One of a recent incredible wave of Danish bands doing wonderful things with pop music, Copenhagen-based four piece Blaue Blume have been variously compared to Sigur Ros and Jeff Buckley, amongst others, but their jangling pop music complete with soaring vocals might be more akin to the music found on the 4AD label.
There’s something of the Cocteau Twins around Jonas Smith’s cooing falsetto, and a close listen to the tracks “Jealousy” and “In Disco Lights” without question betrays a love of Morrissey and Marr.
So with a debut album looming in 2015 we can expect to hear a lot more from the band in the coming months, and that starts with an appearance at the Ja Ja Ja Festival at The Lexington on 14 November. Ahead of that show we had a chat with Jonas Smith about Denmark, nostalgia and what we might get from Blaue Blume’s debut album…
Hello Blaue Blume, how are you doing?
Splendid thanks. Darker skies evolve over Copenhagen these days and a colder air grows in your lungs. In my opinion it is the most beautiful time of the year. Everything perishes and I’m perfectly okay with it.
Are you looking forward to your appearance at Ja Ja Ja? What can we expect from your show?
Yes definitely! Our show? It sounds as if you expect us to do something different than just play and see what happens as per usual. I don’t know, maybe we have to come up with something more show-ish…We’ll make sure to be intense and play the songs as heartfelt as possible that day. Let’s see where that takes us.
And who else should we watch while we’re there?
It seems almost too easy to say When Saints Go Machine and Jenny Wilson, nonetheless that is two really strong acts I wouldn’t miss.
You are part of something of a Danish renaissance in music at the moment, whether it’s Kill J, Lower, Iceage, Communions or older acts like Raveonettes being reinvigorated....so what is it about the country right now that’s helping produce all these bands?
Are we? Surely the very peculiar punk scene here in Denmark has a very special thing going on. And their idea of joining hands in an artistic comradeship is very appealing to us. We just don’t know whose hand to hold.
To be honest I’m not really sure of what we are doing. We love making music and I’m pretty sure we could that just as good anywhere else in the world. But it’s always nice to be looked on as band taking part in a whole new little golden era even though it might just be something of a cool romantic illusion. I mean all of my favorite bands are probably from Brooklyn. That’s not really a story anymore isn’t it?
Were there acts that you looked up to, for help or general inspiration, when Blaue Blume was starting out?
I like to think that it happened very naturally as a result of everything we’d ever heard. But surely we liked the idea of our project grounded in the old virtues of what it actually means to be a band. Therefore we looked and still look to groups like Led Zeppelin, The Smiths etc.
Despite being Danish, you take your name from the German language, what’s the thinking behind that?
It has graceful symbolism to it…Google can tell you all about that. Also it sounds both ugly and beautiful at the same time which is the essence of why we ended up choosing that particular name. We are constantly working with contrast and seek to challenge beauty in bloody fist fights all the time. And it sounds strange on everyone’s tongue accept the Germans…For them it’s just a slightly cheesy name.
How would you describe the music of Blaue Blume?
Just think of it as pop music. I like that.
There’s a certain nostalgia to the band’s music – not particularly in sound, but more in the feeling. Where do you think that comes from?
I think we have a fair amount of nostalgia running in our veins these years. We are definitely going through a detoxification of youth. We really try hard to be as timeless as possible however naïve that might sound. I guess we’ll figure out if we succeeded in about a hundred years. It might be that we communicate nostalgia but I wouldn’t say it’s something we know how to do. Actually we wish to wear as anonymous a mask outwardly as possible, so that people may listen to our music in a neutral landscape and let the sound do the colouring if any.
Outside of music, what inspires the band?
Tediousness. I personally have a fascination with the swans in the little lake outside my window in the city. In these days I write a lot of lyrics and practically do as little as possible to make room for that peculiar feeling that seldom enters you when you expect it the most. Therefore I find myself staring more at them than into my little book of disquiet and find that we have equally minimal goals to achieve during the day. Even at night they are ignorantly my only company. While I’m disgraced by my own emptiness they bare theirs with grace. I care for them and they care for no one but themselves. Arrogantly, beautifully they move through the water untouched by emotions. I just feel emotionless here.
You’re working on your debut album right now; how far along are you and what can we expect from it? Do we have any song titles as yet?
Yes we are. All the songs are composed and the lyrics are almost written. It’s going to be even more massive than anything we’ve ever done. You will love it or hate it…if you care.
Where are you recording it, and do you have pop star demands for what you’d like in the studio yet?
We actually have the first recording session when we return home from the Ja Ja Ja gig. We are planning on doing the live takes at a studio in Copenhagen and then later build a universe around it somewhere we haven’t decided yet. It’s going to be fun. No pop star demands just silence.
What does the rest of 2014 hold for the band, and can you pick out a highlight from the year so far?
No one knows. Probably a lot of gigs, a record and good times in general. We recently played a sold out concert at a big venue in Copenhagen. It was just amazing to play in front so many people who actually came to listen! We’ve played a lot of showcases where people come to watch and we will probably continue to do so but playing our own concert for our own crowd was crazy.
The band play this week's Ja Ja Ja Festival - grab your tickets here.