Tame Impala - Lonerism (2012)
Serena Maneesh - No 2: Abyss in B Minor (2010)
Hella - Tripper (2011)
Deerhoof - Apple O’ (2010)
Palm - Rock Island (2018)
Mid Air Thief - Crumbling (2018)
MGMT - MGMT and Little Dark Age (2013/2018)
DIIV - Is The Is Are (2016)
Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring For My Halo (2011)

Bubbles:

Landing - Landing (2012)
Pospulenn - Sun People Sleepwalker (2010) (beyond guitarloopy tape-ambient)

45196146_730587950634517_108265761776074752_o_01Have you ever been in Italy? What do you know about our music? Is there any band and / or artist that you particularly like?

Troels: I use to come there holiday quite often, mostly for hiking, biking and skiing in the mountains. To be honest, i don’t know much about italian music, besides the italo style..

Mikkel: Last Autumn i was absolutely obsessed with a record by Roberto Musci called "Tower of Silence". Still absolutely fukn love it.

Before concluding, do you want to add more?

We would love to come and play for you guys in Italy! We are working on setting up a europe tour in 2020, and hopefully we will get by and play some sick noise sets for you! <3

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(2019 - Escho)
Il sorprendente esordio del quartetto danese, in un continuo affastellarsi di shoegaze, noise & ..

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