We chat to the Swede pop duo about the new album, creepy children and making fun pop songs that transcend genres and coherency
Swedish synth-pop outfit Masquer's debut consists of pop hits with a dark edge. Kicki Halmos who was half of Lowood, offers her Alesis and her tender voice next to Pelle Lundqvist, in charge of the distorted and melancholic guitars. They previously played together with Axel Willner, aka The Field, who's also remixed the new single “Happiness”. Recorded by Per Egland and mixed by Björn Hansell –who's worked with Fever Ray– the self-titled debut indeed becomes part of the tiny list increased with other new acts such as Austra (if we look outside the Swedish frontiers) or Niki and the Dove, which Masquer has played together in different occasions. The album will be out this autumn on Rough Trade.
Tell us about...
He is a somewhat engious composer and artist, and also the producer of our debut album. And he’s a character alright.
He is the sound technician becoming a doctor, who’s worked with artists like Lykke Li and Fever Ray. He is extremely perceptive and our songs has never been safer than in his hands.
…Other contributions and remixes?
Yeah, we love people doing stuff with our sounds. We have so many amazing friends, it´s so fun to see how they interpret our music. We don’t give them any guidelines, anything goes, that’s the beauty of it, to see what new turns it will take.
We are planning a major tour when our debut album is out in September, dates and locations are still secret though.
...your secret talent?
Pelle: I’m kind of a computer wiz and also a killer in making up parables.
Kicki: I have the ability to memorize inessential details and enjoys cramming tech forums during night time.
...your worst vice?
Kicki: I think most children are creepy.
Pelle: I think my own child is creepy. And I never pay my parking fees.
…the story behind your name?
Masquer is someone participating in a masquerade, aren't we all in a way? But Masquer is simply just another band name, short, nice and not taken (except for some obscure Japanese act I think).
... your favourite sound?
The sound of a submarine. Everything submarine-like is just beautiful. Mystic, filmic, machine parts in a deep, dark ocean. How can you not love it? I think we fell in love with submarine sounds when we first heard Sigur Ros debut album.
...your worst fashion secret?
Pelle: My big yellow baggy pants of the cool brand “Misfits”, super ugly.
Kicki: I have a really ugly tattoo on my shoulder. A Chinese symbol (or Japanese, i really don’t know) for good luck. I got it when i was 16 on a school trip to Malta. It might as well say “dick” on my shoulder for all that i know.
...your favourite website?
Hacker news at ycombinator / piratebay.org
...the best thing about where you're from?
The sun shines all night in the summer and you can go swimming in the middle of the city after a night out.
...at the top of your shit list?
Public transportation and crowding with the people on them. And the total darkness in wintertime.
...are you listening to now?
Bon Iver, Austra, Bear in Heaven, Atari Teenage Riot, Sonic Youth, Warpaint
How would you describe your work?
When we started the band we made a vow to let each song evolve without thinking in terms of genres or coherency. It has been a very resourceful and vivid method and we found out we both just loved writing the pop songs we’ve always wanted to write. We make melodic, catchy pop songs, wrapped in our favourite costume of the filmic, darker eighties.