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Danish festivals turn up the competition with new reveals

As Danes prepare to turn their calendars to December and hunker down for winter, the summer music festival season is just starting to heat up.

Danish festivals turn up the competition with new reveals
Arcade Fire will return to Roskilde Festival for their first show in a decade. Photo: PR
Both the Roskilde Festival and NorthSide have made some major announcements this week, turning thoughts from the long and cold months ahead to what awaits us on the other side. 
 
The Aarhus-based NorthSide was the first out the gate this week, announcing on Tuesday that American R&B phenomenon Frank Ocean would headline one of the festival’s three nights in what will be just the singer’s second ever appearance in Denmark and part of his return to the stage after a three-year absence.
 
 
The announcement came on the heels of NorthSide’s major booking coup in the form of Radiohead's first Danish appearance in eight years. One-day tickets for Radiohead’s Sunday night gig at the festival quickly sold out and spokesman John Fogde said the addition of Frank Ocean would undoubtedly further boost sales. 
 
“We are very thrilled to have succeeded in getting the public’s two most-wished names on this year’s NorthSide poster. Radiohead and Frank Ocean are very infrequent guests in this country so it is really crazy that we managed to book them for the same year,” he said. 
 
With the pressure on from NorthSide’s impressive early start, the king of Danish music festivals, Roskilde Festival, responded on Wednesday by adding a full 24 new acts to its line-up, led by Canadian indie rock darlings Arcade Fire. 
 
“Arcade Fire have spearheaded a new generation of indie rock, and they've grown tremendously in terms of both ambition and popularity since their last visit to Roskilde Festival ten years ago,” festival spokesman Anders Wahrén said.
 
 
Roskilde Festival also added R&B singer Solange, arguably best known for being Beyonce’s little sister, American pop-punk act Blink-182 and French electronic duo Justice. 
 
“The acts that we've announced today are from 10 different countries and represent a myriad of different styles. On a larger scale, this sort of diversity is what's so important to us,” Wahrén said. “From Korea's Black String to a trend-setting urban artist like Kano. From a political star like Solange to something heavier like Red Fang, these artists all do something unique in totally different ways.”
 
The two dozen new acts added on Wednesday came just two weeks after Roskilde announced that American rock giants Foo Fighters would visit the festival for their only show in Scandinavia next year. Just under 40 of the roughly 175 eventual acts have now been revealed.
 
The full list of acts added to the Roskilde Festival on Wednesday can be seen here:
 
ARCADE FIRE (CA)
BLINK-182 (US)
JUSTICE (FR)
ERASURE (UK)
THE LUMINEERS (US)
SOLANGE (US)
WARPAINT (US)
BCUC (BANTU CONTINUA UHURU CONSCIOUSNESS) (ZA)
BLACK STRING (KR)
BLOOD COMMAND (NO)
CASHMERE CAT (NO)
JAGWAR MA (AU)
KELLERMENSCH (DK)
KEVIN MORBY (US)
MARGO PRICE (US)
KANO (UK)
MØME (FR)
NEUROSIS (US)
PRINCESS NOKIA (US)
RED FANG (US)
SVIN (DK)
VANISHING TWIN (UK)
VIAGRA BOYS (SE)
WIKI (US)
 
The NorthSide festival will take place June 9th through June 11th in Aarhus, while the Roskilde Festival will be held June 24th through July 1st. Tickets for both festivals are currently on sale.

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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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