Aliens, Popcorn and a bit of Jazz
An exclusive interview with Mofus
Hi guys. Notably in the (German) press you are not very well-known, which in fact is a pity. To cut a long story short, first of all two quite boring questions.
What does it mean, the name "Mofus"? Is there a narrower sense behind?
:::Anders::: To give just as boring an answer, there is no deeper meaning with the word Mofus. It's just a word I always have used when making music, 'cause I thought (and still think) that it sounds cool.
Probably the most boring question of all: About which circumstances did Mofus evolve?
:::Anders::: First the band evolved just in my head. When I went to high school nobody played the music I loved. So I made up my own super band in my head, and started recording with myself on a PC. The computer proved to be a good companion, so I made my first record all alone. But when the time came to give live concerts I had too say goodbye to my trusty friend - and find the real cool band I always wanted. At that time I found the remaining 4 members which are still the core of the band.
Anders, you founded Mofus in 1996. You were 16 then. Your first album "Trouble On the Moon" did not follow until 1999, four years later. What happened during these years? Was there any changing in cast? Do any recordings exist from these days?
:::Anders::: Not much happened during those years, I just wrote a lot of songs. Lot's of recordings exist from those days, primarily just demos - me mocking about with the computer.
How would you describe your music to somebody who does not know it? Is there any more precise description for it? My personal interpretation would be "Romantical-Neat-Trip Rock"...
:::Søren::: I would just simply call it "Love-Music"
:::Anders::: But we really like your description too, that's a good one!
Your first two albums are quite melancholy, but at the same time, open for experiments and very often concentrated to Trip Hop. How came the sudden change of "8 Bit Renegade" into the quiet and optimistic romance-sound of the 70s? Someone of you became a father, isn't it?
:::Anders::: The change wasn't so sudden to us, as we evolved quite a bit during the time from "Possible/Impossible" to "8 Bit Renegade". We all of sudden had unlimited studio time and the songs just drew themselves towards the more 70s sound. It felt kind of natural for us. But yes Morten has become a father ( again! ).
:::Morten::: True but I have always been a sucker for the 70s.
How came the ingenenious idea to put a CV of each member into the booklet? Those texts are really funny. Particularly yonder of Jonas Stampe "1984: Got first guitar 1984: Smashed first guitar"... I had to smirk at this one. Why did you add it only to the third album?
:::Anders::: This was an idea which our friend Claus Due (who did the cover) came up with. So that's why, we simply hadn't had the idea until the third album.
Let's stay with the CVs. If you regard them closer, some conclusions emerge. All of you seem to have a quite interesting life. Anders for instance, loves Popcorn since he has been six years old!? Higly interesting... sweet or sour? And you think it's a good idea to buy a popcorn machine?
:::Anders::: Actually the one from ‘86 was the song "Popcorn", I simply loved that one. Nice tones. And well later on I just became salt-needy. But I dig the Micro Waves ones.
Jonas, how came your move from Munich to Danemark? Do you still speak German or have you forgotten in the meantime?
:::Jonas (direct speech)::: Ich glaube nicht das ich Deutch sprechen kann - nur wann ich spreche mit mein Papa kann ich pl?ich (all of a sudden) zer gut Deutch sprechen - er ist Pakistani und ich kann nicht Pakistani sprechen.
And by the way, what happened at your "first encounter with an UFO"? You liked glue already at the age of eleven? According to available information, you developed quite early an anti-establishment attitude. Far from not understanding, but what happened exactly then? Did the aliens intervene?
:::Jonas::: I was probably around 11 or 12 years old, when I one evening looked out of the window, and I saw a F# massive ball of intense light dangling over some buildings pretty close to our house. I called my mum and she came and saw it and could not believe - then we rushed in to call my grandma on the phone and when I looked out of the window again it was gone - no one else (that I've heard of) ever saw it.
The UFO encounter didn't have anything to do with glue. In fact I was completely clearheaded - this was real…..!!!!!
But it's an interesting thought. Maybe something happened to me that night. I don't know.
What kind of relation do you have to Ravi Shankar?
:::Jonas::: I met Ravi Shankar in India - 1998. I was taken as an apprentice of him, and lived one year in India. After that I was with him when he was in UK - 1999. I was a part of the troup and I played tanpura for on a concert. At that point I was given the choice to quit everything and become real student. I had to quit my guitar playing, drinking, partying, going out with girls, etc. I still haven't made the choice.
You can only become a real Indian classical musician if you give away your life, and forever after live as a servant of the music, tradition, heritage and god.
Ravi Shankar is the most musical person alive in this world today, and the biggest musical genius of the 20th century. Not only I say so.
Morton, in your statement you said that you started to play the drums at the age of five. Why at such an early stage? That implies a very musical family. How came the change to the drums?
:::Morten::: Yes I come from a family that plays music - both my father and my brother are jazz musicians to day. We had our own free jazz trio when I was five.
Same with you Julian. You started with the bass and now you play the drums. Do Morton and you change from time to time the instruments for certain pieces/gigs or are you both pinned down?
:::Julian::: I guess we are pretty much pinned down, I don't play bass even a 1.000.000th as good as Morten, and vice versa… together we play 1.000.000 times better than any other guy that plays bass and drums at the same time, and if I would be playing bass and Morten drums, we would be a 1.000.004 times as bad as any other guy playing bass and drums at the same time.
:::Morten::: We all pretty much play all instruments. "Sad Junkie" Anders doubled himself on the drums and after that I overdubbed him three drummers playing the coolest untight groove ever.
Moreover, cars seem quite important in your life. You told that you got your first car at eleven and that you have crashed nine in ten years before obtaining driving permission. Isn't this an enormous advantage considering any rank of coolness chez Mofus?
