2010 Artist Survey: Malthe Fischer of Oh No Ono

Dec 14, 2010 Web Exclusive
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For Under the Radar’s 8th annual Artist Survey we emailed some of our favorite artists a few questions relating to 2010. Pick up a copy of Under the Radar’s Year End issue for interviews with: The Antlers, Bon Iver, Caribou, Club 8, Delphic, Rose Elinor Dougall, Gayngs, Hot Chip, Lost in the Trees, Love is All, The Love Language, Mogwai, of Montreal, Okkervil River, Yoko Ono, Owen Pallett, Plants and Animals, Mark Ronson, Superchunk, Tame Impala, Vampire Weekend, Sharon Van Etten, and Vivian Girls.  Here’s a survey from Malthe Fischer of Oh No Ono.

Top 10 Most Played Songs of 2010

To be honest I’m not sure I can mention 10 records I listened to released in 2010. I like Tame Impala’s Innerspeaker and Ariel Pink’s latest record.

Aske and Kristoffer (both from Oh No Ono) just released two really, really awesome albums. One by Treefight For Sunlight and the other by 4 Guys From the Future. The label is called Tambourhinoceros and you should totally watch out for their releases in the future. Well a top 10—Hmm—I must say I mainly listen to single tracks and according to my iTunes the most played songs in 2010 (besides my own demos) are:

1. Canned Heat: “On the Road Again”

2. The Beatles: “There’s a Place”

3. The Chills: “Pink Frost”

4. Nancy Sinatra: “Some Velvet Morning”

5. Cocteau Twins: “Iceblink Luck”

6. Björk: “All Is Full of Love (Radio String Mix)”

7. Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin: “Je t’aime. . . Moi non Plus”

8. Suicide: “Las Vegas Man”

9. Beach House: “Used to Be”

10. Brian Eno: “1/1”

What was the highlight of 2010 for either you personally or for the band?

We played our last show in Iceland a few weeks ago and the day after we went to the Blue Lagoon, which was unbelievable. I’ve never seen anything like Iceland and I need to go back there as soon as possible. A week before that Aske and I had a great night in Paris driving around on bicycles insanely drunk and happy until seven in the morning. Still the highlight was being in New York the first time as a band. Everybody was so nice to us and we met some friends for life like Noel from Hooray For Earth, the guys from Bear In Heaven, the Zambri girls, and The Depreciation Guild. It’s too bad it’s so crazy expensive to live there.

What was the low point of 2010 for you?

We had some ups and downs and one of the downs was when Nicolai decided to leave the group in the spring. He was fed up with touring and wanted to focus on his poetry writing. We are still friends and are working on another project together now.

What are your hopes and plans for 2011?

We will be in our new studio called MOONO. It’s a beautiful spot and I can’t wait to work on new stuff again. It’s been a while and we’ve been touring a bit too much if you ask me. I want to release something new next spring and I hope to be able to visit my friends in the states again.

What are your thoughts on President Obama’s job performance in the last year? Has your optimism, if you were an Obama supporter, waned?

I’m not an American and I don’t follow your politics that closely, but I can say that I was deeply touched when Obama won. I think everyone in Europe was. I don’t know what happened or didn’t happen since you question him—all I can say is that I have a good feeling about him, better than any other president past or present—of any country. I can sense that he’s a good man from the other side of the Atlantic and in my opinion anyone who didn’t vote for him are heartless douchebags.

With the Internet making every artist’s music potentially available to a wide audience, is it now easier to find listeners or more difficult because you have to compete with so many other musicians?

I think it is easier to find listeners and more difficult to keep their attention. There is always something new and sometimes I get the feeling that a lot of people don’t take the time to really get in to bands and feel it like you would do 5 or 10 years ago. Maybe it’s just me but I think it takes time to really get it. Like really get it. I can’t skip to something new each week and sometimes I get the impression that it’s way more important for some people to be able to talk about all the new stuff than to enjoy the beauty of music.

Who would you rather listen to—a totally original musician whose compositions are groundbreaking but difficult to listen to or a musician whose songs are immediately enjoyable but derivative? Why?

