Gimme Your Answers: An Interview w/ Nelson Can

Nelson Can are a Danish rock band, who have kept themselves busy in the underground most of the time till now. The band consist of three girls and are able to create a strong sound though they only use drum and bass besides the vocals. I am pleased to introduce them to you if you haven’t already got to know their songs. They have produced some insanely catchy rock songs such as Apple Pie, Attack, Troublemaker and Talk About It. They released the album Now Is Your Time To Deliver in 2014 and have been on the road for 2015. Recently they supported Royal Blood on the Scandinavian leg of the tour and have now gone for a UK tour. Follow along on our Q and A from when we met the band members Selina on vocal, Maria the drummer and Signe with the bass in Norway. We discuss top times and though times and the future. As well as the live shots we got from their support gig to Royal Blood in Oslo… You might get inspired to go watch them play in the UK now, check out their webpage to see the UK gigs these days.

AMBY: Hi Girls. Nice to meet you. We are happy to have an interview with you. So how are you today?

All: Nice to meet you. Thank you! We are good.

Selina: We just drove for about 7 hours from Copenhagen, so we are a bit tired, but other than that we feel good. Ready!

Signe: And we drove through Sweden so Maria (drummer) got herself some Kjötbullar (swedish dish).. and that have lighten up the spirit a bit hehe..

AMBY: [laughs] Well you must have gotten max energized by those Kjötbullar. So how would you like to introduce yourselves to the readers in your own words?

Signe: Yeah exactly! Ehm well.. We are a rock trio from Denmark. We play some sort of minimalistic rock. Drum, bass and vocals.

All: Yeah that’s it!

AMBY: And can you tell a bit more about the music you make. How would you describe it further on?

Signe: It is really difficult when you have to describe your own music as a genre. Genres are like Indie to mention some, but what is Indie? So a lot of the genres we have today is really difficult to define. Therefor also difficult to find out which one you belong to. But it is within rock. Some sort of minimalistic rock. We call it Dogmarock sometimes, because we have some rules for how we make the music. It is dogmatic in some way.

AMBY: Alright… and then the name. I was wondering, why did you choose to call yourselves Nelson Can?

Selina: Why this name.. Oh it is a long and stupid story. Don’t remember all of it. But we had a punk band in high school called Niels på Dåse, which practically means the name Niels in a can, so it is canned Niels. Pretty stupid. And when we made a new band we needed to translate it. Yeah.

Signe: When we started this band we also needed to think we would get out and actually do anything with the band and so the name really didn’t mean anything. When you look on a lot of other bands you can find a lot of stupid names as well. Smashing Pumpkins, Red Hot Chili Peppers?

Selina: But now they are cool.

Signe: So it is not what you are called, it is who you are! We don’t call ourselves Nelson Can, we say we are Nelson Can.

Selina: It is strange, because I know a lot of other bands that find the names first and they find this really good band name and then they make a band… Ehm.. We didn’t do that.

All: Nope. Nope. Just went with it.

AMBY: Well, that’s cool.. Oh and I did notice something when I checked out your music on YouTube and SoundCloud. You have made an excellent cover of Agnes Obel’s Riverside. It is so great. I couldn’t imagine someone else make a cover of it that would be a success, but I think yours are absolutely fantastic. Then I wondered why this number and this sound to it?

All: Oh, thank you! Thank you! [laughs]

Maria: Yeah we made the song for a Danish music magazine at their 30 years anniversary. They asked us to make a cover of a Danish artist from the last 30 years. We were talking a bit about making a cover of Aqua’s Barbie girl or something kinda pop. Something that was completely different from the genres we move in. Then we stumbled over Agnes Obel’s Riverside. It is very simple, a good melody and no bullshit. That is basically what we like to make ourselves.

Selina: We tried to make it a bit doom in the chorus, really heavy like.

Signe: We also changed the rhythm. And we had to have Agnes approval for that and her team. Fortunately we did.

Maria: She is quite dude-like herself. She recorded the original herself in her own studio in Berlin. She is like a self-builed-woman! A DIY.. Hehe..

Selina: We had a lot of fun with working on this cover, because it is a pop song by piano.

AMBY: You really added the Nelson Can sound to it.. So great..

Selina: Oh thank you. Well we haven’t played it live since though. No, wait.. We played it live ones and uhhhh it didn’t go well. A huge mistake. It went too fast, only okay-ish.

AMBY: Oh, you tried..

All: We tried.. and.. failed.. miserably! [laughs]

AMBY: Well that’s what happens [laughs]. Then, what are your other influences when making songs?

