Talking with Esben and the Witch

I remember seeing you opening a Wild Beasts gig at Koko 3 years ago, and I was really impressed! Since then, your career has been boosted! Are you pleased with how it all turned out till now? How have you developed, both as a band and conceptually, since you began to record?
A lot has changed since those days. I'm pleased about the way things have gone, we have had the opportunity to travel a fair bit to perform live and this in turn has inspired us to write more. We have basically existed in this cycle for the last few years. There have been some obvious developments in this time, I don't play any keyboards or anything now, just guitar whilst Daniel is starting to play sat down with a full drum kit. He has built himself a cockpit of kaoss pads. Conceptually we are always developing, it may not be as clear for people to see but I think we are drawing inspiration from a far wider palette now, Rachel in particular as she is now at the helm of the lyrics, Daniel and I have become more of an advisory panel in that respect.
How did you originally come together and formed the band?
I met Daniel about five years ago in Brighton. We used to work together and discuss the state of Post-Rock music in England at that time. We got working on some stuff together, the drum machine was a real focus point at that time, Daniel programming it and then writing around it. I had a very rudimentary understanding of guitar which I deployed as best I could. We got Rachel in because we wanted a vocal, lyrical element. And that was that, really.
What kind of music were you raised on and what was your musical background?
I was raised on Tangerine Dream apparently. My Father told me that he used to play it to make me sleep. I was into music when I was younger but not really playing it. I failed Grade One piano which is the lowest standard of exam you can take. I remember being sat there and the examiner asking me to repeat scales that I hadn't prepared and just getting frustrated and walking out. I've never been one for official music tuition.
Your songs, in general, are incredibly emotive and dark with a gothic aesthetic and a massive inner power. You are also a band that seems to be influenced by poetry, supernatural, values of life and fairytales, like your band’s name or your most recent LP title. What was the thought process behind those titles and what is the source of your inspiration both musically and personally?
The thought process behind our titles varies greatly and they are inspired by all manor of things. The name of the band came from a story Daniel and I found. We didn't think about it too much at the time, I never imagined I'd ever be in a position where I'd have to explain it to anyone but there you go. I stand by it though, its mysterious and atmospheric and those are two qualities that I'd like to exist in our music. Inspiration comes from all over the place, books and films, just walking around and seeing things. As I alluded to before we have been touring a load over the last three years and many of the experiences we have had or the things we have seen have influenced us directly and indirectly. The song title "Smashed To Pieces In The Still Of The Night" for example, we saw those words written on a huge concrete slab of a building in Vienna and found the words so evocative that they inspired us to write the song. We looked into it afterwards and the building was called Haus Des Meeres and was an old World War II flak tower and the words came from an American artist called Lawrence Weiner.
How much do your listening habits influence the sound of new records? What have you been listening to lately?
I think they probably have some bearing on it but its difficult to know how much. I think all sorts of things have influenced my guitar playing because of my ramshackle approach to learning the instrument. Sometimes I hear something and think, how do you do that? Not so much because I want to instantly start using that technique or whatever but just so I can continue to learn and develop as a guitarist. Recently I have been listening to a lot of Godspeed, Tim Hecker and Swans amongst other treats. At the moment I'm listening to Alice Coltrane which Rachel has recommended to me, its great, sounds like it could soundtrack the old Jason and the Argonauts film, I think its the harp making me think that.

What’s the starting point for writing a song? Is there a difference between the writing process of your previous albums and your new material?
The songs begin as one idea, riff, lyric or drumbeat that one of us has and then grow out from there. For the songs we have been writing most recently we have started out with a guitar part each time, thats because I spent a few months by myself just working on stuff earlier this year. I think it'll have an interesting and hopefully positive effect if all the songs begin life in roughly the same way then there should be more continuity across them as a whole. We are now writing in a "live" way too. Before, even demo versions would take some degree of organising and arranging by Daniel but this time we are just setting up some room mics and then playing the songs through. I'm finding it a far more exciting, raucous experience.
From your debut “Violet Cries” to your recent LP “Wash The Sins Not Only The Face” you seem to expanding your imaginative and fierce exploration of sound. Do you have an aim for what you want to do from the beginning and what comes next for Esben and the Witch?
Certain aims that we had at the very beginning are still important to us now. We always want the music to be challenging, intense and atmospheric. We always want to progress and diversify rather then settle for what we have done before. Regarding the two albums, the aims have been very different. We wanted Violet Cries to be a dense and inhospitable experience at times whereas we wanted Wash The Sins… to be more accessible and lighter in mood. What comes next… As I mentioned before we are working on new songs at the moment. Going live and going big. Also we have recently written and performed a live soundtrack to an Argentinian film called La Antena for a film festival in London which we will be repeating later in the year so we are making sure that all the pieces we wrote for that stay somewhere in the forefront of our minds.
Were you ever tempted to leave the gothic melancholy behind and write in a more uplifting mood?
Ha! Well I thought that the last album was written in a more uplifting mood! I think its all relative, to us a lot of the imagery and music doesn't feel gothic or melancholy, maybe that says something about the three of us as people?

