Mei Long Bao de Felines: “These are dark and somewhat melancholic times, and we’re a sensitive bunch, so we probably can’t help but be super affected by it”

Felines es un jovencísimo cuarteto danés compuesto por Asta Louisa Bjerre (bajo, voz), Ditte Melgaard (guitarra, voz), Mei Long Bao (batería, voz), Kristian Bønløkke (teclados). Residen en Copenhague desde donde han trabajado y lanzado un primer trabajo discográfico para Crunchy Frog titulado “Saying It Twice Makes It Real”.

Se trata de un disco de fisonomía cambiante. Los chicos no temen trastear y experimentar con distintos estilos, sonidos y estructuras. Por momentos la música que despliegan suena a una balada de pop melancólico, que de repente se animan con una especie de divertido caos de soniquetes minimalistas. Todas las canciones están impregnadas de una pronunciada estética lo-fi donde reina el sinsentido. Vale, se trata de un caos controlado de algún modo.

Como decía, Felines no se casan con ningún género en concreto. Sin embargo es cierto que se inspiran mucho en la escena “no wave” neoyorquina de finales de los 70. Cuando la banda actuó este año en el SPOT Festival de Dinamarca, el periodista musical David Fricke (con más de 30 años de experiencia, y editor principal de la Rolling Stone) confirmó que Felines conectan perfectamente con dicha escena. David se limitó a sonreír, y decir “¡Esto es tan Nueva York!”

Encontraremos campando igualmente a sus anchas elementos funk, jazz, punk rock y varias expresiones del avant-garde. Pecan con gusto de ser repetitivos con los ritmos, centrándose de manera en las texturas que sus instrumentos puedan aportar. Esto que acabo de decir, impera también sobre melodías y armonías convencionales.

“Saying It Twice Makes It Real” arranca con “Going Out”, muy a posta por cierto. Intentan confundir y sumerger al que lo escucha en una especie de pérdida de conciencia a través de riffs de guitarra abatidos y voces / letras llenas de indolencia: “I don’t care, I don’t care / Saying it twice makes it real”. Ese malévolo rollete queda en entredicho cuando pasamos a pistas como  “Outside” o “Forever Fall” donde fascinan con una especie de dream-pop no exento de detalles sombríos. El tempo se anima luego en temas como “It’s Yours” y “Too Tight”, es precisamente en este segundo donde se aprecia un claro guiño a los pioneros del post-punk Delta 5. Guitarras desaliñadas y un groove insistente tanto en las líneas de bajo como en la batería.

A pesar de su juventud, la banda se estableció en 2010 y ya tienen publicados dos EP’s y un álbum. Han actuado por alrededor de Europa, y como nota curiosa, contribuido con su música en un desfile de moda de Saint Laurent en París.

Nuestro compañero Josechu Egido ha hablado con Mei Long Bao el baterista de  Felines para saber más de este nuevo EP “Saying It Twice Makes It Real” y de sus planes de futuro.

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THE INTERVIEW 

Why you choose the name of Felines for your musical project?

We were originally called The Felines, a name that came up after so many bad band name ideas. It refers to a bar in Paris that Asta (the bassist) knew called La Féline, but we thought we might come off a bit too francophile, so we changed it to The Felines. Recently we dropped the ‘The’, like Facebook y’know? (If you didn’t get the ref, you should mos def watch ‘The Social Network’).

 

We still love the sound of Felines this new EP “Saying It Twice Makes It Real”, which, although still in the same musical line achieved in your previous works, we noticed something different, perhaps a sound more personal, perhaps more melancholic, perhaps more darkness and more mature, … It true that something has changed. What is it? What do you consider that has evolved in your music in these last five years from “Daddy walk”?

These are dark and somewhat melancholic times, and we’re a sensitive bunch, so we probably can’t help but be super affected by it. But yeah, even my aunt (Mei writing) told me last week that she found our new stuff to be much more mature, and that she felt she could relax and dive into the music better. I was deeply moved by her feeling this way. So maybe we have gotten more mature, sure – guess that’s inevitable, but what’s more is that we sometimes feels as if we stopped trying so hard – to impress, to find somewhere to fit in, to be good – and just let things unfold, give it time. Of course, there’s still bouts of uncertainty and anxiety – all that’s a part of being a musician. So, at times, this feeling of maturity is more an aspiration than a fact 🙂

 

Your 6-track mini-album “Saying It Twice Makes It Real” contains fantastic songs, obtuses, intimates, enveloping nostalgic and very evocative air almost melancholic sound. Songs, where not only music is given importance, but you have also worked on the lyrics in a special way. What can you tell us about it? What inspires you when it comes to making your songs?

