May 1, 2012

Interview: Tomas Barfod

Not to jump the gun on the actual interview, but if that picture doesn't say "I'm Danish thank you for the sun" I don't know what does. Producer Tomas Barfod is Danish and for the past several months he's been in LA, prepping his debut solo album Salton Sea, that Friends of Friends will release on May 4th, following on the Broken Glass 12" they pressed up for him in March (we got to it a couple weeks ago, here). He represents an interesting rounding out of affairs for Friends of Friends, expanding their roster to encompass the full range of generic territory that the label's past projects and associations (Salva, Shlohmo, their label partnerships) had previously described. How better to settle him into the fold than a solo album produced in the label's hometown? In any event, he consented to a digital jaw wagging, so check out a couple tracks and read the results of said wagging after the jump.

Stream/Download: Tomas Barfod - Broken Glass

Stream/Download: Tomas Barfod - Beach Party

You've been living in LA for several months now working on Salton Sea - were there some immediate opportunities there or is it a place you'd imagined going beforehand?
I have been in love with LA since I went there for the first time in 2009. I love the sun, cars, deserts, and American pop culture… LA is kind of the world’s epicenter for all of that. It’s not super strong for the club scene that I'm a part of in Europe, but that’s also what I wanted to get away from for a while. So it was a combination of wanting to stay in LA because I love the place, but also wanting to pursue another kind of career in music where I focus more on producing and less on playing out.

You're normally involved with a lot of projects. How does it feel to be working on your own material? Do you see it as a significant change from what you'd done in the past or in those projects? 
The last time I did a solo album was in 2007, so it was a while ago. Since then I have had a lot of different projects… many 'bands' meaning heavy touring, but also consultant work, booking, and even starting a label. All that was fun but I also felt that I neglected my own career for the last couple of years. I was really missing doing a project for myself, so it has been very exciting doing this album. Working on a solo album is both very much the same and completely different from working in a group of people. In most co-labs I'm the guy behind the computer, so that’s the same, but on the other hand it's always harder to work in 'band' because there needs to be democracy in both meanings and talents, so that is both inspiring but also a very slow and sometimes frustrating process.

In another interview you mentioned that you were working on more "urban music" while you're in LA. Could you tell us a little more about that? 
Yes, a little… just after arriving in LA I was introduced to Young L, of The Pack. He is a great producer, but also a great rapper. We went to the studio and I think some kind of magic happened, since then we’ve had many sessions and soon some of our material will be released. Besides that, I did a very well received remix of The Weeknds “Glass Table Girls”, it was in my pop moniker The Circle, the band blogged about it and it had 300,000 views on YouTube before the guy who uploaded it closed his account - pretty annoying! I came to LA with an open mind and have said yes to everything, which has brought me to many fun places, which I will reveal when the things gets confirmed, but I can tell that it's something you wouldn't expect from me.

Has your experience in LA had much impact on how you've finished up Salton Sea?
Yes, I'm pretty sure… my listening sessions in my car have been very important, maybe it sounds strange but it has been very important for me to experience my tracks in the car, both for the mixing but also for the general production. If something was working in the car it would work pretty much everywhere. Besides that LA has been kind of an intensive, self-realized music course for me, I have only done a few gigs, so I have been making music everyday more than full time and had to push myself into sessions with a lot of different musicians and vocalists, which I’ve also learned at lot from.

How long do you think you'll be able to stay in the US? Do you have any immediate plans for what you'll do afterward? 
Forever, I love it here really, but I have to go home for summer touring in Europe and the Middle East. I'm also producing the next whomadewho album, which we plan to do in September, but I'm already planning when to get back here and I expect to do it sometime in the autumn.

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