Wednesday, October 09, 2019

10 Questions For: Alphabeat


Few Danish artists have achieved as much as they have. And they are not nearly done conquering our hearts and ears: after a six-year hiatus, they are back, and ready to bring joy to our lives once again! We had the opportunity to talk to them about their return, and you can read it all now. These are our 10 questions for Alphabeat:

Sounds European!: We like to start our interviews getting to know a bit about the artists' backgrounds. What artists and genres did you enjoy listening when you were growing up? And do you feel they have influenced, in any aspect, the music you currently make?

Alphabeat: Each band member has had its own musical upbringing listening to things like David Bowie, Prince, Michael Jackson, The Cure, The Smiths, and the list goes on forever. As a young band we were obsessed by a group from Sweden called The Ark and we were really into a Danish band called Superheroes.

SE!: Now let's talk about the band's origins. How did you guys first meet, and how was the band formed? Going beyond in time, we know that one of the first important moments of your history was in 2004, when you won LiveContest DK. How did it happen, and what did winning it mean to your career?

A: Some of the guys were already playing music together in high school from the age of 15, but the final form of five boys and a girl happened in 2003, when Stine joined the band as a backup singer. It quickly got serious from that point, we rehearsed a lot and played local gigs – and then decided to try out for LiveContest in 2004. Winning that competition was a big deal for us. It really gave us a confidence boost and confirmed our gut feeling: being a real band playing pop music with full on energy was special and worth continuing. We got more live experience because we won a live tour around Denmark and the guy [Christian Backman] who ended up signing us was actually a judge in the LiveContest final.

SE!: Your debut album, "This is Alphabeat", was a huge success, and not only in Denmark. It reached the top ten in the British charts – which makes you one of just four Danish artists to have ever achieved this feat –, besides appearing in the lists of Belgium, Ireland and the Netherlands as well. How did you face such an instant success? And how does it feel to know that your work has been crossing so many borders?

A: It didn't feel super instant to us actually. "Fascination" took ten months before it reached its peak on Danish radios and we spent three years promoting the first album. That being said, it was quite crazy to experience "Fascination" becoming a hit in the UK. We were supporting a band, and during the tour, the song was being played more and more on the radio and the audience started walking out on the headlining band because they just wanted to see us.

SE!: Alphabeat decided to go on a hiatus in 2013. Why did you decide it was the moment for a break? Then, when did you realize it was finally time to get back together? And how have things been since the reunion?

A: The hiatus felt like a must for us. We'd been in the band and working nonstop for almost ten years, so we felt a bit drained and confused about where Alphabeat should go from there, musically. To protect Alphabeat's future, we decided to let it rest and let us all go out and find out who we all six were as individuals. We grew up together in this band and needed to just stand on our own feet for a while.
Starting everything up again was basically because Anders B and Anders SG had a few ideas for some new songs, that they realised could very well be Alphabeat songs. So they reached out to us all and we started talking about making a whole album together and start touring again. It was a big decision, but it felt so right for us.

SE!: More than half a decade has passed since your hiatus, so we imagine that all of you have evolved, changed, musically speaking. Would you say that you returned different, with new musical additions? In other words, how do you compare the band you are today with the band you were before the hiatus?

A: It feels like coming home musically. The new songs all feel very organic and the songwriting process has been a great experience. In the past, we wrote most songs individually, but now Stine, Anders SG and Anders B have co-written a lot of the new album. This is very new to us and it has given us so much inspiration, motivation and energy.

"We believe that the happy feeling [you feel in our music] is what happens when the six of us join forces and make something genuine" (Picture: Elisabeth Eibye)

SE!: We feel your music is very unique within the Danish scene. It's almost a "trademark sound": we listen to the positive vibes and happy melodies you offer, and we instantly know it's Alphabeat. When you are making music, what do you aim, what are your objectives? What do you want people to feel when listening to your songs?

A: Thank you! We've never really tried to listen to anyone else, but just followed our own ideas and inspirations, though sometimes being quite retrospective in both our songwriting and productions. On this upcoming album, we've been very focused on nailing that special Alphabeat vibe and energy and really stuck to our gut feelings all the way. We ignored charts and finding a concept for the album. We just wrote what felt natural. We believe that the happy feeling you are talking about is what happens when the six of us join forces and make something genuine. Super catchy of course, but you gotta feel the people behind in order to touch your audience, we think.

SE!: You have just released two amazing new singles, "Shadows" and "I don't know what's cool anymore". We cannot praise them enough – seriously, we love them! What can you tell us about these songs? What feelings and messages did you want to express in them? And we know there is an album coming soon. What can we expect from it?

A: Thanks! "Shadows" was one of the first songs we worked on as a band after the hiatus. The main parts of the song were written in about 30 minutes. The energy sorrounding the band was so positive around that time, and this song pretty much wrote itself. The lyrics are maybe not as cheerful as some of our older tunes and it is in a key but it still feels positive and infectious. We really liked that balance. "I don't know what's cool anymore" was fun to write. It's about staying true to who you are and not to be affected by what everyone else is doing.

SE!: In addition to the album release, what are your professional projects for the near future? What can your fans expect from you?

A: We wanna write more music together, so some of our time will be spent in the studio, but we've also got a lot of live plans in the calendar, that we look so much forward to. Just lined up three gigs in the UK in April, and in Denmark we are doing our biggest shows to date in late November.

SE!: If you could choose anyone, who would be some Danish and international artists you would like to collaborate with?

SE!: We would like to finish this interview with a song of yours. What is your favorite song by Alphabeat, and why?

A: We are so thrilled about all the new songs at the moment, but if you want us to name an older favourite, "The spell" is definitely one of them. It reminds me [Stine] of the crazy years living in London together and playing 200 gigs in a year, putting our pop spell on new kids every night. :)
That song kind of expanded how Alphabeat could sound too and it was the first song Anders SG wrote and co-produced, so a little milestone right there. And I always loved singing it!

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