/Talk Show Host/069/The Foreign Resort

The other Saturday, I ended up heavily involved in Stay-In-Fest. As well as DJing an early afternoon set that seemed to go down well (setlist: /DJ/Guest/098), four online/video interviews that I’d conducted with different artists over the previous couple of weeks were broadcast.

/Talk Show Host/069/The Foreign Resort

/Talk Show Host/Links

/The Foreign Resort/Web
/The Foreign Resort/Facebook
/The Foreign Resort/Bandcamp
/Artoffact Records

/Talk Show Host/2019-20

/066/Chris Peterson talks about Jeremy Inkel
/062/Jean-Marc Lederman
/060/Then Comes Silence
/059/Teeth of the Sea

The last of these to go online after the event is with Copenhagen-based post-punk band The Foreign Resort, ironically the first that I recorded back in mid-August – at the height of that heatwave that swept London and much of the UK at the time. Another band that prior to this summer, I wasn’t particularly familiar with.

Doing video interviews like this is still a relatively new thing for me, and not everything worked as I’d liked (for this one, the framing could have been better), but the sound is at least good. With grateful thanks to the band for their time, and also to Jacek Kozlowski at Artoffact Records for helping to arrange this.

All of these interviews will also be available on the /amodelofcontrol.com Youtube Channel, and this one is embedded below.

A note about the interviews on amodelofcontrol.com. This is now a long-running, occasional series, occasional because of the fact that I only interview artists when I have something to ask, and when artists have something to say. I don’t use question templates, so each is unique, too. Finally, I only edit for grammar and adding in links, so what you’re reading is the response of the artist directly. Thanks, as always, to the artist and indeed those that help to arrange such interviews.

…and we’re talking to The Foreign Resort this evening, how are you?

Mikkel/The Foreign Resort: Hey Adam! We’re fine, we’re hot here in Copenhagen, not as hot as you, but still pretty warm here.

Yeah, it’s been a crazy season without festivals this year, and Infest last year was like this. Normally it’s ok, and not too hot, but last year was the craziest, hottest festival. We were watching Nitzer Ebb on the Sunday night, all of us just absolutely dripping with sweat by the end of it. It’s the festival experience, but not something I want to repeat.

How are your shows normally? Do you like it to be a really hot and sweaty thing to do?

Henrik/The Foreign Resort: Well I guess I kinda do! When the show’s over you feel like you’ve really done something. Sweating an entire show? I think it’s kinda pleasing, I think. Seems like you’ve really put some effort into it.

Like a gym session, right?

Henrik/The Foreign Resort: Yeah, something like that.

Mikkel/The Foreign Resort: We played Wave-Gotik-Treffen in Germany last year, and there was a heatwave there throughout that weekend, it was so warm. We played Monday and I was drenched in sweat even before we went onstage, you know when clothes are just sticking… [gestures] you just drink enough water, or beer, or whatever, drink as much as you can between songs.

Oh man, I remember going to see Stabbing Westward in Chicago, in 2016 at Cold Waves, and they were playing in a tiny venue called the Double Door, and it was this really humid night, and we came out and we were literally wringing our shirts out afterwards, because the ceiling was dripping from before they even came onstage.

But that’s the thing about summer festivals, isn’t it? You’ve gotta prepare. People come out dressed to the nines, still. Goths wearing their leather and PVC, I don’t know how they do that.

Mikkel/The Foreign Resort: I have to confess that in the days before we played Wave-Gotik-Treffen, I was wearing shorts. They were black! But then going onstage, I was in long, tight black jeans. I was like “oh, god…”.

Next time, think again!

Henrik/The Foreign Resort: Some of the Italians were wearing shorts underneath…

Mikkel/The Foreign Resort: [whispers] We’re wearing shorts right now!

Hey, it’s summer, you’re allowed! So, tell me about your band. I only really know your material since you joined Artoffact, you weren’t a band that was familiar to me before that. I was really fascinated by a description that you have on your website, that suggests that you take Pornography-era Cure with LCD Soundsystem-like beats, and I was like “you know, actually I can see that”. Where did that come from?

Mikkel/The Foreign Resort: It’s a description from André Obin, an electronic artist from Boston, MA, he wrote that as a presentation for a show that we played there some years ago, and I was like “can I copy that, it’s pretty cool actually”. I never thought of that!

I certainly heard the Cure, I could see that. I never even thought of LCD as an influence, as they’re a “cool indie band”, but their influence probably does stretch a bit to what we do, right?

Mikkel/The Foreign Resort: It’s Morten, our drummer, who’s not here, he’s like 16th notes [plays out the rhythm]…

So the Cure are clearly one of your things, then?

