Photo by Mr. Babdellahn
The four member band of When Saints Go Machine consists of Nikolaj (vocals), Simon (keyboard), Jonas (keyboard) and Silas (drums). Copenhagen natives, they only started making music a few years ago and have since released two albums, Fail Forever and most recently Konkylie. Their first album was mixed by Christoffer Berg, whom can be credited for The Knife’s “Deep Cuts” and “Silent Shout.” With the overwhelming success of Fail Forever, Konkylie will be their first EP released in the UK.
Many describe their sound as reminiscent of Hercules and Love Affair, although the band states that their inspiration didn’t come from this particular band. One thing is for sure, whatever the sound can be described as, it is certainly turning heads. Touring non-stop, it was rather hard to catch up with the boys but I finally got a chance to ask them some questions.
What do you do when you aren’t making music and on tour?
I can’t really answer that question for the rest of the guys, but I don’t really do anything else except for putting on a pair of shoes and going for an occasional run. I get back home and make music.
What do you attribute this sudden and huge success to?
Thank you, but to us it doesn’t feel that sudden or huge. We’ve been playing together as a band almost four years now, working six days a week on the band for that entire time, so I guess the answer would be devotion. Devotion!
Is it important for you to hit a larger audience outside of Denmark? How can this be accomplished?
If the music has some universal qualities to it and yet you don’t sound like a thousand other bands, you just have to keep moving forward and never stop working. I don’t have many clever insights on how to make people listen. You need to put out a record and go abroad and play gigs to make it work.
Describe your music?
I am really sorry, but I can’t do that. Not that it’s impossible and we’re that full of ourselves, but it’s always much easier for someone a bit less involved. To us, it’s just pop music.
What or whom are you listening to right now?
Silver Jews – Tanglewood Numbers, with my brother humming along, interrupted by Marcel Dettmann songs on Youtube. It’s a lovely scene.
When I hear your music, I automatically think of Hercules and Love Affair. Am I totally off base with this assessment?
If that’s what you hear, that that’s what it is. It’s not a band we’re inspired by at all, but we’ve heard it before so it seems some people share that notion.
Where are you touring as of now?
Europe and the UK, mostly playing one-offs and festivals. The real touring with Konkylie kicks off when the summer ends.
In what city do you like performing in the most?
That’s still Copenhagen. We’re all from here and every time we play a concert in Copenhagen it feels special because we don’t do it that often.
If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing?
That’s a hard one. There seems to be no real alternative. Perhaps drawing. We talked about opening a shop that sells records and serves cheap food if we ever stopped playing music professionally.
What is your favourite song to perform live?
I like a lot of them. “Jets” is energetic and intense and builds throughout five minutes. Jets is different from the album version because we did want to keep that “Four To The Floor” element in the otherwise, less danceable new set. But I think I’ll go with “Add Ends.” There’s a lot of empty space in that one, and the song still feels perfect to me.
Are any members of the band classically trained or are you self taught?
We’re all self-taught musicians. Some of us took lessons as kids.
Are there any other Danish bands that you like?
Too many to mention, but some of them are Treefight For Sunlight, Choir Of Young Believers, Taragana Pyjarama, Iceage and Turboweekend.
Photo taken from Facebook
What kind of mark would you like to leave on the music industry?
We would like to leave a mark on the listener instead of the industry.
Did you feel pressure from outside sources to make the second album just as good as the first?
Not at all. The pressure we apply on ourselves is impossible to match from any outsiders so we just concentrate on writing our songs.
Tell us something we don’t know about the band?
We lose stuff left and right. All the heavier stuff we’d like to keep to ourselves.
What is going down for When Saints Go Machine in the upcoming months?
We will be touring a lot, recording some new songs and hopefully get a chance to go to the beach.
There you have it. Just another day at the office for When Saints Go Machine. Enough said.