25/1/18

MUSIC: Interview with Kommode (Eirik Glambek Bøe): "Rebellious music has no power to change anything"

Kommode (Eirik Glambek Bøe) by Ina Grung. 

Artists were put on Earth to save humanity. Specially musicians, who are here not just to save it, but to reshape it. Touched by the glorious hands of God, it should be said of them that those who dare calling themselves artists and don't intend to revolutionise art, culture or both things at a time and at this very moment, just with the power given by a mike and a guitar, they better go back to their small towns and stay there. What's a singer/songwriter of a famous band who doesn't speak as if he had lived more lives than anybody else, as if he didn't float, as if he had sacrificed his own grandmother in public for your good old late Saturday night dance? That's Kommode (or more precisely, Eirik Glambek Bøe), for the matter, to whom the divine and terrestrial pretension that seems to inevitably accompany every artistic profession is as strange as his own refreshing and very Scandinavian expressive purism appears to the rest of us, the mere mortals.

He doesn't feel like philosophising about his art, he doesn't even care about the googlebility of the name of his most recent musical project outside of those Kings of Convenience who once gave him fame. Even in spite of all of that, of course, the rockstar mystique is still there, and the elegantly subversive personality of his Analog Dance Music doesn't have less potential to change the course of history than Sid Vicious had at his prime.



The first time I googled ‘Kommode’, I was met with a bunch of links to Ikea and eBay selling different models of drawers and stuff. It was a bit weird. How does that make you feel? I don’t really know you that well, but for some reason I imagine you being rather proud about it.

Hmm... Well, it's fun to have an ungooglable name. But I don't want to be helping Ikea getting more customers. Outside of Scandinavia, Ikea may be seen as a symbol of Scandi-design, but here it's the symbol of what killed the furniture industry. Norway, for example, used to have a lot of small factories that focused on craft, natural materials and modernist design. I'm sad to see that most of that is gone now... But the Kommode name has another meaning. If you write it in French and translate that word to English you'll see that it makes sense in another way...

[“Kommode” in French is written “commode”, which subsequently and very appropriately is translated into English as “convenient”.]


That was the coolest (and most unnecessarily complicated)  way of explaining a band name ever! But I’m asking because it seems like the word you baptised this latest project of yours with is the ultimate metaphorical expression of the hypnotizing lack of pretentiousness that surrounds Analog Dance Music (that was a very pretentious compliment, in case you didn’t get it). Do you actually consider yourself a pretentious kind of musician or am I right when I guess you’re not?

Thanks for the pretentious compliment. Yes, you're right about the unpretentiousness. No band is holy. Talent is mostly about good work habits. We chose a very small and insignificant name for it, but as we got deeper into the process we started to feel more ambitious. We realized that we wanted to make a really well-crafted album.


So what was the purpose of Kommode (if it had any), on an artistic or personal level? When you go through reviews of the album or receive feedback from a conscious listener, what do you ideally expect to hear or read about their impressions on Analog Dance Music?

The purpose? For me it was a musical playground where I could do other things than what I had been doing with Kings of Convenience. Playing bass, for example. And it was an excuse to spend more time with my two good friends, Anders Waage Nilsen and Øystein Bruvik. And then it grew into an artistic ambition: to make an album that's both catchy and complex so that it can work in many different situations: in a club, in a cafe, at a dinner party - or alone at night, listening to music through your headphones. I always think about the versatility of the music.


What exactly did you keep from Kings of Convenience and what did you leave behind while building Kommode and Analog Dance Music?

Songs I have written for Kings of Convenience have all started at home with a guitar, and the Kommode songs all started in the jam sessions with Anders and Øystein,where I play bass and sing. 

In terms of production, however, Kings and Kommode are a bit opposite: Kings is minimalist, while Kommode will just call another horn player if the 20 tracks we already had weren't enough. 


