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Glorybox

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As some will know, Sally Forth Records is a young and inspiring label in The Netherlands. Glorybox is one of the newest bands joining the Sally Family. This Danish band played on the Brainwave Festival and we had a chat with bass-player Jan-Erik (Je) and drummer Ruben just after their show.

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Interview with: Je (bass) and Ruben Riisager (drums).

Date: January 29th 2000

Where: At the Brainwave Festival in Bodegraven, The Netherlands.

Other Bandmembers: Jan (guitars), Sarah (vocals).

Band's Geographical Home: Copenhagen, Denmark

Discography: Vacuum (1999)

Official Website: Glorybox

Contact Address: Check out their website

Interview By: mpo & Daan Vanweddingen, editor of Solar System

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Last fall you released Vacuum through Sally Forth Records in Holland. Glorybox is from Denmark so how did you get in touch with a Dutch label?

Je: We played Freakstock in Germany about two years ago with our old lead singer and Minco came up and we just talked and had a good time and he said we should contact him later. He just gave me his card and we put it in our pockets and forgot all about it. We went in and recorded some tracks for a CD and some friend of ours came to us and said: "Hey do you know this label called Sally Forth?" and we said "yeah, we've met them." So, we sent down the CD that we recorded and they liked it and took us on.

And that's the same album you released?

Je: Yeah, it is.

How is it to be signed to a tiny label from a tiny country you're not from. People don't know about Sally Forth  in your own country perhaps. So, how is it to be signed to a Dutch label?

Je: It's good mainly because we like the people from Sally Forth. That's our main reason. And of course you can't run a business just by liking people. But we thought they have really good hearts and they have the same visions for the future as we have. So, we toured the States in May last year and we got some pretty big offers and  we turned them down because it didn't feel right. A lot of money involved but we told them "no". And Sally came with not a lot of money so we told them "yes". That's how we work.

What are big offers?

Je: Big offers? I'm not gonna say that (laughs). Just big enough.

 

Okay. The band is from Denmark. I never hear of bands from Denmark. You hear of bands from Sweden, Norway, Finland, Germany. But not Denmark. I'm not familiar with it. So, how is it to be a Christian band in Denmark?

Je: Well, we have Aqua. They're a famous Danish band. And we have another band called D.A.D.. And Kashmir is pretty known here in the Benelux. So, I don't know, to be a Christian band in Denmark is pretty much like being any band in Denmark. Because you play your music and people like it or they don't like it. Even if you're Christian or not. So, it's a matter about music and taste.

Do you have response in Denmark because you're Christians or do they accept it whatever it is?

Je: People respect it because we don't wanna tell people that we're on a mission to save them. But we wanna show them our lives and we want them to look at us. And to see that we love God and we love music and we play music to honor him. And they respect that very much.

Are there big festivals in Denmark?

Je: Well, we have Roskilde Festival which everyone knows. And Midtfyns Festival. But there are a lot of good festivals in Denmark. There is a big and upcoming scene in Denmark which is about time because it's been quite dry for a while.

I've heard the band started out of a love affair or something like that. Can you tell more about that?

Je: Uh, that's wrong.

Right! I've been wrongly informed.

Je: No. The band was started by me and the guitarist so it has definitely NOT been started by a love affair. We met in Los Angeles. We knew each other before but we met in Los Angeles and started talking about starting a punk band. But those plans....We wanted to start a band but punk is just too dumb. And besides, it wasn't what burned in our hearts. So, we just started playing and it slowly evolved into this.

Did you live in the United States?

Je: I lived in Colorado Springs and he lived near Los Angeles and we met three times. Then we both moved to Copenhagen cause we felt that there's where we should be. We met our old drummer and our singer and started playing. Then we changed the drummer and now we have a new singer as well which is Sarah who is married to Jan. So, that's where the love affair comes in (laughs).

Vacuum was produced by Emil Nikolaisen. We know him of the band Royal of course. How did he get involved with the band Glorybox and how was it to do an album with him on the production side?

Je: Well, first of all we're best friends with Emil. That's where the relations come in. On the production side: It was great working with Emil because we had some songs that he didn't really change. The only thing he did was to make us play harder on the hard parts. That means...he would stand in front of the drummer while recording the tracks, jumping up and down to make him hit harder. And basically we were a bunch of friends playing in the studio, playing around and we had played our songs so many times live. So we went in and recorded our drum and bass and the basic guitar track in three days. Then we spent the rest of the time adding guitar parts and doing a lot of vocals.