Mikkel/The Foreign Resort: Yeah, but to be honest, I’m slowly getting sick of hearing the Cure reference, but I can’t deny it, I’ve listened a lot to the Cure. We’re actually listening a lot to – without offending anyone – “contemporary music”, emerging artists, and trying to draw from those people, those bands. That’s more what we’re trying to do. A big influence on our guitar sound for a while was A Place to Bury Strangers, and that’s definitely from Henrik. You see him play, he looks very cool but the sound is like [makes the sound of static]…

Henrik/The Foreign Resort: Oh absolutely, I’m very much influenced by A Place to Bury Strangers. I use some of their pedals, too, from Death by Audio. The FUZZ WAR pedal, we like to disguise ourselves behind a lot of…noise.

Mikkel/The Foreign Resort: Yeah, shoegaze is a major influence on our sound. Double reverb, double delay and more reverb, and everything on…a friend said “basically your guitar sounds like a keyboard”, and I was “yeeeah, I guess so!”.

Have you seen My Bloody Valentine live?

Mikkel/The Foreign Resort: Oh yes.

You came out ok afterwards, right?

Henrik/The Foreign Resort: They were very, very loud.

Mikkel/The Foreign Resort: With earplugs, right?

They are probably one of three or four bands I’ve seen, and will probably never hear louder. They are a physical experience, more than anything else.

Mikkel/The Foreign Resort: Yeah, even though I was wearing earplugs, it comes through your body, like being hit in the chest, from the loudness of the sound. But it’s great, I love it!.

Bands that make that kind of physical force, my wife goes “er, no, that’s not happening, I’m not coming along to that”. But there’s something really exhilarating about it. I’ve seen Sunn O))), the doom band, I’ve been right down the front, in front of the vocalist in a big venue, with 27 cabinets behind them, and there was this terrifying hum coming from the cabinets before they start, and you’re like [deep breath]…ok!

And ninety minutes later you come out, and “well, that was like being boxed in the head…”. You could feel it in your gut.

Mikkel/The Foreign Resort: They played at a local venue in Copenhagen. Were you there?

Henrik/The Foreign Resort: No, unfortunately not, but I would have liked to.

Mikkel/The Foreign Resort: Apparently was as loud as hell.

Henrik/The Foreign Resort: Does something to your guts.

So you’ve made quite a name for yourselves, and you’ve played North America quite a lot as well as Europe now?

Mikkel/The Foreign Resort: Basically, long story short, back in 2008, I met a friend from Modesto, California, ended up playing a show with him and his band, and I realised that you can just hook up with a band in a certain city, and if you do that times whatever, in however many cities you want to play in, you can do a tour. So we started doing that, back in 2009, and we played a lot of shit shows, for like two people.

We played one show in Los Angeles, remember that?

Henrik/The Foreign Resort: The bowling?

Mikkel/The Foreign Resort: Yeah, the bowling alley. We played for just the band that we played with, and the only reason that they stayed was because we borrowed their backline. So it sucked, but we’ve been building an audience all the way from the bottom, and it’s taken some time.

More locally to you – in London, at least before all this happened, post-punk bands were the thing, even visiting bands like the ones from Russia and Belarus that have been coming over here and making quite a noise, then the American bands, and the European bands, and everyone wants to see these bands, because they are the cool live bands to see right now, and there seems to be a never-ending stream of them. Is it the same in Copenhagen, or is the style different there now?

Mikkel/The Foreign Resort: Post-punk as a genre has been dead for some years, and I was complaining for some years, that I want to go to Germany – actually the reason I toured the ‘States was that Denmark sucked. But over the past two, three years, the scene has changed, mainly because some bookers got their eyes up, and were able to promote well, put on some good shows, and get some good bands, and promote them well. And so people started coming out, so there’s actually a pretty good scene now.

When we stopped for Corona in March, things were actually doing pretty well here in Copenhagen. It’s a good stop for Swedish bands travelling down to Germany, it’s a good stop here in Copenhagen. The dark scene is actually thriving here in Copenhagen right now.

We’ve been worried over the past decade or so that maybe the scene has been starting to die out. There weren’t the young people coming through that we were seeing before, and there seems over the past five years or so, that has reversed. We’ve started seeing the scene being revitalised again, and no-one can quite work out why. Because the internet was expected to kill it, and none of us go out clubbing as much as we used to, but more people go to gigs. It’s kinda strange

Henrik/The Foreign Resort: I’ve been wondering about that as well, but you do see an 80s influence, a 90s influence, in the sound as well, branching out a bit to sounds that kids may not have heard the first time around, but become interested in post-punk anyway.

Maybe they are the children of the people that were going to post-punk shows in the first place…

Mikkel/The Foreign Resort: I feel really pleased by seeing it. You had the ageing crowd, which is us, but you also see all these young people. Henrik said to me, maybe people are making more experiments with the genre, and that appeals more to the younger generation, or to more people, or whatever. Maybe post-punk has got a bit more “pop”, I don’t know.

