THE ROSKILDE SPECIAL
Words and photos by: Jonathan Holst Bruus & Gustav Frich
Welcome to the very first official Knife Magazine x Roskilde Festival feature. Prepare yourself for 14 pages of exclusive interviews and never before seen photos featuring the charismatic hip-hop duo, Fraads, our beloved Baby in Vain, and the finest (black) heavy metal band in Denmark since Mercyful Fate, Slægt.
In addition to the written content, this article also functions as a photo diary documenting our – and the artists – journey at this year’s Roskilde.
Love, Knife Magazine.
The charismatic duo, Fraads, began their musical journey back in 2014 when the two childhood friends, rapper Papa Erotic and producer David Engelbrech Simonsen decided to approach hip-hop with a more challenging, curious and ambitious sound.
This, however, is not where the musical relationship between David & Papa had its infant beginning. Even before the existence of Fraads, the two had in their teenage years been experimenting with various music software and recording techniques such as down-pitching the vocals (due to Papa Erotic’s teenage voice not gone into transition yet).
Since then Papa’s voice grew stronger and so did the virtuosity of the duo – but their experimental approach to hip-hop and music production has remained consistent. This can be heard on their debut release, 1000 Knive (2016), which includes elements from both jazz, traditional hip-hop, modern trap and electronic music.
the EP spawned the underground hit Fraads Sidder Fast I Dit Fjæs, which (along with four other mesmerizing tracks) resulted in a signing with the major label, Sony Music.
Two singles, Heroppe and Farlig Danser have since been released on the label, and a new EP is currently in the works. Besides that Fraads is a part of the Copenhagen-based hip-hop/R&B collective, citadel, which also counts acts such as Blikfang and Hingst – check everything out on the mixtape, Opståen.
We spoke to the lovely duo after their amazing HI-NRG concert at this year’s Roskilde Festival and had a nice Q&A about technical scandals, stage fright, megalomania, and stage babes.
KnifeHow was the show?
DavidIt was a blast. Way better than any of us would’ve imagined. Amazing vibe, amazing sound, amazing fucking everything. It was needed since we played a show in Århus two days ago, which was quite a scandal... Luckily that wasn’t the case today.
Knife A scandal?
Papa eroticWell, it was a technical scandal. Everything was just noise. In a bad way. We had half in-ear, half monitor, so it was impossible to hear anything on the stage during the gig. We literally had no idea what was going on. We had to lie entirely on our intention and how we remembered the songs.
DavidIt was a nightmare, and yeah, we had to feel the tracks – but well, we didn’t feel anything, however, we definitely did that today. Today was completely different. Beyond all our expectations.
Papa EroticIt was insane. I have to admit that I’ve been looking forward to this show for such a long time now so it was great to finally do it.
It was fantastic to play in front of a crowd that did whatever you asked them to – you could ask them anything and they fucking did it! It is possible to control a crowd like that! I learned that during the gig. You can say the most stupid cliché kind of things, and then everyone loves it. You fucking owned them. Take your hands in the air and so on... Do you like jealousy? And everyone is like, “yeah, we love jealousy!”, haha, it was crazy.
KnifeRoskilde is also the type of festival where you can try out all the classics. All the crowd-clichés you wouldn’t do usually.
David Yeah, we’d never done it before, and we may not do it again. At least not in the near future...
KnifeWere you surprised by the overwhelming crowd response? A lot of people were singing along, even to the old tracks and it seemed like they enjoyed every moment, knew every phrase. It was great, but also a bit of a surprise really – especially when you played “Fraads Sidder Fast I Dit Fjæs”.
DavidYeah, I was surprised. The track you are referring to is from our first ep (1000 Knive, 2016), which we made a few years ago. It’s an old song and not even a hit, you know? I only thought a bunch of people knew it, close friends etc., but then it went crazy.
Knife it was the rowdiest part of the concert. There was a real punk vibe going on.
Papa Erotic haha yeah, I seriously thought about screaming, “hva-så-roskilde”. Now I’m glad we didn’t do it, haha.
Our friends, Lyra Valenza (who also played the festival red.) did it. A lot of times actually. It’s extremely tempting to do all of those things – but then you think of all the other stupid stuff you can do – to pour water over the audience for example.
