Interview with Mythic Sunship

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Interview with Frederik (drums)

Interview by Graeme Smith

Mythic Sunship on Facebook | Instagram

Hey and thank you for your time. Please state your name and position in the band.

Hello Graeme. My name is Frederik, and I play the drums in Mythic Sunship.

How did you settle on the band name and does it have any particular meaning?

Since we’re all huge jazz fans, looking in that direction seemed natural, even when our music didn’t have any resemblance to jazz. So the name came about as a mixture between Coltrane’s Sun Ship and Sun Ra’s Of Mythic Worlds.

Can you tell me how did you guys all meet?

Kasper and I had played in multiple bands together since we got to know each other in high school. After moving to Copenhagen we kept creating music together in various settings. Emil we kinda knew from around the music scene in Copenhagen, and after playing as a trio for five years we asked Rasmus to join. We also knew Rasmus from the Copenhagen music scene in general, but I specifically remember asking him to join over a game of Magic The Gathering, while listening to Duke Ellington and Coleman Hawkins.

How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard it?

Fire Music!

The band play what would be heard to be a non-mainstream style of music. What influenced the band making that style ?

Lots of things! Originally we kinda played a more frenetic version of stoner/desert rock. But we’re influenced by a ton of things, ranging from John Coltrane over Sleep to Karlheinz Stockhausen. It’s important to us to stay curious. And though you might hear more rock than electro-acoustic music on our records, we definitely draw inspiration from all corners.

You’ve recently released your 5th album. Can you tell me about the writing and recording process and has it differed from your previous albums?

When we went to Stockholm we brought more composed tracks than we had done before. The previous albums have more or less been completely improvised, while our time in Stockholm definitely was a step towards a much more controlled approach to creating music. There’s still lot’s of improvisation, still tracks that are 100% improvised, but there’s no doubt that we worked with a much more focused approach and we’re more aware of what we wanted to bring home.

What made you go for the Danish Punk producer Per Buhl as that style of music would seem very different to your style?

We had a fairly clear vision for what we wanted to do with our next three records (including Wildfire). Wildfire is the untamed, wild, chaotic one. I guess that’s hinted with the title as well. It was important for us with Wildfire specifically to let go, and let someone else shape the sound. We have a tendency to be fairly perfectionist in the mixing process, and with Wildfire we wanted something else. We wanted the sound to be raw and untamed. We knew Per would be the right person for the job, and it turned out he was. His mix is so radically different from how we would have done. I honestly believe it would be a different record entirely, and we ‘re really happy that we let go and let Per work his magic.

You recorded this album at the RMV Studio in Stockholm. Why did choose that location?

Previously, we have recorded at very intimate and small studios. As I mentioned previously, we had a much more clear idea about what we wanted to get out of the process. I guess, if you just listen to Wildfire and the completely scorched earth mixing it might seem absurd to go to one of the most high-end studios in Scandinavia, because we might as well have recorded that on a 4-track tape recorder. That’s not the full picture though. Recording it super high-end allowed us to work with all the aspects of the music that we wanted. Working in a setting where everything is super high-end and professional can make it easier to experiment, because you can very precisely control what goes on tape.

Where do you draw your influences from when it comes to producing new music?

We try to keep challenging ourselves. So while the anaconda trilogy was a lot about just playing some rock with lots of fires, our aesthetic vision has become much more defined as we have evolved as a band. On Another Shape of Psychedelic Music, I think it was obvious that big inspirations were jazz giants such as Coltrane, Coleman, Mingus, Brötzmann and many more. Currently we’re working with a much more melodic approach to our music. The inspirations are everything from what we grew up on to new music that inspires us.

Do you think image is important when being in a band?

To us, it’s of no relevance at all. I guess it’s important if you want to make a pop hit, but I think we have a couple of iterations to go before making it to the Billboard.

From looking through your touring history, you guys have only played a limited amount of gigs in Europe. Why so few? What has been your favourite gig to date and why?

We’ve toured Europes twice and once in Portugal. We wanted to tour last year, but that kinda went down the drain as so many other plans. So I wouldn’t say that we’ve played only a few shows in Europe. We all have our day jobs, so taking 3 weeks off to travel around in a beat down van is only something we can do once a year or so. We love it a lot though, so we’re pretty excited to get back on the road. As for favourite gigs there are so many awesome gigs to mention. If I have to single one experience out, I’d have to say the full Roadburn experience where we played 3 shows at one festival. The audience, the atmosphere and the band care at that festival is absolutely killer. You feel incredibly welcome, and when we didn’t play shows we had a blast just watching other great bands.

Apart from not being able to tour, how has the Covid pandemic affected the band?

I’d say that has been the main thing. But completely losing contact with the live audience has been pretty rough. I think most people who have been at one of our shows would agree that we’re definitely a band that thrives in a concert setting. Since a lot of our music is improvised, we also draw a lot of inspiration from the audience at the shows, and missing out on that hasn’t been great.

Do you have a favourite track from the new album?

Definitely not! From the frenetic 1-2-3-4 rock on Wildfire to the swelling heroics on Going up, I love it all.

What is the music scene like where you are based in Copenhagen?

Incredibly awesome. Being a part of a music scene that fosters everything from mindblowing electronics, over free-jazz and black metal to pop is a crazy privilege. We also have several venues such as Alice and Mayhem that I consider some of the absolute frontrunners on experimental music, so for the past 10 years it also been easy to catch some of the most inspiring international names.

How do you think the music industry has changed over the years? Do you think it’s important for a band to be signed to a label to be recognised in today’s society?

The music industry has definitely changed a lot. On one hand music has been democratized — it’s much easier to record and release your own music. I even used to run a small record label with Kasper. And El Paraiso started with the Causa Sui guys releasing their own stuff. I think that’s great. On the other hand, obviously it’s much more difficult to live off of your music today that it was 30 years ago. But in the end, our music reaches more people and more great music is reaching more, so I’m pretty happy about the changes going on. Even though, I hope it gets a bit more balanced for the people out there trying to make a living on their music.

What are your views on bands who give away their music free on social media?

Completely fine! It’s their music. We’ve given away music for free. Do it!

What genres of music do you like to listen to personally and have there been any new bands that have caught your attention recently?

I mostly listen to a lot of old stuff. Currently I’m listening to some of the powerpop/punk that was released in New Zealand in the 80’ies and 90’ies. The last band I listened to was The Clean for example.

What advice would you give someone wanting to start a band?

Don’t start it to become rich or famous or because you want to be seen on a scene. Start it because you can’t help it and because it’s fun. I think that chances that you’ll end up making something you’d like to listen to in a couple of years are significantly higher if those are the guiding principles.

What do you like to do outside of music? Any hobbies?

I like board games. The more epic the better. Nothing like spending 10 hours completely absorbed in a game of Twilight Imperium 4th edition.

Where do you see the band going from here?

In the immediate future, keep a lookout for new directions in our music.

Thank you for your time, is there anything you’d like to say to our readers?

We hope to see you live very soon!

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