Figurines

"Our basic interest is songs. In that sense, we're old-school musicians."

Danish rock band, Figurines, attracted international attention and toured the US after releasing their album When the Deer Wore Blue in 2007. Now they're back.

THE DESIRE FOR MUSIC
We talked to the Figurines about their career so far, their approach to good sound quality and their brand new album simply entitled Figurines.

From Figurines to Figurines
Perhaps Figurines decided to name their new album Figurines to mark a new beginning and a clean break. On their third album, the band name, album title, identity and music seem to melt together.

We had a chance to talk to the guys in Figurines by mail since they're currently busy rehearsing for upcoming tours in Denmark and abroad. Christian Hjelm, Claus S. Johansen and Jens Ramon answered our questions jointly, so perhaps they really have become one. What does the entity think of their new album?

"Compared to our previous albums, Figurines signals a return to a more spontaneous songwriting structure than on the songs that ended up becoming our latest album, When the Deer Wore Blue. In that sense, the new album is more akin to the songwriting on the album Skeleton.

The sound is more a continuation of When the Deer Wore Blue. That's probably where we feel most at home right now.

The band has been associated with classic pop songwriters and 60s bands such as The Beach Boys, and 90s Seattle-based Modest Mouse. But Figurines don't think too much about press and band references:

"It may be a cliché, but we don't compare ourselves to other bands and have no eye to what others do when we do what we do," the band explains.

"Our basic interest is songs. In that sense, we're old-school musicians. The new stuff that we create, we create because we are the people, we are – against a background of what inspires and engages us. It happens fairly often that we simply don't understand the musical references people associate with our music – they're different from our own references."

Good sound comes from using the ears
In other words, the band focuses on their own music, and of course recording and sound quality means a lot to the band members in this context. Prior to their most acclaimed record, When the Deer Wore Blue, they went into the Swedish forests to record the entire album in an authentic, analogue way. They produced, engineered and mixed the album themselves, and now they're releasing it in a variety of sound formats.

"We do this to make use of all options that make sense – and to oblige the wishes of our audience. Our music should be accessible to everyone who wants to listen to it, either as streaming or whatever format people prefer to own. We have really made an effort to make the music sound good. It'd feel like a waste of energy if MP3 was to be the only available format."

When it comes to the recording process, Figurines is equally focused on ensuring the best sound quality possible. But to be frank, they're not too technical when it comes to sound reproduction:

"To be honest, we don't think too much about it – we use our ears! We intuitively know what we like – if not sooner, then when we hear it. We recorded When the Deer Wore Blue in analogue, but that also had to do with being able to isolate ourselves in a studio in Sweden, playing live in the studio, and so on. We are not fanatics. Figurines has been recorded digitally."

A new line-up, increased recording control
Before recording Figurines, the band lost two members and is now officially reduced to a trio, at least when recording. What did this change mean to the band and their sound?

"It offered each of us the opportunity for more free roles in the recording process. Every one of us has played several instruments and contributed more freely than on the previous two records. It has truly been a positive recording process with us controlling everything from start to the end. As human beings and as a band, we have had to return to the starting point: Why we think it's important to make music. It has all been about rediscovering the desire for music. We succeeded!"

The motivation
And then there's the future. Already veterans in their late twenties, what keeps this band motivated?

"Writing new songs that other people than our closest friends and families like to listen to at home and at concerts. And the recognition that our music matters to these people. Add to this the fact that all three of us are basically creative beings. That's really it. The desire to create and the knowledge that it matters to someone."

International release and upcoming tour
So what's in store for fans of the band in the next six months?

"We're doing a tour of five concerts in Denmark, playing songs from the new album for the very first time. We'll be six musicians on stage, and our aim is as always that the music our audience has heard at home on their own loudspeakers will grow during the live experience!

We share these concert evenings with the band The Kissaway Trail, and we believe it'll be a fantastic event. Subsequently, we'll focus internationally. The new album will be out internationally in the first months of 2011. That's about how far we can see right now."

Figurines performed live in Denmark in November 2010 and internationally in the spring of 2011.
For more info, visit the band's website, where the new album is available for high-quality downloads in CD format and even as an LP version.

- Rune H. Jensen, rhj@dali.dk.

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