The New Era Tour

author AP date 19/04/11

As part of the third edition of the New Era Tour, a review of which you can find here, I decided to sit the vocalists of the three featured bands, Scarred by Beauty, By the Patient, and Essence, down for a round table interview discussing the tour and touring in general, the bands' new albums, and the state of the underground scene in Denmark. So, without further ado, I give you the future of Danish metal - misters Jonathan Albrechtsen, Tan Møhl-Hansen and Lasse Skov: Can we start with you guys introducing yourselves, and your roles in your respective bands?
Tan: I'm Tan, the vocalist of By the Patient.

Lasse: I'm Lasse Skov, lead singer of Essence.

Jonathan: My name is Jonathan, and I sing in Scarred by Beauty. The New Era Tour has a (short) history of collecting the most promising bands from one niche in the domestic underground scene. Congratulations on being considered the three most exciting metal bands in Denmark! Can you tell me a little about how this tour came to be?
Tan: Well, we hooked up with Anders Wind from 3rd Tsunami [Agency, ed.], and he told us a bit about the project. He wanted a band from Jutland and two other bands, so that's what we gave him. What has the reception been like?

Lasse: It's been great. People have been digging that it's three bands from some different genres all playing at the shows. It's a very good concept they came up with, 3rd Tsunami.

Jonathan: It's really nice to see that, even though the line-up is so diverse, people are sticking around for all three shows. And a lot of people have been showing up.

Lasse: More people than I expected.

Jonathan: Yeah, I've been surprised as well. Which show has been the best so far?

Jonathan: They all have!

Lasse: I liked the first show. It was very "in your face", people upfront just hammering it out.

Tan: I think the show tonight will be the same, just with more people.

Lasse: To us, the Aalborg show last week was a great show. It's our home town, and there were some fantastic people there. Which has been the worst?

Jonathan: No namedropping!

Tan: There haven't been any bad days yet. So it's been a good turnout every day and...

Jonathan: Definitely, every single day. What has been the craziest, most memorable, or must fucked up thing to happen on this tour?

Tan: I think last night two guys collided in the moshpit, and one of them cracked his lip open. People got a bit scared.

Jonathan: The most fucked up thing has got to be that dude from Vejle that got on stage.

Lasse: (laughing) He was drunk!

Jonathan: He was hammered, proper shitfaced.

Lasse: He tried to steal the mic from Jonathan, and he wouldn't stop growling. He was just screaming like a monkey. There were no words or anything, just a consistent growl! Two of you have already toured in Europe [ed. Scarred by Beauty and By the Patient]. How does touring in Europe differ from touring in Denmark?
Jonathan: You feel kind of small when you're out there. But it's way more exciting, because you get to see... I mean, we haven't played for that long, but already we feel like we know what to expect almost everywhere in Denmark. But it's a brand new day every day when you're outside of Denmark. Do you get good turnouts abroad?

Jonathan: It's really up and down. It depends - if we're playing by ourselves, the turnouts are pretty small, but if it's four bands on the night, it's alright.

Tan: We played at Wacken Open Air last year. I was surprised that people just embraced the music without knowing the band. It was a different experience. There was a lot of people, it was packed.

Jonathan: In Europe people are very dedicated to metal. They really turn out to listen to the music, and not just hang out in the bar and drink beer. We get positive reactions. All of you have recently put out new albums. Can you tell me a little about the recording process underlying, and the critical reception so far, both in Denmark and abroad?
Tan: I started writing the EP ["Catenation of Adversity", ed.] as a collaboration between me and the guitarist. But this time it was the two guitarists writing most of the songs. We played a few of the songs live, and it just went on like that. There's been a pretty good response.

Lasse: We recorded the album ["Lost in Violence", ed.] a year ago, but we weren't satisfied with any of the offers that we got from record labels. So we just kind of waited, and waited, and waited - and finally, the right chance arose. We got signed on Massive Music, which is a booking agency, and Ultimhate Records, which is a record label. Regarding the recording process - it was a very fun experience being in the Medley studio with Søren Andersen. It was very chilled, low down, just slow-paced recording. We recorded it all live, so it was just four guys playing at the same time rather than having that layered approach typically used in metal. It was a very giving experience to us as musicians.

Jonathan: We recorded in August last year over 12 days at Hansen Studios. It wasn't easy, but it was kind of a walk in the park, really. Just hanging out for 12 days, writing. We just released it in Denmark last month, so it's not out in Europe yet, but so far it's been mostly positive reactions. If you had to describe your albums to someone who has never heard them, what would you say?

Tan: Melodic and in your face with sunrises in between.

Lasse: (laughing) A pop song here and there? I guess "Lost in Violence", our debut album, is a mixture between rock and thrash metal. It's very old school but in some ways also new school. But I don't know, old school would probably be the way to describe the album.

Jonathan: I would say that "Sutra" is like a really good chocolate cake. Given that you all come from different corners of the genre, I thought it'd be interesting to hear who your respective influences are? But let's make it even more interesting, and have all of you also guess the influences behind each other's bands.
Tan: I'd say Job for a Cowboy for a while, but now it's mostly Behemoth, Polish death metal in general, and black metal. Essence is probably influenced by Metallica and Slayer, and I'd say Scarred by Beauty are inspired by Between the Buried and Me, Gojira and the Architects.

Lasse: It's a difficult question, because it's more like feelings than influences by certain people. I do like... I write a lot of our music, and when I write, I'm much inspired by Mille Petrozza from Kreator, and Immortal. That's pretty much it. Because if you have too much influence, I think you have a tendency to lean up on what other people make, and by having few influences you are forced to be creative yourself, write your own stuff, and do something original based on a few pieces of other people.

