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February 2021

Off Bloom: "We don't know what the fuck we're doing"

Following massive support slots with both LANY and Dua Lipa, Off Bloom are heading out on their own.
Published: 6:45 am, May 06, 2017
Off Bloom: "We don't know what the fuck we're doing"
Based between Copenhagen and London, Anglo-Danish trio Off Bloom create some of the most inventive electronic pop out there: Mads, Alex and vocalist Mette write and produce anthemic songs with beautiful melodies that sound like nothing else.

They’ve just finished a string of UK shows with LANY and, despite having only been together for two or three years, are about to head on a huge European tour with one of the hottest names in pop, Dua Lipa. When they started out, though, Alex and Mads were producers going it alone, heavily inspired by electronic experimentalists like Cashmere Cat and the Lucky Me crew.

“We felt like we wanted to start something for ourselves,” Mads remembers, having met the band’s vocalist, Mette, at a theatre school in Denmark. “We just hit if off and had so much fun; then we went into the studio, and it worked perfectly.”

“We became a band soon after that - quite naturally,” Alex adds, having previously been in “more controlled” groups with Mads since they were teenagers. “I met Mette through Mads because we both had this impromptu show that we were going to play, but we wanted to start a whole new project. So we wrote all of the music and rehearsed everything in two weeks and got Mette onboard.”

Having grown up with aspirations of becoming an actress, Mette never imagined that music would become her career. “My parents didn’t do anything musically,” she says of her upbringing. “I'd never even tried to write a song before the guys invited me to,” she considers, “and then it was just so fucking fun and really, really great. It was a world full of freedom.”

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For their first concert, the trio made some “really experimental electronic music using a lot of organic instruments, then I came along in the middle of it doing a Brandy cover,” Mette laughs. After that first show, when they started working together properly, it was about merging those worlds.

When they were signed, Off Bloom already had an army of songs. “Maybe 32 that we like, and 1,000 that we hate,” Mads jokes. “It feels more stressful than it is because we’re just making music,” he considers. “We have so many songs now; it’s just about figuring out which ones fit… If we’re going to make an EP, it’s because we want to tell a story.”

Regarding their influences, the band shares a love of “beautiful pop melodies - whether they be Rihanna’s, David Bowie’s, Sade’s, Britney’s or Nick Cave’s,” Mads suggests. When they first met each other, they would inspire one another to listen to “a lot of new shit”.

Off Bloom

But the one album that inspired them most, because of its originality and creativity, was Hudson Mohawke’s debut record, ‘Butter’. “We were totally stoked and floored when we heard it,” Mads enthuses.

That album, in particular, inspired them to try and mess around with structure in music - “just combining beautiful melodies with really experimental electronic sounds is a huge thing for us”, they agree.

The result is a sound that’s impossible to define, though creating something that sounds completely new isn’t necessarily their intention. “It’s not like we want to make something that’s never been done before,” Mads explains. “It just has to feel fresh.”

Listening to their tracks ‘Love To Hate It’ and ‘Falcon Eye’, it’s clear that they like to use instruments in unusual ways. “We use organic but unique sounds to make something that cannot be recorded by somebody else; all our sounds are something we’ve made out of a vocal or a knock on a door,” Mads says. “Or a flute, a piece of wood or whatever, and then mess about with it.”

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Having such creative freedom is the driving force behind Off Bloom. “That’s been the whole thing for all of us I think,” Mads begins, “is that we’ve been together in bands before where it feels almost non-free, where you’re numb in a way because everything is so controlled. Whereas with this project, it’s completely different. When we first went into the studio with Mette, it just felt natural.”

But also because, as Alex puts it, “we don’t know what the fuck we’re doing… we’re discovering this whole thing together. Although Mads and I have been playing music for ages, it’s new territory– learning how to produce from scratch and getting it into a new style of music and finding our way through that. We’ve had to learn how to not cram everything in there. In the beginning, we would just load a song up with everything we like, but now it’s a bit more refined.”

While their songs are produced in an upbeat, energetic way, Mette thinks the lyrics show a different side to Off Bloom. “As long as they feel something, it’s good,” Mads considers. “If they feel the urge to dance, that’s cool, or if they feel the urge to cry, that’s cool. I don’t really care, as long as it gives them some kind of feeling or energy - because that’s what we’ve put into it, and honesty.”

In terms of their “energetic” live shows, they want their audience to feel like they’re part of something. “I think our music is understood better, or even better, when it’s seen live,” vocalist Mette enthuses. “There’s some energy and almost fucking Rage Against The Machine vibe...”

One of the most important things for the trio is that “we’re not standing there like a unit without the audience,” Mette says; they want to minimise that divide. One way of involving the crowd comes from Mette being a part of it for half of the set. “It’s really about trying to talk to the people and listen to what they are saying. Just looking them in the eyes, telling them the stories of the songs and dancing with them: doing everything we can to make it a team thing rather than just a show on a stage.”

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