Interview: MØL

Photo: Marika Hyldemar / @MarikaConcertPhoto Edit: Kim Song Sternkopf / @HeartMatter Artworks

In April MØL released their debut full-length called Jord via Holy Roar Records. Now they are touring Europe as support for Ghost Bath. After their awesome show in Willemeen in Arnhem, The Netherlands, DutchMetalManiac’s Tim van Velthuysen spoke with Nicolai, Ken, Kim and Holger of MØL.

Hey, that was a very great show!

All: Thank you!

How are you doing?

All: Good!

Ken: No, I think some of us are really tired because we have to do physical work when we are playing, some don’t, some have strings, haha.

Nicolai: It’s fun to be on tour, meeting new people and seeing new places. We came to play music, I think that’s what it’s all about.

How did you think tonight’s show went?

All: It went pretty well.

Kim: I got a hold of the audience in the second part of our set. As a vocalist you’ve to check, or at least take charge in some way. I think it’s been a good crowd. It’s our first show in The Netherlands, so I think it’s a good start.

Ken: I think it’s based on cultural differences how people react on concerts. This was our first show at a real venue in The Netherlands, so we needed to see how people react. Kim is great at that, reading them, he’s forcing his will upon them.

Holger: When you go to a new place every day, you always have to adapt to the new stage with a different sound. It’s always a bit difficult.

Kim: It’s also like the different types of crowds. What are people usually into? You don’t have to spot it by the outfit, but you can definitely tell if somebody is just coming there to close their eyes and so on. By some other people you can just see that they’re waiting for a pit to open or something like that. It’s about feeling what’s in the air that particular night. I think you can always tell by the smiles. When I at least see one person closing their eyes and things like that, that’s the thing that I am looking for in the music. A place where you kind of disappear, where you get to be just right there and in that moment. I think that’s what inspires us all to keep on going, because that’s what we love about it.

Holger: All that and I think that we all are just very grateful that we are coming to a whole new country and people show up to see us play and actually buy tickets. That’s really cool.

You’re now on this current tour with Ghost Bath. How is it going so far?

Nicolai: It’s going really well, we started in Belgium, then we went to the UK, which went very well, had a lot of fun there. Now seeing the rest of Europe is something that we are looking forward to.

Ken: UK has an amazing crowd.

How do you look at Ghost Bath?

Kim: They’re proper fine people, we really get along.

Ken: Very fun and very chill.

Holger: Super relaxed.

Ken: More relaxed than you would think.

Holger: You’re always a bit nervous when you’re touring with these big bands. We only have the album out for a little over half a year. Now we are touring with an huge American band that we ourselves listen to. That’s pretty cool. Also from that view, you don’t know the people behind the music when you listen to it. Getting to know them afterwards is really amazing.

You also announced some Danish shows, including one in your hometown Aarhus. Is there an difference when playing your home country, or even your hometown compared to somewhere else?

Ken: I think the main difference is that we’ve our sound guy and light technician at most of those gigs. We put a lot of effort in presenting the music in a way of an emotional outlet of it. You can miss that sometimes on tours, if you for example can’t communicate with the light technicians.

Nicolai: It would cost too much to bring them on a tour like this.

Ken: We wish we could, we love you Martin.

And is there a difference within the audiences?

Kim: The biggest difference is that it’s our hometown, people know our music and know us.

Holger: Friends and family come out, we have a big crowd of fans in Denmark of course. I think when we play on international shows outside Denmark, people are so passionate about music and showing up and talking to them is very awesome.

It’s an extra special feeling?

Holger: Yeah.

Kim: But it’s kind of weird. In a lot of places, like for example London, it feels like our hometown in some way. Our label, Holy Roar, opened a lot of doors in the UK. It’s so weird to end up in a new country and it’s like people already know you. That’s really something we couldn’t have dreamed about just a year ago.

You already mentioned Holy Roar. What makes them the best label for MØL at the moment?

Nicolai: They have a lot of good upcoming metal and also some established artists like Rolo Tomassi. They kind of are the frontier of metal.

Ken: Authenticity.

Holger: They are diehard fans, just as we are. Of course, you know that you’ve to make a business out of it, but they do it because they love what they’re doing.

Ken: They would never sign something they don’t love.

Holger: At least for me, that was really important.

Kim: Knowing that kind of integrity that they actually bring to the scene is something that just resonates among us. So when we first talked to Alex from Holy Roar and the whole crew, it just clicked. We are really happy to have release Jord on Holy Roar.

In April you released your full-length debut Jord, which is really cool. How are the reactions on it you get so far?

All: Thank you very much!

