By Patrick Kigongo. Patrick is in the band Ra Ra Rasputin and will be playing with The Foreign Resort this Saturday. So we asked Patrick to interview The Foreign Resort.
The Foreign Resort are a Danish band based out of the beautiful city of Copenhagen. Having just released a new album, New Frontiers, they’ll be touring their way down to SXSW this month. I caught up with singer and guitarist Mikkel B. Jakobsen while he and his bandmates were packing up and preparing to fly to Newark Liberty International Airport.
FYI: You might could wanna buy this man a beer. Or several.
Congrats on the release of your album New Frontiers. While scanning the credits, I noticed that you worked with John Fryer (Cocteau Twins, This Mortal Coil, NIN, and our NYC buddies, Dead Leaf Echo). What was it like having someone of that caliber helping with the delivery of the record?
John was cool. Very efficient and very relaxed at the same time. We set aside 10 days to record the album, which was more than enough, thanks to his method of working.
You could definitely feel a kind of awe. This was the guy who produced and worked with some of our heroes! So we totally trusted him on the decisions he made, e.g., making me sing through a microphone from 1948. It was a huge old chunk of metal and pretty lo-fi, but it worked great with the album’s sound!
Now, Denmark is a country that regularly ranks high on national happiness and comfort surveys. But what are the things that you dislike about living and working as artists in Copenhagen?
Copenhagen is pretty cool, but it’s a pretty small place (550,000 people) to have a creative life. You also have to consider that Denmark only has a population of 5 million.
People are pretty grumpy here, though. The citizens of the happiest nation on earth really hate each other. We’re indeed a very impolite people, especially when compared to Americans. That’s why we keep coming back to The States. You guys rock! Our song “Torch It” is about Copenhagen.
Thank you for the high compliment, boss. You guys have toured the US several times since 2009. What American junk food is your guilty pleasure?
One word: Burgers! You guys are the best at making burgers! And that’s at most diners and burger joints, whereas in Europe a city like Copenhagen or Berlin will only have a couple of decent places.
How did you end up on Chicago’s BLVD Records? Do you work very closely with your label or are they hands off?
BLVD are cool folks. We had our eye on them for a while and then met up with Melissa (from the label) when we played in Chicago in November 2013. They’re releasing our new album on vinyl and CD and let us do pretty much what we want.
…and one more question about, ‘murica! I’m a bit of a gearhead and it’s a real privilege hunting for musical equipment here in the US. I’ve met a lot of international acts who freak out at being able to buy quality equipment at dumb low prices. Have you ever found anything here in America that made you very excited to take it home and show it off to friends?
Death By Audio! Both guitarists in our band own the Fuzz War pedal, which amazingly aggressive as fuck!
We do shop around for pedal now and then. I got my MXR Carbon Copy as well as my Line 6 Echo Park in the US. Turning into a trio (the band was previously a quartet) where the bass goes back and forth between the two guitarists, we had to buy a permanent bass setup. So for this tour we’re buying a Boss Chorus CE-3, ProCo Rat, and a Biyang Time Machine delay pedal. It’s always exciting getting new pedals and hear how they affect the music!
In all your time on the road, who are the three best bands you’ve ever played with and why?
We’re gonna end up offending someone here by not mentioning them! We’ve played tons of cool shows and met the most amazing people, but here are three bands who come to mind:
Nightmare Air. We played several shows with those guys in Denmark, Germany, and the US. They’re just cool, friendly folks who know how to party and still get up and get things done. That’s the combo we appreciate!
The Bellwether Syndicate. We toured the Midwest with them in November 2013. Kickass tour that was a bit more structured than we’re used to. So while we could lean back in the van relaxing, having a couple more beers than usual, they would also kick our asses out of bed in the morning and back on the road.
A Place To Bury Strangers. We played with them in Denmark and Germany a couple of years ago, back when J Space was the drummer. Great people, partying band who drew a crowd that loved our music too which helped us a lot, both in Europe and the US.
Sounds like you guys like to hang out on that late night tip. Do you have any stories about your friends (and mine) Screen Vinyl Image?
Last time we hung out with Jake and Kim we got hammered in New York at Ding Dong Lounge. We don’t get to meet so often but it is always fun! I don’t think I have a cool story, but SVI are awesome! We should meet more often, but we’ll see them this Saturday, when Jake DJ’s our show at Velvet Lounge.
What about your fellow Danes, The Raveonettes
(While touring with them in 2011) we hung out, but it was pretty laid back. No binge drinking or partying.
Do you ever tire of comparisons to them or do you see them as an advantage?
I thing they’re an awesome band and if anyone thinks we sound like them, that’s fine with me.
Since Washingtonians love all things Scandinavian, could you please recommend some cool Danish bands for us to obsess over?
There’s Ice Cream Cathedral, who we are touring with down the East Coast with right now. We’d also recommend The Woken Trees, Waldo & Marsha, Velvet Mornings and the latest, very gloomy album by Kissaway Trail, which I have been listening to a lot.
Thanks Mikkel! Looking forward to toasting with you Saturday night.
The Foreign Resort will be playing Velvet Lounge on Saturday, March 8 with Ra Ra Rasputin, Pleasure Curses, and fellow Danes, Ice Cream Cathedral. Jake, from Screen Vinyl Image, will be DJing between sets.