Dangers of the Sea are a band from Denmark and their singer has a beard - so no wonder I instantly fell in love with their self-titled debut album. Before his show with Kashmir I had the chance to talk to singer and mind behind this project, Andreas Bay Estrup. I could explain you at length why I enjoy the album so much but you’ll learn it while you’re reading the interview anyway. We talked about how this project started, how he found the rest of the band and everything.
Dörte: I have listened to the first track on the the album “Your Hands Are Folded” and I haven’t even listened to the end when I told Olli [the guy who handles their pr] that I wanted to do the interview. I loved it so much.
Andreas Bay Estrup: It’s really simple, right? And really old school with the voices and me playing this old resonated guitar.
It’s fantastic because I haven’t heard something like this in a while from a young artist.
Well, thanks a lot.
You have named your influences - from what I have heard - from Midlake to Neil Young and everything in between…
Of course I have been listening to so much music but Neil Young has always been a major not influence but a person I was listening to all the time, especially his older material - of course I have been listening to it all. But I mean records like “Harvest” and “The Gold Rush” primarily I have been listening to a lot. Of course also related project Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Music from that era actually speaks to me and of course all the Bob Dylan stuff.
Do you miss it nowadays that there is not that much like this kind?
Yeah, I think for a person like me who has perhaps a bit nostalgic approach to music it is just great that there is a scene and an audience for music with sensitive guys with beards and acoustic guitars. It is just very lucky to me that people are starting to…
Personally it is when I see a picture and it’s someone with a beard and a guitar I say it’s good music. [we laugh]
That’s unfortunately not always true. I think I just really enjoy music that is played by humans like really people strumming guitars and playing drum sets. I mean of course I listen to programmed music and electronic music as well but It’s not really… I don’t think it would ever be anything I would be interesting into doing. I think it’s fascinating but it’s not really my approach to music.
Is that why you became a Jazz drummer as well?
Yeah, I really like the sound of acoustic instruments basically. I really do. I have been into Jazz music for many, many years.
That’s pretty rare. Maybe it’s just the people around me.
I have been playing drums as well since I was a kid. I think I always wanted to push my limits of what I could do on the drum kit and it seemed kind of natural to go into the Jazz thing because it was like a playground for really…there is room for doing a lot of improvisation…
Do you enjoy that?
Yeah, I do. […] At some point I have felt a need to do more about these songs that I have always been toying around with at home. I also needed something that was kind of “this is the song, this is the melody”. We are not improvising a lot on the début. Of course it is kind of loose but it’s basically arranged songs. But I enjoy playing drums as well and I don’t do that much any more as I used to but I still sit down by my drum kit sometimes and play in different constellations and I play different things than Jazz and drums.
What I was wondering is why you chose such a beginning for the album. It’s just this prayer thing.
Well, I am a son of a preacher man. [laughs] My dad is retired now but he is a priest in a Danish church. I don’t know if that has anything to do with it. I guess not because his church doesn’t involve that much singing like that, it was not a gospel church.
Just having this picture of the ceremony…
Yeah, I think, we were with that song kind of aiming for a sound that could have been recorded in the 30’s somewhere in the states with one microphone. We just really like this thing about singing all of us. I mean, we are five persons in the band and we all sing and several members of the group used to be in boys choirs when they were young and stuff like that. So we all just enjoy singing. It’s just fun to be able to do something like that.
Is it weird to be alone on tour?
It is definitely different and of course I miss the guys in the band. Of course it is a great musical thing to play together but socially it’s really great. So it is definitely different to be travelling around with another band and Kashmir are really great guys. It’s a pleasure as well but I am travelling by myself and I am playing the songs by myself. It’s different but it’s fun in another way because I have to do everything by myself. It’s quite a learning experience to be out there on my own.
You’ve started writing your songs on your own and then you looked for a band to join you to make the album possible? Or have you found them beforehand?
No, I think I needed to get into the new position role as a lead singer of a band before starting to perform. We actually put the band together and I called up some of my best friends and forced them to play with me [laughs] No, they were very willing…
In Denmark it’s like everyone is friend of everyone.
More or less. It’s a smaller country. I mean Copenhagen is not a small city but in the musical environment people know each other. I was just fortunate to have all this good friends.
Is it difficult when you know each other to start a new project?
No, I don’t think so. I mean it’s not that small. It worked out quite organically. I was calling up Mike [Juel Taageoj, Slaraffenland] who is playing the Bass and Jess [Jensen, Saybia] who is playing the Keyboards. They have been good friends of mine for a long, long time. The drummer, Rasmus [Jusjong], I didn’t know him before but he was suggested by another good friend of us. And Frederik [Teige, Efterklang], the guitar player, was a good friends of Mike but also he had been like childhood buddies with the drummer Rasmus and they learn to play music with each other.
