Originally published in The Edge
For Off Bloom, the invitation from producer friend Two Inch Punch – who you might know from his work on chart-topping records from Years & Years, Rag’n’Bone Man, and Sam Smith, in addition to the trio’s ferocious February release ‘Falcon Eye’ – to up sticks and head from their longtime base in Copenhagen to join him in his London studio couldn’t have come at a better time. Or, in other words, “Let’s fucking move over here. We’re here all the time anyway.”
Following late 2016’s debut offering of the Love To Hate It EP, the band has toured the UK and beyond in support of Dua Lipa and Polydor labelmates LANY, whilst their summer is turning into a whistlestop tour of electrifying festivals from Brighton to Leeds and everywhere in between. The highlight? Glastonbury, of course, says singer Mette Mortensen. “It was on a stage that was super weird – they had arranged it so it was kind of tables and chairs all the way around, so people were having lunch. When we went on we were like, ‘OK, what is this gonna be?’ But then I jumped out in the audience and then people came in and it ended up being super cool.”
As we chat in their green room at Boardmasters (perhaps so named because their “burrito stand” stage with “whimsy” speakers on the edge of the Cornish cliff doesn’t command a room so much as a patch of grass with a couple of loosely fenced off picnic tables), Mortensen’s bandmates Alex Flockhart and Mads Christensen light up at the discussion of what extreme sports they’d like to tackle. Although drawn to the culture and community that surrounds the festival’s signature skating and surfing components, Christensen swings his arms back and looks like a ship’s gleeful shaven figurehead as he considers donning a wingsuit, and questions Mortensen’s more restrained desire to pick up a surfboard. She refers to Flockhart as a professional in the field, which he counters by saying his days in the surf club at university in Exeter were spent getting merry rather than ever in the water. Instead, he shows a fancy for a hybrid of rugby and football played with tasers, naturally.
Such spark carries through to their music, which is inspired significantly by both their Scandinavian pop contemporaries – “The only reason we are here is because of them,” says Christensen – and the peculiar amalgamation of listening habits that sees Future, Jai Paul, and Ennio Morricone cited in quick succession. “We can get inspired by each other’s tastes as well, which can then come in to be the taste of us as a thing,” he adds, shortly before wishing they could hang around at the festival long enough to catch headline sets from Jamiroquai and alt-J. “I think it’s really beautiful. If somebody likes it, there must be a reason, in a way.”
Christensen met Flockhart at their Danish high school and Mortensen in acting classes a few years later, and the band came together after a peculiar call from an old booker at two weeks’ notice, recalls Flockhart. “We needed a singer and a performer – because it was super conceptual and weird – to come do a cover of Brandy’s ‘Afrodisiac’ in the middle of this set, so Mads asked Mette if she could come, and she did, and she did an absolute fucking awesome job. Then we just sort of bonded there musically.” Mortensen goes back to the first place it all came together. “The guys were rehearsing in this bunker underneath the ground, so I remember when I came down it was like when you go underground for nuclear bombs. Standing there rehearsing that song and listening to all the other tracks they had been doing was just super sick.”
“We decided to be the biggest act in the world, and that’s the journey we’re on now,” remarks Christensen. As part of a pledge to release “a lot of music in a very short time,” ‘rockefe11a (Fuck That To Be Honest)’ is the latest step along that road, coming as a swift follow-up to last week’s venomous break-up track ‘Shut Up And Let Me Walk.’ It is the understandably grand and punchy result of studio time with Hudson Mohawke, whose mid-2000s work with the LuckyMe collective in Glasgow had helped to shape those early bunker sessions. “He is still one of our main gurus,” Christensen adds. “Him and Kanye West, I guess, have been our dream collaborators since day one.” Flockhart nods along with an increasing grin. “It was strange and amazing at the same time. It’s always weird to meet your heroes, isn’t it?” he says. “He’s just so talented, he’s such a boss. Such a weird person as well, I love it.”