The Norwegian disco superproducer talks about his new solo LP, past collaborations, and his current favourite albums
Norwegian superstar Lindstrom is an ever-consistent nu-disco pin-up. Not content with re-inventing a rock-licked disco sound (often on his own Feedelity label), the frequent Prins Thomas collaborator also gets busy remixing the likes of Franz Ferdinand, LCD Soundsystem and The Juan Maclean. Taking his cues from prog, disco (naturally) country, rock and even gospel, he’s all set to release a next full length, Six Cups of Rebel. Featuring the man’s own vocals for the first time, it explores a slightly rougher sound than you might expect but still deals in plenty of starry eyed ‘scapes.
Lindstrom plays a live set alongside the likes of Aeroplane, Brodinski, Mighty Mouse and Mylo – who has helped curate the night – for Scandalism at Scala, London on February 25th but, before that, we got the lowdown on his latest album…
Dazed Digital: You've just finished your first solo album since 2008 – how was it to work alone?
Lindstrom: Hm, I never find it easy to finish an album. Many times I find that it´s easy to get the initial ideas, and to come up with rough sketches of the songs. But I’m always taking forever to finish up the album. It can of course be easier when doing it together with somebody else. But when working alone there´s nobody who messes with my ideas and visions, which means no arguments or discussions (except with myself of course).
DD: And how different is the music as a result of it coming purely from you? Do you make different stuff than you would with someone else?
Lindstrom: I guess maybe there will be some kind of a "Lindstrom" sound-signature on most of the music I’m involved in doing. In some way or another. So when working with somebody else, there will probably be less of my "signature". The only way for me to feel completely free when expressing myself with music is when I’m alone in a room, knowing that nobody is listening to what I’m doing. In a situation like this, I will probably dare to try out things that I wouldn´t with other people. And I somehow believe that the music that is being made this way will always be the most interesting.
So usually when I’m collaborating with other people, there´s always the usual meet and greet and working-together-sessions happening. But after the session is over, and everybody has left the studio, that´s when my work really begins. It all boils down to the fact that I really need to work alone as much as possible.
DD: The album feels a little dirtier and more riotous than before – is that fair? Why is that? Was it a conscious thing?
Lindstrom: When I started working on the album, I just knew that I didn´t want to follow up any of the previous albums I’ve done. I´m sure if I tried to do that, I would have failed. Both personally and artistic. I´ve been really happy with every album that I’ve released over the recent years. I don´t really see the point in doing something that I’ve already done before. Yeah, I really hope the new album sounds different from the previous ones. I wanted to add a lot of things in the music. Weird combinations of instruments, odd arrangements and unorthodox musical elements. I´ve found inspiration from "weird" albums such as Vangelis´ "Beaubourg", Neil Youngs "Transformer", Frank Zappas "Night School" and also music from Todd Rundgren, Stevie R Moore and Funkadelic. This time I just wanted to freak out more than I’d done in the past.
DD: What should people expect from you in the club right now? Have your sets evolved like your productions to something a little different than people might expect?
Lindstrom: Hm, there´s no radical changes I’m afraid. I´m still performing my own music with a laptop. I´m always playing a selection of songs from the past, combined with music from my recent release(s). Also, I’m usually trying out new musical material that I’m currently working on, which might not be what people expect to hear. But it´s always useful for me to see how people react to music that they don´t know beforehand.
DD: It's the first album to feature your vocals, right? What made you do that? How did you find it? Will you do it again?
Lindstrom: I did a lot of harmony vocals on the album with Christabelle, so I guess I decided that it wouldn´t be that much harder to do it again, but this time on my own. I recorded a lot of vocals immediately after the Christabelle album was finished, and just forgot about the whole thing for at least half a year. Then I picked up the pieces again, forcing those vocals into totally different songs and arrangements than they were meant for. By doing this I distanced myself from my own vocals. Somehow the words and melodies weren´t mine anymore, but felt like somebody else´ material.
I don´t consider myself a vocalist, so I’m allowed to post-process all my vocals with heavy use of pitch-shifting, voice transformers and auto-tuning :-D hehe. Sure, I’d like to do it again. It´s fun using your own voice. Although I will probably never use it as one is "supposed" to use it. I really like using modern technology on everything I record, not only vocals. The vocals on this album are not more important than the synths, bass, drums and guitars. The vocals are just yet another instrument, introducing elements to the music that wasn´t there before. I guess also at some point I grew tired of making instrumental music. However, I’m not saying that there won´t be any instrumental music coming from me again.
LINDSTROM TOP FIVE
1. Blanck Mass - Blanck Mass. Heavenly music with thick layers of synth-washes.
2. Oneohtrix Point Never - Replica. Probably the best album from 2011.
3. Todd Terje - It´s The Arps. Amazingly made solely on an arp 2600.
4. Maria Minerva - Cabaret Cixous. A very sonically strong album from the great Not Not Fun label.
5. Canyons - Keep Your Dreams. An interesting album from Modular.