:::Julian::: I'm thinking about getting my self a BMW M3 station car from the early ‘90s next. I was going to go through all the Italian cars first, but I'd rather drive a straight six before getting on top of a 450BHP Masarati V8, and I'm done with straight 4's (except if can get a hold of a Lancia HF Intergrale), and you'll never see me driving a V6, V4, Boxer 4, or anything else than V12, V10, V8 or straight 6. I could fall for a good deal on a 911, but only from between '78 and '85. I'm sorry, I didn't get the question? I just can't stop talking about them…
Søren, your shortcomings seem to be wicked money and long hair!? Tell me more!
:::Søren::: I have a problem! I am a big spender but I have no money. The long hair; it just works, but not when you are looking for a job.
Let's go back for an instant to your former records. What was it all about "The Possible/Impossible"? Why did you decide for a double-album? Was there too much material or did it just happen out of concept?
How can we understand the naming?
:::Anders::: There was a big amount of material after "Trouble" which never was used. And at the same time new material started appearing which had a kind of different feel to them. So we decided to go for a double album to represent both styles. The naming refers to the ability of playing the songs live: All the songs from "Possible" are performed 100% by hand / and "Impossible" is almost all computerized in some way. Possible = band CD / Impossible = CPU CD.
Some songs from your first album "Trouble On The Moon" are completely decorated with an enchanting female voice. Was this singer once member of your band or did she only do an inspiring guest performance? And why does she never appear on your subsequent work?
:::Anders::: On "Trouble" I had quite a few guest performers drop by the studio. Marie who sang "Sex in Space" / "Wait" is a good friend of mine, and she's performed with us a couple of times. But it's been a while since we had any guests drop by now... Maybe time for some new ones?
According to your website, you are not only involved in making music for your own but also put your creative capacity in diverse projects with other bands. Anders, you do the light engineering for one of my favourite bands "Düreforsög" when they happen to be on tour. Are there any plans for more such cooperations (with them)?
:::Anders::: We all cooperate with different projects. My involvement with Düreforsög was that I did the sound engineering for them while on tour. And I did a remix of their single "Traffix". Right now I just finished a great project with a band called Kloak. All members are actually doing something besides Mofus these days, a lot of great stuff appearing!
What's going on beside, in mean when you don't make music? Can you make a living out of being a performing artist or it is necessary to do some part-time job as well, for instance at a supermarket cash?
:::Anders::: No, music is a "no-money-business" these days. So we all got to earn a living, complimenting our few music earnings. Julian and I make a living as Pro Tools specialists. Søren, Morten and Jonas make their money taking care of the sweet children.
How would you describe, in your own terms, your recognition? You (Anders) told me in one of our earlier conversations, that you would rather like to tour in Germany. Is this the only country on your agenda you haven't visited before? What deters you from doing so? I'm sure that the Germans would welcome you with arms wide open if they would know you much better. In fact, there is a rather huge movement for kind of music like yours.
:::Anders:::No one invited us yet!!! We would like to come, give us a call.
Who of you is responsible for the lyrics? Is it a so-called "co-operation", or does Anders it all by himself?
:::Anders::: Co-Op is the word on most of the new material. Before I kind of did all of that, but it's nice with some input.
What would you do if there is a sudden electrical power outage during your show? You are masters of ad-libbing?
:::Søren::: DRUM SOLO!
Do you like reading? What are your current favourite books? Do some texts inspire your own song writing?
:::Anders::: I like reading but I can never seem to find the time for it. Lately I read "The Da Vinci Code" and "Nordkraft" which are two great books. I mostly get inspired by people I see when I'm riding my bicycle. Or by people I see in my heart.
:::Julian::: Actually I'm trying not read anything else than waveforms and the digits off my electronic speedometer. I'm a visual kind of guy that waits until the movie comes out.
Every band is more or less inspired by other musicians. Who are your personal heroes of whom you might say that they do reflect themselves in your own music? And with whom would you like to perform onstage together? (Well, I could imagine you and the Sneaker Pimps, doing some wonderful music together or even with "The Cooper Temple Clause" or a conjoint version of "It's All Good" with Ben Lee...)
:::Anders::: Radiohead, Beatles, Pink Floyd, Mouse on Mars are some of my inspirations - and I would like to be on stage with all of them! Sneaker Pimps are actually quite cool, especially the solo album from one of them: I Am X, that's really cool. He can call me anytime!
:::Søren::: I'm quite into Smashing Pumpkins these days; I'm tripping over some live recordings I stumbled upon. They are really good live.
:::Morten::: Beatles, Pink Floyd, Rufus Wainwright, Nick Drake, Jimi Hendrix,
Andrew Bird, Chopin, Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, Bill Evans, Joni Mitchell.
:::Julian::: I grew up playing a lot of country and bluegrass music, I used to hate it, but these days it's the best, Hank Williams, Little Feat, The Band, Doyle Lawson or any kind like this, but Pink Floyd, Beatles, Radiohead, Nick Drake and such are also frequently played. I like anything that interests me… So I welcome R&B, Rap, Pop, well, you name it… I'm listening a lot to P3 (the Danish Radio program 3 that plays all the "crap" you know)
What are your plans for the future? Are you already working on a new album? It might be interesting to know what's coming next (probably you don't even know...) Will there be a tour of "8 Bit Renegade"? If so, you possibly visit Berlin or Munich too...
:::Anders::: Our future seems clear and bright, not even one sky of planning. We take it on a day to day business. No tour planned for now, but who knows... We would like to visit Berlin and play a gig at some point.
:::Søren::: Yes, that would be nice.
:::Julian::: no comment.. :-)
Thank you very much for the interview. Only one thing to say: Good luck for you and your engagements. One can only hope that you gain ground in Germany one day. You deserve it most of all!
Fabian Fascher & Michaela Drescher
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