For anyone new to Blaue Blume’s tongue-twisting, progressive take on pop, the answer to every single question lies in debut EP ‘Beau & Lorette’. The Danish band specialise in filtering conventional sounds into a strange, eerie, but unerringly catchy mixture. Frontman Jonas Smith reps the falsetto like his life depends on it, and throughout this debut the band sway from pure pop to doomy experimentalism.
The EP was recorded in Copenhagen, a “vintage based studio” located opposite the band’s rehearsal space. “The premises were simple: there were five songs, five days, a drum kit, a guitar, a bass and neither more nor less. In the company of a punk engineer we recorded the foundation stones of the EP. Everyone was thoroughly prepared and played as if it was a matter of life and death,” says Smith. “After a well-passed tracking process Søren and Jonas took an early train to Jutland, more precisely a small village called Hejls, where the parents of the brothers had offered that we could lodge in their tiny wooden house while recording vocals. We furnished the cabin with blankets, candles and electric heaters anything that would make a shelter from the cold northern wind. We then headed back to the very same studio and mixed the songs over the course of five more days.”
We’re delighted to be able to offer up the exclusive first play of ‘Beau & Lorette’. Listen below alongside an interview with Smith about the band’s exciting first year. The debut EP is out 2nd June on Club AC30.
Blaue Blume play London’s Old Blue Last on 9th June.
The EP artwork is notable for a having poetic statement on the front. Where does this come from, and how does it relate to the EP?
For every song on this EP, a note exists. These notes are fragments from my diary and together they create the frame of the lyrical dimension of the songs. I think that these give a fine indication of what the lyrics are about and which images they have been written from. They are all results of dreams or experiences I have had. On the single-artwork for ‘Lost Sons of Boys’ and ‘In Disco Lights’, respectively, two of the five notes can be found.
The same way as every song had its own story, I found it to be appropriate if the songs as a whole were given a story or introduction. I therefore set out to understand the connection between the songs. In my work with the lyrics I often found myself, like every other songwriter, in the middle of revealing myself – blowing my own cover so to speak. However, something within me constantly worked against this urge to tell the truth, as if I indirectly were hiding something. After a longer, rather unpleasant, schizophrenic conversation I agreed with myself to leave out certain truths. Like we all might do more or less every day. There are certain truths about myself that I never could reveal. Things that would make other peoples illusion of me crackle. This fact had constantly been a theme for the EP, and it will probably always be essential in my work with the lyrics.
The cover shows a woman in a blue dress with her back turned on the observer. I stumbled upon the picture one morning in Berlin where I woke up in a strange apartment in a stranger’s bed. I was immediately hypnotised by her compelling and mystically characterless presence on the wall. At the same time, there was something symbolic about my own, at the time, euphoric state of mind, and this woman’s almost arrogant posture like if she was wanted to protect anyone who would fall in love with her from the consequences of this love. In my head her voice arises, and it tells me that she is keeping a secret that you very paradoxically have to know to be able to truly love, but also a secret that she can never tell, since she knows that one in the light of this would see her with different eyes and she would no longer be the one you had fallen in love with. With this in mind, I look at her but never turn her around. I came to terms with her dilemma and could, in the light of my newest discovery about myself, relate to the notion of the secret as the burden of love and life. The songs are all build around this unknown factor that no math can solve. I thought it would create a mystery if one knew this before one listened to the record.
‘In Disco Lights’ feels like a breakthrough - would you agree that it’s a euphoric song, in a sense?
This song is one of those that were written some time ago. Actually it was written at the same time as ‘On New Year’s Eve’, but it just didn’t feel right to publish it at that time. It the fastest arrangement we have ever made, which is probably why we waited so long to record it. I guess we thought it didn’t qualify to a spot between the songs we presented on Soundcloud at the time. In our work with the EP we have been very focused on writing good songs with good melodies and seeing that ‘In Disco Lights’ constantly proved able to meet these criteria we found it obvious to include it. I guess it was a necessity. In many ways we find ‘In Disco Lights’ to be just as much of a musical breakthrough for us as ‘On New Year’s Eve’. Both songs reflect a courage that has given even more opportunities for development in our sound. Therefore there is no doubt that it means a lot to us. I guess you in retrospect could say that we whilst making this song unknowingly worked ahead of our idea of how we thought we were supposed to sound.
Where does the title ‘Beau & Lorette’ stem from?
For quite some time I had worked with the idea of naming our first official release just that, even though it wouldn’t necessarily be coherent with an overall theme. Really I see this title as more of an expression in itself – maybe even a subcategory of Blaue Blume. In our eyes the words appear just as androgynous as the ones in our band name. In every possible way we aim at a very sexless universe and any artistic possibility that can cement this we use without hesitation and further circumspection. That said it should be noted that the title in its meaning occupies a symbolic value that fortunately connects to the story of the EP – especially when it comes to ‘In Disco Lights’. There is a direct line between the drama of that song and the EP title. In many ways that is the song about Beau and Lorette. A ‘Lorette’ is often portrayed by the painters of impressionism and was at this time the name for a mistress. Some might even associate her with a prostitute. Beau is the male equivalent to Lorette – a dandy that in the same way sacrifices its soul in exchange of the beauty of the flesh in life. At this point we can already say with certainty that if we should ever release another EP it will be named ‘Beau & Lorette II’.
You appear to be a band that thrives on complexities - is the most important thing to challenge yourselves when it comes to songwriting?
For the four of us a great task lies in keeping the mystery of the music intact, meaning that our expression always should have unanswered questions and multiple possibilities of interpretation – at least for ourselves. Every song is a culmination of an emotion but we try as far as possible not to conclude anything from this emotion, neither in lyric nor in music. The emotion must, if possible, be able to arise again just as explosive and indefinable. We are therefore driven by spontaneity in our choice of production directions. Whenever the feeling is good, we have arrived, and we don’t dig deeper to find out why it feels right. In this way a song can sort of renew itself each time we play it. This is the biggest challenge of the songwriting: to make the songs so strange to us that they can live their own life. And this we do by constantly approaching new ways to play, write and arrange. Everything must feel new every time. I believe that the complexity you address, arise in our striving towards playing every single song as every single emotions peculiarity bids it. Undeniably this gives diversity to the musical expression and a complex universe of sounds arises.
There’s a big progression between debut ‘On New Year’s Eve’ and this EP - how do you envisage things changing when it comes to writing a full-length?
There is indeed a big progression between ‘On New Year’s Eve’ and ‘Beau & Lorette’, but also, as we see it, a strong connection. A full-length album has the possibility of being a more complete work, which is something we really want to pursue. Lots of new songs are in the making, and we’re quite excited about how things develop. The progression that we’ve gone trough hitherto has revealed to us so many new musical terrains that we certainly want to move deeper into in the creation of an album.
The past year’s brought a lot of exciting challenges, like playing shows across Europe. What’s been your highlight?
It’s hard to point out a specific highlight, but without doubt it was a very exciting experience when for the first time we went to the airport with our guitars on our backs, heading towards the UK to play our first shows both in London and Manchester. It was a big step for us, and also it was lovely to get to meet some of the people behind the different blogs and radio stations who had picked up our music. It’s a privilege to have gotten to present our work to a wider audience and therefore it’s also something we’re much satisfied with.