It is only early in the year, but we feel we have a contender for album of the year already. Made in the Swedish countryside by Danish band Scarlet Chives, This is Protection is both musically beautiful and textually accomplished. The band sway between musical elements ranging from Björk to the Knife and the more electro side of Radiohead. Lead singer Maria Holm Mortensen’s piercingly delicate voice dances on the music made by Brian Batz (Sleep Party People) as it pushes you to the edge of a cliff and lets your peer at the abyss below before sweeping you back to safety, leaving you feeling invigorated and alive. It is emotional, it is challenging, and it is nigh on perfect.
We had the chance to catch up with the band ahead of the release of “This is Protection” on Siluh Records on the 21st of March, to talk to them about the Danish music scene and the music making process, their surprise at having their music banned of Facebook and much more.
Despite your success in Scandinavia you’re are still a relative unknown quantity across the rest of Europe. Scarlet Chives is a rather unusual name. Where does it come from?
Just a name!
The timber will fall video is not exactly safe for work. Where did the idea come from for this video and how was it making it? Were you surprised that it was banned on Facebook and YouTube, or was that was you were trying to achieve?
We like to work with the boundaries of how much people think they can take. To give them the experience of being able to cope with the unexpected and still being able to enjoy it. Lose control and give in to the impressions that someone is trying to share with you. That was how we wanted this video to work as well. Aske Bang directed the video and we were very happy with the result and thought it was very frightening and beautiful and sensuous at the same time.
We recognised these contrasts from the album This Is Protection. Being a part of this project has ben A very giving experience. Of Course I had to work with my boundaries when we were shooting the video and I loved that because this is what the video is trying to provoke others into doing. It is always important for me to engage myself in projects like this to get more familiar with the process of creating in general. It is inspiring to see other people work and after making this video i cant wait to do another album with the boys in SC.
YES!!!!!!! We were very surprised that the video was removed from Facebook and youtube. Growing up in Denmark teaches us to be openminded and let us enjoy a big space of artistic liberty. In Denmark censorship for grown ups were removed in the sixties so it is of course very sad and disturbing that artists today should feel locked to certain rules when they make art if they want anyone to Aee it.
Your album comes out in via Siluh Recordson 21st of March. What is the background behind the album title “this is protection”? What is your fav. song on the album?
The pride that comes with todays focus on being strong and independent individuals actually just makes us more vulnerable. We need to admit that letting others in is the best way to stay strong. The album is about people who we not only loved, but also needed. That’s protection.
The new album is called “This is Protection”, what do you think needs protecting in today’s world?
Our ability to think on our own, and deep, long lasting and devoting relations. Both a bit threatened by our high speed-hyper info society the way I see it.
You travelled to a tiny forest village in neighbouring Sweden to write the songs for “This is Protection”, in what way did this experience influence the end product?
As soon as we got to Sweden we installed different studios in different rooms in the cabin and we just started finishing the songs together. This little vacation was all about trying a new sound, playing together, and finding out what we would like to do with the new record. But we didn’t really have to. We just worked with the songs. Separately, actually. All of the boys sat with their own sketches in their own little rooms, and I could go visit them making melodies for all of the sketches. In the evenings we got together and started recording ideas, and actually finishing the album that way. When we got home one week later we had ‘This is Protection’.
I don’t think we knew it at the time, but listening to the record I can really hear that it’s cosy in a very freaky way, just being on your own. Even though there were six of us, there were not a lot of people around. It was a very small village, maybe four houses, and one of them was ours. In the other cabins there lived men and their dogs, by themselves, just wandering around the house and looking to see what these hippie Danes were doing. They could hear us recording music. It was a very nice experience, but also a bit freaky, and I think that’s also how the record sounds. It’s cosy in a very dark way. Solitary in a way but being about the power we get from others.
What would you say are the influences behind your music? How did the band come into being?
Most of us have known each other for a very long time and we stopped talking about our references a long time ago. Of course we show each other film art and new music because we are friends and like to share things with each other but we never talk about other music when we work. We have come to a point and realized that the fact that we all have very different influences makes the process surprising and diverse as long as we don’t talk too much about it. Making it aound like each one of us. So we influence each other.
What is currently on your MP3 player/Record player/ CD player?
Newest BECK single; Blue Moon
The NICK CAVE album “Push The Sky Away”, FREUR eighty hit; Doot Doot and always some old LAURIE ANDERSON.
We were recently treated to some great Danish bands at Spot on Denmark in Vienna. How do you see the Danish music scene at the minute? Are there any artists we should look out for this year coming from Denmark? Apart from yourselves of course? CHORUS GRANT
Are there any plans to play in Vienna in the near future?
Hopefully. We would simply love to.
What the most important thing people need to know about Denmark, that they probably don’t know?
That we actually like giraffes!
What are the plans for 2014?
More fantastic live gigs and writing new music. Can’t wait with both.