Discovery: Lemaitre

Published March 24, 2014

ABOVE: LEMAITRE

Norwegian band Lemaitre is ready to fully conquer the U.S. It’s long-deserved: The duo—Ketil Jansen and Ulrik Denizou Lund— started making music together in 2010, but just made their way from Oslo to Los Angeles with a new EP (and hopefully LP) on the horizon this year. The indie-electronica outfit mixes funk, disco and electronic elements to feel-good effect. Its latest track, “High Tide,” demonstrates how Jansen and Lund’s sound has evolved since their Relativity series came out during the past two years. Their new track is crisply produced, with beautiful chord progressions; and we’re excited to premiere the video for the track, which features footage taken around the country while the band was traveling.

Lemaitre is about to play their first New York City show with Rufus Du Sol this Wednesday—it’s the guys’ first time playing on the East Coast. We spoke with Jansen and Lund about the Big Bang theory, performing with Justice, and the evolution of club culture.

HOMETOWN: Oslo, Norway

BAND MEMBERS: Ketil Jansen and Ulrik Denizou Lund

THE MAKING OF “HIGH TIDE”: Ketil Jansen: It’s our first single from our upcoming record. It can be interpreted in different ways. The most obvious way would be the struggle between giving up on something and just giving it your all.

Ulrik Denizou Lund: It’s one of those songs where the lyrics are pretty clear. We think about different things when we write the lyrics. I guess they mean different things to different people, but it means giving up or moving forward.

GPS: Lund: So this was the last year of touring. We did a big tour in Australia and we did a big trip to Bali. We traveled to lots of different places. We bring a video guy with us everywhere we go. We have all this great video content, so we have video for wherever we go. We have all of this cool footage, so we figured we were going to use it for something. It turned out pretty cool. We might also later drop a more directed, written video for “High Tide.”

GENRE MIXOLOGY: Jansen: “Easy to like, hard to dislike” is what we’re aiming for. The sound is how most people get a certain sound. When you’ve been working on music for a long time, you tend to get some habits. So, drums tend to sound a certain way. You tend to write a certain type of music. We’re trying hard not to get stuck in a certain pattern.

Lund: I would describe it as disco and electronica. That’s at least what we hear people say the most.

HEAVY ROTATION: Jansen: We’re listening to Flume and Noisia a lot.

Lund: We’re listening to Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs and the new Mat Zo album.

EP AND LP RELEASES: Lund: It’s still to be determined, but we hope that it will come out sometime in May. The hope for an album will be quarter four of this year, but it’s hard to tell. We can’t say at this time, but it’s what we’re aiming for at least.

ON BECOMING LEMAITRE: Jansen: It means “master” in French. We didn’t know at the time, but we named it after a Belgian physicist.  He did the Big Bang theory. It wasn’t supposed to mean a lot to anyone. It doesn’t have a positive or negative charge. It’s a cool name, but I guess it’s a cool story since he invented the Big Bang theory.

IDEAL PLAYBILL: Jansen: We’re actually performing with Justice in Paris, which is something we’ve been wanting for a long time. They’re cool, so that will be great. So, that’s one of the people we’ve wanted to play with. There are so many cool artists, so it’s hard to know. There are probably 20 artists we would love to perform with.

THEME PARTY: Jansen: There’s no theme. We’re trying to shy away, essentially, from gimmicky stuff. We have four songs we’ve had semi-ready for a long time, and our record deal took a long time to finish up. So, the music has been overdue for a while. It doesn’t have a strong theme. It’s mostly four songs that we’re really happy with. We’re just really happy with the EP that’s coming out.

WORLDLY INFLUENCES: Lund: I don’t think it has mattered that much at all. We grew up and listened to everything and most things from France, the U.S. and the UK. At least what influenced me as a kid the most in wanting to make music were Basement Jaxx, The Chemical Brothers and Fatboy Slim. That was music that was easily available in Norwegian culture. I spent most of my free time in front of the computer anyway. We don’t feel like it matters what your music scene is because everyone is connected through the Internet anyway.

Jansen: I think what happened during the ’90s where club culture influenced the music and there was a symbiotic relationship where DJs went to clubs and then went into the studio. That has kind of died out, and it’s not as big a thing as it was; people find music on blogs instead of going to clubs and being cool DJs. Now you hear 16-year-olds who can’t even go to clubs and make awesome, cool music. Now you make music on your computer, hear music on blogs and find out what the cool music is to listen to.

LEMAITRE WILL PLAY ITS FIRST NYC SHOW AT HIGHLINE BALLROOM WITH RUFUS DU SOL ON MARCH 26. FOR MORE ON THE DUO, PLEASE VISIT ITS WEBSITE. YOU CAN BUY “HIGH TIDE” HERE.