Published on June 9th, 2011 | Jonny Abrams
Interview: Efterklang discuss An Island
Efterklang‘s Magic Chairs album has been something of a favourite at Rocksucker Towers of late, so our curiosity was certainly piqued – puyoled, if you like – when word reached us of a film loosely based on the Danish collective’s third long-player.
True to the mysterious and spellbinding qualities of the record itself, An Island – a collaboration with independent filmmaker Vincent Moon – is a nostalgia-tinged trip through the rustic and isolated existence of a small Baltic island named Als, punctuated by performances of select tracks in a variety of oddly exotic settings. Suckle upon this official blurb:
“In August 2010, French filmmaker Vincent Moon and Efterklang’s 8 piece-live band met up on an island off the Danish coast.
The objective was to shoot a film. A film with the same length as an album, and a film full of performances, experiments and collaborations. Over an intense period of 4 days Efterklang collaborated with more than 200 local musicians, kids and their own parents, creating new performances and interpretations of songs from their album Magic Chairs (4AD, Rumraket 2010).
It was all filmed by Vincent Moon who at the same time conducted several filmic and musical experiments with Efterklang as his dedicated playmates.
An Island premiered January 31st 2011 and in February & Marchfollowed 1178 Private-Public Screenings around the world. The Private-Public Screening idea was developed by Efterklang and Vincent Moon and the rules are very simple. Anyone can host a screening but it needs to be public, have a minimum capacity of 5 people and free entrance.
Featuring rhythmically-popped balloons and crumpled newspaper-shaking amongst its multi-layered musical performances – in which the band are assisted by everyone from local schoolchildren to village elders – An Island does beguiling justice to Efterklang’s eccentrically beautiful music, which exists somewhere on the crossroads between Animal Collective and Sigur Ros (even if the band do present themselves more in the vein of Mumford & Sons).
Rocksucker caught up with bassist Rasmus Stolberg, recently returned from his honeymoon, for a quick chat about the film…
We noticed that Stolberg is written on the wall when you perform Alike in the film…
That scene takes place in my parents’ barn. My brother sprayed the name on many, many years ago when we were kids. All the old folks in that scene are our parents! Our girlfriends are in it too.
How did you arrive at the idea to make a film with Vincent? How did you come into contact with him?
We met him in Texas and New York in March 2009 and since then we always bump into each other or do projects together. We are great friends. We helped him make the Temporary Copenhagen films and then we started talking about making a longer film together.
We got the idea to go to Als because we knew so many nice locations and the location triggered a lot of ideas for Vincent.We planned and decided on songs and locations but that was all; everything else is pretty much improvised and what you see in the film is exactly what happened. Some song performances we would shoot more than one time, but never more than a few extra tries.
How does An Island make you feel? It has a very nostalgic quality, like a benevolent version of The Wicker Man. How much of a say did you get in terms of how the film was presented?
The feel of the film, the story and the visual is all Vincent Moon’s incredible work. The music, the arrangements and the different performance ideas are all Efterklang’s. But it really is a collaboration. We were very involved in the editing of the film but Vincent Moon always had last call and usually we just agreed with his ideas instantly
Have you started work on your next album? Do you still want to make (in Casper’s words) a “location album”, in a hut in the woods, or have you already covered that kind of idea with An Island?
I can’t tell you too much but the next album will definitely have a very clear presence of “location” – a mind-blowing location I might add! We will begin working on our fourth album in August.
Rasmus, thank you.
An Island can be downloaded from anisland.cc – please leave whatever donation you see fit to.
Rocksucker would also like to heartily endorse the album Magic Chairs, which was only recently brought to our attention; we shall be investigating Efterklang’s first two albums forthwith!