Signe: We all listen to a lot of White Stripes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the early Gossip, and well that is the main thing we have been listening to.

Selina: The thing is, we didn’t sit down and thought this is the bands we would like to sound like. I don’t think we ever will. We wish to have our own sound, and we have listened to so many different bands. The Doors, Jefferson Airplane, Pink Floyd. There is a lot of different stuff.

Signe: We are also influenced by the shitty pop music we have been listening to through the zeroes. Everything you listen to somehow influence you.

Selina: We have also been talking about the fact that if we want to play Jazz tomorrow, then we will, we wouldn’t be that good at it, but we are not afraid of doing something new.

AMBY: Cool! Then you have been busy at the moment. What have been some top moments? Cause you have had a bunch of top moments lately it seems..

Selina: Oh yeah.. Well…

Maria: Oh wait, I thought you said some tough moments! And I was like oh?

Selina: Ohhh no, no.. top, top, top moments…but we have had a lot of those tough ones as well.. (all laughing) Well right now we sit down backstage on the Royal Blood tour. So this is definitely a top moment.

Signe: I think last year we where nominated for four Gaffa Awards… even though all Danish band at the time practically were.. I don’t know, well it has been a tough time for us and a big highlight was supporting The Black Keys. And a lot of the big highlights for was when we managed to finance our first album and do like everything ourselves around the release and started our own record label. To release it all on our own. That was a huge victory for us.

Selina: We are going to play at a festival in Spain as well, Low Festival. The Raveonettes are going to play there, The Libertines as well. AND we are on the poster!

All: Wuhuu!

Signe: We are going to travel the world!

Selina: Yeah! And now we are going to be touring in Great Britain. So that is pretty good as well. Headlining. And I remember one year at a festival, was it Eurosonic? Was it 2 years ago now?

Maria: Hundreds of years ago..

Selina: A hundred of years ago! Well it feels like a hundred years ago! We had a really tough day there because we were all tired and I remember Signe crying just before the show because she had a broken heart and we had to play a show at 1am in the morning.. and yet, this was one of the best shows we have ever played. Everything just got together. One big bubble of goodness.

AMBY: And I have a question about ideal concert settings. Was that it for you?

Maria: Oh no, that was the total non ideal concert settings! The reason is that the hotel was about an hour away, we were going to play in the middle of the night, then the backstage room was ice cold outside.. and filled with other musicians.. so we couldn’t go anywhere to relax.. terrible..

Signe: But sometimes when you put yourself to the edge, that is when you perform the best.

AMBY: So you prefer a little bit of struggle? (Said with a smile)

All: Nooo, no,no..

Signe: I like to use nontraditional room, like halls and squares, because a lot of venues basically look the same. We played in an auto shop ones a year ago. It was so intense. There were maybe around 180 people at this sold out show it was fantastic. I think everyone in the audience got a nice experience.

Selina: And the sound was amazing.. There where something about that room..

AMBY: That’s nice. So what to expect on your concerts?

Maria: We try not to play too well.. Due to expectations.. Just keep it it low key..

All: Uhh [laughs]

Maria: You can expect an intense set with 140mph. in intensity.

AMBY: Awesome. So what hobbies and talents do you girls have beside rocking the music?

Selina: Signe collects stamps..

Signe: Oh shut up! Sometimes I feel like this is my life. I study in the Copenhagen Music Academy and play with the band off school and we run a record label together. That is pretty much everything I do.

Selina: It is what we live and breath for.

Signe: I am dreaming of getting a boat. Sailing around in Copenhagen. Something besides music, so no music on it. It is going to be a very quiet boat. Also go to restaurants. I think all the money we actually earn are used on restaurants.

Maria: Restaurants and taxis.

AMBY: That’s the life. To round up, what is the future for Nelson Can?

Signe: I hope it could be something besides the DIY at some point, because you get quite tired of doing everything on your own in the end.

Maria: When we where only focusing on Denmark we could manage it all, but now that we expand beyond boarders there is a big workload waiting for us besides playing.

AMBY: I see. Well, where do you see the band in the future?

Maria: A swimming pool in L.A. Wuuuu! And getting fat and rich! Or some beach in Malaga, Spain!

All: Yeah!

Selina: Or maybe Royal Blood could support us! [laughs] Deep down we all just wanna be rock stars. Play at festivals, get to the big scenes.


Thank you Nelson Can, for giving us your answers!

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Interview and Photos by Jules Faurschou | @rockonpoets

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