Published October 16, 2010
“We both like rock, but there is something happening in the electronic genre that is not happening in rock. Electronic music evolves extremely fast at the moment and within this the possibilities of making something fresh and different are way bigger. This also means that there is a greater chance of actually being apart of defining a genre and shaping the future of it.”
Tell us a little bit about yourself: who you are, what you do, why you do it. Remember: Hype is for PR departments, honesty is for musicians.
We are the hippies who fell in love with the machines. We do a combination of a sunny Woodstock festival in the ‘70s and a black basement in Berlin in 2010. Or at least that’s what we are aiming for. We like to call it TechnoSoul – electronic music with heart, and authenticity. Because we can? Maybe that’s why we do it. Because there is too much shit out there. Because there is no one like us out there. Because we like to do it. Because we do it really good.
Do you have anything special you want to accomplish by coming to Iceland? What?
The nature. We want to see the nature. And of course we will try to get the best possible experience out of the trip. Playing Iceland Airwaves is quite a big thing for us. The festival is known for booking the stars of tomorrow. We hope that our concert at the festival can be the big breakthrough!
We won’t have you pin yourself down in a genre, but maybe you can tell us what musicians you hope your fans also like. What music inspires you?
In general, the two of us get our inspiration from very different places, just like we have different focuses when it comes to music as well. Ranging from Benny Benassi to The Beatles. From Rex The Dog to Iggy Pop. Esben is the sound geek whereas Mads is the songwriter, and those roles of course affects our inspirations a lot. However it often happens that we find something we both love. Moderat, for instance. We really like what they are doing. As well as Modeselektor and Apparat.
They are absolutely one of the pioneers on the electronic scene at the moment. Some of the technical things they put out are of another world. We are also both inspired by The Knife. Mainly the moods they are able to create. And how they succeed in making it an experience on more levels, instead of just something for the ears.
And what would you want to tell our readers, to convince them to come to your show (remember: you are not in marketing, you are an artist)?
We got something on our mind. There are just too many, with nothing to say, at least nothing interesting. Further more we are one of the rare electronic acts with a core competence in live shows. We have never released even a single track and we have already come a long way. Performing the longest tour in China for a Danish band ever. Furthermore playing alongside artists like Peaches, WhoMadeWho, Simian Mobile Disco? Now performing at Iceland Airwaves. These things have all happened because of our live shows. We must be doing something right.
What got you making music in the first place? What kept you playing?
We met each other at a school in Denmark. We actually played in different rock bands before we started Reptile and Retard. We both like rock, but there is something happening in the electronic genre that is not happening in rock. Electronic music evolves extremely fast at the moment and within this the possibilities of making something fresh and different are way bigger. This also means that there is a greater chance of actually being apart of defining a genre and shaping the future of it. I think we keep playing because its fun. And because we dream of travelling the world with our music.
What do you like these days? Anything we should know about?
Running. Winter bathing. Building things. Potato sandwiches. Naked pregnant women. Laughing. Did you ever think about how odd a thing laughing actually is? The fact that humans make the strangest sound when they hear something that they find amusing, and that one person’s sound is individually stranger than the other.
What’s with the name?
Today, which is Monday, Mads was woken up by his cell phone at 9 AM. It was a really angry man. We had been out playing a concert during the weekend and therefore rented a car to get to the show. When we returned the car Sunday afternoon there was an unlocked bike just outside the car rental place. A pretty wasted but also kinda nice bike. Our manager needed a bike so we decided to take it. The angry man in the phone was the owner of the car rental place. One of their security cameras had caught us returning the car and afterwards taking the bike. The bike belonged to a customer, a friend of his, and he demanded to have the bike back within an hour or he would contact the police. What a way to start a Monday morning. Somehow that captures our name.
Do you feel that you have any special kinship with Icelanders? What do you think of our shared, colonial past, if anything?
People always talk positively about Iceland in Denmark. Maybe Iceland is Denmark’s weird but really beautiful uncle. He’s probably a painter or a poet or something. At the family reunion all the married women wants to sleep with him when they get drunk. He is very broke though. We have met a lot of Icelandic people, and they have always been very kind, but also quite weird, which we really like. And they have all been beautiful. It’s super impressive how much music comes out of a tiny country like Iceland. And you are also skilled in sports. Maybe Danes should start marrying far out relatives more often?
Wow. LOL. Make a five-track playlist for your plane ride over. Tell us why each track is there. Your scenario: you’re just about to land, and you want to mentally prepare yourself for whatever you think is going to meet you.
Sigur Rós -Svefn-g-englar – For us nothing is more Icelandic than Sigur Rós. A lot of the songs sound like they came directly out of the mountainsides.
Bright Eyes – At the Bottom of Everything – Listen to the lyrics.
Extrawelt – Fernweh – We expect the idyllic Reykjavík to be turned into an all-consuming party monster. The bass drums will be pumping and the guitars will be screaming 24/7.
Beck -Volcano – That’s how we feel half of the time – We don’t think we will feel like that in Iceland, which is kind of contradictory.
Freeform Five -No More Conversations (Mylo Remix) – Because Esben thinks its a really good song and there is a good chance he is going to put this on his music player at 7 AM in the morning when he is desperately trying to find our hotel…
Reptile and Retard play Saturday 00:30 at Venue