FIGURINES

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.

Figurines in The DALI Music Room

THE DESIRE FOR MUSIC

We talked to them about their career so far, their approach to good sound quality, and not least 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, band name and 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” indicates 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 in continuation of “When the Deer Wore Blue”. That is, probably, where we feel most at home right now.

The band has been associated with classic pop songwriters, 1960’ies bands such as The Beach Boys, and 1990’ies 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 – that 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 Swedisch forests to record the entire album in an authentic, analogue way. The new album they’ve produced, engineered, and mixed themselves. And now they’re releasing it in a number of various sound formats.

- We do this to make use of all options that make sense – and to oblige with wishes from our audience. Our music should be accessible to everyone that wants to listen to it. Either as stream 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.

As regards 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” have been recorded digitally.

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

- It offered each of us the opportunity of more free roles in the recording process. Everyone 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 till 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. What keeps this band, already "veterans" though in their late twenties, still 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 basicly 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 to these fans of the band in the next six months?

- We’re doing a tour of five concert 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 have heard at home on their own loudspeakers, will grow during the live experience! We share these concerts evenings with the band The Kissaway Trail, and we believe it’ll be fantastic events.
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 performs 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 as mentioned is available for high quality downloads, in CD-format, and even as LP-version.

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

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