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Interview von: Matthias Rauch mit Rebekkamaria, am: 12.12.2004 ]

Dass es skandinavische Bands verstehen, hervorragende, atmosphärisch aufgeladene Musik zu machen, ist nichts Neues. Dass sie dabei in schöner Regelmäßigkeit mit der Landschaft und dem langen, kalten Winter in Verbindung gebracht werden ebenso wenig. All diese Klischees könnte man auch auf Lampshade anwenden und würde damit nur einen Bruchteil dieser dänisch-schwedischen Band erfassen können. Denn Lampshade verbinden wie kaum eine andere Formation feine Popsensibilitäten mit dichten Gitarrenstrukturen und beeindruckenden Kontrasten, wobei sie stets versuchen, dynamische Extreme auszuloten. Die Band versteht es dabei ganz ausgezeichnet, diesen vielschichtigen, komplexen und stets melancholischen Sound in eine breit gefächerte Instrumentierung einzubinden, ohne dabei jemals großspurig oder pathetisch zu sein. Wir sprachen mit Sängerin Rebekkamaria über skandinavische Wälder, das Konzept des Gesamtkunstwerks und gewisse isländische Sängerinnen.


Musicscan: Most people are probably not yet familiar with Lampshade. Please give me the short obligatory rundown of how everything got started.

Lampshade: Johannes (bassist) met Rebekkamaria (frontsinger) at a punk festival in Norway in the summer of 2001. We only had friends in common, but didn’t know each other by then. We got to talk, and our dreams and thoughts really clicked. It appeared that Rebekkamaria was really looking for a band, and that Lampshade had just lost their previous singer. They arranged to meet back in Denmark and try to rehearse together. And at this first rehearsal it was just very clear that this was meant to be. The cello Rebekkamaria brought as an attempt to contribute to the music, was rapidly replaced by a microphone. The new sound of Lampshade had begun to take form. Since then there have been some changes in the band, and Lampshade is now in top form. The band that started out as a five Danish boys’ garage-hardcore-rock kind of band is now more Scandinavian in its sound and construction with its 2½ Swedish and 1½ Danish members and several live musicians from Sweden and Denmark.

Musicscan: Where and how did you grow up and how did this influence your music that you are doing with Lampshade?

Lampshade: I grew up in a quiet village in Jutland. Near water, forest, fields and friends. Lots of music was always around. I have been singing and performing since I was five. I know that the fact that I grew up so close to nature has affected me in my experience of life and art and music. I always long for quietness. And both the longing and the quietness are important ingredients in Lampshade. The storm and the whisper.

Musicscan: How does the songwriting process work for you? Is there one major songwriter or does everyone have an equal part as far as songwriting is concerned?

Lampshade: We write songs as a group. Sometimes one has an idea – a line, a riff, a strumm, an emotion...I mostly write all lyrics, but rule number one is that everyone has to contribute to a Lampshade song before it is truly a Lampshade song. The minimum is that everyone has to really like it.

Musicscan: Are you tired of people comparing you to GYBE!, Mogwai or Björk? Or do you see these artists as a substantial influence on your music and your entire sound aesthetic?

Lampshade: I personally have been pretty annoyed by the constant comparing to Björk – considering the fact that I actually never listened to her before, a lot of people started telling me about the likeness. She truly is a really great artist, but her expression is in some sense a bit more narrow and ‘one-wayed’ than what I like. Concerning GYBE!, Mogwai and the rest of the postrock-bunch, the influences are more – yes, substantial. They are part of our musical luggage. And we are not denying the influences.

Musicscan: What are you mostly dealing with lyrically? Is there one aspect that stands out for you and that connects all the songs on the album, musically as well as lyrically?

Lampshade: The album can be captured in the title and the ideology behind those four words. The poem printed on the cd by the Danish author Martin A. Hansen also says it very clear – here is an attempt of a translation – but it looses some of the magic when translated:

The stones do not receive tongues according to wish.
The tree does not receive wings from longing.
The heart does not become someone else
Even though it moans about itself.
In the surf the stones sing,
In the storm the pine raises its wings,
A stranger has hit the heart.