I enjoy both types of musicians and I guess my goal is to be somewhere in between. The first one would be stuff like Scott Walker’s Tilt, which is very difficult to listen to, and the other example could be stuff like ABBA. I can’t tell you what I like the most of these two examples ‘cause it all depends on my mood. It’s like food. Sometimes you feel like eating sushi and sometimes you can’t think of anything but a cheeseburger. It doesn’t make either one better or worse, it just means that you’re not exactly the same guy every day.

In the race to find new bands, are too many unworthy bands being hyped up by music blogs and websites? How are music fans supposed to filter through all these new bands being hyped?

I don’t know. I’m a music fan myself. I just trust the taste of some of my friends rather than anyone else. Critics and journalists are just people you don’t know anyway—so why believe them? I don’t now if any unworthy bands are being hyped, because I’m not to tell who is worthy or not. But sometimes I don’t agree with the music blogs and sometimes I do. It’s all right, though, I wouldn’t like someone who had the exact same taste as me.

If your house was on fire, what would you grab as you were running out?

My guitar and probably my laptop—there’s a lot of stuff I would forget if I lost that, it feels like a second brain with better memory.

If you could relive one day of your life, which would it be?

The day of my birth, of course.

What’s the strangest fan encounter you’ve ever had?

A group of girls made a videotape showing you where we lived in Copenhagen and then sent it to us as a Christmas present. It was a weird present. Sometimes they would hide behind bushes outside our apartments or leave things on the doorstep. In Denmark we reached some sort of short-mania status after our first record and young girls would be screaming and crying when we entered the stage. It was hard to understand why but anyway things changed after a while and they all grew up. We still have a very loyal and loving fanbase here.

If you had a bucket list, what would be the Top 4 things on that list?

1. Having children.

2. Visiting all the continents.

3. Living a few years in New York.

4. And seeing a blue whale.

Do you have any recurring dreams or nightmares?

I’m driving a car realizing that I don’t have a drivers license, which is true, and I guess the nightmare is the reason why I don’t dare getting one.

Who was your first love and do you still keep in touch with them?

My first girl love was a Jesus freak girl who got pregnant. I was 17 and she was 16. We don’t have contact and she didn’t have the child though, but she got one half a year later (with a guy from Jehovah’s Witnesses). It was the worst experience of my life.

Is there anything that most people are able to do that you can’t (such as drive a car, swim, ride a bike)?

Like I said I can’t drive a car. And I can’t float on water. I’m probably too thin and bony for that. But I bike like a pro (we all do in Denmark) and I swim like the little mermaid.

Have you ever been starstruck when meeting another musician? If so, by who?

Oh No Ono met Yoko Ono in London a few years ago and I didn’t expect to get talk to her, so I was kinda freaked out—like all red in the face and overwhelmed with joy. She just said good luck.

What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to you?

The day I met Aske the first time we bought two “Polarbear ice-creams” (very famous here) and when I opened mine the bear had no ears. I’ve had a lot of ice cream like that and it is very unlikely to happen. No one I know of has ever tried getting an earless Polarbear ice-cream, ever. When Aske opened his there was a pair of extra ears. I don’t know what it’s supposed to mean but we’ve been best friends ever since.

What’s the most embarrassing thing to happen to you in the last year?

Me and my girlfriend were robbed on our holiday in Paris in June and they took everything we had. I know it’s not the kind of story you would expect but it was embarrassing not to be able to do anything about it.

What or whom do you miss most when you’re touring?

My girlfriend and my family—and a few of my friends—and I miss being able to write songs. I can’t do anything but sleep when I’m sitting in a bus. I love the shows but I hate the driving/waiting part, it makes you stupid and depressed.

When you think of the future, what scares you most?

The fact that everyone including me is going to die. It’s a shame. I hope I’ll be reborn as a human again or else a clever monkey or some kind of whale.

Do you (or did you) have any pets? If so, can you tell us about them? Who takes care of your pets while you are on tour?