Most of the generical references on Analog Dance Music are more or less easy to spot, somehow predictable and distinctively calculated: an Italo disco foundation with constant breezes of cool jazz and sparkles of Britpop here and there. But what provides with the warm, fuzzy element are the subtle traces of bossa nova, particularly noticeable on the single, “Fight or Flight or Dance All Night”, and in “I Feel Free”. Where does the unexpected Brazilian influence come from?

Bossa nova has been a soundtrack of my life since I was a child. My mum had a few Brazilian records lying around our house. It's something I've always loved. In Brazil, they call Kings of Convenience “bossa noruega”, so you're not the first one to spot that influence.



Wow, that’s a huge honour, coming from the people who invented bossa nova itself! And talking about Brazilian music and its good vibes; there’s no doubt that positivity is a reasonable and healthy response to gloom and despair, and all the vibes exuded by Analog Dance Music set a perfectly good example of that. But don’t you really see a touch of complacency, and even condescendence, in making an album that can be described as “the ideal soundtrack to a midsummer party” during times when music is as rebellious, violent and experimental as it had never been for decades? Would you qualify Analog Dance Music as a conservative record, or is there a subtle boldness in it? Is quiet still the new loud?

Conservative? No, not at all. But I'm caught up in this dilemma between how good my own personal life is and how bad the world is doing. I'm trying to find out where the good things end and where the bad stuff begins. I don't think rebellious music has any power to change anything. Look at punk. Did that manage to overthrow capitalism? Not exactly. But music that's inspiring and invigorating can be a good fuel for the work that needs to be done. And right now, there's a lot of work that needs to be done.


If there was ever to be an album not made to be played live, that should probably be Analog Dance Music. How do you think such a work of craftmanship, rigour and hours of studio fits in the context of a live performance, which is often regarded as the opportunity for songs to be put to the test of spontaneity and improvisation?

We'll see. When we play the songs live, some elements of the record will have to be skipped. But I'm hoping that the combination of a groovy drum/bass section and catchy melodies will be enough to make people excited. 





And what about your own excitement? Is the process of recording such a clinically well-woven and sonically solid album more painful than enjoyable? Are you very technically demanding or require a very specific type of atmosphere in order to be able to faithfully define your compositions? Or is it all a bit more “rock & roll” than it seems?

Thank you. I think I noticed another compliment in there. The process was very demanding, but there was no deadline so everything could be done when it felt right. I think recording music is a bit like drawing a perfect circle: it's really hard to do, but really easy to see when something isn't right. If you can do hundreds of takes, like we did, a certain pressure is gone. It was mostly enjoyable. 


What’s about analogue music that is unrepeatable, apart from the fact that it’s objectively and literally impossible to repeat twice in the exact same manner? What’s in analogue dance music that can’t be found in electronic dance music, or in any other dance music for that matter? And the other way around (what’s in electronic music that can’t be found with analogue music)?

The difference between EDM and ADM lies in the performance element. People can never do the exact same thing twice, but computers do the same things over and over again. Pop music is all about repetition, but repetition sounds repetitive if you don't add subtle changes to it. Good producers of electronic music know this and add changes, but we got those variations for free. 


And last but not least, and as Nardwuar the Human Serviette (brilliant contemporary Canadian music journalist and personality) always asks at the end of his interviews, why should people care about Kommode?

Why should people care? That's a very philosophical question, and philosophical questions bother me because they look for universal answers when there are really very few to be found. What's the meaning of life, is another philosophical question that's utterly misleading. There are as many answers to that question as there are people. Music is another personal thing and most people will never hear of or care about Kommode. That's perfectly alright. And the people who will love it, will love it for a lot of different reasons. 


And that’s what I call a king-level convenient answer.


Lee aquí la entrevista en español con Kommode para Muzikalia.


27/12/17

Me sabe a humo: la fête d'anniversaire de Barbara & Clémentine



























           
            Me sabe a humo, me sabe a humo,                     Ça a un goût de fumée, ça a un goût de fumée,
            Los cigarritos que yo me fumo.                             Les cigarettes que je fume.

            Me sabe a humo, me sabe a humo,                     Ça a un goût de fumée, ça a un goût de fumée,
            Los cigarritos que yo me fumo.                             Les cigarettes que je fume.


