Interview: Choir Of Young Believers


By: Matthew Vega

Wristbands littering the streets? Check. Lines in front of bars you normally wouldn’t go to? Yup. Free booze and superstar DJ sets? Double check. Well, it can only mean one thing here in NY- CMJ was upon us. If you were in New York this past week, chances are you caught a glimpse of, or had tickets to, a CMJ related event. This year brought a plethora of up and coming talent to New York City, all hoping to catch the attention of fans and record labels alike.

One standout show in particular was a personal favorite, Copenhagen nativesChoir Of Young Believers (Ghostly International.) Their last LP, Rhine Gold, was an exquisite work- a combination of visceral lyrics, cinematic soundscapes, and orchestrated indie rock (check out the Spotify stream at the bottom.) After a week of shows in New York, I was able to check in with lead singer/guitarist Jannis Makrigiannis and bassist Jakub Millung at Spike Hill in Williamsburg.

You’ve toured all over the world and you’re originally from Copenhagen. After touring the US, do you find there is a distinguishable difference between the audiences that come to your shows overseas vs. here in the US?

Actually yes, you know I think one of the main things is that overseas the crowds are a bit more stiff, a bit more self-concious. Everyone sort of stands around, arms crossed, but here you find that audiences get into the music more, let themselves go. You can see visually that they’re having a good time. We definitely enjoy the audiences here for that reason.

As soon as you listen to the first track on your latest LP, Rhine Gold, you’re brought somewhere exotic and cinematic. Has traveling to so many countries affected some of the production choices you have made?

Jannis as a songwriter has so many influences and instead of like trying to like go in one direction in order to try please (anyone) or keep some kind of  focus….it’s just a question of like gathering all the stuff you love. Maybe sometimes we’d whatever, listen to some middle eastern music, and you might hear that. The other important thing to say is that we worked with two different production teams from the first album to the second album, and actually they both played quite a part in the creation of that sound. Once we started working with Aske from Oh No Ono and Nis from Thulebasen on Rhine Gold, we would listen to older stuff, 70s vibey stuff like Fleetwood Mac and 10cc. They sort of threw themselves into it, and I think they have a lot of marks on the sound.


Jannis, is songwriting something that comes easy and often for you, or do you need to take yourself to a place mentally in order for the juices to flow?

Songwriting used to come easy to me, until about half a year ago. I’m having a writers block at the moment, so maybe I should…and I’m getting kind of nervous about it…I should go somewhere. I mean I feel very inspired but nothing is coming. I hope it comes again soon!

Do you find that you’re able to write while on the road?

We played one new song today that wich we haven’t recorded and that song is one that we’ve been working on for a very long time. We’ve been working on it while on tour in the the way that weve been practicing it at soundchecks and trying it out and changing things. So I don’t write on tour, but I arrange and kind of work on songs that I’ve written at home. While you’re on tour you want to change the set every night and want something new to happen every night.

What’s next, anything in the pipeline?

We want to go home and record I think- we want to record an EP soon-ish when we’re off tour. So probably around November/December.

Album stream below


The Mixdown: Daphni - Jiaolong

By: Matthew Vega

Dan Snaith refuses to settle for just one: one name, one sound, or one standard. For years, the soft-spoken Canadian has been anything but standard. Trekking around the globe, he grandstands as his various aliases that consist of Caribou, Daphni, and the now defunct Manitoba. If you haven’t heard of him by now, just look at the exhaustive lists of 2010’s top albums, and find that Swim appeared on a solid 9 of them. Or you might have caught the Caribou Vibration Ensemble opening for none other than Radiohead this past spring. It’s also very possible that Snaith’s recent Spin Magazine interview was feed-fed to you, where he concisely explains his disdain for the “EDM barfsplosion” currently saturating pop music. One thing is certain, if you haven’t crossed paths with this artisan purveyor of synth, it’s high time you get familiar.

On October 16th 2012, Snaith intends to release Jiaolong (Merge) under his Daphni moniker, an immersive tour de force of surprising, evolving, and occasionally timeless dance tracks, procured from his desire to push the limits of what the genre can be. Jiaolong ends up as  a serious depart from the “rituals and cliches” in pop music. In a recent interview Snaith said:

The whole point of this music is for it to sound like something unexpected and genuinely live and improvised is happening, so when I was DJing it in a club, people would get that feeling that like: ‘What on earth is going to happen next? We don’t know where this music’s going!

That is precisely the kind of mandate for quality that Snaith’s listeners have come to expect, and for good reason. Snaith is no stranger to the dance floor. As early as 2003, he frequented London record shops and was spending time with Jeremy Greenspan of Junior Boys in Canada, (whom he credits an introduction to Detroit techno,) making music under Manitoba. These are undoubtedly some influences that shaped Snaith’s DJ selections and production technique, earning him top spots on the indie charts and in DJ booths alike.

From this time he’s churned out remixes for Hot Chip, Carl Craig, Sinkane, and Art Department, all receiving the Daphni treatment, not to mention a fantastically curated Swim remix album. These pieces have assisted in securing Snaith as a force to be reckoned with when it comes to all things BPM.

One would assume touring with one of the worlds most recognized bands, Radiohead, has left little time for any superficial side projects such as Daphni, and Snaith has admitted that some of these tracks are, in fact, years old. Most would shy from revealing comments such as the former, however Jiaolong has a worldly, timeless feel throughout, and dates cease to be relevant. Not since Swim has there been a electronic release so full of surprises, so organic in selection, and so meticulously crafted together, that it borders on mechanical. You’re immediately beguiled to keep listening.

The first single, Ye Ye, released in March of 2011 on Text Records, is a pumping, breathy track, sprinkled with a “yeah, yeah” house vocal hit and schizophrenic shakes. This was and was the first release by Daphni through Four Tet’s label. Upon first listen, you’d immediately understand that this is Caribou after hours, and not by chance; Snaith has been hard at work making sure there is a balance of power in all the audible emotion.

An always-humble Snaith explained in a recent interview that these tracks were “created quickly”, dismissing any sort of complex explanation. Quick in this case was not of detriment, and his mastery and control of all things audible becomes immediately apparent when listening to Jiaolong as soon as the first afro-beat sample is looped on Cos-Ber-Zam - Ne Noya. The intelligent house found here is an AMG engine: hand crafted and fine tuned to its greatest potential. 

The lines between Caribou and Daphni at times fade throughout, and comparisons become audible on “Jiao,” a jagged, Mediterranean tinged parade, injected with a smattering of hi-hats and a strong unwavering melody that melts into a percussive rhythmic groove. However, if it’s 1am “club bangers” and “a drop” you’re looking for, you will be disappointed with Jiaolong. This is a record that simmers on the dance floor until it’s a nice golden brown, with flare-ups every so often that remind you where Snaith comes from, and where he wants to go. He thrives at creating tension on stand out tracks like “Light” and “Ahora,” with the latter instantly capturing you with its melodic, reverb laden flute melody. As complex as Jiaolong may seem, it is also very simple and accessible- a valiant, fruitful, and satisfying attempt to bring diversity to the increasingly stagnant state of EDM and club.

Check out the video for “Ye Ye” below by Jane Eastlight


Trust us!


Mikey Burton

Trust us!


Mikey Burton