How did the remix album of “Wash The Sins Not Only The Face” came about?
It came about quite naturally, we had a few remixes done and so we thought I'd be cool to collect them together in one place.
Was it your choice to do a remix album and did you choose the remixers? Do you have a particular personal favorite remix on the release?
Yeah, it was our choice and we picked most of the remixers. The Dave Sitek remix came about through our label, apparently he heard Deathwaltz and wanted to do a mix of it. My favourite is the Teeth Of The Sea version of Smashed To Pieces… Those guys are a fine band and good friends of ours. At our show at The Scala in london earlier this year they joined us on stage to play an extended version of that song. It was amazing, we met them earlier that day at their practice space, Seven of us in this tiny room and just jammed it out then played it later that evening. It went down well so then we just drank a load of whiskey to celebrate the joyous collaboration!
You are a member of Matador. On the subject of the DIY route, a lot more bands nowadays are being forced to go it alone. Do you think that the lack of investment and risk taken by record companies is going to have a negative effect on the development of new bands? Do you think it will have an effect on the quality of recorded music, with bands struggling to afford descent studios, engineers, producers?
I don't think that it is just a lack of record label investment that is causing more bands to do it alone these days, I think its also because its easier than it ever has been to do it this way. Working with Matador is great because they are good guys and they allow us the freedom to work in our own way which I would say is totally necessary, compromising on that is not good. Even though we are on Matador we are all still involved at every level with our music, from the production of the songs themselves to the artwork and the mailouts. We will never relinquish control of any of these things because even when you're working with good people nobody knows exactly how its supposed to be except you.

What have been the highlights of 2013 for Esben and the Witch and what would you say has been the defining moment in your career so far? Any disappointing moments you would like to share?
The highlight of this year for me was probably the show we played at Gebaude 9 in Cologne earlier this year. I love that venue, its an old warehouse, just baron concrete walls, a high stage with a black curtain and big strobe. It was February and fucking freezing. Before soundcheck I remember there was just one industrial heater that seemed to be working through the whole building, you had to stand on a table to get blasted by it. The show was amazing though, unbelievable crowd. As for the worst experience we've had, I'm not sure its disappointing necessarily but I recall once being sat in Toronto on our first North American tour thinking that we were all going to have to go home because our driver didn't have a visa. That was a real low point.
How do you work to translate what’s on the record live? What’s different and what’s stays the same?
That really depends on the song. Some of them translate very swiftly and easily into their live incarnations. Then some others can be a bit of a struggle and then some just won't work at all. Light Streams from the first record, just can't be played live! Much to Rachels annoyance because she really likes the vocal melody. What we sometimes have to sacrifice when working on the live versions is some of the finesse or layered parts. So on record we'll build up noise using layers of different synths or instruments which we can't do live so I'll just push the guitar to make that same racket. It means the songs can take on a more visceral, primal quality which I think is a good thing in the live environment and allows people to connect with them better. I'd rather that than using a backing track or something, I think that can be really boring.
Give us some hints for the Greek gig. What kind of things can an attending fan expect?
An evening of loud sonic adventure. Guitar driven noise and electronic experimentation. And we might play some of those new songs for the first time. What more could anybody want?


CINECONCERT - Το γαλλικό animation στο ξεκίνημά του

Oι απαρχές του γαλλικού κινούμενου σχεδίου, μέσα από μια επιλογή αξιοπερίεργων μικρών αριστουργημάτων κινουμένων σχεδίων των αρχών του 20ού αιώνα και
 ζωντανή μουσική συνοδεία από το ελληνικό ηλεκτροακουστικό ντούο
 Acte Vide

Tο ηλεκτροακουστικό ντούο acte vide ("κενή πράξη") ξεκίνησε το 2006 και αποτελείται από τους Γιάννη Κοτσώνη (ηλεκτρονικά) και Δανάη Στεφάνου (πιάνο). Με κεντρικό άξονα τον αυτοσχεδιασμό και τη δημιουργική διερεύνηση του θορύβου, το ντούο πραγματοποιεί συχνά συνεργασίες με ένα ευρύ φάσμα μουσικών, εικαστικών και σκηνοθετών.

