By Nicholas Jason Lopez
“Identity is nothing but pure fabrication.”
If you fancy similar acts like Interpol, Real Estate and Merchandise, Danish duo Communions dropped their sophomore full-length album ‘Pure Fabrication’ this past April via Tambourhinoceros (Iceage, Hooray For Earth), described as “a treatise on cultural inheritance and self-discovery.”
Highlighted by singles like “Splendour” and “Bird Of Passage,” the 15-track ‘Pure Fabrication’ breeds a sonically confident union between underground punk cynicism and the optimistic swoon of anthemic indie-pop rock.
The Music Bugle had the opportunity to chat with the Rehof brothers – vocalist/guitarist Martin Rehof and bassist Mads Rehof – about ‘Pure Fabrication’ and more.
Music Bugle – How did you guys decide the name “Communions”?
Martin Rehof – It happened pretty spontaneously. We had gotten our first show booked, but didn’t have a name yet at the time, so were in a hurry to come up with something. I had made a list of things that I thought sounded cool and I had somewhat randomly written down the title of a poem by Arthur Rimbaud that I had lying around called ‘First Communions.’ From there, I guess we narrowed it down to “Communions,” mostly because it had a nice ring to it and because we liked the meaning attached to the word “communion” – That is, we didn’t choose it because it had anything directly to do with the meaning of the poem as a whole or anything.
Music Bugle – What excites you the most about where you come from?
Martin Rehof – Copenhagen is a nice home-base to have for many practical reasons, but in terms of what excites me, I would probably say the vibrant music scene and art scene here in general. It’s nice to live in a city with an interesting musical and artistic output, not least because it has the effect that one’s immediate surroundings can stimulate and inspire one in a positive way.
Mads Rehof – Apart from the thriving music and art scene, Copenhagen is the ideal city to be in during the summer. The weather is perfect and the long winter makes you appreciate it even more!
Music Bugle – What was it like putting together your album ‘Pure Fabrication’?
Martin Rehof – It was a long process – a few of the songs on the album were written all the way back in 2018, but the largest bulk were recorded in 2019 and 2020. As far as I remember correctly, we had spent the beginning of 2020 mixing the album and had hoped for it to be released that same year, but then Corona hit and delayed the entire process. Other factors made the process longer than expected. For instance, the fact that we found ourselves in between record labels and therefore, spent a large bulk of 2020 establishing a new working relationship with our new record label, Tambourhinoceros, so ‘Pure Fabrication’ feels like a grand exclamation mark, like a culmination of a long evolution that has taken place since our debut album from 2017. Because the album’s songs span over a period of three years, it was a really interesting process diving back into each individual song when sequencing the album’s tracklist. It was like diving into my subconscious. When I looked across all of the songs, taken together, I could see that a larger story or narrative had taken shape, without me necessarily knowing consciously that I was going for something like that when originally writing each individual song. I decided to push that narrative to the foreground by placing the songs in a certain order from start to finish. It was the first time for me where the act of sequencing a tracklist felt like an important creative act in its own right.
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
Martin Rehof – A lot of different things. I’ve been listening to different jazz stuff, but also a lot of hip-hop and instrumental beat-based music – a lot of Madlib’s stuff for instance, just to give one example. His latest album is amazing. Also, Yves Tumor is an artist whose last two records have been really inspiring. He has a unique way of combining a lot of disparate genres across rock and electronic music. Jai Paul is another, somewhat newer artist, who has left a big impression on me. Otherwise, a lot of Björk and a lot of Radiohead, two household names that I, unfortunately, have only properly begun diving into as of late.
Mads Rehof – Madlib, MF DOOM, Portishead, Yussef Dayes and David Kilgour.
Music Bugle – How else would you say you were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Martin Rehof – In a very concrete sense, it has prevented us from playing many of the shows that we had planned to play this past spring in connection with our single releases and album release.
Mads Rehof – Apart from not being able to play concerts, life under COVID was first predictable and monotonous. Since you can’t do anything, every day ended up being the same. I missed the small social interactions that occurred when sitting at a cafe, or when you spontaneously meet a friend and your plans for the day suddenly change completely.
Music Bugle – Where do you go when you need an escape?
Martin Rehof – Even though the two don’t coincide, exercising and drinking are two of the ways I like to escape. Going for a run is something I’ve found to be quite meditative for myself when I need to relieve some stress and obviously, going to the bar is a classic, albeit less healthy, go-to way of catching a mental break.
Mads Rehof – I usually go on longer walks while listening to music. I find the combination a very effective way of evading your conscious thoughts for a period of time.
Music Bugle – Away from music, what’s something that people might be surprised to know about you guys?
Martin Rehof – Although Mads and I were born in Denmark, we grew up in the United States, in Seattle, for a period of about 11 years. We moved back to Denmark when I was around 15/16 years-old.
Mads Rehof – I have a passion for mathematics, which I first acquired at the age 12. Back then, I would study math in my spare time, when I was freed from school. Now, I study mathematics and computer science at the University of Copenhagen.
Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do?
Martin Rehof – This isn’t so much a quote, but more a way of thinking. I find that it helps me to remind myself of my own mortality. That way, I’m reminded to only spend energy doing things that I find a genuine sense of meaning and satisfaction in doing. Although I guess it’s sort of fatalistic, I think it can have a positive effect, at least for me.
Mads Rehof – “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
Music Bugle – What has been your most memorable moment that involves music?
Martin Rehof – For me, it was both times we played in Japan in 2017. The first time was a club show that took place as part of an event that Hostess Entertainment hosted and the second time was at the festival Summer Sonic, where we played two different shows, one on a big indoor stage and another at an outdoor stadium. As a Danish indie band, this was a very surreal experience.
Mads Rehof – Our trips to Japan in 2017 were unforgettable. Besides the invigoration of being in a country so far from Denmark, the concerts we played in Tokyo and Osaka are among our largest and most memorable to date.
Music Bugle – What do you hope for from the rest of 2021?
Martin Rehof – First and foremost, I hope that the pandemic gets under control. Since so much time was spent inside these days, I’m trying to get better at producing. Someday, I’d like to be able to produce and mix an entire record myself.
Mads Rehof – A return to, or at least a resemblance of, life before COVID-19.