Interview

GENTS

With emotional sounds that float somewhere between the lightness of a dancefloor and the dystopia of the ’80s, Copenhagen-based GENTS can make your mind spin and your feet move. Supplement this universe with a masculine baritone, sensitive lyrics and a uniquely charismatic, present and emphatic live performance, and you have two mid-20s men who are searching for nothing less than the purpose of living on this planet. Luckily, their playful explorations will transport them — and some smoothly produced panpipes – to Belgium for the first time ever.

Interview by Jeppe Bo Rasmussen
Photos by Magnus Bach Pedersen, shot in Copenhagen, Denmark

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How did GENTS come about?
We went to school together but mostly knew each other from going partying in Copenhagen. From that, it was obvious that we had a shared taste in music so we just took all our keyboards and moved to Berlin to party there instead. We wanted to get out and live the David Bowie dream – usually waking up sometime in the afternoon, having fun watching music videos from the ’80s, fooling around with sounds and smoking cigs. We didn’t really know many people there so we kind of built this forged loneliness and longing which was a lovely creative force. There were no real plans to make a band; we didn’t understand that we actually had some tunes, a sound and some dogmas until we returned to Copenhagen. Then we broke down the rules and expanded our definitions to create something new and diverse without going schizophrenic – a liquid DNA – and suddenly GENTS existed.

We broke down the rules and expanded our definitions to create something new and diverse without going schizophrenic

You have some weird and unexpected elements in your music, such as panpipes. Why?
It’s always been fascinating for us to look at things that are regarded as bad taste or simply forbidden. Taking these elements and reconstructing them within new contexts gives us revelations. That a panpipe should be a no-go is completely artificial to us, and then it’s just strangely and intuitively entertaining and has a sick sound suiting our musical universe. Our credo is to touch people and have fun at the same time.

Your music sounds like a futuristic version of the ’80s. What’s your relationship with nostalgia?
It doesn’t eliminate our nostalgia and captivation for that period that we weren’t around to experience bands like Tears for Fears; we’ve lived through it in our own worlds, and laughed loads about the pretentiousness back then. The ’80s is still our heritage though. It’s the point of departure for our aesthetics – from the ’80s and into the future. But we definitely try to write about universal human stuff from a personal outset, helping people realise they aren’t alone in this world. That’s more about longing for the future than living in the past. Technology is more awesome than dust, and longing can drive your mind and music to new places.

Dancing is the language of love and perhaps the best way to express yourself

Do you always play Simply Red’s ‘Something Got Me Started’ after a gig?
Ha-ha – well-spotted. Simply Red just works every time. They’ve been hated on a lot, but get over it and dive deep into the treasure chest, and there are some sick songs there. In a way, it’s almost too slick and gross but time has turned it into pure gold.

Most of your tunes are quite danceable. What does dancing mean to you?
Whoa, we love to dance, dancing is cool – we’re down with that. It’s the language of love and perhaps the best way to express yourself. In the perfect state of mind, you forget all self-consciousness. It’s just instant gratification.

What does the future hold for GENTS?
Well, we’ll be playing some gigs around Europe with our homie Better Person, and then we’re starting some hardcore experiments with new tunes. We guess that’s needed if we want to get booked in Belgium and Holland again sometime and revisit the spoiled Subba crowd. Lucky you – new music just has a great means of existence here.

GENTS + Better Person is playing De Koer, Ghent, 11 October. The concert is free for members and their +1. Join here.