First of all: thanks! And second, there’s really no one way we work on songs. Some of them have been very inspired by the way hip-hop uses stream of consciousness-like flows of words and repetition. Another song came about in a backwards way. I (Mei) was listening a lot to this one song with very obscure lyrics. It was impossible to sing along to, so I would just make up my own lyrics and sing them. And so these lyrics eventually got their own melody and became a new song. Pretty strange, but it kinda worked out.

 

Why have you titled “Saying It Twice Makes It Real” to this release? What expectations do you have with this work?

Well, we’re always hesitant to analyze our own stuff or give meaning to them, because really it should just evoke whatever in whoever. But we can say that the title is a line from the first song on the EP, “Going Out”, which is a plunge into the confusion and mess of a relationship. This line insinuates that telling yourself and others the same things over and over again can indeed make them become reality. This is old school psychology 101 and it’s neither exclusively a negative or positive thing. But it does have a lot of power! Hopefully this release has too, but you never truly know if it will hit home with people. You can only trust that if it tickles in your belly when you play a song, then hopefully that’s transmitted to the people listening.

Felines 2018 by Dennis Morton (1)

How is one of your live concerts? When in Spain? What are your plans for this 2018 and next 2019? We suppose that to turn around the world, but something that you can advance us? Important events?

Our live shows are pretty straight-forward. No big scenography or light sets, crazy make-up, color coordinated clothes; just lo-fi, hi-hopes heartbreak tunes for your listening pleasure. So right now we’re doing our best to plan some shows in Germany early next year, which is always a big puzzle to solve, because we’re generally dirt poor and have to coordinate with work and other obligations and so on and so on. Yawn! But nice to know we have some listeners in Spain! We’d love to play there!

 

Do you think the digital world will end music as we know it today? What do you think is the future of music?

Uh, what a crazy question! When you’re in the midst of it, you can’t even tell what “music as we know it today” entails… It’s morphed and multi-medialized in so many wondrous and annoying ways. It’s not a coherent and simple story to tell. Even though we can say that so much music has been mainstreamed and feels kind of bland, or like a repetition of something we’ve heard a gazillion times before; at the same time there are so many people experimenting, doing incredible stuff, breaking down hierarchies of music snobbery, being bold and amateurish in the best possible sense of the word. We love it! And we’re hopeful about it.

 

How is a normal day in the life of a member of Felines?

Rising to the sound of chirping birds. As they braid our hair and sing with tiny voices, we drink buckets of coffee. The rest of the day is cat-petting, watching scary youtube-videos of rightwing-extremism on the rise in Europe, have a good cry and a good haunting laugh, and roam the streets in search of more decent and affordable coffee (which is hard to come by in Copenhagen). In the evening we do satanical pentagram rituals on the beach to reverse the effect of global warming, or have a drink with friends. Then sleep and repeat.

 

What do you think about the current economic and social situation in the World in general?

Wow, one more of these insane questions! So nice! So you can’t help but feel despair at this current Lynchian hellscape. Everyday thousands of refugees are hurt or killed trying to cross into Fort Europe, and even if they make it, the majority are met with hate and disdain. In our little country of Denmark, hateful speech and racists remarks have become everyday political jargon as EVERYBODY in parliament (except for maybe one party) are moving to the right, and pretty far even! There’s so much fear of “the other” and the different, and it’s super horrifying to think we might end up in this white and monotone society. That’s the true nightmare! And furthermore, it’s not like climate change, species going extinct, global inequality and the refugee crises are separate phenomena, as it’s generally the overconsumption and extractivist-based economy of “the so-called global West” that’s caused all of this s***. But hey, what to do other than keep on loving, keep on laughing, and keep on keeping on. And creating art and music every once in a while…