Congratulations – we made it! Well, Aarhus has made it. Over the last few years especially, the Aarhus music scene has been growing leaps and bounds – with hundreds of new bands, new and established venues putting on bigger and better shows, artists getting recognition internationally, and of course YOU; no doubt a person of taste for reading all about it here. Lord, we know it’s tough to know where to start if you want to find some of the best local artists to fit your kind of music – don’t worry – we’re here to help! Inspired by our pals from Sound of Boston, this new spotlight series is set up to give you a chance to dip your feet into some bands that we feel are doing a great job and deserve a listen and a look-see when they hop on a stage.
First up we have Neon Woods, a 4 piece group formed and centered around Aarhus that have just released their second fantastic single in a year, “Discipline”. Although they only have a few songs out – we’ve been following their every move closely. Their sound (to us) mixes loads of elements of classic 90s indie (Pavement, My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth) incorporated into catchy and well-composed tunes. Some of you may have caught them earlier in the summer when they played on election night in one of our favorite boozers, Sway. Since then, they’ve been “maybe” working on a new EP (wink).
We sent them a few questions, and they answered them below. Press play below, and read the small interview to learn more about the local band Neon Woods.
Mathias Pedersen – vocals and guitar
Mathias Kanne – drums
Søren Degn – Bass
Anna Kistved – guitar
Firstly – how did you folks all get together and form the band?
A: We actually just met through a Facebook group – totally boring story. I contacted our drummer Mathias through this group because we both wanted to start a band. We obviously started to talk about musical influences and we matched quite good, later that week we met up for a beer at Under Masken and Mathias brought a guy from his university – another guy named Mathias! He also liked a ton of great music, I remember we bonded quite a bit over Elliott Smith and Sonic Youth. He then turned out to be our lead singer and one of our guitarists. Søren, our bassist, is leadsinger-Mathias’ cousin – a bit confusing!
For our very first band-practice we booked a rehearsal room together, just the three of us without any bassist. It was extremely painful and awkward, I started playing some weird bluesy shit and we just stood there and jammed over the same chords over and over again. It was horrible. My expectations towards the band were quite low, but naturally, we just needed a little warm-up and after a few rehearsals I really started to like our musical expression. I think it gets better and better for every song we write, I’m very satisfied with our latest three songs (the ones you can hear online).”
S: “I joined the band because every new band always need a bassist. – I never really played the bass, as i am a guitarist, but it seemed to work for me after a while – and after a few hours in the band room, i felt like a part of the band.”
M: “It’s a bit like internet dating. Me, Mathias and Anna found each other through adds and luckily found out we had a lot of music in common. Then I brought Søren in even though he is actually a guitarist. But he’s flexible.”
Tell us about the creation of a Neon Woods song – where does the inspiration come from, how does the band work it out?
A: “Well, in the beginning before we had a bassist, Mathias lead singer and I just took turns bringing some small snippets of riffs and chords that we liked, and then it kind of just evolved from there. Our drummer is extremely critical which is quite positive, because he has the ability to instantly end those jams that you just know aren’t going anywhere, but you’re really just too shy to say it out loud. I really like that quality and I think it is crucial if you want to produce anything, at all. When Søren arrived and we finally got our bassist (we had two auditions, actually), he brought some riffs that he made in the past. He also plays the guitar. He actually wrote the riff for Dreaming in Reverse and another one for a song called Voyeur. He’s really good at making those catchy, melodic riffs that you just remember. I really like playing them and I think it’s awesome that everyone gets to contribute. We’re an extremely democratic band, it has its pros and cons; sometimes we argue for hours and get nothing done, but when we do, it’s really good – at least I think so.”
S: “Well creating a song in Neon Woods is like having amazing sex for the first time with a new person. You think you can predict the outcome. You start fooling around, start doing as you always do, but then as the new partner plays along, you realize that you have to let go and surrender yourself in order to become one with this person. And before you know, you have an orgasm – and then you’re in love. I’m just thankful for, that creating a song with NEON WOODS, doesn’t feel like a one night stand.”
M: “We’re a very democratic band. Everybody has a say and usually we’re all involved in the writing process. Since we’re very different people we often get into arguments about how things should go. That means that the things we end up agreeing on are always made in the last minute. One of the few things we do agree on is hating Volbeat.”
So If you guys had to invent a genre for yourselves – what would it be? Go on – dream big.
A: My genre would probably be called something like “melodic noise indie”. Maybe “melodic noise indie pop”. Yeah, I like that one. I’m gonna invent that one day.”
S: “I want to create a genre, that when people hear the name of the genre, they will get the feeling of being in outta space, listening to CV Jørgensen as they dream of drinking a mojito with Barack Obama in the holy land of Costa del sol. Unfortunately, my vocabulary is still in development, but ill let you know when i know the name for this genre.”
M: “Funk-noise, noise-rock with Talking Heads or Fela Kuti like grooves. But I’m probably alone with that one because slap bass is a god sin among some in the band.”
What are the future plans for the band – a full album (EP) soon? Shows?
A: “We haven’t quite talked this over because it’s not a long time ago since I moved to Copenhagen. Our bassist Søren moved too around the same time, around two months ago. We played at Sway and it was a great experience although it was on election night, so naturally a lot of people were home watching the election, but I would love to come back there. I love Sway, and I love the fact that you get the opportunity to play in an old kitchen. It was a fun experience. In terms of EP plans, I would definitely love to make one with Neon Woods. The ultimate goal for me would be to make an EP that I could actually hold in my hands, preferably vinyls of course, and say: “I made this.”. It would just bring me so much satisfaction! I will also be looking for Copenhagen jobs for us after my current exam period. It’s kind of hard to rehearse all the time when we’re a band full of university students, but we make it work. Lets see what 2016 brings! Maybe an EP! (wink wink).”
S: ”We can move anywhere in the world and be defined as whatever. But the roots of the band are in Aarhus, which is why we always will consider our self an Aarhus band heart emoticon. There is a hard competition in Aarhus with so many amazing projects and band. But still it’s amazing that so many have made it so far. This gives me hope.”
Finally – so…what’s it like to be an Aarhus band in 2015 – I mean, I know a couple of you live in CPH now..but you gotta admit, there is something special going on here now…
A: “Well, as mentioned I now live in Copenhagen, but what I really enjoy about Aarhus was that all of the venues were so easy to get to, which also brings me to SPOT festival: It’s so amazing that you can just grab a beer, walk from one venue to another and experience ten new bands within maybe five or six hours. Sometimes Aarhus is one big SPOT festival, like every weekend of the year. You don’t even need a bike, that’s how close the venues are! I really miss that. I think there are ALOT of interesting things going on in terms of the Aarhus musical scene Anno 2015. Yung, Baby in Vain and Nelson Can are acts most people in Denmark have heard of if they’re a tiny bit interested in the underground rock scene. And they’re all from Aarhus!”
And there you have it folks. Yes it is a magical time to be making and hearing music here in the city of smiles – Aarhus. Give these guys (and girl) a spin on their Soundcloud page, or stream on Spotify. You can Download their material from Bandcamp as well. Sound Of Aarhus will do all the rest of the work for you , and inform all of our readers when and where Neon Woods might be playing – as well as updates on new music and any other scandals that may arise.
Thanks for reading – as always – support your local scene! Go catch a show or buy a record from one of our fantastic independent vinyl, tape and CD pushers!