I think you may be right. I think we’re in a time where people are more willing to experiment, more willing to open their minds a little bit? We did go through a period where it was like “Oh god, not another band that sounds like this band again”. It wasn’t just in the post-punk sphere, either, industrial was broadly in a terrible place from about 2002 to 2012. You know, it was all the same thing, bands with “goblin vocals”, harsh beats and lots of terrible samples…

Mikkel/The Foreign Resort: Goblin? You’ll have to explain to me, what are “goblin vocals”?

“goblin vocals” are those really harsh vocals where they are hissing into the microphone…Yeah? You know exactly the kind of thing I mean, right? That’s all that there was in the clubs for years, and it was just like, a number of us were like, really, is this all there is? Sure, the last decade has been a return to the Coldwave sound and a lot of the older stuff, but they’ve got fresh ideas, much as in what you guys are doing – taking bits of shoegaze, taking bits of this, because there is a fresher sound to it. And it means that you guys can be interesting by taking a sound that maybe we already know.

Listening to the recent album again just yesterday before talking to you today, I was like “yeah, this is a really good album”. There’s some really interesting things going on, and elements that really caught my ear again, that maybe I needed that bit of time before I went back to it, because you listen to a lot of music, right? You go “yeah, that’s cool”, and then you come back to it and go “why didn’t I listen to this more the first time”? Getting sent as much music as you do when writing about it means that you’re always going to miss something, and it’s a tough call.

Mikkel/The Foreign Resort: Maybe our music is not, easily accessible?

Potentially? I think though that you’ve got some good hooks in there, and it is accessible, but it’s about trying to get your name out amidst…when there’s so much music now out there. There’s been an interesting debate from a couple of artists I know, about the use of Spotify, for example, but I find Spotify really important, because it allows me to discover stuff that I would never have otherwise discovered. I can rely on friends to help me discover stuff, but sometimes I won’t catch a band until I see them on a Discover List, where it’s “here, listen to this” and I’m like “Oh, ok then”, and we need to use the technology, maybe.

Mikkel/The Foreign Resort: I’m all for it. I listen to American College Radio, and I’m not using Spotify, I’m using Deezer, but I do try to go along with the recommendations, the suggestions for you and all that, and it works OK, but I would say that my favourite shows are the morning shows in the US on College Radio, they provide me with more than anywhere else.

Listeners, you heard it here first. Try American College Radio online.

Mikkel/The Foreign Resort: There’s Cambridge, there’s KEXP, there’s a lot of them.

On that note, hopefully we will see you at Infest in years to come. Infest is a friendly place, and bands that come to it always seem to come away with a smile, saying “this is a really cool festival”, and maybe doesn’t have some of the attitude that other festivals that I’ve been to have, the snootiness, going “I Am Goth, I Am Important”…

Mikkel/The Foreign Resort: I’ll be wearing some makeup, I’ll be wearing a badge, too, that says “Not Even A Real Goth”.

My wife has one of those, too!

Mikkel/The Foreign Resort: That goes back to the whole post-punk genre. I kinda see it as, if you look back to what, ’92, the indie genre, that was confined to just certain bands in the beginning, by the mid-90s everyone was indie. Right now, everyone is post-punk, and it’s kinda become this thing that everyone wants to be. But if you look at the positive side, it actually makes the genre more accessible, and more interesting. You see so many aspects of the same genre, bands exploring this, bands exploring that, but the roots are this post-punk thing, and that’s actually pretty cool, and that’s the way I see it. That’s why I keep looking through the genre post-punk, as “Ok, I’ll listen to it again”, as it won’t be another band sounding the same again, like you explained with the industrial genre. There’s a lot of different things.

See, we have positivity in this. We might listen to dark music, but hey, we’re positive at heart.

Anyway, we must wrap up at that point, thank you guys for coming along, you’ve been The Foreign Resort, and tell us about your latest release, I recall you’ve recently released a new EP, is that right?

Mikkel/The Foreign Resort: Yeah. Last year was Outnumbered, the full-length, and then we’ve just released The Rabbit Hole EP. Basically it’s three cover tracks, and then one track that we released for a blog in Boston some years ago, so it’s all songs that we remixed and remastered. It wouldn’t have happened without COVID-19. We would have been on tour, we wouldn’t have had time for recording.

Entirely fair. Thank you guys for joining me, and go to theforeignresort.bandcamp.com

Mikkel/The Foreign Resort: …or you can go to theforeignresort.com and find everything there.

There’s your advertising. We’ll hope to see you at Infest in future years.

Mikkel/The Foreign Resort: Thank you!

The Foreign Resort’s latest album Outnumbered and The Rabbit Hole EP are out now on Artoffact Records.

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