            Me sabe a humo, me sabe a humo,                     Ça a un goût de fumée, ça a un goût de fumée,
            Los cigarritos que yo me fumo.                             Les cigarettes que je fume.

            Me sabe a humo, me sabe a humo,                     Ça a un goût de fumée, ça a un goût de fumée,
            Los cigarritos que yo me fumo.                             Les cigarettes que je fume.

            
            
            Cuando estoy contigo,                                          Quand je suis avec toi,                              
            Fumo sin cesar.                                                    Je fume sans cesse.
            Que yo no sé el motivo                                         Je ne sais pais pourquoi                              
            De tanto fumar                                                      Je fume autant.
            
            Tú tienes la culpa                                                  C'est ta faute
            Que yo fume tanto.                                                Si je fume comme ça.
            Serán como el humo                                              Elles sont comme la fumée
            Tus fuertes abrazos.                                              Tes fortes embrassades.

            
            
            Yo con un pitillo me siento feliz                             Moi, avec une clope, je suis heureux
            Y mirando el humo me olvidó de ti.                       Et en regardant la fumée, je t'oublie.

            Yo con un pitillo me siento feliz                             Moi, avec une clope, je suis heureux
            Y mirando el humo me olvidó de ti.                       Et en regardant la fumée, je t'oublie.

            
            
            Me sabe a humo, me sabe a humo,                     Ça a un goût de fumée, ça a un goût de fumée,
            Los cigarritos que yo me fumo.                             Les cigarettes que je fume.

            Me sabe a humo, me sabe a humo,                     Ça a un goût de fumée, ça a un goût de fumée,
            Los cigarritos que yo me fumo.                             Les cigarettes que je fume.

            Me sabe a humo, me sabe a humo,                     Ça a un goût de fumée, ça a un goût de fumée,
            Los cigarritos que yo me fumo.                             Les cigarettes que je fume.

            Me sabe a humo, me sabe a humo,                     Ça a un goût de fumée, ça a un goût de fumée,
            Los cigarritos que yo me fumo.                             Les cigarettes que je fume.



            Te creí sincera,                                                     Je te croyais sincère,
            Te creí mujer,                                                        Je te croyais une femme,
            Y eres como el humo                                            Et tu es comme la fumée
            Que quiere ascender.                                            Qui veut s'élever.

            Pero tu persona                                                    Mais à toi
            Tengo que olvidar,                                                Je dois t'oublier,
            Porque me da miedo                                            Parce que j'ai peur
            Ay, de tu falsedad.                                                Oh non, de ta fausseté.



            Yo con un pitillo me siento feliz                             Moi, avec une clope, je suis heureux
            Y mirando el humo me olvidó de ti.                       Et en regardant la fumée, je t'oublie.

            Yo con un pitillo me siento feliz                             Moi, avec une clope, je suis heureux
            Y mirando el humo me olvidó de ti.                       Et en regardant la fumée, je t'oublie.


            
            Me sabe a humo, me sabe a humo,                     Ça a un goût de fumée, ça a un goût de fumée,
            Los cigarritos que yo me fumo.                             Les cigarettes que je fume.

            Me sabe a humo, me sabe a humo,                     Ça a un goût de fumée, ça a un goût de fumée,
            Los cigarritos que yo me fumo.                             Les cigarettes que je fume.

            Me sabe a humo, me sabe a humo,                     Ça a un goût de fumée, ça a un goût de fumée,
            Los cigarritos que yo me fumo.                             Les cigarettes que je fume.

            Me sabe a humo, me sabe a humo,                     Ça a un goût de fumée, ça a un goût de fumée,
            Los cigarritos que yo me fumo.                             Les cigarettes que je fume.



Toutes les photographies prises le 2 et 3 décembre 2017 à Montreuil, Île-de-France, France. Merci à Toufik, Justin, Aruban et Sandro pour leur talent photographique, à l'hospitalité parisienne en général, et merci spécialement à Clémentine, Barbara et Gilles pour l'habituel.