Tarantino in Disneyland

A conversation with Liima, the band with a human drum machine.  

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If you were wondering where the guys from Efterklang went, don’t worry; they didn’t split up, they formed a new band along with Finnish percussionist Tatu Rönkkö (the human drum machine) and called it Liima. Celebrating the release of their debut album ii, Glamcult sat down with long-limbed band members Casper and Tatu—chatting glue sniffing, micro-shorts, sound hunting and the evolution of their experimental band concept.

Could you start by introducing the band, and how you work together?

Casper: We’re Liima, three guys from Denmark (Casper Clausen, Rasmus Stolberg and Mads Brauer) and one from Finland (Tatu Rönkkö). Tatu plays the sampler, he’s like a beat box, or the human drum machine. Rasmus is on bass guitar, Mads plays the computer and I sing. We’ve known each other for three years and started the band in 2014 in Finland, near a lake. We made our first music there whilst swimming and going to the sauna—now we’re here, we have an album!

Tatu: All music for the album was made in one year, during intense periods of travelling to different place together, we call them residencies. We have this concept that we like to perform our sketches and songs that are just about ready to an audience, sharing everything that we’ve done. We test it with people, and during this process we figure it all out.

What was your favourite residency?

Tatu: I have to say, mine was the time we spent in Madeira, Portugal. We went there in May, following a dark winter. We were really low on energy, but then we arrived in Madeira, it was like a tropical heaven! I remember us arriving there; Casper was wearing his pink micro shorts, and me, blue micro shorts. We were like these two guys with really long white legs walking down the hills. People were probably thinking: what the fuck? [Laughing] But were just so happy to absorb the good energy of the people and the place.

Casper: It’s a beautiful island, beautiful people; they took really good care of us. The festival we played at was set on this huge platform, just on the edge of the sea. In the middle of nowhere, between the waves—epic!

Liima is Finnish for glue, how did you come up with the band name?

Tatu: It’s the easiest Finnish word we found (for a Dane to say, anyway), so it stood out for a practical reason. I’m not thinking about glue anymore, in the beginning I was really against the name; it really made me think of glue sniffing. [Laughing] But it somehow started to grow on me, and now I’m actually super happy with it. Liima! [Nodding]

Could you talk a bit about the open London studio sessions you did recently?

Casper: All the music from the album has been made in isolation, with just the four of us. What we did a couple of weeks ago, when we were invited to this hotel in London, was use it as an opportunity to open up our process. We basically did the same as we were doing at our residencies, but in a bigger space, and have people come in to witness. It’s inspired a little bit by what PJ Harvey was doing some years back. The public have the chance to get a little closer to how the music is born. With Liima, it’s quite easy to present, because the process is always collective and spontaneous.

Tatu: It’s like the next level of what we did on the album. Putting ourselves outside of our comfort zone is part of Liima, it’s part of what we do.

Casper: Also learning to be relaxed, particular about song writing. We all hear the legends of how The Beach Boys made their sounds, inviting horses into the studio and all that. The legends drive the mystery behind the sound. Being relaxed about people being around the creative space is something that I had a really terrible time with when I was younger; I hated it, I hated playing live shows. I loved being by myself in the studio, and drinking coke. It’s like when you’re nervous when you first start dating someone, and you’re like: How do I present myself? What clothes do I put on? Well, the most exciting thing you can do is just relax, be there and be who you are. Don’t try to project yourself to be more than you are.

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Do you hang out together in your bathrobes often (hint: see press shots from the London Edition Hotel), or was this just one incident?

Casper: Yeah, that was just for the London studio session, they were the hotel robes. But I do have my own morning jacket, I bought it in Marks & Spencer, there’s something really cosy about robes. You get out of bed, and it’s hanging there waiting for you.

Tatu: I like the feeling, it’s like you’re dressing up for yourself. Like you’re the King of your own home. I have this huge leopard print robe.

Kasper: It’s pretty crazy. He hangs it up like some sort of trophy next to his bed! [Laughing]

Could you talk to us a bit about your interest in ‘sound hunting’ and organically collecting sounds?

Tatu: This is one of the first things I do when I go to a new place. Of course it’s about what you see and smell too, but the sound is very distinct. I go walking and I try to be really open to what first appeals to me. For example, in London most recently, in this ridiculous 5* hotel, I was walking in the corridor, and I figured out the door had a really cool/weird sound when you turned the handle. Kind of like “dooooooooo”, and in the elevator [slow female voice] “floor six”. In Finland it was more about sampling the sound of someone rowing a boat, splashing sounds, or the sound of water on the sauna stove, sawing a piece of wood [makes noise] or wood dropping in the forest. You put it all into the sampler, and you make up different elements like a drum kit, a splash becomes a synth sound.

Casper: It’s a little bit like cooking. If you want to make something, you go to the garden and you pick carrots, herbs, and this thing and that. Then you go back and you start composing. When you find your ingredients in this way, it can make it all the more tasteful; it’s nice to merge new things together to create different tastes. But it’s not like we eat these things raw, you know.

How would you sum up the album in a few words for those who may not be familiar already?

It’s like Tarantino in Disneyland.

By Kelsey Lee Jones

Photography: Thomas M. Jauk

www.liima.net