AK/DK are an electronic duo that picked up a name for themselves from the release of the release of their instrumental debut album ’Synths + Drums + Noise + Space’ and their authentically improvisational live show approach.
AK/DK are a duo that both synchronise pristine performance and rawkus-like creativity. The group style big electronica synths with rock quite effortlessly with their latest single ‘Lagom’. We had to chat with the group to see what the Kraftwerk appreciating duo is up to.
What are the lyrics to ‘Lagom’ about?
(G) Lagom is a Swedish word and concept about only taking enough for yourself and leaving enough for everyone else to share. I think it’s about not being too greedy and that seemed totally appropriate to todays social and financial situations. I’m worried about where our culture of consumption and waste will lead us.
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What was the idea behind the change in direction from your debut album to your new single, to move away from instrumental music and more into compositional writing?
(Ed) I’m not sure we’ve really changed direction; we’ve always had a split personality. The singles were always vocal-led, more composed and instant, and the album tracks were left to be more live and explorative. We’ve played a few times with Damo Suzuki, the vocalist from Can, and he coined the term ‘Instant Compositions’ for his improvisations. Our new collection of songs brings together those two halves into some kind of sonic pizza; ‘Instant Compositions’ pizza base scattered with crispy ‘Considered Compositions’.
The accompanying video to the single, who and where did you get this video concept from?
(G) The video is by our friends over at Made Better Media. We were chatting with them about working together and I was discussing this idea of gross over consumption.
(Ed) The character in the video is that urge within all of us. It’s when we see a whole cake and something tells us to grab it and take a big bite. We all know that ‘consumerism is bad’ but we do it anyway. There’s a primal, voracious appetite within humans that makes us both the most successful, and self destructive animals on earth. As Bill W and Dr Bob said; the first step to healing is admitting you have a problem…
Which two artists would you say inspire your creativity and help you write new music?
(Ed) Suicide always remind me about just how intense you can take things – their simple layers and instrumentation combine to create such a powerful effect. I love the relentlessly repetitive drum machines and simple melodies. Less is always more.
(G) James Murphy from LCD Soundsystem has always been a huge inspiration for me – the super tight synth sounds and heavy drum tracks he makes coupled with his totally dry and hilarious lyrics gets me every time I hear one of their songs.
How long was ‘Lagom’ in the works for? Are there new songs in the works to follow this release?
(G) Lagom has been around as an idea for a while now. All of our tracks come from improvisations that we recorded on our little dictaphone in our studio space. Then we re-record them and add some vocals over the top. It’s quite an organic process and inspiration comes at different times. We’ve pulled together some of these recordings and we’ll be releasing more singles and an album later this year.
(Ed) Like most of our recordings; the track is a live improvisation we captured in the studio. They always start as 20 minute experiments which we then edit down a little and add the vocal parts over the top. It’s the editing that takes the time – maybe one day we’ll leave them exactly as they happened, but that’ll mean 3 hour long albums and not sure we want to put anyone through that…
You’ve played festivals including the likes of Arctangent and The Great Escape, what’s the craziest show memory you could share with us?
(Ed) We played a festival near Brighton when the audience became so super-charged that they started spilling up onto the stage. The security had to just step aside as there was no way they could stop that amount of people. We had to pause mid set to calm everyone down enough to be able to carry on. That’s the kind of raucous energy we thrive off…
How would you describe your live performance to readers who are yet to witness a show?
(G) Our live shows are all about engaging with the audience and with the moment. We play everything live on stage and record loops of all our weird synths and keyboards – then we totally lose it on the drums together. Our music can range from psychedelic electronica to raging double-drum punk-disco workouts. I think it’s the element of danger and uncertainty that comes from not having any of our arrangements and structures or songs sorted out beforehand. It keeps us on our toes, and I think the audience can totally pick up on that intensity. If everyone ends up dancing, minds blown and smiling then we know we’ve done a good job.
Your next show you’re supporting Super Hans at Brixton Electric in London on March 10th. How are you feeling about it? Are you fans of Peep Show?
(G) The Super Hans show is going to be awesome – I get the feeling it’s going to be a proper party in an amazing venue. He was always my favourite character in the show, so I’m looking forward to seeing how his musical skills have improved!
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