HI. HOW ARE YOU, WHERE ARE YOU AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING? Peter: Hi there. We are very busy these days. Charlotte got a new job as marketing manager in our Danish company, and I am travelling a lot visiting customers. Last week we went to Norway again doing business, and this weekend we are finally back in Berlin, but unfortunately only for a few days. In our precious spare time we are working on our second album “Penetration”. We had some session this summer in the studio, and are now almost done with the basic material – very exciting! Charlotte: Hi! As Peter mentioned we are working our *sses off – we haven’t been home in Berlin for months! We have however been here this weekend, enjoying bars, art and life. Peter has spent a few hours in the studios working on some new tracks too. Life is good; we are busy with everything other than our music. WHAT WAS THE ORIGIN OF VANITY AND HAVE THERE BEEN OTHER PROJECTS BEFORE? Peter: I have been making music for over 10 years. Actually I had a little studio in Denmark when I was younger, but then I turned to the IT business… It was actually Charlotte who pushed me to record my demos for an album, and that’s how Vanity was founded – actually it was in Berlin at the 925 lounge bar that we founded the band and came up with the name… Charlotte: I have never made music before – actually I was forced to take piano lessons as a child, but I used to hide from my teacher. One day Peter asked me to write some lyrics. He had read some of my other stuff, and for some reason thought I could write lyrics too. It was by far the most difficult assignment I have ever had. But it was great fun. WHY THE TERM “VANITY”? IS THIS ABOUT YOU OR MUSIC BUSINESS IN GENERAL? Peter: First of all because it was my vanity that kept me from publishing my music. The music is filled with vain and irony and we also wanted to make a connection to fashion and art. Off course it addresses the music industry as well – we’re sick and tired of the overproduced mainstream acts – especially those who don’t write their own music and lyrics. We are also making “pop” songs, but we try to include a little something extra in every song – whether it’s irony, sarcasm or simple provocation. Charlotte: Yup, Peter (Mr. Vain) explains that pretty well. PETER, YOU DID MOST OF THE “IMPERFECTION” PRODUCTION STUFF: VOCALS, INSTRUMENTDS AND LYRICS. DO YOU PLAY THESE INSTRUMENTS YOURSELF OR ARE YOU SOLELY USING SOFTWARE? Peter: All instruments are recorded „live“ with keyboards, synths and guitars. Off course we are using software to edit the songs and also software to produce the beats. The only classical education I’ve got is actually percussion. I learned drums and percussion on a music school for 3 years – everything else like guitar and synths I’ve learned by doing. But I’m actually not a very talented guitar or piano player, but I think I have an ear for good tunes and composing. HOW DID YOUR COLLABORATION WITH DEADPANDA START? YOU ARE THEIR ONLY SIGNING, COULD IT BE YOU OWN LABEL AT THE END? Peter: Well – It’s our own company. We wanted to do everything ourselves – so we founded the company for publishing our music. We hope to find another company though to publish our next album, as we simply do not have the time to do it ourselves. Charlotte: Dead Panda Records is our own company – we wanted complete freedom to do whatever we wanted with the music. Further more the name of the company is also a statement, as is our music. Pandas are just so cute and cuddly – but to fat and lazy to save their species. Edward Norton says it so well in “Fight Club” „I felt like putting a bullet between the eyes of every panda that wouldn’t screw to save it’s species“. I guess we just like to be politically incorrect:-) you see this in our lyrics too. ARE YOU CONTENT WITH THE ALBUM PROMOTION (REGARDING YOUR OWN OR FOREIGN EFFORTS)? Peter: We are NOT AT ALL satisfied with the promotion. Most of it we did ourselves, and this went very well. We got our music out in Scandinavia, Asia and the U.S however only in minor stores and on websites – but hey – it’s out there, and we received decent critics for what is our very first album! We are desperately looking for a manager