But yeah, it was rowdy. There was also a mosh pit. When I saw it, I thought, “teenagers” but then I saw our mate, the throne, standing in the middle of it all. It was probably him who started it, haha.
Knife Now it’s over and you dominated the festival – but how was everything before the show? How was your mental state? Were you nervous?
David & Papa Erotic Yes!
Papa EroticI was about to die. I’ve been so anxious. Even yesterday. It was full on diarrhoeas. You’re disconnected from reality. You live in another world.
DavidHow did you sleep, Papa?
Papa EroticI slept quite nice actually. My girlfriend came home from Paris last night, so I waited for her and went late to bed. That was really nice. But I didn’t eat anything today. I tried to eat a hindbærsnitte (danish pastry), but as soon as the snitte hit the soft spot between my teeth, was I about to puke. I reached a level where you hate everything and you constantly ask yourself, “what the fuck am I doing? Why are we doing this?”
Everything is pure fucking shit – but then the moment comes, you walk onto the stage and nothing else matters. It’s an indescribable feeling, and it’s the best in the whole fucking world.
David Papa, I think you switch to this mode, where you become like a lion in a cage. You walk restlessly back and forth on the same little square meter – and that’s so anxiety-triggering and extremely scary for me to watch. It freaks me out completely, will he make it this time!? Will Papa ever get to the stage!? But earlier today, when you arrived on that stage, my confidence returned instantly. You came in like a fucking cannon, man!
Papa Erotic Thanks, bro <3
Knife You looked so confident, guys. No signs of insecureness at all.
David I’m really happy to hear that.
Knife What about your live constellation? Have you played with this setup before? It worked really well. Especially with the drum pad. It gave a much more dynamic feel to the music.
David & Papa Erotic That’s Eigil! He’s great.
Papa EroticThe band we played with today is only two shows old actually. The Århus scandal we mentioned in the beginning, and then our release party at Ideal bar. So it’s the second time we play with this constellation.
I was really sceptical about having a drummer in the beginning. We have previously experimented with all kinds of live drums, but it didn’t work out the way we imagined...
DavidYeah, we have earlier on tried out different stuff with acoustic drums. Sometimes something worked, but it always ended up affecting Papa E’s rap flow too much. He couldn’t rhyme the same way as he could as with the electronic productions.
Papa EroticIt just seemed meaningless to use acoustic drums over the preprogrammed electronic beats, which we loved, so I thought: The beats works, so why not play them live? Then Eigil – one of the most lovable guys in the world – joined the band and everything fell into place.
The next thing might as well be a guy who plays samples so we can get rid of all the backing... So yeah, to get someone on board – someone who understands the beats, the music, and the rhythms – that did something special.
KnifeYeah, it gives a more dynamic and organic feel to your live setup.
David Eigil looks magical on stage – and that of course also means something. And yeah, he adds new energy to the band. He’s a part of Himmelrum (experimental rock-band) and has a kind of more loose, almost avant-garde approach to the already existing beats.
Knifewould you like the live band to evolve in any way?
Papa EroticI would like to have a chick on board.
KnifeIn what way?
Papa EroticJust a stage babe or something.
DavidHaha, a stage babe? Why are you saying all this about a stage babe? I don’t think this has anything to do with the band, Papa. It sounds like you just want some ladies on stage, haha.
Papa EroticWell, it would be great to have ladies in one way or another. As we have in the choir on Heroppe.
DavidWe have some choir recorded on some of the backing tracks, yeah. That would definitely be cool to do live. But who knows? It would also be cool to have someone on guitar or horns at some point.
papa eroticSome horns from a good stage babe.
knife Boys – now you’ve conquered Roskilde. What’s the next step?
Papa EroticWe’re going to finish our next ep. It’s almost done. I think it will be released at the end of October. Something like that.
KnifeGreat. Any last comments to the media empire known as Knife Magazine? Can you break any secrets?
DavidYeah, I think we can break something? Now I’m going to break a little bit. New tunes – maybe a visit from Iceland... Wait and see.
BABY IN VAIN
The last time the Danish rock trio, Baby In Vain played at Roskilde festival was in 2013. Back then, the triunity was still in their late teens and was during that summer exposed to an enormous hype peaking with their appearance at the festival. The gig was one of the major highlights of the warm-up days and stands out as something truly unique, in which – strangely enough – a big technical failure played a crucial role.
