ーー We want to ask how the band is doing, an update.You guys were playing in Korea before this, how was that?
Jakob: Interesting. We played the DMZ peace training festival which is a festival on the border to North Korea. I don’t think any of us had any idea what to expect from it.
Elias: It was less tense than we imagined, the sight of the festival was about 4 km from the actual border. Even though we had a military presence, it was a very beautiful celebration for the cause of peace between north and south and interesting to be so close to the north korean border because you hear much about it on the news being slightly demystified. We were happy to be part of the cause.
ーー So playing that festival, did you guys have different expectations than playing at normal festivals? Did something feel different playing there?
Elias: Definitely, I thought it was going to be like guys with machine guns at the side of the stage and more for a dangerous field. It was very loose and very positive. The south koreans soldiers were watching the shows and drinking soju and yeah… it was a lot more free and more of a positive vibe than I had expected.
Dan: Yeah. We were just surprised that everyone was having a very good time. The Korean crowd were amazing too. A lot of people showed up and were into, it seemed like.
ーーWere you guys offered this festival or did you guys want to play in it ? How did that come about?
Jakob: We got the offer and I think that’s how we found out about the festival. Once we found out about the festival, of course we were interested. It was in South Korea and so we looked it up and then oh…
ーーSo you guys didn’t know what it was at first.
ーーSo in May, you guys posted something on instagram about an anti fascist movement which took place in Copenhagen. Is that kind of political messaging something that is tied closely to the band or …
Elias: In Europe and in Denmark, there is a rise in extreme right wing that is very anti immigration, very backwards spoken and that has caused for a lot of trouble and riots lately. It’s just gotten worst and we just thought we had to take a stand.
ーー We were following the politics in Denmark, and heard that the center left people can’t get enough support unless they support the immigrants and have very strong opinions …
Dan: The center left have become more right and the danish system works in a way that, even if you vote for a far left party, that party will not get enough votes to go into parliament by themselves so…the parties have to team up with each other. The left party is going to have to team up with the center left parties in order to get into parliament.
Elias: The center left have gotten more anti- immigration and the whole thing has shifted a little and a little too much to a direction that we don’t really appreciate.
ーーAre you guys all aware of that kind of weird tension between the right and the left and the center left with even the young people like your band members and other musicians. Are they all aware of …
Johan: Yeah, we can’t really ignore it.
Elias: All of my friends are pretty much on the same page and most of these tendencies happen in like small towns within Denmark.
Dan: You would have the people in the countryside in Denmark, the mainland Denmark and you have some terrible right wing newspapers that put out news about refugees and showing people how scary it is and how dangerous those people are and people who read that will all end up voting for right wing parties at most and just send all of the immigrants home.
Elias: Me and Dan grew up near Copenhagen in Denmark and not being afraid of it, it’s not some mystical threat because you have friends there who are immigrants, but if you are in a small town and you hear about the media and you get a false portrait that paints a picture that is a bit more threatening than the reality.
ーーSo ‘posh isolation’, the leader,
Elias: It’s run by guys called Christian Stadsgaard and Loke Rahbek.
ーーSo I guess he is the co-founder. One of the members was part of the riot and he got taken away or something ?
Elias: No no. He’s a mutual friend and it doesn’t really matter what his name is but, our mutual friend is currently being held in custody for something he didn’t do.
ーー You have a song called ‘hurrah’ and you are singing about the soldiers and saying don’t fight for the country and ‘fight for your life’, ‘fight to live’. Now that there is a lot of tension in the world and you are playing at these DMZ areas. Does that song kind of have anything meaningful to you ?
Elias: I mean, it has the same meaning as it had under the writing of it because at the time of writing it, the tendencies of the world right now are still present. So it’s definitely, I mean I don’t think that song is partial to the now, I think it’s a universal reality because Europe is always up to war compared to Ukraine. and that is what influenced the writing of that song now compared to another time.
ーー Do you think that that tension has become worse in the past year?
ーー The album has been out for about a year and I think we interviewed you guys when you came to Japan last time. So now that the album’s been out for a year, whilst touring and supporting the album any new realizations, any new ideas that came about the album?
Jakob: I think we tend to move forward, rather than backwards so we are concentrating on new stuff . We don’t really reflect too much on the past outputs but it’s been good to tour so much for the past year and get to know the songs that you have created. You get a new relationship towards the songs, the audience and the communication of the songs. You come to understand what kind of sole purpose your songs have.
ーーSo when we asked you about the album last year, you guys were saying that it was in a chaos and you had a lot ideas that you had to put together. It’s been a year after that so maybe you had time to kind of settle down and digest the album.
Elias: I hadn’t listened to the album until we put it out and performed the songs live so we are really just more concerned about the next step.
Jakob: Also I don’t feel any less chaotic now than I did a year ago.
