This guy, My Heart The Brave just released one of the best debuts that crossed our little desks here at Poule d'Or headquarters this year slash ever. And we had been warned. My Heart The Brave, the solo project of Copenhagen-native Caspar, had already shared a brilliant electro pop banger titled Keep Me From It for the 12th Poule d'Or compilation back in January, but this great self-titled six-track-EP is from beyond, from a different place. A 30-minute beauty, produced to perfection. Because on top of being great electronic pop with piano-leads that are miles deep and drum lines that put a smile on your face , it sounds absolutely fantastic.
This is no coincidence of course, Caspar spent most of his time in the studio with other bands, producing, mixing, mastering with The Eclectic Moniker, Hymns from Nineveh and Jetsi Kain just to drop a few names. The hours obviously led to a very fine set of ears and a clear sense of beat. His debut really sounds unlike anything else.
Exhibit A, the track Meditation Two off his debut is attached below. Glad that Caspar had a few moments to sit down, digitally, with Team Poule and tell us a little bit more about My Heart The Brave, long nights in the studio and his gig at Roskilde Rising, tomorrow July 1st.
Where are you right now?
At home, staying up waay too late as usual!
Having mostly produced and mixed for other bands in the past, what made you want to change sides, sort of?
I've made music since I was a child, but there were a number of years where I was focused on my education as a classical pianist, and didn't really take an interest to writing music myself. Both things, I find, really need your full attention. When I wanted to get back into doing my own stuff, I sort of stumbled into producing and mixing for others by chance, and since then, people kept asking. I've had a lot of great experiences working with bands and continue to enjoy it. But it sort of feels like a return to something that I've always done for as long as I can remember.
How did your experiences in helping other bands "finding their sound" help you in finding yours?
Well, there's a lot that I've learned from working with other people. One thing is that emotionally you're one step further away from their music than they are. You're able to see the bigger picture, which could mean seeing what is holding the song back, what to get rid of, or the other way around, assuring the person or band that what they're doing is actually awesome and doesn't need changing. Some people will go on and on and change everything back and forth to the point where they're not really improving anything, just making it different.
So, I TRY to bring all of those experiences into producing my own music. But of course, there's almost never a straight line of work with music, so you will from time to time confuse yourself and take detours, no matter how many albums you've made. That's part of it. Either that, or you're probably making boring music. You just have to stay confident that you WILL eventually come up with something you like. And then probably, someone else will to.
What's been the biggest influence to your own sound?
Everything from techno to classical music, jazz, mainstream pop, avantgarde. There's a few people over the years who have made an impact on me, musically. I don't know if you'll be able to hear it, but it feels like something I carry with me, even though I don't really listen to it that much. Keith Jarrett, John Coltrane, Brad Mehldau, Rachmaninoff, Chopin, Bach, Nick Drake, Elliott Smith, Sufjan Stevens, Radiohead, Interpol, Phoenix, Tame Impala, Kurt Vile, Hot Chip, Moderat, Apparat, Niki and The Dove, Miike Snow, Lindstrøm, Röyksopp, are all people I admire for each their own reason.
What does your writing/recording process look like?
I love synthesizers, samplers and drum machines, but I find that I'll often have a tempo or a rhythm in my head and work off of that. The piano plays a big part obviously, and it's featured somehow on every song, but I also love drums, so I'll often spend a long time on a beat to begin with. I usually only work on one song at a time until I know that it's just about finished, and then I'll put it away and move on. But really, I try to start somewhere new each time, to keep things fresh. Lyrics always come last, and probably take up about 50% of the whole production time per song, unfortunately, I'm sorry to admit. Takes me so long. I have a real love/hate relationship with writing lyrics.
I work alone in the studio and basically finish everything about 95% before anyone hears it. That's what suits me best. I'm usually very self-sufficient with ideas for the songs, and that's sort of the whole point of MHTB, to see how far I can take things on my own. It's not that I don't enjoy working with other people, because I really do, I just get that from somewhere else.
Where do you go/ find/ look for inspiration?
I'm always listening to new stuff. That doesn't mean that I like a lot of it though, haha:) And I love movies. P.T. Anderson, Wes Anderson, David O. Russel, Kubrick.
Did your debut EP as My Heart The Brave turn out the way you thought it would when you started it? Like, did you have an early idea of how things should be/ sound like?
Yes and no. I kind of wanted the sound to be a certain way. Powerful may not be the right word, but a mix of that and something more fragile and beautiful. I like contrasts in music in general, getting things from different worlds to somehow fit together. The way you hear it on the EP is actually almost the way I came up with the songs chronologically. That's actually a coincidence. Or maybe not:)
You played Spot Festival in May this year, which was an inside show, in sort of a big hall. Any special places you would love to play in the future? For example, Crystal Fighters played in a cave in Spain last summer.
We are playing Roskilde on Tuesday the 1st of july at 18.30, so that's probably going to be pretty special. Looking very much forward to that! I'd love to play around Asia, I've never been there. Hope we can make that happen on day. But nowhere in particular apart from that, that cave ting sounds great, let's do that! Although Kasper, our sound guy, might consider that a nightmare.
Anything else you want to say? Now is the time.
Haha, I've rambled enough, time for bed :)
Thanks for taking the time, My Heart The Brave.
(photo courtesy of Samy Khabtani)