Phlake wants to put you on an elevator to outer space, and eat some chocolate.
We recently had the danish soul and R&B duo Phlake here in Trondheim, playing three concerts in three days. During their stay, RadioRevolts EDM radioshow, Sagtann had them over for a chat. The Copenhagen based duo dropped their first track on Soundcloud only two years ago, but their popularity grew fast after that.
Listen to the full interview here.
A flaky person is a person who doesn’t show up to his appointments, and is overall an unreliable person.
– I think there are several reasons for choosing that name. During a brainstorming session we had hundreds of names, and at one point we just thought that the word «Phlake» sounded good. The word can actually mean several things. It can of course be a snowflake, which relates to our nordic identity. At the same time a snowflake is a unique thing, says Jonathan.
The word «flake» or «Phlake», or however you spell the word, can mean a lot of different things. The purest chocolate is also called flake.
– Yes, we had Norwegian chocolate for free backstage. And the sweet girl that helped us with the stuff backstage told us to remember the chocolate, and I was like «yeah» and ate the whole thing. We had our own snack patrol.
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Snack patrol! Isn’t that the lyrics on «Pregnant»? I’m really curious. Is «Pregnant» something you’ve experienced? In the song you have a pregnant girlfriend who’s craving sweets.
– Yeah, yeah. That’s right. That’s the storyline. But none of us have experienced that personally. All of the stuff in the song is from stories from others. But the «snack patrol» part you can say is personal. I’m kind of my own snack patrol all day long.
How about your latest album? Is that also based on stories you’ve heard?
– I think the new album is based on experiences and relations in our lives. As well as feelings. It comes very much from the inside, Jonathan explains.
Mads adds that they like to make up stories of their own.
– That’s where the theme of pregnancy comes from. Imagining what it would be like to become a parent, and to have a child. It’s like dreaming. The lyrics are much more direct now. Really straightforward.
Jonathan and Mads say that direct lyrics have become a priority. On the second album they’ve opened the door and you can «step inside the Phlake mansion».
– On the first album we worked with this guy called Gisli, who used to be a rapper. He and Mads wrote a lot of the lyrics together, while I produced it. That created its own lyrical style. On the second album me and Mads have worked on more of the lyrics, with help from different US writers. We wanted this album to be more relatable, more accessible.
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Imagination and English songwriting
The «Phlake mansion» is a metaphor the duo uses for the people who wants the Phlake feeling.
– The «Phlake mansion» stands for endless possibilities in this world that we’ve created. There’s an entrance hall when you step inside. There’s a cellar. There’s even an elevator that takes you to outer space, if you want to. You can basically go wherever you want when you step inside the Phlake mansion, says Mads.
Their first album, Slush Hours, was the first time Mads wrote and released songs in English.
– I really focused on the sounds. That was very important to me. Because most of the time when we make music, the melody comes first. And that’s the most the important thing. During this period we found out that we managed to write some interesting lyrics as well. We wanted to turn things a little bit around, and maybe start with the story, and the ideas. That’s the difference between the two albums. The process is reversed.
A weird invitation to Phlake's thoughts on human relations
The making of Slush Hours was a six-year long process. It was sort of like slow cooking an album. Mads says that that was one of the themes of the album.
What would you say are the themes of your new album, Weird Invitations?
– Oh, wow. Maybe you could say it’s human relations. The way you meet people. And also the opposite, losing people. I feel like every track on the album are weird invitations to different universes.
Mads adds that it’s also just about doing weird stuff.
– You have to use your imagination to give your life a little flavour. To get through the day when you feel bored.
At the same time the album is about how we communicate online.
– It comments on the way we talk, and on the other hand, the way we don’t talk to each other. We have a couple of songs about how we constantly look at our phones. We actually wrote a song to a phone, and it’s called «Can we talk». If you listen to the song and you know it’s written to a phone it makes sense. One line goes: «You’re my first plus sized model, and still I fit you in my right pocket». I can’t deny that I love my phone, so it’s also a love song. It would be funny to talk to your phone for real. It has seen all my deleted photos, it sees everything.