Alcoholic Faith Mission talks new members, new tunes, Denmark and why the band is training to become cage fighters (?!)

Want to know one of the best things about one of Toronto’s biggest annual music festivals? Well, CMW, which stands for Canadian Music Week (for those who may not know), is not (thankfully!) all Canadian at all. Instead, CMW seems to agree with a fact I have always found to be true – international artists add wonderful diversity and truly help mix up the musical flavors at festivals. During CMW 2011, one such standout band was Copenhagen’s Alcoholic Faith Mission. Releasing a new EP, The Running With Insanity EP, on March 29th, the band has been busy charming North American audiences throughout the month of March and during their stop in Toronto, Morten Hyldahl took time to speak to me about new members, new tunes, Denmark and why the band is training to become cage fighters (?!).

Q: The Running With Insanity EP is coming out March 29, what should fans expect? Any surprises?

A: We’re very excited about it. Once again, we try to change the style a bit, so this time the fans can expect more vocals, more acoustics, percussion and a bit more lyrical bite. But it is only an EP, mind you, and just a taste of what will come in the fall.

Q: How was the process of recording this EP different/similar to your past releases?

A: Well, with Misery… it was very acoustic, almost Iron and Winer-y. 421 was more atmospheric, with a lot of nods towards Sigur Rós. Let This Be… was still huge on synth sounds and vast arrangements, but we find it to be more tight that 421, although still within that same vein. And The Running… is a nice mix of the three albums before it, at least that’s what we think.

It’s important for us to keep evolving our sound without straying too far from the initial path, if that makes any sense [laughs].

Q: I really love the name of this EP, was there a specific inspiration behind it?

A: Thank you. Titles can be interpreted in so many ways, and we like that. So it’s up to the listener what the title means.

Q: Over the years, you’ve been adding members to the band – what kind of effect has that been having on the music/sound, or on any other aspect of AFM?

A: When you get people involved that play really well, the music can go a lot of different places. Not so many boundaries, you know? Plus, everyone has great ideas, so it’s all good. We have a LOT of fun – good times!

Q: You’ve been doing a lot of touring recently, a LOT of traveling!, is there anything you to make sure it doesn’t become overwhelming?

A: We try to respect the private life of each other. Take some time apart whenever needed. That being said, we really enjoy each other’s company. We like to go to dinner, drink good whiskey, watch some movies etc.

Q: When you’re traveling, do you get a chance to go out and enjoy the city during the day? If so, what’s been your favorite city (and spot) so far?

A: Not always. We often arrive to the city only to do sound check and then go out to eat before the show. The whole sightseeing thing is unfortunately kept at a minimum.

I remember a late night summer concert in the beautiful Lausanne, Switzerland last year. It was my third concert with AFM, and I was kind of nervous. Didn’t really know the songs that well, but it turned out to be a beautiful night. Awesome venue overlooking Lausanne while the sun went down – wow!

Q: Have you noticed any differences between European, American and Canadian audiences?

A: There definitely are huge differences between borders! We have played several tours in Germany, but not once have the audiences been talking during the concerts, like we were used to back in Denmark and most other countries. Experiencing that was a great discovery and it is a big reason why we love touring Germany.

Now, touring Canada and the US has also been overwhelming because so many people want to meet us and say ‘Hi,’ and we love to meet the fans. I guess people in Europe are a bit shy in that aspect.

Another experience over here is that everyone is Tweeting during the concerts. Normally, you’re not able to see the audience at all from the stage, but here you can see their faces light up in the dark from the light of smart phones. For some reason, Twitter is not a big thing in Europe, at least not that big in Denmark.

Q: You’re based in Denmark – what is the music scene like over there?

A: Yes, we are all based in Copenhagen, Denmark. The music scene in Copenhagen has now some of the same hype that Brooklyn had a few years back. A lot of great bands are coming out and are getting recognition outside of the Danish borders. I think one of the major reasons for this is the financial helping hand bands can get by seeking funds, both governmental and private.

Q: Are there any local bands you could recommend that our readers may not know of, but should definitely check out?

A: Yes, for sure! We are part of a music collective called Copenhagen Collective, so please check out our – very cool – friends in Sleep Party People, Cody, My Name is Legion, Before the Show, among others. They are truly worth a listen! We actually all have a blog together where we share different thoughts, videos and whatnot; check it out at: www.copenhagencollective.com

Other awesome bands? Efterklang, I Got You on Tape, Mew, Oh Land, Pinkunoizu and Tommy Seebach.

Q: What’s been the biggest surprise AFM has had to date (good or bad)?

A: We recently went to Canada for the first time and feeling loads of attention from both fans, media and important business folks. It has been an awesome experience and we didn’t even do anything. Only time will tell what this little adventure will bring.

Another thing we were very proud to find out was that Lou Reed mentioned us and “Closer to Dallas” (from Let This Be The Last Night We Care, red.) on his radio show based in New York. It’s an outrageous thought that mister Reed is strolling around, humming along to the whispering choir arrangements. We’re proud.

Q: Finish this sentence: Alcoholic Faith Mission is…

A: Training to become a cage fighter? [laughs]

For more on Alcoholic Faith Mission: http://www.myspace.com/alcoholicfaithmission