I don’t have any pets now but I used to have a dog, she passed away. And I used to have a chameleon, which froze to death. And a bird called Puk. She was old and her death was very peaceful and beautiful. I love animals and I’ve had too many to mention all of them, but nowadays I live in an apartment and I don’t like the idea of having animals trapped in such a small place.

If you could freeze time, what would you do?

I would freeze time and write a couple of albums and get me some real money. I’m so broke right now I can’t even tell. And I would be like a global Robin Hood and making sure that no one would ever die from obesity while others die of hunger. And I would consider killing Pia Kjærsgaard (Danish right-wing politician) without anyone noticing.

What are your thoughts on chillwave? Do you feel that it’s a legitimate genre/movement or something simply created by music journalists? In general, do you feel that most scenes/movements are organic or are created by the media?

I don’t believe in the importance of that kind of sub-sub-sub-genre/movement, and I can’t believe anyone does. It’s just a waste of time. I don’t even now what chillwave is supposed to be or which bands I should check out. I’m sure there is probably one or two good bands like always but labeling bands is for people with nothing else to do. I’m looking forward to the day when there’s no more names to put on front of -wave and I think every good act is its own genre and they already have names.

What do you predict will be the next big social change?

I predict lo-fi black metal will be the next big thing or something more cold and dirty and anti-religious.

In 2010, what was the best movie you saw, book you read, comic book you read, video game you played, and/or TV show you watched?

Fantastic Mr. Fox is really a fantastic movie, maybe it was last year but it’s still good. And I still enjoy the new South Park episodes a lot. I like Mad Men and I’m looking forward to Boardwalk Empire. Curb Your Enthusiasm was really funny sometimes and we have a similar show in Denmark called Klovn (which means Clown and is even better). Sadly I don’t read very often but I enjoyed Bob Dylan’s self-biography.

Do you have any other thoughts about the current state of the world or the state of the music industry?

I hope for the best and I wish everybody all the love they need to succeed.

(www.ohnoono.com)



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Luke
July 4th 2012
1:10pm

I really appreciate you putting this interview up. Sorry to comment so late, but I just found it while searching for any post-Ono Malthe Fischer news. Sadly, there’s not much online concerning this brilliant musician. I eagerly await any news at all about what Malthe has been up to, and whether he’ll be putting out any more material, as I’ve been a loyal fan of Oh No Ono for quite some time. Great interview, though. Lots I could say about it, but in order to keep this as brief as possible, I want to comment on just one thing Malthe said.

I was truly saddened to read Malthe’s opinion that those who didn’t vote for Obama were “heartless douchebags”. Not only would I not expect a comment like his to come from such an open-minded and creative individual, but doubly from one who, by his own admission, doesn’t even follow American politics. Since he doesn’t follow what goes on over here politically, I can only suspect Malthe’s support, or feeling “deeply touched” and “sensing” that Obama is a “good man”, to be based on the very few superficial details surrounding him that we were made privy to before the election - his underdog story, skin color, etc. Many people, obviously, were moved by similar sentiments, and judging him solely on his appearance, have since been proven to have been gravely mislead regarding his ability to lead our country. Malthe’s comment that he thinks “everyone in Europe” felt the same way he did, speaks volumes about his perception of his own opinions. That saddens me because I look up to him tremendously for his musicianship and, up until reading this interview, held him in the highest regard as an individual, as well. We sometimes forget that those we look up to are people just like us - with flaws and elements of ignorance. It’s just sobering to see Malthe’s shortcomings on full display.

As I intimated, Malthe seems to be a very tolerant (besides his few remarks concerning religion) and kind person - one that would fully respect that we all arrive at differing opinions and perspectives concerning many things - and that this fact of life should, in no way, ever be used as fuel for slanderous attacks on individuals with whom we may disagree. If he said, “I think it was splendid that Obama was elected. I like him a lot.” or something similar, without the vulgar insults, I would have fully respected his opinion, even though it differs from my own. Sad that Malthe is unable to do the same.

Having said that, I will happily continue to give him my hard-earned, right-wing, religious, capitalist, American dollars - but first, he’ll have to put out some new music.