Roskilde Festival 2015: An open door in a song

The Danish band Selvhenter does not look like your traditional noise rock band. Selvhenter gets access to the cosmic world of sound through violin, trombone, saxophone, lots of drums and distortion pedals. The result a blend of noise rock, drone and jazz – a sonic breeding ground for improvisation, strange atmospheres and supernatural insights through music.
We had a talk with Selvhenter about their music and the Roskilde festival.

#1. Are you looking forward to playing at the Roskilde festival this year?
We are looking very much forward.

#2. What is your relationship with the festival?
Anja: Since I was 14, it was my dream to play at the festival. I have been there many times as a guest and I have also played several times. I love the festival, the free spirit, the enjoyment of music and basically the feeling of being alive.


#3. To me, a Selvhenter concert is like an unleashing of extreme forces. How would you describe the Selvhenter universe?
When we play together, we are often lucky to be able to create a strong energy field which is audible in the music and present at most of our concerts. The Selvhenter universe is very open. We are working with tension in the music – and we like to create layers so that contrasting musical forces are unleashed at the same time.

#4. You play very genre defying music and with a quite unusual combination of instruments.How do you get inspired when you create music?
It can start with one of us coming up with a melody, a sound or a beat. Then the rest will play what they intuitively feel will fit this idea – and in the end we create the overall form together. It can also start with an improvisation. Or with a concept that develop into a song after a lot of work. Many of the songs are created during a long process, sometimes years, where we play them at concerts and they keep evolving. An important thing for us is always to have an open door in a song, like some kind of a joker – which means that a song will never be played the same way twice.

#5. Why the name Selvhenter?
MariaB: In Danish Selvhenter is a term used when playing ball games and someone shoots the ball way off course and consequently have to go and bring it back into play, it can also be a metaphor for correcting a mistake you made yourself. We kind of thought it fitted in a way.

#6. You seem to be listening a lot when playing live. Are your concerts highly improvised or is it all completely orchestrated and composed?
It is both at the same time. Most of the songs a completely orchestrated and composed, but – as mentioned above – there is always an open door for any one to break out of the song, play something completely new or take a solo. This means that we all have to be very alert and follow if something like this happen.

#7. Your newest release is called “New Age” in a collaboration with Dutch punk experimentalists The Ex. What is this “New Age” that you are introducing?
The song was created from inspiration of so called “New Age Music” that you can often hear in saunas – especially in Germany where we have played a lot. It was our response to this experience, but it turned into something new and began a life on its own. The whole concept of “New Age” is also interesting because it is a very old concept. Inherent in the concept is the idea of old school futurism which we find very inspiring.

#8. Which concert do you personally look forward to experience at the festival?
MariaB : Lust for Youth, Kronos quartet, Einstürzende Neubauten, Pharmacon

#9. Do you have a Roskilde festival anecdote you would like to share?
Some years ago we played a Selvhenter concert at Pavillon. Our trombone player Maria Bertel played the concert only 9 days after giving birth to her daughter… which impressed us all a lot!

XO Nanna, Sarah & Kristian.