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BOTW Interview: LCMDF – Part One

New Music Ed (Bronya) talked to LCMDF about Berlin, setting up their own label, the cyber world, self-help, and K-pop.

You’ve lived in Berlin for four years now. What’s it like there?
There are all the different quarters that are like cities of their own. Of course, there are a lot of nice museums and a lot of exhibitions. The whole art scene is different to London; the electronic music scene is really big. Bars and venues are really punk. Kreuzberg is where David Bowie lived – he couldn’t get into the East but he was still hanging around in Berlin, so that became the alternative place – this old Turkish area that became a gentrified, hipster hangout.

So, you guys are originally from Finland, right? Is it kind of harder to exist as a musician when it’s not as creative there as places like Berlin or London?
Well, I think Helsinki is a really creative place. It’s more getting known outside the borders of Finland that is hard. You know, we just don’t have as big a pop culture as other European countries, but it’s growing really fast right now. I think everyone is just a bit shy, and that’s why.

The local scene is mostly just Finnish music, so it’s really natural for us since we sing in English to not just look at Finland, and also, we’re not really a traditional Finnish band. Even though we have some impact on the scene and we’re changing it all the time, there’s really nobody we can play with or be compared to back in Finland – people are still not used to hearing this kind of pop music.

We kind of started through the internet, so our first big hits got popular in France, so we never really focused on being in Finland that much. It was just really natural to move to Berlin because it’s such a nice city in the centre of Europe, so it’s much easier going back and forth to Berlin.

So, how come you set up your own label? What prompted you?
Well, I think if you look at the industry right now, it’s not like the industry is doing that well. We have some big problems, like the whole free download thing for example.

We’re not the kind of band that wants to sign a really big deal, either. I think we saw what Robyn did with her own label and three albums she put out and were really inspired. Of course, she’s way bigger than we are, but we we’ve been in the industry now for six years; we have had a lot of experience and we know so many people around the world, from friends to industry contacts.

We’re trying to invent new ways of looking at breaking our band.

I feel like your material is quite visually and sonically sci-fi-esque and cyber. Would you agree?
We’ve been so inspired by how the late ‘90s and the millennium boom. That has a lot to do with aliens and all of these things; I don’t think we’re especially sci-fi, but I think we omit a certain feeling with everything visually being really high gloss and hi-res design. It’s weird in some sense, like there’s a little bit of an alien vibe to it.

Did you kind of like approach your collection of EPs from a conceptual point of view or is it not bound together so definitely?
The whole idea is to release three EPs that have a continual story. The first one is about trouble, the second one is going to give some answers, and then we’ll see with the third one. We wanted mental health to be something that we talked about across these three EPs. It’s all to do with wellness, mental health, and that whole scene. We’ve really dug into self-help and life coaching. There’s a whole world we tried to create around this, and we’re allowing it to grow, and to interact with it through ways like social media.

How did you choose this subject? I find that some certain musicians talk about concepts that are really hard to grasp, but for some reason through music it makes it easier to understand more difficult subjects.
I think it’s partly just because these are things that have been going on in our lives, but then it’s also just because our music and our lyrics in general have been so dark. We wanted to just bring something completely new to the table.

We had a self-help column with Drowned In Sound. We realised it’s actually a little bit controversial and people react to it – people are not used to talking about these things.

You’ve previously said that it took you a while to find your own distinct sound since you started up a few years ago. So, how did you come to find your signature sound?
I think it’s been mostly the influence of the ‘90s, and to do a modern spin-off of the pop sound. Like, listening to Neneh Cherry made us realise it’s really all about hooky refrains and cool rap choruses and all of that stuff. Basically, I think we’ve taken the freedom to do anything as long as it’s good.

We’re going more and more back to our childhood anthems – there’s definitely more guitars there. We’re also gonna feature more RnB tracks.

That’s why we did this three EP thing – our sound evolves all the time, and we don’t even know what the third EP is gonna sound like. I’m starting to think that maybe we don’t have any distinct sound; I think we’re just trying to make good music and really poppy stuff. We’re just getting more and more true to the whole pop mindset and maybe less weird.

We have some awesome tracks on the second EP – really, really big pop tracks, bigger than before.

The cyber thing in the US in the naughties and late-nineties, is what’s happening on Tumblr at the moment. I find that music – especially at the moment – and bands have a really strong connection to Tumblr for some reason…
You should go check out LCMDF2000.tumblr.com for more information. Since we’re really interested in the art scene, it’s getting to be more about the whole picture – our Tumblr isn’t just about the music.

-Bronya Francis

[Read Part Two here]



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