If you were one of those who purchased a ticket for last month’s sell-out Editors tour and managed to get there early, you’re probably already aware of the swathing, histrionic beauty of Danish five-piece The Kissaway Trail.
Originating from the town of Odense, a place noted for its export-based shipping industry and six (semi)-professional football clubs, The Kissaway Trail first came to the attention of DiS at the start of the year when their self-titled debut long player landed on our doormat. Fusing luscious soundscapes with endearingly sweet harmonies, their music has more in common with acts like Arcade Fire and The Verve than anyone particularly associated with their homeland, and having already amassed a growing number of admirers during this summer’s festival circuit, their billing on the An End Has A Start tour is the icing on the cake at the end of what has been an enjoyably successful year.
In just over half an hour’s time, the band will take to the stage for the last night of the Editors tour at Nottingham’s Rock City. Another night: another new set of converts in waiting. Forgetting the pre-show nerves are vocalist/guitarist Thomas L Fagerlund, bass player Rune Pedersen and drummer Hasse Mydtskov, who hold court beforehand with an eager DiS. Fellow singing guitarists Soren B Corneliussen and Daniel Skjoldmose are relaxing next door over a game of table tennis.
With notebook and Dictaphone ready, let’s begin…
Tonight is the last night of your tour with Editors. How has it been in general?
Hasse: It’s been really good, and it is obviously very exciting that we got invited to do the tour in the first place. Thankfully everything has turned out well.
Has the reception from the audiences been as good as you would have expected?
Hasse: Very good, mostly. Obviously we’re only the support band and everyone has come to see Editors, so you can feel that anticipation in the air when you first walk out on stage, and that people aren’t really there to see you.
Thomas: We’ve also had people down the front at a lot of the shows, singing along to our songs, which is great, and we’ve had people come up to our merchandise stall who’ve been aware of us pretty much from the beginning, which is really nice. We had some guys from Manchester who then travelled to the Liverpool date specifically to see us!
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You go on your own tour after this last date - do you think you’ll get a whole new legion of fans who’ve seen you on this Editors tour?
Thomas: Of course!
Hasse: Seriously though, we couldn’t get any better promotion for own shows than this tour.
Rune: I think this year has just been one continuous ‘up’. The response we’ve had from British audiences, both at festivals and with Editors, just makes us even more excited about doing our own tour now. I still think we’re only at the learning stage in some ways, so being able to go back to playing small venues should bring out the best in us. I mean, we’ve enjoyed playing the larger halls, but for us the tiny club circuit is where we’re at, and it also gives us a chance to meet the people who’ve come to see us both before and after the show.
The band’s profile has risen significantly this year. Did you expect things to take off so quickly, particularly in the UK?
Hasse: Not really. I mean, you can’t just expect things to happen straight away, and I don’t think any of us really did. In many ways we’re surprised people like it…
Thomas:…But obviously very happy they do!
Would you say your fans in the UK are more passionate about the music than the ones back in Denmark?
Hasse: Definitely. I think we’ve actually got a bigger group of fans over here, too. I think our sound is very out of kilter with what your average Danish person listens to. Most people we know back home like traditional Danish music, whereas I think our sound is more internationally influenced. I would say that is probably the main reason why we’re getting noticed more over here, because UK audiences can appreciate and understand what we’re doing.
The album has attracted comparisons with people like Arcade Fire and The Flaming Lips, whereas live your sound is a lot richer, and more comparable with the heavier, effects-laden guitar sounds of people like The Verve and Mew. Would you say that your live sound is more representative of what you’re aiming for?
Thomas: Hmmm…that’s a tough one. I mean, it’s nice to be mentioned in the same breath as all of those bands, but I don’t think we’re really aiming towards anything in particular. We recorded the album exactly the way we wanted to, and I don’t think any of us is disappointed with the results. When we play live it feels exactly the same, and although there may be different levels of sound between each, I don’t see us as treating one different to the other.
Rune: I don’t think we’re smart enough to act anyway!
Thomas: Yeah we are, but we don’t want to.