Long story short: the band entered the stage, had a massive applause, plugged in their instruments and was ready to play, but well, nothing happened... or... something sort of happened, but it just wasn’t audible. At least not for the crowd. Nothing came out of the gigantic festival speakers, and the band was forced to leave the stage immediately. This could’ve been the end of a youthful rock dream, but thankfully the tech crew got hold of the situation and Baby in Vain made a terrific return and delivered one of the most memorable rock shows we’ve seen at the festival.
Five years have now passed, and a lot has happened for the trio since the fateful gig in 2013. They’ve been on numerous world tours, gained support slots for legendary acts such as Jesus and Mary Chain and The Kills. Released several critically acclaimed ep’s and last but not least, completed their full-length debut album, For The Kids, which finally came out last year, a record which guitarist/vocalist Lola Hammerich describes as “... a work in progress ever since we played that show”.
We met with Lola Hammerich and drummer Benedicte Pierlioni a few hours before their show at Pavillon to document their 24 hour rock day at the festival and to have a little Q&A about the future, Metallica, and how to stay awake when you’re playing a concert at two in the morning.
KnifeHow are you feeling right now?
LolaI’m feeling quite good actually. I’ve been thinking about this show countlessly over the past six months, but then the festival finally began this Wednesday and my nerves started to fade a bit. I was like, OK, now I’m done with the thinking.
bene I’ve had a hard time sleeping last night...
Knife Why is this show so special to you? You’re a rather experienced band and are quite used to the stage. Why does this show feel different and more important than others?
LolaRoskilde has this kind of home ground vibe and that just makes you more nervous. You know a lot of people in the crowd; friends, acquaintances etc. – but it’s not only Roskilde. It’s more general if you have a personal relationship with the festival or the venue. For example, I was extremely nervous when we played at Vega back in March. I’ve never been that nervous in my whole life. I felt like we had this gigantic family party. My whole family was there, Andrea’s family was there, Bene’s family was there. Everyone was there.
Thankfully we’re playing late tonight. That makes it harder to see and recognize people...
BeneI don’t really get nervous before shows anymore, but with this one... This one just has to be good. Also, it’s two in the morning and that’s also something. We aren’t used to playing that late, so I need to be awake and maintain a lot of energy.
KnifeDo you have any routines to stay awake? It must be hard without alcohol.
Bene Coffee. Lots of it.
LolaYeah, it’s going to be really hard to avoid drinking when it’s so late. It would be terrible to finally get up on stage, and then realize you’ve had a drink too much...
Bene I think I need an Espresso Martini.
Knife Yeah, but well, it can also be horrible to play a show without alcohol...
Yeah, it’s about finding the right balance. We’ve played lots of European shows lately, where we were on at 20 or 21, which is very early for a rock show. Sometimes you don’t really have time to drink.
Bene But now you have too much time, haha.
Knife Last time you played at the festival was in 2013 and now you’re finally back. How does that feel?
Lola It was a good experience. There was plenty of people, good reviews and so on... It went really well, but I think we all have higher expectations this time. Primarily to ourselves. We were a different band back then.
Also, the record has been a work in process ever since we played that show so it feels like an achievement to be invited back. We’re very grateful for that.
Bene Yeah, I think it’s exciting to think about what the turnout is going to be this time.
Knife I don’t think you have anything to worry about.
Bene Well, Pavillon is located close to the camping area, so when everyone leaves massive attack, they’ll hopefully walk by and notice there’s a glamorous rock show going on.
KnifeHave you prepared anything special for tonight’s show?
Bene Can we reveal it?
Lola We talked about having this crazy scenography with a lot of stuffed animals to place around the stage. Unfortunately, we went away from that idea...
Bene But – we’ll bring a massive gold blanket as a backdrop. Then we’ll bring a golden drum set as well.
Knife Sounds like a glam show.
Lola The idea was to make it very glamorous and glorious, but it’s gonna be a little lowkey still. no fireworks...
Knife Do you trust the technique this time?
lola I really hope it’ll be ok!! Maybe we could do a gimmick where we pretend nothing works.
Knife That would be fantastic. What about your recent Metallica cover? Are you gonna perform it tonight?
Bene Yesss. It’s going to be one of the last songs in the set. It may be hard to play the drums of doom so late.
