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Strings Attached

May 22nd 2012 | Celline Narinli

Rasmus Stolberg, bassist of Danish band Efterklang, chats to Celline Narinli about the beauty of imperfections in music and reveals details of their next album and its world premiere in Sydney. Oh, and hugging a koala.

Prepping up to tour their latest offering, Piramida, Danish band Efterklang – now based in Berlin – will be making their first trip down under. The Sydney Opera House will be the first stop and destination for the world premiere of the fourth release as part of Vivid LIVE, to be performed with the Sydney Symphony.

“I have a feeling that I am going to like Australia,” says bassist Rasmus Stolberg. “And I hope and think I will feel comfortable in the city and get out and do some hiking and enjoy the amazing nature. And I want to hug a koala bear – are you allowed to? Or is it bad karma if you do that? How do you say it? Koala?”

But what exactly made them choose Sydney as the city to launch their highly anticipated fourth album? “I think Sydney chose us!” he exclaims. “We started making this album in August, and it was our plan to work without a deadline, because we wanted to get really deep into this project and experiment a lot and make a lot of songs.

“At first we wanted to say no [to the Vivid LIVE invitation] because we were like, 'Ah, that's so bad timing, because we're going to be so busy and you know, so into making a new album. We can't go out and play live' but… we just couldn't say no. Because for us, it's such an amazing opportunity.”

Stolberg continues to reveal details about their “more electronic” and “darker” forthcoming release. “[Piramida is] again an entirely different approach and a new Efterklang sound,” he muses. “We always try to come up with a new approach on every album… It's sort of looking at the concert and the album as two different things. The album will be more sparse and more electronic itself; it leaves a lot of room for the orchestra to go in and do stuff around our songs.

“Hopefully you will be able to experience something new coming out of a band and an orchestra working together. So we're trying very hard to make sure that it's not just going to be a band with an orchestra behind them, we're trying very hard to make the music and the scores an integrated piece.”

Back in 2004, Efterklang's sound hatched out as spacious chamber music on their debut, Tripper. Parades saw the band progress into a more complex art-rock genre influenced by the likes of Arcade Fire and Sufjan Stevens. Efterklang later recorded a live version with the Danish National Chamber Orchestra, titled Performing Parades. Most recent album Magic Chairs saw a move back into electronics and soothing strings. Over the years, the now three-piece (who will be touring as a six-piece) have established themselves as Denmark's greatest indie music export.

Working with world-renowned filmmaker Vincent Moon on various collaborations, such as their short film An Island and the Take Away Series (random gigs filmed in random places), Efterklang were heavily inspired by the organic nature of experimentation so well documented by those projects. “These new songs are heavily inspired by some of the stuff we did with Vincent Moon in An Island. [The album is] experimental, but it's also a bit more laid back – it doesn't want to be all over the place all the time.”

“[Moon] helps us realise that what we can do as artists isn't depending on having the exact perfect gear and the perfect space. You sort of get caught up in that sometimes – where you can only perform when you have your special microphone, or you can only perform if you have the hour-long sound check before… and it's really, really good for you sometimes to realise, 'Wow, our songs can actually also be played like this and still work!' It's eye-opening.”

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