Ken: Some people have been so dedicated to the album. It’s really weird. You made it in some way for yourself, to express yourself and then some people can take it even closer to them than we did ourselves. Looking from a different perspective it’s really amazing. It tickles somehow.

Kim: It’s really peculiar to really feel that deep connection with something that is so profound like music. It just communicates feelings and when it taps into anybody who listens to it, we can just be nothing but grateful.

Holger: We just went to Damnation, which is a huge metal festival in Leeds in the UK and we played early, like three o’clock in the afternoon. The whole night we were just standing there and selling merch. People just kept on coming over and said that they love the album. You never met the person before, but suddenly you can become best friends or something. It’s weird that you’ve put so much work into something and that people like it. That they actually come to you and say that the album means a lot to them, that is indescribable. That’s really cool.

What does it means to you personally?

Ken: Sort of legacy, like making something that lasts.

Kim: It’s kind of weird, because the theme of the whole album is about futility. We will try so hard to leave a permanent imprint on earth or something for people to remember us by, but we’re just here for a moment and then we’re gone. I wrote a lot of the lyrics out of a pretty dark place in my life. So I kind of worked through some shit. It came out in another way. It’s so weird to write stuff and say that’s my part of it and then people connect with it in some way. They don’t really know what I’ve been through. It’s something that we all feel, different kind of things. Nicolai feels a lot of stuff when he’s composing all the melodies and getting in that song where things just click. It’s a way of expressing. I express things with my voice, but we all contribute to an emotional output. How people take that in is just so different.

Would you tell something more specific about where your lyrics are based on?

Kim: I was sick for half a year with stress and it kind of burned me out. I needed to restart things, then the guys approached me and that kind of helped me out of that phase. I consider the lyrics for the album like a way of zooming out and looking on your life. Seeing like what you’ve aspired to. Why are you striving towards something?

Who are your musical influences?

Nicolai: I am actually not raised on metal. I started out with a lot of alternative, indie rock, shoegaze, My Blood Valentine, Slowdive, those kind of bands. I slowly progressed into metal with bands like Alcest, Deafheaven, Lantlos, those bands are like inspirations for me.

Ken: It’s very varied, we have like black metal guys, chaotic hardcore, 80s pop, poppunk, it’s all different.

Kim: I am not straightly chaotic hardcore. I like Converge.

Ken: You’re only chaotic hardcore, Kim. Overall it’s very varied and that’s what gives our music its sound.

Kim: We come from different worlds.

Your music can be very dreamy but at the same time quite heavy. How do you find the perfect balance in this when writing music?

Nicolai: It’s not really something I would think about. I like to see it as a journey where you go through different phases. It’s difficult to say when something is appropriately organized into some more dreamy stuff or something more aggressive.

You just do what feels right?

Nicolai: Yeah, exactly.

Holger: As Kim said before we play music for ourselves. Often metal things have to be a certain way, with a main riff, a chorus, a solo of some sort. We try to go away from these boxes. A song doesn’t have to be like that. Those are pieces that felt good at that moment, that’s what makes it special to us.

Kim: I think dynamics is something that we really think about when we orchestrate. As a vocalist I am thinking more orchestration and less focus on the vocals. That’s usually a thing like in hardcore or death metal, that the vocals are brought really up front, but in the mix they just pull all the guitars. I come from death metal and stuff like that. I think it’s great to feel like a part of the whole orchestration instead of just being the guy putting things on top right after the whole thing is been written.

Some of your lyrics are in Danish, some in English. When do you decide in what language you want to write the lyrics?

Ken: Kim was pushed a bit.

Kim: I was like no fucking way. Ken was the main guy that wanted me to do it. I was really afraid that it would sound like crust punkish, but I think there’s something great and something more profound emotionally when you sing something in your own language and it becomes more personal. You have a linguistic distance to what you’re writing when you’re not writing in a foreign tongue. It was the right way to express those songs in that way. Somebody might feel left out at some point, but then you can go to Google Translate.

I really like both your videos. The latest one you released for Jord as well as the one for Bruma you released earlier. They both are very artistic and thought out. Can you tell something about these?

Holger: There is a lot of people making metal videos, but many of them are kind of the same video over and over again. In relation to what I said before, that we want to go away from these normal metal things, we try to find other sources to create the things that we want. We just started searching for that. Then we found Skipper Ib, a local guy, very small company, but so professional to work with and very nice guys. They came up with so many great ideas for the video for Bruma. That was more like the big and expensive move that we made. It took two days to film and it was freezing cold.

Kim: And we travelled like 780 kilometers for it.

Nicolai: We all wanted it like a narrative and to show were we are from.

