I arrive at Café Vestergade in Liss’ home city of Aarhus, which is buzzing thanks to Spot Festival, ten minutes ahead of our 1pm meeting time. Jonas, my friend/photographer for the day is with me. Planning on filming, we ask a girl seated by the window if she’d mind moving – she turns out to be Agnete, part of the band’s management from Escho, Copenhagen.
Liss’ first EP, ‘First’ is out now on XL Recordings and Escho
“He takes out the unnecessary stuff.” – Søren, from Liss, on Rodaidh McDonald who co-produced the EP
Lead singer, Søren is the first to arrive and I order him an orange juice. Villads, the bassist, arrives shortly after, iPhone in hand: ‘I’ve got to know Ariana Grande a bit too well on Snapchat; now I don’t really like her anymore’, he says. We find out that the boys know Jonas’ cousin (Aarhus is small), and we chat about Soundvenue’s description of them as ‘Danmarks nye superstjerne’ (Denmark’s new superstars’) in an article published a few hours earlier.
One of the other band members is taking passport photos, while the other slept in, so Søren and Villads take the reigns of the proverbial Liss horse. We switch from Danish to English and officially start the interview.
Interview & introduction by Teddy Au Top. Photographs by Jonas Fogh (firstname.lastname@example.org).[separator type=”space”]
I recount an anecdote about how I tried to casually ask their XL label mate, Låpsley, out for a drink, which we are yet to have, after her gig in Copenhagen back in September. ‘When you see her again, can you tell her I’m a bit in love with her?’, I ask, which they kindly agree to.
Referring to their homemade videos, I enquire if the label ran out of money after all the Adele promotion. Apparently XL recordings doesn’t mind them making videos where they’re ‘just fucking around’ (‘Sorry’s video was filmed in Mols, an hour from Aarhus, at drummer, Tobias’s girlfriend’s dad’s summer house). Søren‘s grandparents are also from there. ‘It’s really beautiful; It’s a bit like a Norway or Sweden. It’s probably one of the most hilly places in Denmark’, which is notoriously flat.
Guitarist Vilhelm once said in an interview that Aarhus was like ‘the New Orleans of Denmark’.
Søren: ‘Yeah, he has some good quotes’ ‘Oh it’s like New Orleans’. ‘It reminds me of the good ol’ days’ (impersonating Vilhelm, but with a faux southern accent).
I tell them that the previous day, I interviewed M.I.L.K., specifying that I mean the Copenhagen-based band and not the drink. This prompts Søren to pretend his now empty glass is full of the white stuff, saying ‘Hey! How it’s going’ to it. We talk about how M.I.L.K. is a bit of a collective, and I take this opportunity to ask if I can join Liss.
Villads: Yeah, you can join the band
Teddy/Conor: I’d like to do those vocal effects that you have in your songs.
Søren: Villads is doing those though.
I just have to tell the boys that Rodaidh McDonald is like a god to me, and I’m curious as to how he works in the studio.
Villads: He’s more like an old school producer. When we work with Vera (who co-produces their stuff and plays the MPC at gigs, including their Voxhall gig the previous night, which had Aarhusians queueing out the door), he’s really fast on the computer with Ableton and stuff. Rodaidh sits & tells people what to do, and there’s an engineer there. We’re in much bigger studios with him.
The XL home studio in London is actually quite small and the walls are not gold-plated, nor is there a life-sized portrait of Adele on the wall, so I’m told. They mention that they will probably do some recording in the new studio the label has just built in New York when they’re there.
Teddy/Conor: What has Rodaidh brought to your sound?
Søren: He takes out the unnecessary stuff.
Villads: Yeah, he tries to keep the special thing about the song. They have contributed to the production on this EP and are equally doing some on the new one. I’m impressed.
Teddy/Conor: Have you got any friends playing here at Spot Festival?
I have a bit of a tight schedule, so unfortunately I miss them.
Teddy/Conor: You should check out my friends Pale Honey. They make girl rock and we share a producer, Anders Lagerfors.
Teddy/Conor: When asked, you say your music is pop; do you say that because it’s a very open genre?
Villads: I think the reason we call it pop music is because it’s focused on the melody. Our music’s not like Miley Cyrus though, which some people might think when you say ‘pop’.
Søren: It’s just because we don’t want to be labelled.
[title maintitle=”Multiple choice Liss lyric round” subtitle=””]
You have a day off – do you:
1) ‘…waste your time’
2) do some writing & ‘send me a letter’
Søren: Umm… I think Villads can answer.
Villads: I think probably waste some time.
Søren: None of the two probably.
By the way, why did nobody correct Huw Stevens’ pronunciation of ‘Aarhus’ the other day on Radio 1?
Søren: But no one can pronounce it.
I was hoping some would be like…
Søren: Yeah, ‘Excuse me, Mr. Huw…’
If you had to choose between Aaarhoos (pronunciation à la Huw) & Copenhagen, would it be:
1) ‘I’m sorry but I can’t do it’
2) ‘I don’t mind’
Søren: Hmmm… Can we look at this one on your computer?
I wasn’t expecting these to take so much though.
Villads: … Both kind of mean the same thing though.
Oh! True! This is actually a terrible question with terrible choices of answer.
Søren: Let’s go for ‘I don’t mind’.
Third annoying question – if we’re talking about kærlighed / love, is it…
1) ‘something you can’t explain’
2) ‘I can’t read the signs’
Søren (replying at rapid speed this time): ‘something you can’t explain’
End of the multiple choice round.
Søren: That was fun!
Vilhelm and Tobias have now arrived and I want an autograph on my t-shirt (I brought a marker especially for the occasion). We take a walk and I get graffitied in a graffitied Aarhus alley. On the way back to the café, Søren bumps into a girl he knows in the middle of the street. She asks what they’re doing and he replies ‘an interview’ with a little laugh. ‘Of course’ replies the girl, with a smile: the boys certainly do show signs of being ‘Danmarks nye superstjerner’.
[imagebox maintitle=”Liss’ debut EP, ‘First’ out now” subtitle=”via XL recordings & Escho” image=”https://sodwee.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Liss-First-Packshot.jpeg” color=”black” space=”230″ link=”http://xlrecordings.com/index.php/buy”]