What do you think of the outcome of the production process?

Je: I'm very very pleased because it has one of the best freaking sounds I've ever heard on an album. Two things: The room we recorded in is the best drum room in Denmark. So the drums have a great sound. And (secondly)  the technician is one of the most famous underground rock technicians in Denmark. I mean, he does everything in Denmark. He's great. He fulfilled whatever we wanted him. It was fun. I'm very pleased and I've listened to it for over a year now and I'm not tired of it even though I played it a million times live. And most bands get sick of their own music pretty fast. But it hasn't happened to me. Or any of us for that sake.

I saw you guys at Freakstock. Afterwards I bought the CD. I was a bit disappointed because live it's much heavier then on CD. You said that Emil tried to make it sound harder or heavier. But I think live it's much more...

Je: Well, live we add all kinds of extra energy. I like our songs as they are on the album. I like the fact that people can really sit down and listen to it. And I've been surprised. We never intended it to be a mainstream CD. We still think of ourselves as an underground band. And it's not a CD that is so radio-friendly. But it's still a CD that you can listen to and I find a lot of peace and a lot of hope in the CD. And I think the CD has extremes that a CD should have. And live it's a different animal.

You separate those two things?

Je: Yeah. We wanted to pull off the album live and I just hoped that we are better live. So, I mean...You always change, you always get better, you always find new stuff that you want to add, and you always get more energetic. Playing live is for us a lot about energy because we worship with all that we have. So, either we're angry at the sound, that we didn't get the sound right, or we're praising God and mostly it's about the worship. That's where the energy comes.

Do you see your music as worship music? Because the lyrics are not so clear about the Christian faith.

Je: Uh, I think they are. I hope that Christians will start to realize there are two things that will make people see who Jesus really is. One: The power of God. Two: Real Christians living Christian lives. And we need, as Christians, to express what's going on in our heart. All of the songs are about God. It just takes a poetic mind to understand it sometimes. Digital Lava is very clear. Clearly a worship song is Sunshower. But we believe that everytime we strike a chord and everytime we hit a drum it's worship. Everytime we breath is worship. I hope that we can provoke people to understand that. You don't have to scream "Jesus" from the stage to worship because worship is a lifestyle and if people don't understand that then I think you have a problem.

Another question. As I understand it you come from the United States so how did you get stuck up in Denmark?

Je: I come from Norway. The singer Sarah is from America. My parents have been missionaries in England and in Amsterdam and Holland. They worked with Youth With A Mission. So, I've lived in Denmark for thirteen years and I felt that there's where I should stay. So, that's how I ended up in Denmark.

Are you part of Youth With A Mission yourselves?

Je: Uh, the band: No; Personally: Yes. We try to separate those two things. I think the vision of YWAM is always been: To love God and make Him known and that's what burns in our hearts. But, no, I won't call us a YWAM band because I don't want people to think: "Oh, here comes the missionary band that are too good for us and they know what we need." No, we wanna come and present a living God. We wanna go and worship with what we are and if that's not good enough then we can't do it. I mean, that's where we are. That's as far as it goes.

Do you know by chance the band No Longer Music?

Je: Yes, I'm a big fan.

They started out of Youth With A Mission too I believe. What do you think of their approach?

Je: I love No Longer Music and I have the deepest respect for No Longer Music and I will always have. David Pierce is one of my big big big - not idols but- role models. If you're serious about music and God read The Rock Priest by him. I like their approach. I do. It's just not my approach. I think we all have different approaches, we all have different talents. And God let us use it differently.

Tonight it was less clear but at Freakstock the breaking up of the show was part of the show with the noise and the cassette I remember. Is that part of the whole....

Je: The noise and the cassette-player? The breaking up?

The way of finishing the concert?

Je: Oh, we finish the concert in different ways but we would like to....there's nothing worse then to be pressed with time. When they're threatening to pull the plug.

Lights out.

Je: Yeah, lights out. There's nothing worse because you'd like to continue your expression. And I think the noise in the end...Usually we end with a song that's very mellow and it goes up to a big infernal thing and we have a tape-player that Sarah holds in front of the microphone. We like to end the concert not focussing on us. Not focussing on the band but try to create some sort of Wall Of Sound.   And sometimes the noise is still there but it's still more mellow. I mean, it depends. It varies. Also because our guitarists are very very happy for twirling all the knobs on their effects. It's part of our show. Definitely. Noise can be annoying and it can also be used in a beautiful way and I hope that we know how to do that. At least we're trying.

