words: Andy McColgan
Another big slice of Scandinavian goodness drops in the shape of WhoMadeWho’s eclectic and eccentric new artist album The Plot. The Vikings, it seems, are invading again…
Danish three-piece WhoMadeWho first set our ears prickling back in 2005 with the release of their self-titled debut album. A dance meets post-punk crossover that sat proudly above most of the slew of punky disco bandwagon jumpers, it took elements of acid-house, synth pop and techno, and boiled them into one funky. fun-filled melting pot. That release and a handful of 12”s on Gomma Records won them a devoted cult following, and their unique brand of catchy yet adventurous dance music drew the attention of Daft Punk, Hot Chip, Soulwax and LCD Soundsystem who have all played alongside them. And in 2007 the Danes headlined Benicassim as a last-minute stand-in for The Klaxons, sending 20,000 revellers into an unruly frenzy.
The new album, The Plot, is an even more adventurous piece of work – and it’s all the more captivating for it. It retains the pop sensibility of the debut but sprinkles in a bit more in the way of boundary-bending genre-hopping. We get snippets of 80s EBM, 60s Nuggets-style garage, flamenco and even heavy metal, resulting in a sophisticated and forward-thinking electro-pop lesson in having a good time. Displaying an envy-inducing torrent of tastes and influences, WhoMadeWho are so much more than an indie-dance beat combo, and The Plot should hopefully propel the band to the wider audience they deserve. EQ caught up with Thomas Hoffing, the band’s bassist and vocalist, for a chat about the new album…
How would you best sum up the WhoMadeWho sound?
A walrus having a threesome with Captain Picard and Captain Haddock.
Did you approach making the new album in a different way from your debut?
Oh yeah, at least in the beginning. We tried a lot of different approaches, even recording as a rock band – with an old-school rock trio studio set-up – because we wanted to capture some of the vibe from our concerts. But that didn’t really work. We ended up finishing the album mainly in our own small studios the way we did with the first one.
A lot of different influences and ideas come through in the record without the overall sound becoming smothered. Was the idea to represent lots of different styles.
Somewhere in the middle of the process I had a dream of making the ultimate eclectic album – hardcore techno, acoustic folk ballads, 70s trio-rock, bizarre disco, all on one album. As we went along I realised this wouldn’t work in this extreme version, but I think we still managed to make it pretty diverse. We have Simon & Garfunkel vibes working together with epic rave parts, space disco and John Spencer Blues parts. But there’s still a fairly steady WhoMadeWho sound throughout the album.
So who are you main influences?
Kraftwerk, Daft Punk, Air, Bowie, Pink Floyd and so many more.
What can we expect from the WhoMadeWho live experience?
Even more bizarre costumes, new songs and old songs in new ways. WhoMadeWho live has always been – and still is – an ongoing workshop for our music. The gigs are never the same – every night we try to go new places. If you only heard the album, come to a show, as it’s quite something else. Plus Jeppe is bringing a vocoder synth.
There’s a similar level of eccentricity and humour to your music as there is to say Hot Chip or Max Tundra. Do you think it’s important to retain a sense of humour when developing a sound?
Eccentricity is always a good thing when it comes to art. As for humour, I guess it’s about taking your music very seriously, but not taking yourself too seriously as a person. I think this shines through a lot in our live performances – and press photos.
A lot of excellent dance music has come out of Scandinavia in the past two years. Do you think there’s an underlying reason behind all this innovation?
The Vikings are back – lock up your women!
What have you got planned for the rest of the year?
Lost of touring, and all three of us are working on solo albums in our respective studios. And perhaps the beginning of a third WhoMadeWho album.
HAVE YOUR SAY