who can control all these things for our next album and the upcoming tours next year – do you know anyone? Charlotte: No we are not satisfied. Actually I was supposed to do all the marketing, but Peter has had me working 24/7 in the company in Denmark – How many hours does a girl then have left? The big mistake we have made is we spend too much time on our “grown up” lives and careers. The summer we spent in Berlin recording the album was fantastic – away from the everyday problems and responsibilities. HERE IN GERMANY THE ALBUM STILL DID NOT HIT THE STORES, WHAT ABOUT DENMARK? DID YOU SCORED IN THE CHARTS, HAVE THERE BEEN TV APPEARANCES? Peter: Yes – shit… It is also a matter of promotion and the lack of time and resources. In Denmark it went very well – we got in high rotation on the largest radio stations in demark for quite a while. Also our Christmas song and the second single went ok. So we’re satisfied, but with a manager and a better record company things would have gone better. Charlotte: We would love to get the album out in Germany – we just haven’t had time to do anything about it. CHARLOTTE HAS BEEN RESPONSIBLE FOR THE BOOKLET. I LIKE HER WORK OF ARTS, NOT ONLY REGARDING “IMPERFECTION” BUT ALSO THE STUFF UNDER THE MONIKER OF REDRUBYSHOES. WHAT ARE YOUR SOURCES OF INSPIRATION AN HOW DO YOU WORK TOGETHER REGARDING THIS TOPIC? Charlotte: I don’t know where my inspiration comes from – art I guess. Especially street art, which I love! I love things which are grotesque, clever, funny and chocking. It is however hard to incorporate theese things into the stuff I make for my clients. Redrubyshoes is my own company and most of the things shown there are made for my clients – my personal website, which hasen’t been updated in a year, has got a lot of silly things on it. Actually most of it has been „hidden“ because my family weren’t pleased with some of my statements and pictures. I get bored easlily – then I do some silly shit. Actually I have started painting now – I have changed media. Therefor my webpages look idle, but I am busy working on other things“ WHY DID YOU RECORD YOUR ALBUM IN BERLIN AND HAMBURG? Peter: We love Berlin, and on a business trip we went looking for a studio and found the UFO in Prenzlauerberg – very lovely and very nice people there too. After we had been recording here for 4 weeks, we simply decided to move down here and found a nice flat. Unfortunately we’ll have to move to Flensburg next year because of our careers. Charlotte: Berlin is fantastic! Filled with art and music. I am heart broken about the fact that we have to leave. But Flensburg is 4 hours from Berlin and 4 hours from Copenhagen… And we are closer to the company. I guess it is a very rational decision we have made. We get to be closer to the sea! Which we both miss. I COMPARED YOUR RELEASE TO THE SWEDISH SYNTH POP SCENE BUT ALSO FOUND PARALLELS TO OLDER MESH OR THE GERMANS DISTAIN! SOME OTHER PEOPLE TEND TO FIND BOYTRONIC OR PET SHOP BOYS ELEMENTS IN YOUR SOUND. WHERE DO YOU SEE YOUR INSPIRATION YOURSELF? Peter: There’s definitely some Pet Shop Boys in our blood, it’s darker though. I actually cannot point out where our inspiration comes from – the tracks simply evolve in the studio – without any references in the beginning. I always start with the lyrics, that either Charlotte or Torben is writing. I never produce a tune without lyrics – so I guess the inspiration comes from their lyrics. Charlotte: The three of us have very different taste in music – we all love Depeche Mode. I think that is the only thing we have in common. So the album is a result of three different people’s influences. Personally I am a big fan of Swedish “The Knife”. ESPECIALLY „CLOSING TIME“ REMINDS ME OF THE LAST MARTIN L. GORE OUTPUT. PURPOSE OR COINCIDENCE? Peter: Hehe… That was definitely on purpose – only the verse though, but on purpose. Also it’s another guy singing the verses – Andre Christian – who plays in a DM cover band in Denmark. I somehow wanted to leave a little “thank you” at the end of the record… It was also meant as a joke, because most of the demo material was associated with DM, and I hate that every band using synthesizers gets compared with the band – it’s not like they invented