First Hate on Aesthetics, Wedding Bands and Running Out of Oxygen
We followed the Copenhagen boys to Berlin and caught up with them in a Vietnamese joint. Photos by Ida Dorthea.
As any artist will know, the promise of privacy and a space to obsess over your work in is golden. It makes sense, then, that the lure of an empty house is what initially brought First Hate together. We learned this when we wandered Berlin with Anton Falck Gansted and Joakim Nørgaard - the Copenhageners who make up the synthpop duo - towards the end of their latest European tour. After tours supporting the likes of Iceage and Trentemøller, it's clear these boys' influences span far and wide, making their music an aesthetic playground that only seems to be gaining attention. Taking shelter from the Berlin rain in a Vietnamese restaurant with angry staff and a coincidental Danish flag-painted ceiling, we talked about wedding bands, the moment before you die and other things that may have contributed to what the band represents today.
NOISEY: What did you like about one another when you met?
Joakim Nørgaard: In the beginning when we were hanging out, it was because Anton had an empty house. It’s a bit hard to describe but it was that natural connection: we clicked over obsessing about everything, like attention to detail for whatever it is you’re into at that one time.
Anton Falck Gansted: [It felt like] turning everything upside down—kind of how when you’re becoming older as a teenager and you start smoking and think you’re figuring out the world. We also instigated Enter the Dragon, a dining club at a Chinese buffet. The rules were to show up, order the buffet dinner and just eat.
When have you been inspired or productive when you least expected it?
Anton: Joakim was talking about this guy who invented a notepad for writing underwater 'cause you get the best ideas when you’re about to run out of oxygen. That guy also invented the floppy disc, apparently.
Joakim: The high right before you die of boredom!
Anton: I feel the urge to do something creative the most when I'm in somewhat of a caged environment: at work at the bar, or in school. All these ideas come flooding and I have to run into a little room and record them on my phone.
When it comes to your shows, is there a place or formula that you feel causes your strongest performances?
Joakim: I think a lot about the bands that play at weddings by the poolside. You know, the band is playing and the people are bathing and ordering cocktails—that kind of thing. We’ve talked about that and deleting the need to stare at us—like putting a curtain in front of us. It's about people just going and interacting with one another and treating the music like they'd treat a DJ.
Anton: In Paris things have often gone well—and at Mayhem we’ve had some pretty big, chaotic, loving shows. I feel like I can let loose more easily if the crowd is letting go; not necessarily if I know people there, but often. It’s also really nice when people move. Post-midnight shows are the best for us.
Over the summer, what did you listen to and what surprised you?
Joakim: Mac DeMarco. We saw him live.
Anton: Yes, him. A lot of Copenhagen bands, too—especially Grand Prix. He's a friend and he's really pushed his sound into a place that's completely different to what I expected. I've also really been blown away by Værket—they're a bit younger and they really know what they're doing. These guys play guitar and sax at the same time.
Your videos seem typically offbeat and tongue in cheek. To what extent do you think about the aesthetics that come with that vibe—and aesthetics in general?
Anton: Image isn't a good word but visuals are important to us. When doing a live thing, the performance is the primary thing and we'll add visuals only if they're good enough. It's about timing. We had visuals for one performance in time to the music, but that was at a film festival so it fit. People are interested in it. If we find it entertaining, we'll do it. We have this great idea for a video but it's a little Hollywood in terms of budget.
What are some invaluable ideas or work you've introduced to one another?
Anton: It’s easy to forget who showed the other something first. I guess it's predominantly been about the process of making music. We knew nothing about how to do it at first and we downloaded Reason and figured it out together.
Joakim: I’ve learnt a lot from YouTube channels Anton's pulled out of the most horrifying corners of the web.
Anton: Joakim gave me an explicit Manga book.