Tan: My lyrics are actually inspired by Morrissey, believe it or not. I like the mood in all their songs. They're just inspired people.

Lasse: I think that By the Patient is a mixture of black and death metal. I don't really know any bands... Well, some Polish and... You know, I have no frame of reference. It's, again, the feeling thing. I feel there's an old school kind of black metal mixed with death metal. It's a very organic and special sound that the guys have. Scarred by Beauty are kind of death metal and post-hardcore, as they tend to say themselves. Scarred by Beauty to me is a band that in live situations is a very energetic band and can get their crowd with them in an instant. On record, I think it's music that you have to really listen to. Of course you can just listen to it and not go into the depth of it, because it has a layer on which you can just listen to it, and a deeper layer where you can dig into it. And I think it's amazing to make music like that. I don't listen to that kind of music myself. When I sit at home I just listen to Airbourne. S I really don't have any bands that I can compare these guys with.

Jonathan: A band like Deftones is a band that we all listen to. As for the other guys, I agree with everything the other guys already mentioned. What do you feel is your band's greatest asset, and what makes the other bands on this tour good?
Tan: I think the greatest asset of Scarred by Beauty is the energy that they have live. And the greatest asset of Essence is the mood you get into when you listen to it, and the atmosphere they create on stage. As for By the Patient, I'd say it's the intensity and the atmospheric thing we've got going on.

Lasse: As Tan said regarding Scarred by Beauty, it's definitely their ability to get people into their show, you know, involve people and make the connection between audience and band. I think that's quite amazing. And their technique, their skills on the instruments are very, very good. I mean they jump around on stage but still play tapped solos and stuff like that. By the Patient are very competent musicians, and have the ability to create a mood or atmosphere, which I think comes from the black metal influence. I think that's awesome. It's difficult to say something good about yourself... but I think that we're an energetic live band, and I think that we have songs that are easy to listen to and easy to understand, as well as a lot of varied songs - not two of our songs sound the same.

Jonathan: For Essence, their greatest asset is staying true. You guys are so fucking true! It's nice to see a young band keeping the old school shit alive. That's good. Even though By the Patient is death/black metal, it's a very charming band. As for us, it's the party! What are your favorite venues in Denmark, both for playing and watching shows?
Jonathan: Stengade, for playing. No seriously, I love their stage.

Lasse: I've never been here! But Studenterhuset in Aalborg is my favorite.

Tan: I really like the atmosphere in Vega, when you go to concerts, soundwise.

Jonathan: Because it was built to be a venue. It's not an old factory or something.

Tan: As for playing at venues, I don't know, there are lot of good venues to play at.

Jonathan: Stengade! Because it's so hot!

Lasse: Oh my god, it's going to be hot tonight!

Jonathan: Gettin' my sweat on to-night! (laughing)

Lasse: I've got my sweater on...

Jonathan: Why would you wear a sweater? What advice would you give to other, unsigned metal bands in Denmark looking to release albums and tour on an international scale?
Tan: Just keep on fighting and dream a lot. Keep on playing live shows.

Lasse: I would say: write good songs. You know, some part of me just wants to say fuck how good you are at playing - it's what you're playing and it's how you're playing it, it's not how good you are and how many shows you've played. But in summary: playing the right show and writing good songs.

Jonathan: Keep finding the fun. Make sure it's funny and that you're enjoying every aspect of it. That's the hardest thing, because there's a whole backside to this thing, you know, doing really boring stuff. You've got to somehow twist that into being funny and exciting. With regard to getting record deals - that's notoriously hard in Denmark, so how would you tell someone to go about that?

Jonathan: Just try everything.

Tan: Be careful.

Lasse: Definitely be careful. There are a lot of people out there wanting to screw you because there are so many bands.

Jonathan: Get a lawyer! (laughing)

Lasse: But it's not hard to get a record deal in Denmark if you have a good product, so again, it comes down to writing good songs.

Tan: But you can still get fucked over. When you're out touring, for instance abroad, what bands from Denmark would you recommend to bands and musicians there? Or in Denmark, for that matter?
Jonathan: When I'm talking to people about Danish metal, I'm always mentioning The Psyke Project. It's so original, and so frightening. They just have a way of creating a very unique atmosphere and a very complete musical universe. There's so much to explore.

Lasse: I also like Mercenary, because there's a lot to listen to - if you're into that genre. If you like high pitch vocals and melodies, check out Mercenary (with an advertisement voice)

Tan: I'd also say The Psyke Project. So what would you say are some of the more exciting small bands in Denmark?

Tan: Actually, a band called Cold Night For Alligators.

Lasse: I think that Impalers just released a very good demo with four songs. It's thrash metal, and it's a very competent demo.

Jonathan: Definitely also Vira. What are your future hopes and aspirations?
Jonathan: Get wasted.

Tan: Die at age 27. And how old are you now?

Jonathan: He's 22...

Lasse: For Essence, I guess that would definitely be to play in foreign countries, countries where thrash metal is an important genre. You know, Germany, Poland, Italy and those countries. And we want to play some good festivals in Europe. We want to get out and see the world.

Tan: We'd like to get abroad and tour the U.S.

Jonathan: We'd like to get to a point where we can tour for longer periods, most of the year, every year.

Lasse: Would be sweet... Okay, that was the last question, so I'll leave the last words to you guys.
Jonathan: Keep the dream alive!

Lasse: Come on, support the shows. You know, it's 50 Danish Crowns, it's not much to get to see a package like this. And be open minded. We're not pointing fingers at anyone, but have an open mind!

Jonathan: Stop throwing shit at us!

Tan: Stop taking my fucking microphone!

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