Lola Just play like Lars Ulrich.
Knife How was the response on the Metallica cover?
Lola We played at a festival recently, where an acoustic rockabilly band also was billed. They really liked the cover. The guy I spoke to was a fan of the Metallica version, but he told me that ours was way better. He said it was ice cold, haha.
Bene Gaffa premiered the cover on their Facebook page, and a lot of Metallica-fans didn’t like it.
Lola But Lars Ulrich did! We mailed the song to him. He replied and wrote that the drums were very nice, haha.
knife How does the future look like after Roskilde?
bene Write some new songs and hopefully record them in the autumn.
knife For an album or an ep?
Bene Album. That’s the plan. That’s the goal.
Knife Yeah, you also seem like a more focused band than earlier. Any last comments?
Bene It was nice talking to you. I'm feeling better now.
Knife Will you stay after the show?
Bene We’ll stay and party until 15:00 tomorrow, where we’re going to see a concert at Apollo. The first one who falls asleep loses.
Knife Sounds like a 24 hour rock day.
... and it was. Baby in Vain played an ice cold show in the middle of the night at pavilion. Some came from massive attack and Lola didn’t have a drink too much. We ended up partying together until 15:00 am the next day. Lola, however, fell asleep and lost the competition.
The first time we interviewed Slægt was back in 2015. Their breakthrough EP, Beautiful and Damned hadn’t been released yet, and the project had just gone from being an obscure one-man black metal army to a “traditional” band. A lot has happened since then – and now, it was time for their Roskilde debut.
Darkness had descended on the dusty campsite when the much-adored black heavy metal act met the Roskilde crowd for the first time. We met them for a chat after their dominating tour‑de‑force.
knife Last time, we did this at Oskar’s flat in Nordvest – now we’re backstage, at Roskilde Festival!
knife Let me start by asking you; how does it feel to... be drinking such a massive beer?
Anders Fucking good, man.
Oskar Quite strenuous, it is very heavy.
After a lengthy discussion about the festival gift, a magnum-sized beer reading ‘Slægt’ on the label, we decide to change the subject.
Knife How was it, playing the festival?
Oskar It was alright.
Adam It really was. Better than I expected.
knife Did you have high expectations?
anders I had expectations, though I wouldn’t say they were high.
Olle I had none, I’ve started reaching a point, where I really don’t expect anything.
Knife Did you think of it as ’just another concert’ or did you, have the ’wow, this is Roskilde’ feeling like a lot of other bands do?
Oskar I’ve reached a point, where it’s really just another concert, and it doesn’t matter where the hell you’re playing. That attitude can take the edge of the excitement, but it also makes you think, ’well, this is just another show, so let’s go fucking all in!’
Olle The important thing about that approach, is that you remember that you shouldn’t give more, because it’s Roskilde – you should give it all, every time.
Adam But, there were a lot of people, which automatically makes you makes you feel more extreme.
Oskar But the point is, that what we’re doing on the stage, really shouldn’t change – I mean, it can, depending on the sound, the number of attendances, if we’re playing well, and so on. Sometimes, you’re totally hyped before you go on, and then you play, and its like ’bwaaadrr’. And sometimes full-on.
knife Did you get that full-on, pedal-to-the-metal feeling tonight?
anders It was alright.
knife I noticed, that you didn’t bring the incense and those things.
anders Roskilde festival told us, that we needed to hire a pyro-technician, to bring incense, some candles, and two or three garden torches...
Knife That’s pretty far out?
Oskar You know, I didn’t want the garden torches, I mean... (laughing) who the hell wants garden torches? No, fuck it. It only works if you’re Mutilation. Did you see those old promo-photos, where they’re standing a stairway, corpsepainted, garden-torches in-hand, looking like fucking idiots...?
Anders You have to see this, it's fucking hilarious – down by the artist-check-in, somebody wrote the names of pretty much all of this years acts in graffiti...
Knife And you’re there too?
Anders We were not, actually... but check this out – (pulls out his phone).
Knife Haha – Watain?
Oskar Watain, the dyslexic graffiti-painters.
Oskar The best one is first aid kid – (all laughing)
Oskar The paramedic kid...
Anders We talked about, how it’s probably have something to do with a Produktionsskole (a place where you get a monthly student grant for chilling) – a collab between Roskilde festival, and the dyslexic graffiti painters.