Do you interfere with the drummer?
I think in the beginning I had to let go because I was kind of always - not kicking his ass - but had a lot of suggestions and kind of had that idea of a direction for the music. I had to learn several things forming this band. I had to learn to be the guy in the front and also letting go of the drum part because I was not the drummer any more.
But it’s still your words?
You didn’t let them mess around with your words?
Not so far. Let’s see with the next record. I think we are trying to make a different approach to the next record. A little bit more song writing together and more arranging together. So, basically a lot of the songs on this record were there before the band was.
I was surprised when I heard the piano on “Your Time Is Wasted” because it sounds so classical. Beforehand it was more folky and I thought “Where did that come from?”
That’s a good question. I have no idea, it was just some long time ago. I think it origins from when I was doing a very early demo of that song by myself and I just heard this kind of intrigued melody in the music and I have this old piano at home…
How many instruments do you play? I saw guitar, banjo, drums…
Yeah, I mean, my main instruments are definitely drums and guitar. And then I play some banjo and some bass. I can fake on the piano and I can fake on a lot of instruments but I am not a pro on all these instruments but I like to play different stuff. So, where the classical piano comes from: I think it is just a melody that kind of sounded good on the piano. I don’t really have straight answer for that question.
How much did everyone influence the musical side, pushing it to one or the other direction?
I think it’s kind of I bring the song and I have an idea about how it should sounds and some parts I do. And then we kind of just play and see what happens in a organic way and then we stop and talk about what works and what should be different and how we can improve. I come with the song and then the…
I thought I would hear more Jazz influences or something.
There are no Jazz influence. Or did you think there is?
No, no, I just thought from reading your biography one would expect to hear it somewhere at least.
I think for me playing drum kit and then being a singer and songwriter in a band it’s two different things. Of course it’s music and I am the same person but it’s just another mood I go into. I didn’t really think about it but I really wanted to make something different than all the stuff that I have been doing before, another direction. Not let the Jazz…. I think it would be… I think I would have a hard time integrating Jazz music in it in a natural way in this. That’s why it ended up this way.
A different persona basically?
It’s hard to say. It’s just a really different state of mind that I go into and sitting with a guitar and trying to figure out how the new songs should sound like. It’s different.
It is nice. It’s great as a musicians to have different opportunities.
I think so. Leaving the background and stepping into the foreground.
Yes, it has definitely been a big challenge for me. But now I feel at home in the spotlight - I don’t know how that happened. I used to be really shy. It’s good to push your own limits sometimes.
If we would always stay in our comfort zone we would all be laying in a baby bed.
It’s true. It’s been some great times making this band and just getting the whole band vibe going as well. It’s the greatest guys in the world I am playing with.
You have said earlier that your dad is a preacher and now some things make sense. It’s the first lines of “When the curtain falls” “Ever since I was a little child I had believed that everything could be explained…” - it’s like the rebel position to your dad.
Yeah, basically. I never really thought about that but you’re right.
I found it really interesting, also because of the first song.
…and then the others. That’s actually a really good question. I haven’t really thought about these contradictions. It’s good to be analysed sometimes.
Imagine if I would have had the lyrics beforehand.
That would be fun. But I think when your dad is a priest you just - in another way than other people perhaps - ask yourself some questions in an early stage what are you believing in and how you see the world.
Was he one of those priest who would allowed very limited things?
In my childhood? Actually I didn’t really grew up with my father. My parents divorced when I was quite young and I stayed with my mother. But my dad is like a tolerant man. It hasn’t been like a strict childhood where I would have been forced to go to church every Sunday. It’s actually funny because I haven’t talked about this in an interview before. My mom married another man and he was actually the church organ player. Then it was kind of natural for me to sing in the choir of the church. It was not like a really religious home at all but there was just this connection to it.
It was just like always there?
Yes, somehow, without it really being on the level about the believing. It was just there. Every day.
It was a creative upbringing then, in a creative environment.
Andreas: I heard a lot music and a lot of organ music which to this day I really enjoy. Not that I put on records with it but whenever I come into a church and hear someone playing the organ I am just like… I think it’s great. I love the sound.
Thank you for your time, Andreas.