Αμφιθέατρο Theo Angelopoulos - Γαλλικό Ινστιτούτο Αθηνών

Eίσοδος: 5 ευρώ

1 Sculpteur moderne | Segundo de Chomon | 1908. France/Γαλλία. 7 min. 35 mm.
2 Les Aventures des Pieds-Nickelés | Émile Cohl | 1918. France/Γαλλία. 20 min. 35 mm.
3 Touchatout ami des bêtes | Marius O’Galop | 1919. France/Γαλλία. 5 min. 35 mm.
4 Cigarettes Nationales : Complot contre les nationales | Albert Mourlan| 1924-28. France/Γαλλία. 3 min. 35 mm.
6 Citroën : La plus belle conquête de la femme | Robert Lortac | 1920. France/Γαλλία. 1 min. 35 mm.
7 L’Aspirateur du professeur Mécanicas | Robert Lortac | 1922. France/Γαλλία. 2 min. 35 mm.
8 L’Affaire de la rue Lepic | Raymond Galoyer, André Yvetot | 1922. France/Γαλλία. 14 min. 35 mm.
9 Queue en trompette | Benjamin Rabier | 1922. France/Γαλλία. 9 min. 35 mm.
10 La Sève poilifère | Robert Lortac | 1924-28. France/Γαλλία. 4 min. 35 mm. 

Ολόκληρο το πρόγραμμα του Φεστιβάλ εδώ



The Ghost Of Piramida | Πρόσκληση στην προβολή της νέας ταινίας για τους Efterklang

Στα πλαίσια της παγκόσμιας προώθησης
της νέας ταινίας του Andreas Koefoed για τους Efterklang
με τίτλο The Ghost Of Piramida’

το μουσικό site www.elafini.com και το kinetophone.com
διοργανώνουν και σας προσκαλούν στην μοναδική Αθηναϊκή προβολή της
στο thehubevents.gr

Μετά την προβολή θα ακολουθήσει μικρό πάρτυ εμπνευσμένο

από την μουσική των Efterklang 
με DJs τους 4amorning (innersoundradio) και elafini (amagiradio)

Παρασκευή 1 Μαρτίου 2013

The HUB Events
Aλκμήνης 5, Κ. Πετράλωνα, 11854

Σκηνοθεσία: Andreas Koefoed

Μουσική: Efterklang

Διάρκεια: 57'

Υπότιτλοι: Αγγλικοί

   Χορηγοί επικοινωνίας: avopolisfreecinema, moveitmagamagiradio, innersound-radio

Δείτε trailer της ταινίας εδώ


2012 in Songs


Elafini in the Clouds
 3.1.13 | 6-8 pm 

and more!


Talking with I Like Trains

Υou have been around since 2004, releasing good music, with lyrics that tell stories. What’s the story behind your new releases, “The Shallows” and “Beacons?”
“The Shallows” is about our growing relationship and reliance on modern technology.  It covers a number of issues relating to it and asks how digital technology we use on a daily basis affects us psychologically and the way we relate to each other. The “Beacons EP” follows on with a similar theme.  It concentrates on civilisations that have become victims of progress and speculates what fate may be in store for the very first globalised civilisation.

Your Facebook bio reads: “I LIKE TRAINS are a hidden treasure. Haunting instrumentation and broken, world weary vocals portray a tender depiction of tragedy, past, present and future. Whilst articulating the morose truths of life, the band provide a ray of light.” We live in a cruel world. And it’s getting even worse. What shocks you the most? Do you believe that the light in your music will reach our troubled hearts and minds?
I’m not entirely sure where the light in our music is to be honest!  From the research I carry out in writing our records, I try to describe what I see in our future and as you say things don’t seem to be improving.  I hope that people can appreciate our music for what it is.  It seems to me that in these dark times, a lot of popular music seems to be about escapism.  I can see the attraction in that, but I also think that someone needs to be writing decent music with a social conscience.

You seem to have become more extrovert and looking to the future rather than the past. What prompted this change of perspective?
I think I’ve actually become more introspective.  While looking at global issues, I’ve started to speak with my own voice rather than use characters to portray a message.  In looking to the future these are issues that will directly affect me and my family.  Why the change of perspective?  We need to change to keep things interesting for ourselves.  You need to challenge yourself creatively or you will keep making the same album over and over again.