Holger: We’ve the Scandinavian roots. The most funny thing about it is that we filmed it in March. It had been a tough winter, but most of February had been without snow. We were planning to make this film, setting up the scoreboard and things like that and just that weekend when we planned to go out and film it started snowing really hard. So everything was white that weekend and really cold, but I think that gives something to the video.

Kim: We had the coolest actress, she was fucking die hard, Theresa.

Ken: The second video, the newly released one for Jord, was made by a sort of childhood hero. He always makes artwork, is musician and artist, Jon Gotlev. Personally I’ve always been a fan of his artwork. You call them artistic videos and I feel like it needs to be artistic to fit the diversity we represent in the music. If we would have a straight up video of us playing that doesn’t represent what we make at all. That’s why we have a light show, it’s not just us staying on stage. It’s an experience.

You already mentioned the actress of the Bruma video. How did you met her?

Kim: We did an audition, we had a bunch of proper candidates. When Theresa’s profile came up we know that she was the right one. I am really inspired by a guy called Aron Wiesenfeld. In his art he usually depicts woman in a Nordic setting. It’s really kind of dark but also really modern. He made some artwork for Mantar at one point I believe. His way of depicting is really sensible and not like over-sexualized woman but simple and natural in the environmental setting that has an influence on how they look and stuff like that. That clicked with her.

Holger: We saw some of the things that she had done. In the photo shoot that she had done she had a very natural look that we really liked. Of course she is the only main narrative in the video, so she had to use herself very much to interact with the landscapes. There was no human to human interaction so we needed someone that was capable of that.

Kim: And capable of handling the environment. In the ad we mention that you had to be willing to do some crazy stuff in nature. She quite fit the bill.

Holger: We had a local girl, called Anna, to do the make-up for the first face in the video, where she is getting corrupted or possessed or something like that.

Nicolai: It was a good team.

Holger: A long but hard weekend, but it was very much worth it.

You come from Denmark. Besides MØL, what are some other Danish bands that you would recommend listening to?

Ken: Vola, Cabal, I really like them right now, they’re doing something different. I always love when people try something different, take a chance.

Holger: I think metal and Denmark can be a lot of things but in the couple of past years it mainly has been one thing and that is standard old school heavy metal or fresh death metal-ish things. There wasn’t really a scene for anything else. But in the couple of years our management, Prime Collective, has done a lot of hard work for the bands that are doing things differently. Prime Collective has everything from progressive technical death metal to more rock/pop-ish things. All those bands doesn’t quite fit in of those boxes. That really helped the scene in Denmark. So, we are seeing a lot of really cool new bands.

What do you think about Myrkur?

Ken: I heard her latest album and I really liked it. That’s a really great album.

Kim: Yeah, we saw her at ArcTanGent where we played this year. She did a really good performance. What I really like about her is that she just does her own thing. Especially in a pretty male dominated world such as black metal. It’s just a big good old fuck finger to that.

Holger: She came out of nowhere with a great idea and that has worked for her. I think that’s really cool.

Kim: She is not your typical black metal band.

Jord is already out since April. Are you already into writing new music?

Ken: We really want into writing soon.

Nicolai: We have a few loose ideas, nothing really concrete yet.

Ken: I think we are ready for some experimentation right, Nicolai?

Nicolai: Definitely.

Ken: That’s something I want to force upon the album so that’s nice.

Holger: All this is still quite new for us, I think we still have to adapt our time schedules, also with our personal lives. Everything has to fit together. It will come due time.

Ken: The will is definitely there, I really want to go into that studio and get some cool stuff made.

Any other future MØL plans you can already tell us something about?

Nicolai: Nothing that we already announced.

Holger: We want to go out and show our music to as many people as possible and whatever it takes.

Kim: Like being here right now is just great. We’re not even halfway through the tour and still will see whatever we can.

Ken: We have a slight day time off like a few hours tomorrow that we can use sightseeing. Enjoying a city that you’ve not been to before.

Nicolai: There are some things coming up, but we can’t tell since they’re not announced yet.

Thanks for your answers and good luck with the show! Do you want to say something to our readers?

Kim: I hope we get to go to The Netherlands again soon. We are sorry it’s only one day, but hopefully we will be back soon for more.

Ken: Then show up, we will blow your mind.

You can also check part 15 of our Promoting Bands, in which I also mentioned MØL, here.

MØL Facebook

Hi!

I’m Tim van Velthuysen and I started DutchMetalManiac back in 2014. I’m 27 years old and I live in Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Of course, I like metal, but I can also appreciate other musical styles. However, metal is what I mostly listen to. I also like going to concerts, meeting with friends and watching movies (especially arthouse).

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