We deal with the beauty, the possible change, the light in the dark, in pain, in death. We believe that the most beautiful works in life grow through despair, doubt, pain and death of the self.

Musicscan: A rather strong feeling of the Wagnerian notion of “Gesamtkunstwerk” comes to mind when listening to “Because Trees Can Fly”. Would you support this approach? How important is the symbiosis of and the interaction between artwork, lyrics and music? In how far could they also stand on their own?

Lampshade: Yes, our world of music, lyrics and artwork etc. is to be seen as a whole. We intend to make them all work together – mainly music and lyrics. The words are not just made to fit the music, but they are both woven into eachother. Nevertheless, we do make music that stands alone sometimes – like in ‘Angel in Stockholm’. And of course there are also words alongside the artwork – as the poem in the cover for example.

Musicscan: With Scandinavian bands that do atmospheric or melancholic music the reference to the countryside, the long winters and the solitude is mostly grossly overused in the press and the media in general. Would you say there is a remarkable relation between your music and the environment that you live in? Couldn’t the album have been created in a big city, too?

Lampshade: To be honest – we live in the city (not a big city like e.g. N.Y. of course), we create songs in the city, we even recorded some stuff in the city (not on the album though). But the Scandinavian mood and nature truly live inside us, whether or not Scandinavia is an overused subject. It makes us long for, draw inspiration from, search back to what we only catch a glimpse of in the city. To the childhood of our dreams. If I stay in the city for too long, I can’t breathe. I get claustrophobic on the inside. Solitude and open spaces make me alive again.

Musicscan: What influences your art apart from other art and music or more precisely where do you draw energy from in order to create on a daily basis?

Lampshade: Solitude and quietness. God and his art - nature. Everyday life experiences.

Musicscan: I assume the band does not pay the bills yet, so how do you make ends meet?

Lampshade: Johannes is a booker at a club in Odense, works as manager for a Danish band called Campsite, who just got a record deal with a Netherlandish label. Besides he is taking a diploma in Music Management at the Royal Music Academy. Rebekkamaria works in an art-book-shop and teaches children music. Erik studies and is a producer. Daniel studies as well.

Musicscan: Are you a religious band? What role does religion play in relation to your music and your life in general?

Lampshade: No, we are not a religous band. Every member of the band has a belief in God though - God as in the Christian sense. Our faith affects the way we live our daily lives, the way we see life. But we do not consider ourselves a Christian band. We are just a bunch of Christians, who play music like any other musician. We play because we can’t help it. Not to be musical missionaries, though we write about our experiences in our faith.

Musicscan: What are some other passions in your life besides music?

Lampshade: Johannes is making/designing clothes and other handcrafts as well as painting, writing, cooking, nature, family, friends, God.

Musicscan: 3 favorite records, books and movies?

Lampshade: Records: This Beautiful Mess -Temper the Wind to the Shorn Lamb; Efterklang – Tripper; Lauryn Hill – MTV Unplugged no. 02
Books: Ronja Röverdotter – by Astrid Lindgren; Løgneren (the Liar) – by Martin A. Hansen; Book of Psalms
Films: Blue – from Kieslowsky’s trilogy; Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind; Dancer in the Dark

Musicscan: What can we expect from Lampshade in the near future?

Lampshade: A lot of touring in Germany and Europe. Hopefully the new music video will be broadcasted. A single with the track ‘Because Trees Can Fly’ has just been released, too.

Musicscan: Any last words, things you would like to add?

Lampshade: Our German tour dates will be ready soon – please mail to info@lampshade.dk. We will most probably go to e.g. Hamburg, Munich, Berlin, Kassel, Cologne, Erfurt as well as shows in Hungary, Austria, Croatia, Belgium, Netherlands, Finland and Sweden...and maybe Denmark.

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