You say “We were trying to get across the concept that history repeats itself and the human race doesn’t learn from its mistakes.” Do you still believe that, especially when you tell us to look to the future?
Absolutely.  Even when I am writing about the future I keep looking to the past for inspiration, and when I was writing about the past I was doing so with one eye on the future.  Even with all of the collective wisdom of the human race, we’re essentially just selfish animals and end up making short sighted decisions to serve our own short term means.

You have released your second album entirely on your own, through PledgeMusic. Has it been hard to do everything yourself? What are the hardest things about this approach and what are the most rewarding? (e.g. the new social media are a unique way to connect with your fans and audience, such as Twitter or even Instagram, where you are very active).
It has been difficult and it has been rewarding.  It is as you would expect really.  Trying to compete with large label marketing budgets is the most difficult thing.  Magazines are more likely to write about you if your label is spending lots of money on advertising in that magazine.  Trying to get our voice heard in all of that can be very difficult indeed.  As you say social media offers a different more direct way of working, but press and radio are still very important in reaching a lot of people very quickly.  Having said that, any success we do have is down to the quality of our records and our own hard work, and has nothing to do with the amount of money someone has thrown at it.  That is the rewarding side of it.

Few bands, like you, believe in an album as a true art form. You have used unusual and clever ideas such as a book of essays with your debut album or a single’s B-side being the same story from a contrasting viewpoint. How and why did you think of such a different way of creating music and have you any new ideas for upcoming releases?
We think a great deal about all aspects of being in a band.  We have tried to create our own world where our fans can get as involved as they want to be.  Being independent means these things are more important than they have ever been.  They can get you noticed in amongst a crowded market place!

What’s the starting point when writing a song? Is there a difference in the writing process between your previous albums and your new material?
There is never a set way to create a song.  It is important to approach things differently to keep things fresh.  We’ve been working very quickly on our newer material, trying to keep an element of spontaneity.  The ‘Beacons EP’ was mostly built up in the computer which was a really different and exciting process for us.  Using different tools that don’t come so naturally to us to create.  I guess the one thing that continues to run through our old and new material is the amount of research I undertake in writing the lyrics.

Is there an album that you are most proud of? And what would you say has been the defining moment in your career so far?
Always the newest album!  If I didn’t think the newest album was the best one, why would I continue!  I don’t think there can be one defining moment in an 8 year career.  Lots of things.  Playing our first gig, releasing our first single, signing record deals, losing record deals, the Pledge campaign, setting up our own label, tours tours tours, arena shows supporting Editors etc etc

Which are your influences and what motivates you at the moment? What have you been listening to lately?
We collect more influences all the time!  We borrow ideas off enough people and it ends up sounding like I Like Trains anyway.  Lately I’ve been listening to lots of dark electronic music.  Pantha du Prince, The Knife/Fever Ray, Luke Abbott etc.

How is your tour going and what is a day on tour like for the members of I Like Trains? Have there been any particularly memorable shows?
We’re back off tour now.  It was great but I’d forgotten how difficult it is to get back into real life when you get home!  Typical day on tour is to sit in the van and come up with games and complicated in jokes to amuse ourselves.  Play a show and then do some drinking.  Its always a bonus if there is a pool table or table football at the venue!  Memorable shows.  For me Leeds, London, Paris, Cologne and Dresden were highlights.

What about the Greek ones? You are back again - and for this we are extremely happy - for two concerts. How do you feel about that, especially now, in those grim times we are living in?
Can’t wait.  We’ve genuinely always had a great time in Greece and have always been made to feel very welcome.  I’m  particularly excited to be visiting Thessaloniki for the first time also. Since we’ve been coming we have noticed some changes.  As I’ve said before, I think our music will resonate with the tough times the Greek people are going through.

What’s the plan for I Like Trains in 2013? A soundtrack maybe, since you have had your music featured already on Hollywood film trailers, adverts and television?
Not entirely sure.  We’re booking some shows for 2013 and starting to think about writing some new music.  I wouldn’t expect an album just yet.  Soundtrack work is something we would very much like to get involved in.  Filmmakers should definitely give us a call… or an email!