Oskar They’re saying: ’Well, then you can do a weekends work here...’
Knife Did you notice if the crowd tonight was different from other shows – more mixed? I think I got an elbow in the face, from a newcomer...
Oskar Yes, it is what it is. I mean, it’s Roskilde Festival, where the focus is on diversity – just look at their programme, there are all kinds of music, so I’m not surprised. I’ve also been to concerts, where I wasn’t in the ‘target group’, but just turned up and thought it was fucking cool.
Knife How did you approach the set-list for tonight?
Anders Well, we had these two new songs...
knife – which were fucking great!
oskar Aren’t you supposed to talk into this? (Oskar points at the microphone).
Knife They were very catchy, glam-like...
Olle The two new songs are called Satrinitas and VWA – vision, will, and action – and then we played tower and closed with Domus Mysterium.
knife You didn’t play anything from Ildsvanger – is it buried in the past?
Oskar No. Or, in a way it is, but we’ve played ’Her Vil Jeg Dø’ multiple times, and we have also played demo-stuff. On tour, we played ’Månens Dag’.
knife What’s next for Slægt?
Oskar We have done a new record, so that will be out eventually (The Wheel, out on October 5th.) – besides that, we’ll just push it as far as we can, play the places we wanna play, and enjoy it – crawling as far into this space we’ve made, as possible. As long as we can meet in a rehearsal space, and get something out of it, I think we’ll keep going. As long as we have something to say, it isn’t a choice, really.
knife What does it take to capture an audience, with some songs nearing the 10-minute mark?
oskar I guess it depends on whether your songwriting is, well... enchanting might be bit pretentious, but, you see where I’m heading –
knife You seem to have a lot of hooks for a metal act...
Olle Hooks are the most important thing!
Oskar I’m addicted to ABBA, and I really carry that with me – there’s an interview from the seventies, with Björn and Benny sitting in their little cabin in the Stockholm archipelago. It’s in swedish, but it’s really great, and it’s on youtube. When asked about whether they write down their songs, or record them in the songwriting process, they are like; “oh, we’re just playing around, jamming for a while, and then we do the same thing the next day. but if we don’t remember anything from the previous day, then it wasn’t good enough in the first place”. After that, I stopped writing things down and recording them – because if I can remember, then others probably will as well.
knife You’re fond of The Smiths too?
Oskar I am. For me, it’s about writing some good music. We primarily consider ourselves a rock band, playing in the heavy-metal genre. Of course, you can talk about subgenres and so on, but it’s mainly just about writing some good songs. And, as you hear today in one of the new songs- there’s no blast-beats or anything – I mean, there’s that vocal – but that’s just what comes naturally. If i someday decide to do ‘pretty’ singing, then I’ll do it – it’ll take some getting used to, but it really doesn’t depend on that.
knife It seems that you’re embracing a more ambient, experimental thing – in the interludes, and so on...
Oskar If we don’t do things between songs, then I have to start talking, and –
Anders That too, but I mean – we can’t run from the fact that we’re playing heavy- we just can’t – and, as a musician, you want to explore new territories, and right now, that is what feels natural for us to explore. That might change. But we will never get stuck, and that’s an easy thing for a metal band to do!
Oskar That’s what happens if you begin by saying: ‘Okay, we’re playing black thrash, inspired by destruction’. Then it becomes a genre exercise.
Oskar I’ve also written things, that weren’t necessarily made for Slægt, but ended up being
Anders I just went outside to find some friends, and I heard some guys saying, who were like; ’Slægt – they were okay.’
knife To stay in the Roskilde-vibe- what else are you looking forward to seeing?
Anders Your dick.
knife Does Roskilde suck, Anders?
anders: I’ve got a tent, in fucking maniac-country, surrounded by twelve speakers. It’s horrible. But if you’re playing here, you can seek refuge. And, I’ve got a wristband for drinks and a gigantic beer.
... and that was it. The end of our Knife x Roskilde Festival feature – thanks to everyone who took their time and read the article. It means a lot!
A huge thank you goes out to all of the artists who participated in the interviews and posed for photos. A big thank you also go out to Roskilde Festival for letting us in. See you next year!
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THE ROSKILDE SPECIAL