We're not sure if you've heard of Danish six-piece, Alcoholic Faith Mission, but we're sort of obsessed with their latest album Ask Me This. The languid, longing piano intro on songs such as "Into Pieces" and "I'm not Evil" is just what we need to get us through the sunny-cold February days (and make us wish that more contemporary indie bands played the piano). Although Ask Me This is the band's fourth album, it is only their second album to be released in the US. We caught up with front-man Thorben Seierø for an exclusive premiere of AFM's new video, "Running with Insanity," which you can stream above—a tale of young, failed love told through the very aesthetically pleasing medium of pretty Danish people.
EMMA BROWN: Where in the world are you right now?
THORBEN SEIERØ: I am in Copenhagen. It's where I currently live.
BROWN: I haven't been to Copenhagen in so long, but I hear that everyone cycles these days.
SEIERØ: That's true, yeah. It's very cold right now, but we still manage to get on our bicycles and ride.
BROWN: I just watched your video for "Running with Insanity." It's beautiful and filled with beautiful people. Can you tell me a little bit about the video?
SEIERØ: The video is by a director called Kristian Foldager, so the video is actually his idea, that's how he interpreted the song. It's pretty much this guy coming to terms with not wanting to be that gang-member kind of guy, because he falls in love with a girl, but as soon as he tries to break apart from the gang thing, [the girl] doesn't want to be with him, so it's kind of him breaking lose and emancipating himself. That was his vision of the song anyway.
BROWN: And what's your vision of the song?
SEIERØ: My vision of the song is somewhat similar. The song is about being content where you are, but knowing that this is not where you are going to be for the long run [and] even if you might hurt someone else [by doing so], you still choose to be in that situation.
BROWN: So being in a relationship when you are aware that the other person is much more enamored with the relationship than you are?
SEIERØ: Yeah, you could say that. You just know it's not going to be, but it's convenient. Actually it's a very lonely mechanism.
BROWN: That sounds like a rather painful experience, regardless of which side you are on. When you have to sing this song over and over again, does it bring back painful memories?
SEIERØ: No, I guess I've come to terms with the song and what it represented when it was written, so it's not painful. I still reminisce, but it's not painful.
BROWN: What was your state of mind when you wrote the lyrics to this song?
SEIERØ: I had various states of minds; I try to be honest with the emotions that I feel. I know that the lyrics are somewhat gloomy and sad—but that's not necessarily me—it is, but I'm not sad and morose all the time. I can be happy and write sad lyrics.
BROWN: How did you choose Kristian to direct the film?
SEIERØ: He's a friend of a friend, so it was just on a whim. We needed a director, and I asked him and he made this great video. Lucky punch, I guess.
BROWN: Can you tell me a little bit about your band name?
SEIERØ: The name is from a historic Faith mission, it's derived from that. Sune [Sølund], the bass player, and I were in Brooklyn and we wanted to start a band. When we were traversing the streets of Brooklyn, we were actually talking about alcoholism, because we [both] have alcoholism in our families, and we came across this church in Brooklyn, "Apostolic Faith Mission." We talked about how important alcohol is for drunks, like religion is important for pious or religious people, so we just decided to have the Alcoholic Faith Mission. It was an irony that just sort of stuck and it has real significance for Sune and I.
BROWN: Do people ask you about it a lot?
SEIERØ: Yes. It's a name that provokes an emotion in people; they think we're drunks, [or] maybe religious, I don't know. It provokes a reaction in people, which is fine, but a lot of people kind of think that it's a joke and think we're trying to provoke religious people, but it's not about that. When you're an alcoholic—not that I am or any of the band are—you really need booze to get along. That's your mission. When you have alcoholics close in your life you see how it can destroy a family, and it's very difficult to cope inside that family.
BROWN: So it's sort of a reminder?
SEIERØ: You could say that. It's not that I'm going to forget who the alcoholic in my family is [laughs], it's just important to Sune and I.
BROWN: So you and Sune were friends before you started the band?
SEIERØ: Yes. We actually played in a couple of bands together before we decided to stop playing in other bands. We wanted to have complete control and creative freedom so we quit the band we were in and decided to start our own—and that's what we did with Alcoholic Faith Mission. We wanted to have complete control, obviously that's not working now because we have six people in the band, but what started out as just Sune and I evolved into us working with people that we invite to join us. People who are in the band now have somehow contributed to the music and understand music in the way as Sune and I; the other four people have become an integral part of the band.
BROWN: What song would you play if you had to introduce a stranger to your music?
SEIERØ: That's a good question. It depends on the person. If it's someone who is not really into that kind of genre, I would play something easy to listen to, but if it was someone who was into our genre, I would play something of off the new album, like "Into Pieces" or "Reconstruct My Love."
BROWN: Why those songs in particular?
SEIERØ: I think that they are representative of where we've evolved to—but the other band members might have a different answer. The first album we did, [Misery Loves Company] which was only released in Denmark, was very acoustic and mellow. Where we are now, it's kind of a grandiose and ambient sound. "Into Pieces" and "Reconstruct My Love" stand out to me as the sound that we have evolved to so far; it's an ongoing process.
BROWN: What do you see as the point of your music?
SEIERØ: We don't really have a mission, no pun intended. The point of our music is to entertain and make music that we can cherish. If people like it and want to listen to it and come to our concerts, that's great, but we're not going to change anything. We just want to do what we love; it's a bit egotistical maybe, but isn't that always the point, to do what you love?
ASK ME THIS COMES OUT MARCH 27. FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT ALCOHOLIC FAITH MISSION, YOU CAN VISIT THEIR WEBSITE.