Jens Christiansen is a curious cat and for his solo project Rumpistol he has been driven by the search for beauty and new sounds. His new EP is entitled Drops and is set for release today, mind you, and continues his quest of almost three decades in music.
Drops then, evolves around the theme of water and puts an emphasis on the instrumental and more downtempo elements of his vast repertoire. Like the refreshing cool stream of a forest creek on a hot summer day. The track Forest Drops is attached below, reason enough for Team Poule to inquire and see what it's all about.
Photo credits go to Martin Bubandt.
You released more than ten records since 2003, has your approach to making a record changed over the years?
Not that much actually. Even though I try to work faster and more structured, the tracks still really need the time they need before I'm happy. Sometimes that means trying out a completely new approach on an almost finished track, or spending days on something that might end up getting ditched.
What's different now and probably has been for the last 6 years or so, is that I have a more conceptual approach in the sense of the themes I chose to have for the releases, which really helps me keeping focus.
”Drops” is all about water and vitality, where ”Away” was much more psychological, dealing with darker issues like absence and escapism.
How do you keep evolving, stay inspired?
I try to keep an open mind and challenge myself by changing tools once in a while. I also try to stay updated on new music, books and movies, as well as discovering old gems as well. A lot of inspiration can be found in these re-issues of half forgotten music from all around the world, released on labels like Honest Jon's and Finders Keepers.
These days I seem to get more inspiration from non-Western music because there are just so many musical ideas, grooves, scales and odd meters that I haven't heard before.
I also love to have long studio sessions of modular synth improvisation that I can later edit or create sample banks from.
Do remixes or collaborations with other artists have a role to play there too?
Sure. I love bringing in other musicians to the studio and have them improvise over my tracks. Just as much as I love getting to play with the sounds of other artists. At the moment I'm working on a collaboration with the kora player Dawda Jobarteh who can also be heard on the track ”Forest Drops” plus I made a lot of collaborations earlier with vocalists like Mø, Ane Trolle and Tobias Buch.
My band Kalaha is a result of four people getting together and improvising. Not that I consider Kalaha a jam band, - we all bring written ideas, but the way we arrange them and perform them is very open to improvisation.
When did you start making music (and why)?
I started making music when I was quite young because I wasn't really into sports like a lot of my friends were. My uncle gave me a guitar at the age of 6, and I was around 10 when I wrote and performed my first song live. It was called ”In the Discoteque" and I sang and performed it on a Roland D50 in front of the local youth club, ha ha (poule d'or: photographic evidence below). I also played guitar and sang in a band called Kajs Brilleband and thanks to Peer Møllebæk Hansen, a very enthusiastic music teacher in the local youth club, we started playing shows and even went to record in the studio of the Danish Broadcasting Corporation. Later as a teenager I played in numerous bands and wrote angsty grunge inspired songs, while also enjoying overdubbing instruments on to 4-track tape-decks, playing around with effects and making electronic music before I'd even understood the concept of it.
What was your idea for the new album?
On ”Drops” I wanted to return to what initially got me started with electronic music back in the late nineties, but with the technical knowledge I have now. I chose water as the unifying theme, because it's a natural part of my everyday life. When I'm a good boy, I go swimming once or twice a week and the rest of the time it just rains a lot in Copenhagen! Rather than making tons of field recordings of water, I tried to synthesize the sounds instead, and generally just interpret the feel and characteristics of water. I also wanted a more carefree and uplifting feel for the release, but most of the tracks ended up having this nostalgic feel to them, so I'm not sure if I accomplished my goals!
How does your song writing process usually look like?
Usually I'll use my phone to record piano or guitar demos depending on where I am. Later I will translate that to MIDI and start experimenting with different synth sounds or recordings of live instruments. A lot of the crazy percussion and liquid effect sounds (especially heard on ”Slower Drops”) come from long modular sessions. Drums are usually a mix between different treated drum machines and software-samplers and of course I spend ages on mixing and live dubbing effects. You can find a list of all the gear used on the bandcamp page.
Do you play all the instruments yourself?
No. On ”Drops” there are two tracks where the solo synths are played by Anders Filipsen who is this really talented pianist who joined me and Ane Trolle last year on the Eyes Open Wide Tour and then there is the kora on two of ”Fores Drops” and ”Swing Drops” which are played by Dawda Jobarteh. Bwoy De Bhajan also brought some extremely nice samples to ”Forest Drops” and Jullie Hjetland aka Lukkif did backing vocals on ”Pentatonic Drops”
A place where you would like to play live?
Generally I'd love to play more outdoor festivals, because I think my sound fits better there than in clubs.
I also have to go to Burning Man one day, but since I can't go this year, "Drops" will be launched by my friends at Symmetry Labs who does the Tree of Ténéré, debuting, today, Wednesday the 30th of August.
Pleasure, thanks for taking the time!
Drops is out today!