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MUSIC

Sónar festival ready for Copenhagen debut

For the first time ever, Barcelona's famed Sónar festival comes to the Danish capital. Here are our picks for the weekend's can't-miss performances.

Sónar festival ready for Copenhagen debut
Danish DJ supreme Trentemøller is one of Sonar Copenhagen's must-see acts.
Barcelona's renowned Sónar festival has thrilled millions over the years since its inception in 1994. Billed as an international festival of advanced music and new media art, the brand has grown to become synonymous with Spain's second city, showcasing acts as diverse as experimentalist Four Tet to more well-known musicians such as electronic deity Richie Hawtin.
 
Sónar veers towards the avant-garde and the experimental, as the varied palette of international musicians it hosts reflects. The Sónar brand has also held events in cities such as London, New York and Buenos Aires, exporting its philosophies to various unique venues in these locations.
 
The latest installment on a growing portfolio of international Sónar venues is none other than Sónar Copenhagen, which will take place at DR's hallowed concert house this weekend. A two-day ticket pass will set you back a cool 850kroner whilst one day tickets go for 475 DKK.
 
The Local will be on hand to cover the first installment of the event, which features over 30 different artists on three state-of-the art scenes. Here are our picks for who to see:
 
Trentemøller: This is a no brainer as Andreas Trentemøller is probably the best Danish DJ alive. As a live act, he has played in venues as diverse as Roskilde Festival's expansive and revered Orange Stage to small house parties in his Vesterbro neighbourhood.
 
Djuna Barnes: The founder of Vesterbro's epic Jolene bar and a woman with so much passion for music and life, Maria Gerhardt is also a writer and activist. Her music is heavily autobiographical and anchored in a plethora of influences.
 
Jon Hopkins: Jon Hopkins rocketed to popularity with his 2013 album Immunity, one of the seminal works of this generation of electronic music. Hopkins' sound veers towards the more progressive echelons of the spectrum; a luring lull of centrifugal genius at the outer confines of space.
 
Metronomy: Now somewhat an erstwhile fixture in electronic circles, Britain's Metronomy are at the crossroads of good indie and quirky electronica that's heavy on the instrumentation (they are a class live act).
 
Âme: Kristian Beyer and Frank Wiedemann are a pair of the more seasoned acts on the billing this weekend. Together, they constitute some of the old guard of electronic music and are known for having re-interpreted countless pieces of music from house and techno over the years.
 
Kvame Liv: An upcoming musician in the Lana Del Rey meets Santigold mould, Kwame Liv's EP Lost The Girl is a passport to what is undoubtedly a destiny riddled with fortune for this aspiring talent.
 
Sekuoia: Another upcoming local talent, Patrick Alexander Bech Madsen's music is a blend of the ethereal and the evanescent; dream-weaving in technicolour that'll leave you spellbound with its smatterings of ambient, dubstep and other textured influences.

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MUSIC

The Danish death metal band that became reality TV stars

The Aarhus band Baest is poised for an international breakthrough thanks to a recent documentary and an injection of taxpayer money.

The Danish death metal band that became reality TV stars
Baest is Sebastian Adildsten, Svend Karlsson, Lasse Revsbech, Mattias Melchiorsen and Simon Olsen. Photo: Nikolaj Bransholm
Death metal is a genre defined by growling vocals, blistering distorted guitars and blast beats. The sound is typically accompanied by dark imagery that borders on the downright evil. In a music world dominated by sugary pop and hip-hop, it’s about as far away from the mainstream one can get. 
 
But a young Danish death metal band is upending all of that. The Aarhus-based Baest found its way into the homes of ordinary Danes nationwide thanks to a documentary series on public television that chronicled their attempt to make music their full-time gig.
 
The series, ‘Den Satans Familie’, follows the young band as they leave Aarhus and embark on their first real European tour. It paints an intimate picture of the five members’ relationships, both with each other and the families they left behind while on the road. Baest only formed in 2015, so the documentary captures how members Sebastian Abildsten (drums), Svend Karlsson (guitar), Mattias Melchiorsen (bass), Simon Olsen (vocals) and Lasse Revsbech (guitar) in some ways still seem to be working out how to co-exist, something that's not always easy when crammed inside a small tour van. 
 
The DR3 series meant that these young, long-haired, heavily-tattooed metal dudes were suddenly reaching a much larger audience, including many who were not necessarily fans of their sound but couldn’t help but be drawn in by their personalities and their raw struggle to make it in the music business. 
 
 
But getting featured in a reality TV show wasn’t the only boost for Baest. The band was named 'best new Danish act' by highly-respected music magazine Gaffa, which also declared their debut album Danse Macabre the best metal or hard rock album of 2018.
 
Baest was also granted 250,000 kroner from the Danish Arts Foundation, a state-run fund for supporting Danish arts abroad. The financial boost is likely to come in handy as the young Aarhusians prepare to hit the road again in support of their upcoming second album, Venenum, which is due on September 13. 
 
Following the band’s standout performance at Copenhell, the annual heavy metal festival in Copenhagen, I caught up with guitarist Lasse Revsbech to talk about the band’s whirlwind success. 
 
First of all, I really enjoyed your performance at Copenhell. What was that like for you? 
 
“We’ve never played a crowd that big before, it was amazing. We’ve been building up over the past few years in Denmark, so to see where it’s gotten to now makes it all worth it. At Copenhell, we shared the stage with some fucking true legends. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. It’s insane.”
 
How do you describe Baest?
 
“Baest is an intense band, with high energy and raw power but with an enormous smile.”
 
How did the reality show come about? 
 
“Our manager was in a dialogue with [public broadcaster] DR and they decided to send a crew to cover one of our gigs at VoxHall in Aarhus. We told them we were on the verge of going on this tour and everyone just thought it would be fun to do it.”
 
The metal world can often seem overly concerned about image and authenticity and in the documentary you come across as this group of really nice, down-to-earth guys. Did you have any concerns about how this might affect your image? 
 
“We were definitely nervous about the metal community’s reaction and how things would be edited and presented but fortunately we really think that DR hit the nail on the head. There’s been such a great response. A lot of true metalheads and touring musicians have told us that it painted such an honest picture of the music industry. A lot of metal bands have a hard time with this concept of selling out but we’ve not been told once – not yet, at least – they were are sell-outs.”
 
You also received a grant from the Danish Arts Foundation. Isn’t it a bit crazy that public money is going to a death metal band? 
 
“Haha, it makes you happy to pay your taxes! It’s so Danish! But really, it’s all about people supporting people and it’s something I think other countries should do.” 
 
What are you hoping to achieve with the release of your new album? 
 
“First and foremost, we’re hoping it allows us to tour more. This autumn, we’ll be heading out for our biggest European tour thus far, as main support for an Entombed AD & Aborted co-headling tour. Entombed are one of the pioneers of death metal, so it’s insane to go on tour with those guys. 
 
“Even if the new album doesn’t make us explode, we hope it will get us one step closer to that. We’re a band that likes to dream big, so we want to play on the biggest stages all around the world. Hopefully, this is a step in the right direction.” 
 
 
Baest’s tour in support of Entombed AD and Aborted kicks off on October 18 in London and will take them to 28 cities throughout Europe, including a November 1 stop at Vega in Copenhagen. Venenum will hit stores and streaming services on September 13 and lead single ‘As Above So Below’ is out now. The four-part documentary on Baest is available to stream here.
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