Today the album is released through DevilDuck Records in Germany. And there are tour dates in Germany and Denmark:
18.05.13, Greifswald - Nordischer Klang, DE
19.05.13, About Songs Festival, Knust, Hamburg, DE
20.05.13, Jena, Cafe Wagner, DE
21.05.13, Leipzig, Livingroomshow, DE
22.05.13, Münster, Eule, DE
28.07.13, Nemoland, Christiania, DK
03.08.13, Freakstock, Borgentreich, DE
And here you can see the beard-isn’t it a beauty of a beard:
Thank you for reading,
No matter how shit this summer will be like, musically it is already splendid. Stagecoach set out to (finally) release their debut album on Alcopop! Records….after only 10 years and several EP’s they have finally made it! And it is brilliant. I have already had high expectations as I love basically all of their music even though (or because) they have changed so much in those years. Starting being a country band (with far less members) to a more than just a power pop five piece.
“Say Hi To The Band” is a little journey through their history. Not only the country history shines though in some tracks, they also put a new version of “We Got Tazers!” on the record. The song and EP “We Got Tazers!” was released in 2009 and got me into this band. They transformed this number from a fine structured pop number into a little less fine but somehow matured rock number - as if they grew up a little. That reflects throughout the whole album, I think.
There are songs like “VideoShop” and “56k Dial Up” which I really love. Especially “56K Dial Up”* is one of my favourites as it is about a topic I have been talking about with other people (in interviews) a few times as of late. It about this generation (and others) where you work hard just to waste your money on the newest technical shit which is already out of date the minute you buy it. And if you can’t afford it: pay in rate, use your Credit Card.
“VideoShop” is in the first seconds maybe a bit nostalgic but eventually it’s not bad to grow up and plot a plan for your future…I’ll work on that part of my life and hopefully have this feeling some time soon myself.
“Action” is what the title says. Great track for driving around with open windows, walk fast around town with the sun shining. You know what I mean. It’s highly enjoyable. Just like “WorkWorkWork” and “Nothing Leads You Astray”.
It almost seems they’ll have to add a sixth (at least live) member - some of the songs, e.g. “A New Hand” have some beautiful trumpet (or so) going on. I already want to hear that live and sing along to this song, arm in arm with that stranger next to me and sway to the music.
Well, in a way you can say this band shows more façades than you could imagine ever hearing from them, being a bit more grown up without loosing their trademark of extremely catchy songs bursting with energy.
If you fancy to what the band meant with the songs and not my thoughts you can go to DIY and have a read. I may join you on that one.** Also, you can pre-order the Album on Alcopop! now. It’ll be released on Monday (May 13th).
Thank you for reading,
*Note to those who are too young: that was how my generation annoyed their parents. We would connect to the internet via the telephone lines from 7 to 10 pm and none of our aunts, uncles etc. could reach our parents as the telephone was blocked and cell phones weren’t common at that time as well. Oh, we had more than one loud discussion about that.
**I don’t read other reviews and stuff like that until I have written my own…
P.S. They are on tour. The are excellent live. Go and say hi to the band from me!
May 11th -The Labour Club, Northampton
May 12th -The Star, Guildford
May 13th -The Cellar, Oxford
May 14th -Birthdays, London (Launch with Joanna Gruesome & Tyrannosaurus Dead)
May 15th -The Zephyr Lounge, Lemington Spa
May 17th -The Great Escape, Brighton
May 18th -Rough Trade West, London
May 18th -The Nag’s Head, Rochester
May 30th -The West End Centre, Aldershot
May 31st -The Buffalo Bar, Cardiff
June 1st -Santiago’s, Leeds
P.P.S. That was a really crap headline, wasn’t it? Well, I find it funny through…
Photo (c) Naomi Goggin
One song, three videos, three directors. “The Sun” had been one of my favourite sings from Naked Lunch’s album “All Is Fever” (I have introduced this band last week). For me the song always had this “Ikarus” feeling - don’t fly to close to the sun, you might get burned and the warning of it. Of course the sun is doing good stuff as well. That’s how singer Oliver Welter explained it to me.
“The sun that burns the green grass but also dries your eyes”
In a way it contains this warning of a wiser man telling you what’s good and what’s not. And not make the same mistakes which you will probably do because we all touch the hot stove top to see if it is hot at some point. I have certainly burned myself more than once.
They have published three different videos for this song and as I couldn’t decide which one I like the most because they are all so different but also very good I let you decide.
#1 Director: Thomas Woschitz
A close up and all emotions this song has to offer. A man reconsidering what he has done?
#2 Director: Gerhard Fresacher
Take care of those who can’t help themselves (not only kids).
#3 Director: Chris Haring
Don’t hide your emotions? Give all your different sides a room?
What is your favourite?