the damn machine:-) WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE NEW DEPECHE MODE ALBUM? Peter: A lot, and now it’s out. I think it’s amazing so far – I like the darker sound on the new album – so I’m pretty pleased. We are definitely going to 2-3 concerts on their next tour. Charlotte: I am soooo excited! We have already got concert tickets and we have bought the album – it is absolutely fantastic, back to the old DM roots. And is it just me, or are the DM boys getting hotter and hotter the older they get? WHAT ABOUT THE DANISH ELECTRO SCENE? IS THERE ONE AT ALL? Peter: NO! – There are some upcoming bands who are combining electro and rock in some interesting new ways. Here in Germany you recently heard of Carpark North who is having success. …but hopefully you will hear from this small Danish band “Vanity” next year:-) Charlotte: Bands like “Nephew” and “Blue Foundtion” have both played in Berlin and they both use “electronic elements” in their music – but they aren’t electro bands, more rock and trip hop. But I would hate to put their music into a box. Great bands by the way – so is Carpark North. ARE THERE ANY LIVE ACTIVITES IN SIGHT? WHICH BANDS WOULD YOU LIKE TO TOUR WITH? Peter: We are planning live acts next year. But like everything else – we want to do it right or not at all! Again we need a booker or a manager to deal with the practical stuff. Charlotte: We have been preparing for some live acts – We haven’t had time to play live. PETER, WHAT ARE YOUR INTERESTS BESIDES MUSIC, WHAT DO YOU DO FOR A LIVING? Peter: Yes, that’s the problem in relation to Vanity. I’m a director in a Danish IT-company which is not a 9-5 job… Very exciting though and it pays for the record releases:-), but this time we cannot promote and manage the release ourselves. Charlotte: Yes I m a designer, but I have actually changed career now – I will be responsible for al marketing activities in the Danish company. I will however still work on the major accounts – I just have to do some design! YOUR HOMEPAGE IS FULL OF PRIVATE PICS. YOU SEEM TO TRAVEL A LOT, FOR EXAMPLE TO FRANCE, BERLIN OR VISITING EAST GERMAN WARTBURG. WHAT HAVE BEEN YOUR MOST INTERESTING EXPERIENCES? WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO TODAY/ IN THE NEAR FUTURE? Peter: New York last winter was great! We definitely want to go there again. I’m also a passionate diver, this year we went to the Red Sea for diving. We both have a dream about going to Japan – it could be great giving some concerts down there. The next trip is going to Canada for skiing. Charlotte: Baaah – skiing is for old people Peter. Snow boarding is cool! Yes we are looking foreword to Canada. Peter likes to dive too and tried to pass it on to me – we went to Sharm el Sheik this summer, I hate water – so I never finished my diving lessons. We were there when the bombs went off in Sharm el Sheik – we had just left city 30 minutes before they went off, and we were right there! That was pretty scary, but you can’t live your life in fear. We decided to stay in Egypt after the bombings. I have apart from Berlin lived in Paris and Dublin. As a child I lived in Singapore and I was actually born in England. So I have travelled a lot – every place has been fantastic. China is fantastic! The only place I have been which I cannot recommend is Mallorca THE LAST WORDS BELONG TO YOU… Peter: Thank you for your interest in our act. We’ll definitely mail you our next album, and we hope you’ll like it. We are very excited about it. It’s another direction with both lighter as well as darker sounds. The lyrics are mainly written by Torben who has evolved significantly since the last album – they are very great, and a pleasure writing music to… …Do you by any chance know someone who could be our manager? Charlotte: Thanks! I am not that active on the new album – I have spend more time on painting – the boys do however drag me into the studio when they have messed it up too badly. You see, Peter sometimes gets a little to “popish” and makes really sweet music. When they need a little evil in the music, they call me. I enter the room and the walls turn black:-) THANX FOR SHARING YOUR TIME DOING THIS INTERVIEW AND ALL THE BEST FOR YOUR FUTURE!