Broke Ass Band Interview: Asteroids Galaxy Tour
Hailing from Copenhagen, these great Danes have been experiencing quite a hot streak. You may recognize their song, “Around the Bend”, from a recent iPod commerical, or “Hero” from everyone’s favorite guilty pleasure, Gossip Girl. Their self described alt-pop sound comes alive when they have their backing band that consists of a six-piece horn section and dynamic duo Mette Lindberg and Lars Iverson. After wrapping up their U.S. tour promoting their new album Fruit, I got a chance to chat with their sprightly front women, Mette , at the Tribeca Grand Hotel before they shipped off to Europe for the second leg of their tour. Who it seems, like all Scandinavians, has impossible bone structure and a serious optimistic streak.
Laura S: What’s your favorite way to kill time on tour, what do you do in your downtime?
Mette Lindberg: I like the walk the streets and have a cup of coffee and feel the local mood. Watch how people are social, observe the social code.
LS: What’s New York’s social code?
ML: Everyone’s aware of each other. I feel like when you walk into the ladies room everyone says Hi. I feel like a snob sometimes because I’m shy by nature. Where I come from you’re in your own space. Everyone [here] says 'œhow you doing?', and where I come from no one says 'œhow you doing?'. They’ll ask it on the subway and people will respond “Well let me tell you , fucking bad day'. That’s a social code. I also feel like in America people compliment each other. They feel free to say hey you look good, nice dress. Even the girls, and girls can be bitchy sometimes but here they’re like hey you’re cool man, high five. But I like it, it’s spreading a good vibe.
LS: Where in States would you love to stop on tour, that you’ve never been to?
ML: I think that there are so many states, and the U.S is a big landscape and I know it’s very different state to state. For me, a lot of it is like in the movies I watch. I’ve never been to the U.S until a year ago, sot it’s cool to experience on my own. But I actually feel like when I watch a movie, doesn’t matter, it could be a hillbilly somewhere being crazy or the New York skyline. It kinda tells the truth, for me at least. I’m from Europe so I only know what I’ve been watching. I would love to go across the U.S on a tour bus and experience that
LS: Think you guys will ever strike out on a bus?
ML: Well you have to be really popular to do that, it’s expensive, you need people to go to your shows, but we’d love to go everywhere. I really love New York, it’s so big, an international mix, and you can get everything. I also really enjoyed California. We went to California earlier this year. We went to L.A, San Francisco, it was a really good vibe.
LS: Yeah it’s really laid back there, everyone’s in a good mood.
ML: Everyone’s really dressed up there [LA], you got the boobs, the lips, and high heels and tiny shirts in a very free sexy way. It’s just completely different from the cold north (laughter).
LS: Sweden is known as a huge pop music export, what kind of music is Denmark known for? What’s popular right now?
ML: It’s a tough question, most people they know Aqua. 'œI’m a Barbie girl in a Barbie World. They’re actually having a greatest hits album out at the moment
LS: I didn’t even know they had more than one?
MS: Oh yes, they’ve made two records and had many hits. Really good pop hits actually. Commence singing various Aqua hits'
LS: You guys can be the newest Danish export.
MS: Yeah, oh we also have Junior Senior, great pop music, and the Raveonettes. My boyfriend used to play in the Raveonettes as bass for a couple of years. We did a cover of theirs for a compilation album, “Attack of the Ghost Rider”
LS: I heard you have a soft spot for Pfunk and soul music, and I love your cover by Marvin Gaye, can we expect any more soul covers in your future?
ML: Some radio stations will ask you to do a cover, and we’re like hell no. We would like to play our music. Playing covers can be cool, but you have to make it your own otherwise it makes no sense. I mean, I like jazz music, and the jazz music scene is like please keep the music alive, keep playing it. In pop and rock, it’s always you have a hit, and then a year after it’s someone else having a hit. And then it’s dead. It’s just really good music lying there, If you have jazz classics, and jazz music in general, it kind of still lives. Some of the guys in the band go out and jam in jazz clubs with their bras on their back.
LS: Ah, very different (laughter)
LS: Given the pretty inventive recording set-up you had in Lars apartment, it seems like you’re good at working with meager means, would you take that same approach for next album, or will you head to the studio in some exotic location
ML: I think for me it doesn’t matter if it’s a studio or a corridor. Even though we recorded it [first album] in a small small apartment, with only one room, Lars had a really cool set-up. He actually built a new studio and we’re recording the new album. Always moving on. And of course we’re gonna add some new instruments because it’s been awhile since we recorded the first one and of course you change. It’s like girls you know, they like heels this year and then no heels next year.
LS: It’s like when you look at old pictures of yourself and you’re like what the fuck?
ML: You know, when you’re an artist you live with what you did for years
LS: That’s true, how do you keep the music fresh?
ML: When you play live it’s a good thing, you just play it as you want to, and make it fresh if you want to. This year we played so many different shows but the same music, and since we play everything and we don’t have backing tracks, or choreography, we just do it how we feel at that moment. I think that kinda makes it fresher.
LS: I’m assuming this isn’t your first time playing New York, what’s your favorite bar/venue here in the city?
ML: I’m sorry to say I haven’t had much time to go out. I went out with Nicky Digital. He’s always filming our shows, I’ve been out with him a couple of times, some crazy places, really strange things going on….
LS: How was playing SXSW? Did you eat lots of barbecue? Any American food you’ve grown fond of?
ML: I don’t know about American food. For me American food is burger. And I feel like American food is not healthy. I’m sad to say it, it’s all about really big portions, coca cola, and the meat and greasy stuff that’s what you get. But then again I’ve had some good burgers. And I love barbecue, I love my Dad’s barbecue, it’s definitely not like here. And when I was in Texas I didn’t get a chance to get one good meal, I thought everything was kind of crap. Maybe it was too touristy.
LS: Most musicians are forced to juggle jobs until they 'œcatch their big break', what was the last job you had and if you weren’t performing for a living, what would you be doing?
All of us, and me and Lars, have been playing music for many years, playing in different bands, different projects, and now we’re here with the AGT, and it’s the first time we wanted to go all the way and give it everything, and to go over the borders outside of Denmark and just experience the world. Meet people, spread love, (laughter) When I was younger I wanted to be an engineer, my Dad was an engineer, and I’ve worked with children many years in a youth club, and I worked as a bartender many years and I used to do the dishes at the hospital, so I’ve done many many different things. I’ve done it all! I never went to the university, I never studied music. I studied life I think.
LS: What’s your advice for other musicians, busting their ass trying to make the big time?
ML: You know what I really think, and it might sound stupid or selfish kind of, but I feel that you have to look, no matter what you do, you have to look inside yourself and ask yourself am I really good at what I’m doing? You know many people are just like, 'œI just want to be famous', for what? You want to be famous? That’s the worst thing about being an artist. Are you even good at something? Do you have a good heart? Do you have something to tell people? I think it’s very important to believe in your self no matter what, and if you dare to believe in yourself, then give it all you got.