INTERVIEW: Reptile Youth

Their songs have been described as ‘danceable indie-rock’ and their live shows are the most talked about shows in Europe and now, the dancy duo REPTILE YOUTH have put together their highly anticipated debut album.

The album is full of indie goodness with synths drizzled on top, and we talked to Mads from the band about recording the album and what makes it so magical.

What made you want to start a band?

“I don’t know, I guess because it was really fun. At least for me I was thinking, “how can I have the most interesting life possible?” and I was thinking it must really good for a musician [laughs].”

And has your life been more interesting?

“[laughs] oh yeah. It’s been great, you get to go and visit a lot of places and meet very interesting people and thinks like that.”

What kind of music were you listening to as a kid?

Well I listened to a lot of the classic stuff like Pink Floyd and you know stuff like that. That’s where we got a lot of our inspiration from.”

What would be your favourite Pink Floyd song?

“my favourite Pink Floyd album is ‘Wish You Were Here’. I think right now, because it always differs, my favourite Pink Floyd song is ‘The Great Gig In the Sky’.”

What’s the music scene like in Denmark?

“It’s really good. I think there is a lot of good stuff coming out of there now, like music they can record at home, and then they take it out. It’s got a lot of great musicans bands like The Ravonettes and there’s some bands that are kind of like punk, but it’s just a really good music scene. For me it’s like freedom has been a big part of Denmark especially when it comes to music. Like you go around to other countries in Europe and many new bands have come from Denmark.”

How did you enjoy recording your debut album?

“We’d never recorded an album before, so we really had to find out how to do it. It was really nice and also we really liked our producers, like Mark [Ralph] and David [M.Allan] they were like the perect combination. Like Dave recorded albums in the 80s, and Mark the other guys, was more of a younger influence who has worked with Hot Chip and stuff like that, and we just had a great combination of the two. Also in the studio, it was really nice to have Dave, he was rough and we were tearing things apart whereas, Mark was like putting it together again. But it was also hard because we did it over in London and like had a lot of time pressure and like we’d go into the studio and then have a break for like half an hour or an hour and then get back in the studio. And we had all the songs but it was like recording and taking those final positions and also because this is our first album we’ve ever recorded, so you know you need to find out how to do things.”

Do you have a favourite song on the album?

“Yeah I do have a favourite song. For me, it was like different like sometimes we had to work on the one song for a while but yeah, it would have to be ‘Black Swan Born White’ that would be my favorite song on the record, I don’t know why. Which one’s your favourite so far?”

I really like ‘Be My Yoko Ono’

“[laughs] that’s actually one of the song I like the least.”

What does your writing process involve?

“It’s changed a lot since the beginning. At the beginning it was more like, we would have beats and then I was writing songs onto those beats, and some of the songs on the record we written that way, like ‘Speedance’. I was writing onto the beats and then we would like make the changes and that. Most of the songs are written like that on the record but, sometimes we will change some of it along the way. Now it’s more like me coming up with the lyrics and then we meet up and we like write the song together. We sometimes have ideas of what the song should look like and then bring in like synthesizers and that.”

How did you decide which songs would go on the record?

“I think we had like 15 songs, we had more, but we decided to bring 15 songs into the studio, and then it was just about which songs feel right in the studio, which songs work and which song lose the magic in the studio. We agreed most of the time on which ones to let go and which ones to keep, and 10 songs were just shining in the studio.”

How would you describe a regular Reptile Youth gig?

“That’s the thing there is no normal gigs. It’s never normal, we’re trying to find something magical in the shows and I think that’s one of the things that makes it special. Also that we really want to give people something special, it’s a little hard to talk about, it’s hard to describe what we do and why we do it. But I think one of the things that makes us different from other bands is that we just give more.”

What’s the best gig you’ve ever done?

“That’s really hard to answer because it’s hard to have a favourite gig.  I don’t know. It was really special to play at Roskilde Festival, which is a huge festival in Denmark; I think it’s the biggest festival in Northern Europe. We’ve been going there every year for ten years now and then suddenly your standing on one of the big stages in front of like 10,000 people and all of your best friends are there and it kind of feels like coming home. We played there this summer and it was magical. A part from that I think our very first concert was very special, it was in China, it was in Shanghai, and it was in the biggest underground club in China and before that we had only been playing for like, 50 people and then suddenly we were playing for 500 people. It was just a really nice gig, it was when I realized that this band had something special, something magical, and that it could actually go somewhere.”

Any dream gigs?

“To be honest I don’t really think to much about it. I just want to play to people who want to be played to. Like there are a lot of places I want to go, a lot of places I want to see, and lots of people I want to meet and there are some big festivals I would love to play, like Glastonbury would be nice I think. Also in the US Coachella, that would be really nice.”

Any plans to come over to Australia soon?

“Yes! We actually talked about it the other day, there is a lot of interest from Australia a lot of people it looks as if the record counts in Australia but yeah, I think it’s going to be next year. It’s not planned yet but we’re working on it, I hope it’s going to be in the spring, but yeah anytime next year.”

Words by Lauren Payne

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Brisbane based photographer and writer who will judge you first and foremost on your music taste. Likes mint slice and a damn good cup of coffee.