This year’s SPOT Festival brought out the stars in force. While our own Mixed Tape team scoured the stages for the latest discoveries, Danish newcomer band The Eclectic Moniker enjoyed a rare VIP experience
Mercedes-Benz chauffeured the combo – and their fans – right to the gates of the Aarhus festival site in a special luxury tour bus. For the seven-piece band from Copenhagen, this might be filed under everyday madness, but the lucky fans that made it on board – and got to chat or jam with their smart and funny heroes during the six-hour journey – considered this road trip the ultimate jackpot. We, too, decided to make the most of the cross-country experience and asked The Eclectic Moniker some burning on-road questions between motorway, service station and sound check.
At the same time, this rock ‘n’ roll overland trip proved a great start to the weekend’s main musical mission: Thanks to its excellent selection of acts, the SPOT lures connoisseurs from all over Europe with boutique bands and two whole days of intense gig hopping. And the festival’s acoustic surprises just kept on coming, starting with electro duo The Raveonettes who celebrated their 10-year SPOT Festival anniversary with a rocky assault that left their audience speechless. It was a worthy culmination to their extended trip – now exiles in Los Angeles, the two braved hours in transit to grace their native shores with this stunning performance.
Just in time, we made it over to Sóley’s stage where the singer presented a super smooth rendition of her hit single, Pretty Face. And the Icelandic piano virtuoso did not disappoint – her enchantingly beautiful and evocative sound exceeded all expectations and prompted us to scan the list of her upcoming We sink European tour dates. After the gig, the charming singer gave away copies of her eponymous album, personal dedication included, to anyone who showed interest in her craft. Not to be outdone, Ulige Numre countered with a fabulous concert based around their anthemic hit and Danish favourite Kopenhagen. Rangleklods threw a hypnotic spanner in the works with his synth/bass meanderings while the five guys from Veto did their best to (indie) rock the house. Not to forget the festival’s undisputed local heroes, Reptile Youth, who stirred up a boiling passion with one of their infamous and stage/audience transcending shows – truly fantastic and definitely more than worth it. For them, the SPOT Festival happens to be a bit of a home run as both Mads and Esben used to live in Aarhus. But while their live energy remains unsurpassed, do listen out for the band’s upcoming studio tricks: Their debut album, produced in London under the capable aegis of star producers Mark Ralph (Hot Chip) and Dave M. Allen (The Cure), will be released later this year.
As a visual highlight and welcome counterpoint to the festival’s audio-heavy line-up, SPOT also featured another star: the Mercedes-Benz Style Coupé, placed centre stage in the festival area.
But enough of this musical detour – and back to our cross-country drive. After tour bus capers, interview, photo shoot and an inevitable Rubik’s Cube session, The Eclectic Moniker’s success seemed assured … if it hadn’t been for a final, minor stumbling block: At a brief service station stop, singer Freddy almost got left behind! He took it all with a sense of humour and the band’s characteristic nonchalance.
In their native country, these Danes are hotly tipped for future stardom – and often recognised on the street, although their debut is still in the works. Thanks to their pleasantly exotic, memorable and, most of all, refreshing sound, they easily stick out from the crowd and already populate national airwaves with, for example, their single Easter Island – a spellbinding blend of marimba, rhythm guitar and subtly melancholic lyrics. A song and sound that not only enthrals the bus’s 22 passengers after the band’s long drive, but also eager masses in front of the stage, captivated by the passion and presence of The Eclectic Moniker.
The Eclectic Moniker – what is your name all about?
Eclectic denotes a mix of many things – together they make up a fantastic whole. And moniker is self-explanatory: It means nickname. Freddy was the one who came up with it all. I guess we just wanted a name that Danish fans can’t even pronounce!
There are seven of you in the band – that’s quite a few members in all! How did you all get together?
That’s a long story – we all met online! We found each other on LinkedIn (giggles). To be honest, we have known each other for a very long time. Tobias and Aras, for example, grew up together. And a few of us already met a decade ago, at music academy.
Tell us about your key musical influences. Which ones are essential for your compositions?
All of us listen to plenty of music, but not necessarily the same stuff. When we make music together, it tends to be no specific band or song, but more often different regions from around the world that influence our own songwriting. Five to ten years ago, a lot was happening on the streets of Brooklyn, so the local scene really inspired us. And, generally speaking, there are all those African rhythms, Caribbean sounds, music from China and India.
Which band are you most looking forward to at this year‘s SPOT Festival?
Copenhagen Collab Cooperation as they are friends of ours! They like to reinterpret well-known songs and the result is more than worth it.
If you could take your pick: Where would you like to play live? Do you have any particular stage in mind?
We would love to play on the David Letterman Show! I know it’s a crazy dream, but that is now our goal. It all started out as an absurd idea, but now we think it could be really fun! Oh, and we would love to take our sound to Rio de Janeiro. Our percussionist, Jens, is from Brazil and speaks a lot of Portuguese, which we find very inspiring.
How do you create your songs? Is it a collaborative effort involving every single one of you?
Funny you should ask – we only just wrote a song together and it was a truly great experience. Most of the time, however, it’s Freddy who writes our songs and then we record them together and keep fine-tuning them until they are just right.
And what do you do when you are not on tour or busy doing something with music?
We usually just meet up and hang out together. One of us is already a parent and spends a lot of time with his family. But we all spend plenty of time together.
The Eclectic Moniker’s debut album will be released in June 2012 – a fresh and fitting soundtrack for summer!
Further information on the band: www.facebook.com/theeclecticmoniker
SPOT Festival coverage by Mercedes-Benz Reporter Tori: www.mercedes-benz.com/zeitgeist