ーー So I guess, as a band you guys are moving on to the next stage?
ーー”Balm of Gilead” is that one of your new songs that you had recorded?
Dan: It’s one of the songs that we recorded doing before for the album and it ended up not making it on the album so we put it out afterwards.
ーーSo we now want to ask you some casual questions like what the band is up to. So is there anything that you guys are interest in lately? Better if it’s music related but it can be anything.
Johan: I mean we’ve been touring so much for the past year that we haven’t had much time at home to be up to much rather than playing shows but Yohan was excited about the selection of yakuza films on netflix. We always try to check out new music, read books and watch movies and stuff like that. We get excited seeing the world.
Dan: Any new records that you found or any good yakuza films that you saw and enjoyed?
Johan: I haven’t started watching them yet but (laughs). There are some classics by Chiba Shinichi.
ーー Any good records?
Dan: I lost headphones on this tour so I haven’t been able to check out new stuff on this tour. And I broke my phone so…
Jakob: For a couple of days, I’ve been listening to an argentinian tango album by a guy that makes some very dynamic dramatic dirty tango. Actually in Bangkok, they were playing some traditional Thai music so I’m excited to check out the music in that area out.
ーー So when IceAge is making music, do you guys take a lot of external stimulants, inspirations and kind of use them as music or more from something that is inside…?
Elias: It’s kind of a combination. The external comes inside and then digested and comes out again. It’s more like a circular kind of thing.
ーー What were the key elements that became the music on beyondless?
Elias: I don’t know (laughs)
ーー So, Casper can you introduce yourself to the Japanese fans, tell us about your background and about how you joined the band?
Casper: So my name is Casper. Well I joined the group half a year ago, we’ve known each other for several years and I still play in another band in a Copenhagen based band ‘less win”…We’re releasing a new album next year, early 2020. Regarding interests, my favourite interest is playing flamenco guitar.
Elias: Casper has gotten us into a lot of flamenco guitar singers this year.
Casper: I’m half Spanish so I guess it come from there. I love playing beautiful music and that’s why I joined.
ーー What was the reason why you asked Casper to join the band?
Jakob: We’d been talking about getting a second guitarist for a while and I think we all agreed that he was the only one who was capable, so I guess that’s why.
ーー So when you guys came to Japan, you guys collaborated with Azuma for the flowers and that was very interesting because you guys are indie and he is also an independent artist. Any other collaborations that you have done before with other artists?
Dan: Not in a similar way but when we did it with Azuma, we were in the middle of doing a collaboration with a bunch of artists, like 30 different artists and we have collaborated with people before and we always try to do collaborations with people.
Elias: Our music video ‘painkiller’ was done by an animation studio called ‘Maltese’.
ーー So you’ve been travelling around the world and checking out a lot of local music and local music scenes. Any particular scene that was interesting?
Elias: It’s kind of difficult because usually we don’t really have a lot of off time and you are usually at your own show but you meet young musicians and stuff and hear from people around. We met this indonesian guy in Korea and he told us about the music scene there and it sounds really interesting so I would like to go there yeah…
ーー On instagram, there was a photo of you guys with a boxer. How did that happen?
Dan: We went to one of the old muay thai stadiums and saw a bunch of fights there. When we were outside smoking, we met one of the younger boxers and he said “hey if you guys want to, come and stay with us when my father is fighting” and we met the father so we took a photo with him.
Elias: We were at the ringside yelling, with the trainer and the crowd.
ーー Has the scene in Copenhagen, I mean we get some information about it but has anything changed?
I mean we don’t get to spend much time in copenhagen either, so it’s hard to really keep up. There’s always stuff going on. There’s new projects and new bands starting. Honestly I haven’t been able to keep much up with it. Whenever I’m home, I’m doing my own thing with these guys and so.
ーーThe Copenhagen scene is getting a lot of attention and sometimes when a scene gets that much hype it’s not so good. It’s starts to die and get saturated. Have you noticed anything like that?
Jakob: I think, a lot of time it depends on how you treat the attention that it gets. I think we were a very hyped band at some point. But if don’t take that too much in, it’s not going to affect you in the same way so I think we don’t pay too much attention to what people say about us, we just do what we feel like doing and it never really affected us too much.
ーーDo the others feel the same way?
Johan: Yeah. I feel like part of the original wave of attention we got so much for not trying to suck up or reach for all kinds of stuff and I mean, once you buy into that game you kind of destroy the edgier side.
ーーFor “Beyondless”, you guys said that you guys had a lot of ideas that were flowing out to put into one album. So is there anything on the other hand that you shouldn’t do as IceAge, that is taboo ?
Elias: I think we are restricting ourselves less and less for every album we do so not really to be honest. For every single album you do, we try and push the boundaries further and further away. We don’t really have any rules.
photography Takayuki Okada
text Junnosuke Amai