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Monday, 14 May 2012

Monodrone Menace: An Introduction to REVL9N

Stockholm’s Revl9n is Maria Eilersen, Nandor Hegedüs, Martin Hagrot and Nils Pyk and they’ve been flying below the radar for far too long.  Now, after a decade of personnel changes and shifts in sonic styling, it seems that they’re ready to bag 2012.

‘Walking Down the Heat’ by Revl9n: Released 14/5/12 

Swedish pop never held such monodrone menace.  This attitude-driven Revl9n album maintains dance-floor urgency throughout, as its lyrical peaks and punchy keywords frequently distract the engaged listener who so willingly succumbs to an insidious, Beth Gibbons sound-alike siren that now seems to be fronting an amalgamated Curve, M.I.A and Ladytron super-group who just love listening to Joy Division and Blondie.   

REVL9N Interview: Conducted 9/5/12 

What changes can we expect with your new record?
Maria: The sound is a lot different than before with live drums and more guitars.
Martin: I’m a new member of this band, so from what I can tell there’s more of me this time.
Nandor: A lot of changes because of the set up of the band, we added two new members, a drummer and a guitar player, two fresh voices that are free to create together with us! The sound is based on live instruments only this time and improvisation in the studio was a big part of our work.

What inspired the LP title?
Maria: It’s a song title from the album ‘Walking down the Heat’. The title is a play on words; instead of the rock cliché ’walking down the street’ we liked the idea of changing it to our own. The whole making of the album was very playful and intense, like walking down the heat; you don’t know what’s going to come out of it. On your way you’re getting closer to something that burns.
Are you all agreed/in control of the formats for your releases?
Nandor: Yes! We have our own label and have control of all the important decisions!
Maria: Yes. Vinyl is nice, and the 10” is a favourite format.
Martin: We all agreed on the vinyl format, cause it’s so pretty.

Who’s the main driving force or do you work as a team?
Maria: We’re a team.
Martin: A collective driving force.
Nandor: We work as a team and are free to interpret the songs with our individual instruments. I think we strive to always be fit with a purpose.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Martin: All sorts of things, and random Wikipedia articles. Just go through stuff on that website for hours. Going to local shows gives me new ideas as well.
Maria: Life and all that comes into it.
Nandor: I’m always searching for new music and if you mix that with the history of your life as a musician and add a part of your artistic say in everything that’s going on today you get closer to the truth of the music you create.

What influences your sound above all else?
Martin: I tried different weird tunings for my guitar, which took it into Sonic Youth-y and Velvet Underground-y territories. The sound reminded me of those bands anyway.
Nandor: We ended up in a land of 80´s post punk new wave and the disharmonic curves of music from all ages I guess! The studio is always a factor to be reckoned with. You get a better sound if you work with the studio instead of trying to get it to sound like another one!
Maria: A mix of different influences, I think the common thing in terms of sound was a kind of rawness.

Do you enjoy playing live or are you more at home in a studio?
Maria: I enjoy both in different ways. In the studio it can be a fantastic feeling to create something in the very moment, and when it works and the song start to live, it’s a great kick. Live is more of an extroverted experience, it’s an interaction with the audience and it’s never the same.
Martin: Recording is cool, cause you get a product out of it. That’s the whole purpose of it. It stays with you forever. But doing shows has always been fun of course.
Nandor: The studio has the connection with the band members as a main focus and the live situation has the audience as the main focus so I like 'em both.

What music are you listening to of late?
Martin: Lots of 80’s American indie punk rock, like Mission of Burma and Hüsker Dü. Also some current local acts like Coca-Cola 3. Odd Future’s latest mix-tape is great too.
Maria: The Soft Moon, Genesis P-Orridge, Cat Power, Crash Course in Science, Grimes, Munnen, and lots of others…
Nandor: I have a specific taste that changes all the time so I’m picking songs from Herbie Hancock in the 70s and Italian Progressive music from the 2000s to live radio sessions with bands like Villagers and Austra on KEXP.

Who would be your dream collaborator?
Nandor: I don't have any names now but a producer/musician that can direct us to the point where we lose ourselves and open up our darkest secrets would be nice!
Martin: A mad scientist, who would use our music in some evil experiment.
Maria: God that would be fun. He would probably take our music to a whole new level. Or maybe Brian Eno would do just fine.

How important do you feel visuals are in relation to music?
Maria: The music can stand on its own. The visuals are more like supplements to the music, when it works well together it can have a strong impact.
Martin: As long as it doesn’t grab your attention too much away from the actual music. I mean, when it’s vice versa I guess you have succeeded.
Nandor: It’s important and closely connected to the music, this is an area we are gonna be more productive in for sure. We do all visual aspects together in the same fashion like the music with an additional person that we know, that are in that specific field.

What’s the best / your favourite music video?
Martin: Half Japanese- 'Live in Hell'.
Nandor: How To Dress Well- “Lover´s Start” (Official Video) by Jamie Harley.
Maria: Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' and Björk's 'Bachelorette' and 'Human Behaviour'.

Is bedtime more half nine with a half read paper or more half four with fully red eyes?
Nandor: Its like eleven with the laptop and some downloaded series.
Maria: Around midnight, with a book. I need many hours sleep regularly or I go crazy.
Martin: I can sleep whenever. I long for bedtime right after I wake up.

Where do you go when it all gets too much?
Nandor: The balcony.
Maria: Wikipedia. It can really distract me.
Martin: I go running or go for a walk in the park. Trees can have a very calming effect.

Where’s the place to be?
Martin: It used to be the womb, but now I’m not sure.
Maria: Where I am.
Nandor: Your head can get you anywhere and Portugal is nice.

Was it easy becoming who you are today?
Martin: Yes. It’s not that complicated. You wake up, go to work, go home, go to bed, and all that fun stuff.
Maria: No, the easy way has never really attracted me.
Nandor: Yes in comparison to war babies. No, I have always done music the way I wanted and with no regard to fame and fortune. Happy free struggle.

Thanks for your time guys, now go get 'em!

                                    REVL9N Video: Title track ‘Walking down the Heat’