I met Rasmus Stolberg, a bass player of Efterklang, just before the concert in Wrocław. It was during Planete+ Doc Film Festival where the documentary movie The Ghost of Piramida was shown. Efterklang became more popular because of this project but still – instead of a confident rising star, I talked to a great person about freedom and unique place in the north. Rasmus is a person with sense of humour and incredible sensibility. Check this out in the interview.
musicis.pl: Where did this idea of connecting music with movie come from? I’m talking about The Ghost of Piramida but I know that’s not the first movie you’ve done. An Island was the first one.
Rasmus: It’s just very appealing and interesting for us to try out different media. We don’t consider Efterklang only as a music band. That is what we are primarily but we also have a record label, we have done couple of events and we started to make movies. So Efterklang is like a place where you can do projects. For example now we’re working on how to make a radio station.
Making movies we started with Vincent Moon. We did a lot of smaller projects with him and then started to think about a longer one. And things just happened – it turned out a really nice way. While making An Island I thought: wow, it’s actually fun to make a film. We even tried to make a concert movie but it was all failure.
When we first came to Piramida we didn’t know it would be a film. We just wanted to go to this trip to ghost town far away in the Arctic. But then we thought it would be stupid if we didn’t bring someone to document it. At first it wasn’t interesting enough for a full documentary movie but we were very lucky cause we met this old man Alexander who visited Piramida. The movie was created because of him and his history. So you see the ghost town through Efterklang experience and at the same time you see this place through his eyes.
musicis.pl: What was so unique about Piramida? Did it stand out somehow in comparison to other places like this?
Rasmus: Amazing thing is that Piramida is like utopia. It’s the place which shouldn’t be. It was the town with swimming pool, concert hall, school and it’s so far up north. It’s just incredible. You’re going around in ruins and ask yourself: Why did they build this place?
musicis.pl: Can you tell me something about the differences between An Island and The Ghost of Piramida?
Rasmus: In An Island we performed music. You see us performing and this is what happened there. The Ghost of Piramida is about something else. About going back home. It’s some kind of music documentary but it’s more like soundtrack. And you see music shown in quite different way.
musicis.pl: How did this trip to Piramida affect your life? Has it changed anything apart from gaining more popularity?
Rasmus: First of all, it was a very powerful experience. Piramida is kind of a place where you can’t stop thinking about the things… The nature there is so dramatic and pristine and then you see it ruined by mankind. It makes you realize that planet Earth is so much stronger and older than our civilization. You think: Oh, I’m not so important actually. It’s a nice feeling to realize. Like I was in Redwood in Canada. You’re just walking around the forest and thinking about almost everything and you realize that it has been there through whole period of our history. I felt the same freedom in Piramida as well. It just makes you feel small but not in a bad way. And the most important thing you can realize is that it’s difficult to be free but you have the right to be free if you want. You don’t have to follow the rules and do what people expect you to do. You can fuck up really bad and still it doesn’t matter as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone.
musicis.pl: Do you think that watching the movie will help people to understand your album?
Rasmus: Movie may be a sort of an explanation. It’s always nice to connect image with music. Anyway, I think that just looking at it can be as powerful experience as listening. Many people when they listen to music, they combine specific album to specific situation in their lives. But of course, it can be a better introduction to see a movie.
musicis.pl: So you’re inspired by places. Are there any musicians who inspire you?
Rasmus: There are many. One of the biggest inspiration and very relevant in terms what we did on the last album is german band Einstürzende Neubauten. Very old band but they’re still around. They used to make instruments out of old stuff and junk. I think they were always big inspiration for us. There are of course some inspirations which last longer like Talk Talk or Talking Heads. And others just come and go.
musicis.pl: Have always imagined yourself as a musician?
Rasmus: I’ve always enjoyed making music and it was nice to see it can be the way of life. I thought of it as sort of a hobby. Now we can go on tour and make a living and you think: what’s going on? In first many years I couldn’t believe it and was waiting for the end of it. At the same time I was enjoying those moments. But I still have the feeling that I don’t want to hold on desperately to making a living. The most important is to make an interesting music. Problem is when you do something, you enjoy it and it becomes your job. It’s confusing because suddenly you have the pressure of keeping this job. It’s a battle. I think we realized how to separate those things. We’re on a good way. I’ll be doing this as long as I can but if the whole thing crumbles from inside, then I’ll find something else.
musicis.pl: What do you enjoy more: working in a studio or playing concerts?
Rasmus: I enjoy very much playing and having audience because studio is a lot about testing small things over, over and over again. My nature is not so into that.