You’ve been playing the majority of the songs from the album for some time now, and you’ve been on the road for pretty much the whole of 2007. Have you found time to write any new material?
Thomas: Yes, we’ve actually got a new song in the set this evening. It’s inspired by all the things we’ve seen and people we’ve met on tour so far, so I guess it’s quite appropriate in that sense.
Hasse: It’s been a busy year for us though, and although we’ve got lots of ideas for new songs where we go with them next depends on how they sound once we’ve recorded them…
Thomas:…Which we hope to lay down after the November dates.
Rune: Sometimes we just go back to the hotel and write. We’re pretty hard working even when we’re on tour.
Have you any plans for the next album, either in a musical direction sense or even knowing which of the new songs are likely to feature on it?
Thomas: No, we won’t be deciding that until the New Year. We’ve had a few discussions and we’re putting the finishing touches to one or two new pieces but it’s difficult to say at this stage how the finished product will end up.
Rune: I think we’ve got a lot of new ideas in terms of the overall sound rather than musical direction. We want to develop a fuller sound using layers and different instrumentation.
Hasse: I think Rune’s right. It helps to be prepared in some ways.
Video: 'La La Song'
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Your debut album was produced by Niels Hog, a relatively unknown producer from your hometown. Will he be involved in the next record or do you have someone else in mind?
Thomas: We’ve always got ideas for producers and engineers in mind, almost like a wish list, but again at this stage we’re not really that sure who would suit us best.
Rune: With the current album, we had more of a production role than Niels to be fair; he was more of a technician, and we actually produced the record ourselves. I think the main reason I’d want to use a different producer on the next record is because I don’t want it to sound like this one.
Were you satisfied with the results of that first record?
Thomas: I think if we weren’t then that would be a major problem because for a start we wouldn’t be here now. If the songs hadn’t been good enough for us then there’s no way we’d have forced them onto an audience.
Hasse: I don’t think you can ever be completely satisfied to be honest. It’s like you were saying earlier that some of the songs sound more expansive live, and I think that’s because the more we’ve been playing them live the more they’ve developed. I’m happy with the record and I really like all of the songs but listening back there are bound to be certain things which I’d probably change if I had the chance to.
Rune: That’s true. I think we’re all pretty focused as individuals and we all know that there is room for improvement.
Thomas: I think the band has grown together more in a personal sense too from when we made the record. We’re more in touch with each other as people now and I think that makes a big difference.
Which are your favourite songs off the album?
Thomas: I think I’d have to say ‘Forever Turned Out To Be Too Long’ because it was the first song I wrote for the album.
Hasse: Mine’s definitely ‘61’.
Rune: I’m more into the rockier moments on the record so I’d have to say ‘In Disguise’. We all like different kinds of stuff outside of the band which is good because then you get a whole load of influences coming into the songs. What’s yours?
‘La La Song’, without a shadow of doubt! Although it was released as a low-key single earlier this year, will it be coming out again now your band are more widely known?
Thomas: We’ve been talking about it but… I don’t know. I know Bella Union wouldn’t mind if we did put it out again as it’s the song they’ve had most positive feedback about as well.
Hasse: We had (new single) ‘61’ played on BBC1 the other day apparently.
Finally, there seems to be a glut of talent emerging from the Scandinavian countries of late, with the likes of yourselves, Cut City and Love Is All. Would you recommend anyone else that we should be looking out for?
Thomas: The Figurines. I think they may have just been signed over here in the UK but they are one of the most original bands to come out of Denmark in a long while.
Hasse: And don’t forget Mew. They’re supposed to be releasing a new album shortly and by all accounts it will blow your mind!
The Kissaway Trail’s remaining headline dates are as follows:
13 London 93 Feet East
14 Liverpool Barfly
15 Manchester Roadhouse
16 Sheffield Leadmill
17 Aberdeen Tunnels
18 Glasgow King Tut's
19 Newcastle Cluny
Their self-titled album is out now on Bella Union Records (review here) and the single ‘61’ is released this week. Check out the video above. For yet more information on The Kissaway Trail visit their MySpace
Photo: Sarah Kane