Interview: De Underjordiske

De Underjordiske is a psychedelic rock band from Denmark. The band consists of Peter Kure on vocals, Andreas and Kristian Bengsten on guitars, Christian Vind Skibdal on bass, and Thomas Balslev Brandt on drums. De Underjordiske have been touring in Norway, and last Saturday they played their final show of the tour at BLÅ in Oslo.

I got there in the middle of sound check, and shortly after I was able to ask them a few questions. We sat down right outside BLÅ next to the river, Akerselva, for a little chat.

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©Else Solheim

De Underjordiske and the music
The brothers Andreas and Kristian Bengsten always wanted to play music together. But according to Andreas they can’t really sing, at all.

– I met Peter. He sang a little for us. We thought his voice was a bit funny, but still nice and unique. Then Thomas and Christian joined, and then we became a perfect circle. They are both experienced musicians, so in the beginning there was a mixture of experience and new-beginners.

The root of De Underjordiske’s music is inspired by bands like Echo and the Bunnymen, The Black Angels and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.

– We are inspired by music and the life that surrounds it. The way of playing rock music – a certain aesthetics and romanticism, Thomas adds.

The vocalist Peter has written all of the lyrics. His starting point was based on seeing live performances of Thomas’ and Christian’s former bands. The inspiration came from their universe.

– The Woken Trees are very mythical. It was a natural place for me to start. However, that form of lyric is very rare in Danish, nearly non-existent.

Life on tour
What the Danes like about Norway is the nature. After their show in Bergen they rented a car to drive to the next city, further south, to Stavanger. What surprised them where that no one on the road stuck to the speed limit.

– Everyone drove too fast. We’ve always thought of Norwegians as law abiding citizens.

Other than being surprised by law-breaking Norwegians, like everyone who is visiting Norway they say it is expensive here. A cliché, but it is true.
The highlight of the tour seems to be people who showed up to their concerts and digging their music. They loved Hulen in Bergen, and for De Underjordiske Hulen was an epic experience.

– If we look at Scandinavia and the language, Denmark has always been the grim and awful language. I think it is fantastic that we can sing in Danish, and that the audience enjoys it.

Thomas can’t see any downers by touring. Isn’t all of it great? he adds. Then bass-player Christian shares his worst moment of touring:

– We had played at Eurosonic in Groningen. I had forgotten my passport. So when I was about to fly home, they would not let me. So I had to drive the whole way back to Denmark.

When De Underjordiske played in Trondheim both Andreas and Kristian had taken ill. With high fever and all the hell that comes with it. But they pushed through. A little fever won’t stop them from playing.

The dream is to one day play at Orange Scene at Roskilde Festival, or at the exclusive Duna Jam in Sardinia.

During touring they have always been greeted with open arms. However, it is weird to sing in a language that no one understands in the middle of the Netherlands. They played in front of 600 people who did not understand a word.

– It’s like singing to a door somehow. But they enjoy the music.

The future and the concert in Oslo
Next week De Underjordiske are going to stay at a cottage on the island Rømø. Here they will be making new music, but also enjoy the nature and chill in the sauna.

– There is much birdlife close to the Wadden Sea. We might as well make a song about a seagull or something. Thomas says ironically.

For tonight’s show at BLÅ the guys in De Underjordiske have high expectations. Mostly for themselves.

– We played really well the last time we were in Norway. We reached a level that we would like to maintain. We also expect that the people who are coming are open to our music. But most of all, we expect the best from ourselves.

De Underjordiske have met so many wonderful people throughout this tour and have become very fond of Norway. After meeting them and experiencing them live, I truly love De Underjordiske as well.

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