For Greek click here

Live Shows: 14|12 Thessaloniki, Eightball Club
15|12 Athens, Kyttaro Live Club


My beautiful creatures

Damien Jurado – Nothing Is The News
Revere – As The Radars Sleep
Sharon Van Etten – Serpents
Blaudzun – Flame On My Head
My Brightest Diamond – Be Brave
Anna Calvi – No More Words
The Mantra Above The Spotless Melt MoonTrieste
Esben & The Witch – Deathwaltz
Rykarda Parasol – A Drinking Song
Zola Jesus – Run Me Out
Chelsea Wolfe – Feral Love
Etten – Song For A Seed
Esben & The Witch – Marching Song
Florence And The Machine – Seven Devils
Other Lives – Take Us Alive
Jonsi – Aevin Endar
Julianna Barwick – Never Change
Lanterns On The Lake – Ships In The Rain
Antony And The Johnsons – Cut The World
The Irrepressibles – Boy In The Lake
Owen Pallett – E Is For Estranged
Rufus Wainwright – Montauk
Patrick Wolf – The Days
Billy MacKenzieWinter Academy
Marissa Nadler – Baby I Will Leave You In The Morning
Wild Beasts – Catherine Wheel
Mikhail – Dance
Xiu Xiu – Factory Girl
2L8 – Sleepless
2L8 – It’s Strange But What Isn’t Strange


Elafini in the clouds: A Scandinavian trip

A Scandinavian trip | Thursday 25.10 | 6-8pm | Amagi Radio
special guests: Astrogirl @Raccooninthecity

Olafur Arnalds, Johann Johannsson, Amiina, Soley,
Mum, Bang Gang, Emiliana Torrini, Sigur Ros, Olvis, 
Jeniferever, Einar Stray, Lykke Li
and more!


Feeling hot tonight?

A refreshing radio show
and last one for the summer.

9-11 tonight
@ innersound-radio.com

Join me!

Youth without youth - Metric by antenaradio


Elafini on decks

To elafini καταλαμβάνει τα decks 
του σκοτεινού Drugstore
σε μια βραδιά αντιμνημονιακή και 
έντονα φιλοροκική!

Μια μικρή γεύση παίρνετε εδώ

Σας περιμένω!

Tετάρτη 20 Ιουνίου | 22:00

The Drugstore
Αραχώβης 10 & Ιπποκράτους


Orbiting new planets | on air tonight

                      Music for planets 
               elafini on air 9-11 tonight 



Standing at the sky's edge

Elafini on air 9-11 tonight

with the darkest dream pop


The Irrepressibles - Arrow (video)

“ARROW” τιτλοφορείται το πρώτο single από το πολυαναμενόμενο δεύτερο άλμπουμ των Irrepressibles, “NUDE”, προβάλλοντας τη νέα τους μουσική κατεύθυνση που θα συνδυάζει σκοτεινή electronica με οργανικές ενορχηστρώσεις, προσπαθώντας έτσι να εξηγήσει την πολυπλοκότητα της ζωής.

Εδώ ο McDermott αφηγείται την ιστορία ενός αδέξιου αγοριού που καθώς ενηλικιώνεται ανακαλύπτει -στην αναταραχή της εφηβείας του- την διαφορετικότητά του, μέσα από την αγάπη του για ένα άλλο αγόρι. Ένα βαθιά ποιητικό κομμάτι για την ομορφιά του ανθρώπινου πνεύματος και ταυτόχρονα την τρυφερή και εύθραυστη φύση του. Συνδυάζοντας τους εξομολογητικούς στίχους του McDermott και την ουράνια φωνή του με την δραματικότητα των ενορχηστρώσεων στο στυλ των Fassbinder / Kenneth Anger και μια σκοτεινή Ευρωπαϊκή electro, το κομμάτι οδηγείται τελικά σε μια εκρηκτική απελευθέρωση.

Στις 28 Μαΐου θα μπορείτε να δείτε το βίντεο που σκηνοθέτησε ο McDermott στην ιστοσελίδα των Irrepressibles όπως και στο youtube τους, ενώ θα είναι επίσης διαθέσιμο από το iTunes. Την ίδια μέρα οι  Irrepressibles θα ανακοινώσουν στην ιστοσελίδα τους την ημερομηνία κυκλοφορίας του "NUDE" που θα είναι διαθέσιμο για προπαραγγελία.

Lyrics by Jamie McDermott 2008
(Taken from The Irrepressibles forthcoming album "NUDE")

When you were the age 15 they shot the arrow at you...
You put that arrow in...
became an angel too...
But you were proud to be you...

When you made a pact with him...
a secret that you'd keep...
That you'd forget that sin...
could be so warm, so free!
That you could find such release.

My dear St Sebastian, in every breath we complete....

The meaning of our truth...
the meaning of our design...
That I could be a son...
and someone's son I'd find...
To be the one, to be the one, man, man of mine.
From a boy, from a son, into the man, man of mine.

E-oh e-oh, e-oh e-oh, he'll sow his seeds into mine,
and we will grow, and we will grow just as our bodies entwine.
E-oh e-oh, e-oh e-oh!

We wouldn't fail but be anything else but real.