One of my favorite 2017’s tracks certainly was ‘Shadow Lover’; A song that, -from its initial seconds-, I fell in love with, and still am! Karl Morten Dahl, is the main driving force behind Antipole, with the valuable aid of Paris Alexander & Eirene, who achieved in releasing a solid post-punk/cold wave album ‘Northern Flux’ (2017, Unknown Pleasures Records), which left many genre fans with the “mouth open”. Merely days, before Synth Wave Live 2 Artefaktor Anniversary, let’s learn a few more things about this wonderful project!
Hi Karl & welcome to Last Day Deaf! Feel free to introduce Antipole project to our readers…
Thanks for asking! I started Antipole early 2014 starting to write instrumental post-punk. Inspired by the early 80s and contemporary post-punk acts. Partly to prove to my girlfriend Anne-Christel that I could write and record post-punk songs. She was listening a lot to old and new post-punk and one day I said “I can do that”. I don’t think she believed me, but I think she’s convinced now. Recently I’ve worked with other musicians – doing instrumentals can be rewarding but adding vocals was very inspiring. I’ve worked with a few but mostly with Paris Alexander and Eirene of Brighton UK. The EP ‘Getting Frequent Now‘ (1.April 2017) featured Paris Alexander for the first time and the debut album ‘Northern Flux‘ on Unknown Pleasures Records features both Paris Alexander and Eirene. They contribute a lot.
Those two bands were definitely inspiration when I started Antipole and still are. But there are also numerous contemporary post-punk/wave/coldwave bands that are big inspiration. So much good new music out there.
One of my favorite songs from ‘Northern Flux‘ is the 100% addictive ‘Shadow Lover’. There is also a video for this one. Please tell us about this gem.. How did it come to life?
Thanks! Songs often come to me by dropping into my head without trying too hard “to write a song”. ‘Shadow Lover‘ was written and recorded quickly on a sunny day in the spring of 2017. The bass riff came first and the rest came as a result of that without much thinking what to do or record. I often use the first or second take of everything I record. Paris Alexander added beautiful vocals and synths and produced the song.
How did the co-operation with the well established, genre label Unknown Pleasures Records, emerge? Did they approach you?
Yes they contacted me during summer of 2017. I think Pedro of UPR had come across my cover of the Joy Division song ‘Insight‘. The artwork and feel of the UPR releases are really good and there were already a lot of bands I liked on the label.
Would you like to talk about the collaborations for ‘Northern Flux‘ with Paris Alexander & Eirene?
All the songs on ‘Northern Flux‘ were done much the same way. Me writing music and recording the songs using a drum machine + my bass and multiple guitars with some kind of (more or less) song structure. The drum machine is just to get the correct bpm and tempo so that Paris can replace the drums. Then Paris and/or Eirene approach the song and come up with vocals, drums, synths and other arrangement ideas. Paris Alexander also did production, mixing and mastering at Blue Door Studios in Brighton, UK. All vocal melody lines and lyrics are written by them. I’m very happy collaborating with Paris and Eirene and Blue Door.
Why did you choose to cover Joy Division’s ‘Insight’? is it some sort of tribute to your heroes?
Definitely some kind of tribute, but also because I thought that the song could fit well using the original Antipole-ish instrumental approach. Having the guitars doing some kind of vocal melodies in addition to riffs. I love the guitar work on the Joy Division and early New Order songs.
How do you feel being part of the Synth Wave Live 2 in London 7.April 2018? What are you going to perform live on that day?
Artefaktor Radio (which is behind Synth Wave Live) has been supportive over a long period and in particular Renato (Mr Artefaktor) and DJ Rusty Egan (on his “Electronic Family Tree” show running each Friday). Happy being part of the Artefaktor Family and really looking forward to meeting the bands and the whole Artefaktor family! We will perform about half of the ‘Northern Flux‘ album. It will be me on guitar, Paris Alexander on vocals and synths, Eirene on vocals, Simon on bass and Martin of Blue Door will also help out on stage. Antipole started as a bedroom project. It’s awesome to play the same songs live with a band.
You live and create out of Trondheim, Norway. Isn’t this place more ideal for black metal acts? Any other genre artists/bands from your place we should pay attention to?
Out there I’m pretty sure Norway is associated with black metal bands and probably a-ha. I don’t think there is a scene for wave/post-punk music in Norway – more some bands here and there. I’m not part of a scene at least. Motorpsycho and Dipsomaniacs/Sugarfoot are bands from Trondheim I can highly recommend but they’re not post-punk. Motorpsycho have been touring Europe a lot for 25 years.
Plans & visions for the Antipole project?
Record more post-punk/wave songs with Paris Alexander/Eirene. We’ve recorded 4 new songs this winter. In addition I really like doing remixes of songs of my favourite bands and friends. I’ve done remixes both with Paris Alexander and Kill Shelter. We’ve done remixes of Hante., Iamtheshadow and Warsaw Pact and more remixes are on the way. I hope we’ll be able to do more live shows eventually. For 2018 we’ve scheduled 3 live shows. Brighton the 6th of April with LegPuppy, Synth Wave Live 2 in London the day after. And the W-Fest 2018 in Belgium on the 19th of August.. Also, I hope to release ‘Norhtern Flux‘ on vinyl.
In a few words please describe what do the following words mean to you: post-punk, Joy Division, dark wave, Mark E. Smith, Antipole.
post-punk – dark edgy melancholic songs without chords.
Joy Division – innovative and energetic.
dark wave – I’m generally more into cold wave. It’s hard to describe what it is. I like to think that cold wave is more fragile.
Mark E. Smith – repetition.
Antipole – multiple simple linear guitar lines. To this date I’ve never recorded a chord on any Antipole song. When I met the band in Brighton I had to learn them the most important rule of Antipole: “no chords”. They laughed and thought it was fun, but it’s important to have some rules that define. That said, I trust instincts more than rules.
Photo credits: Martin Meadows