Do you think of having a certain image for the band? For example, do you think for hours what you're gonna wear on stage and...

Je: No. I mean, we don't plan for hours. Sometimes we throw on a little make-up. I think a concert is fifty percent visual. I mean, personally I enjoy a band a lot more if they have some sort of presence on stage. But eversince we began playing people have always said: "Wow, you guys move around a lot," and "wow, you look weird," or whatever. But it's never been something that we sat down and planned. It just happened. I mean, it's our own personal expression. We can't help it.

That's the way it should be I guess.

Je: Yeah. That's the way it should be for us at least.

What is kind of the music that you try to create on the album?

Je: I think we tried a fine line between experimental rock and rock that's pleasant to the ear. The American audience really liked us.

Did you hear Orange-i?

Je: Haven't heard them yet. They're playing soon.

They're a Belgian band. They are pretty experimental. You should hear them.

Je: Yeah, I can't wait. We're playing with them in Rotterdam. I think that's in three or four days.

Did you play on the Disciple Festival?

Je: We played on D.P. in Norway. We've done that two years.

What is it like?

Je: It's great.

We're planning to go.

Je: It's good. It's a good festival because all the bands are just there to hang out with.

Are there bands from Denmark?

Je: We're the only band from Denmark. Maybe there's gonna be another band next time.

Because the whole Scandinavian scene is there they told me.

Je: The whole Scandinavian scene. I mean, basically, what's beautiful about the Scandinavian scene is we all know each other. There's a group of bands that hang out and we play together and we meet and go to each others weddings and so on. So, it's great. There's some good bands coming up in Norway right now. Some punkbands but also a lot of beautiful bands like C'est Pourqois and another band called Pooh The Pendrulian. And also a band that Sally Forth might be looking at, a band called The Lionheart Brothers. They are really good. Young guys but they're good.

Was that punkrock?

Je: No, it's very emo in a sense.

Okay. You're gonna tour through Holland next month to do some shows and more shows will be filled in with the agenda as the time passes by. Does that mean that you live in Holland for the time or are you just travelling back and forth?

Je: Well, some of us will travel back and forth this month of February. But otherwise we're gonna stay in Holland for a month. Do some recordings and stuff. And we have some good new songs coming up. And we're recording an eighties song of a Sally's Eighties Cover sampler. I think we're staying in Copenhagen but we have a tour coming up in America in May with Viva Voce. So, we're gonna be all over the place. But our home base is in Copenhagen and I think it will always be. At least for a while.

Eighties Cover CD? What song are you gonna perform?

Je: The world is still full of options. It's not been decided yet.

Right. What are your favorites that might come in?

Je: Uh, I'm sure that might be some Sonic Youth maybe some My Bloody Valentine or maybe some Alana Miles. Who knows? The eighties was full of great great artists and I think we'll try to share that as much as we can for that song.

What bands would you like to interview if you had the choice?

Je: I would love to....uh, that's a good question. I like to talk to Damien Jurado. Not interview him. Just chat. I'd love to chat with Damien Jurado because I'm a big fan of what he does. I'm a huge fan of Pedro The Lion but it would be amazing to hang out with My Bloody Valentine and Smashing Pumpkins. That would be cool.

Ruben: I really don't know. I don't have any idols, heroes, like that. Maybe Mozart but he's dead now (laughs).

If you had a time-machine...Get in a time-machine. Travel back in time. If you had a choice to what period would you like to get back to? Mozart?

Ruben: I don't know. I had fun in the nineties.

Je: I'd say right here. The Millennium rocks! Well....why do we call it the millennium? Everything is millennium this, millennium that. I like the nineties. I'm gonna enjoy, I'm gonna thoroughly enjoy the 00's.

Big bands had offers with a lot of money involved to play New Years Eve. Did you play or not?

Je: No, we took that time off. Jan and Sarah just got married and we all wanted to be with friends. My girlfriend was hospitalized. So, I spend New Years Eve near the hospital. But it was fun. I wouldn't be anywhere else in the world. Or playing a gig for that manner.

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