Tapetown Sessions: Mavourneen cuts through the noise with “Bliss”

Colette Pomerleau / August 14, 2019

We can’t get enough of the newest addition to the Tapetown sessions. Late last month, Danish noise rockers Mavourneen performed “Bliss” in the Aarhus, Denmark-based studio, so we had a chat with front member Hans Gustav Björklund Moulvad to unveil a bit more surrounding the unforgettable new project.

SSG Music: Where does the name come from?

Mavourneen: I stumbled across the word “Mavourneen” by chance and was caught by the beauty of the word itself. It’s an old Irish/gaelic term that expresses endearment, often translated to “my darling” or “my beloved” and this sentiment of a poetic and “forgotten” term of endearment greatly resonated with me. And so the name stuck with me.

SSG Music: I love the story behind the name. These sentimental words and phrases really catch onto some kind of feeling.

Can you tell me how the band got together?

Mavourneen: Mavourneen started as a sort of solo-project were I wrote all the songs of the coming album myself and recorded them in Sonic Youth’s studio in New York with Steve Shelley on drums and Jared Artaud as producer.

Benedicte is an incredible musician that I’ve known for a long time through the Copenhagen music scene and I simply asked her to join me when I got back from New York. We’ve currently started working together on forming the next record.

SSG Music: What was the experience like working with these professionals? Do you feel they had a significant influence on your sound through that process?

Mavourneen: It was definitely intimidating being in the presence of that amount of history and talent at first, but after a while the initial ceremony was put aside in lieu of the artistic process. And it was a very powerful experience to cross that border with people that I admire as much as i do Steve and Jared.

The record was without a doubt elevated immensely by their incredible artistic talent. This combination of my initial tenseness and the quickly found creative connection between us definitely formed the record to be more flowing, improvisational and living.

I think “these professionals” as you say, especially helped me free the process and I feel the songs became, in a sense, more feral as a result.

SSG Music: How would you describe your experience with the local music scene in Copenhagen?

Mavourneen: I would describe the Copenhagen music scene as thoroughly cold and sharp. In both the best and the worst way. Copenhagen is a small city and there seems to be an omnipresent aesthetic pulse that surges through most of the music here. It’s something that I try to embrace and distance myself from simultaneously.

SSG Music: Are you constantly shifting your weight back and forth to experience both the embrace while keeping your distance? How do you do this with such a small music scene?

Mavourneen: Yes I would say so. It’s a dance we all enter and leave at different times. It’s a delicate balance since admiration can quickly turn into imitation if you’re not careful. So I try to be watchful of my own identity in the strong and shifting currents of the danish music scene.

SSG Music: What can your audience expect from this upcoming record?

Mavourneen: I think people can expect the record to be relentlessly noisy with a restless pulse and an infantile and dreaming temper.

SSG Music: What draws you to noisy jams?

Mavourneen: Initially it was catharsis that drew me to noise. The exorcism of inner noise and manifesting it physically. I have now, however, begun to look at noise as a more emotionally charged tool than simple release. This use of noise is where bands like Sonic Youth still reigns supreme i think.

SSG Music: Who are other artists that inspire you, especially who use noise as this emotional tool?

Mavourneen: I’m, of course, very inspired by bands like The Velvet Underground. Their mastery of energy, noise and harsh and haunting poetry has always been spectacular. Truly breathing an uncontrollable pulse into their music.

I am currently listening a lot to The Marble Index by Nico, which was made in the periphery of TVU in 1968. It’s more dissonant than noisy, but the emotional weight and deep bleakness of that album has been stuck with me for quite some time. The dissonance, or tonal noise, here is used to incredible effect.

Low’s newest record Double Negative is also an incredibly relentless dive into noise. But done with great beauty. I think it sounds like being inside of a great beast.

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