Lemaitre On Balancing Sounds & Australia’s Electronic Music Scene
Norwegian electronic duo Lemaitre formed in 2010 and have since made a name for themselves creating an eclectic mix of instrumental and electronic dance music. Over the past half a decade or so they’ve churned out track after track, releasing seven EPs, and have recently released a new four-track release called Afterglow.
They made massive inroads in the Australian electronic scene with their hard-hitting single ‘Stepping Stone’, which was released earlier this year and has since gained massive airplay on Australian radio. Lemaitre have also developed a certain knack for getting their songs in mainstream advertisements, with their tracks appearing on commercials for Apple, Google, and those Facebook friendship anniversary videos that pop up on your newsfeed.
We caught up with the guys a few weeks ago to chat about difficulty with trying to balance releasing EPs and albums, striking a balance between organic and electronic sounds in their music, and why their tracks keep getting used in technology advertising.
Watch: Lemaitre – ‘We Got U’ ft. The Knocks
Music Feeds: So you guys named yourselves after Georges Lemaitre. Is there any other meaning behind the name Lemaitre?
Lemaitre: I mean it looks really cool on paper, and it was obviously a cool story with him discovering the Big Bang. He was a Belgian priest who came up with that theory of the creation of the universe.
MF: You guys are about to release your new EP Afterglow. Now you already released 1749 earlier this year – were the tracks on Afterglow just leftover tunes or did you start from scratch for this one?
L: We started from scratch, there were no leftovers from 1749 – we rarely do have leftovers. If we did we probably would have included them on that album. Most of the songs on the Afterglow EP were written after 1749.
MF: What sort of factors come into consideration when you guys are thinking about whether to put an EP or a longer form project like an album together?
L: If we had time we would do longer ones, but we also want to release music pretty frequently because it’s really hard to get ten or twelve songs that you’re really happy with at the same time, without spending a really long time. We rarely get a whole year or two years in the studio, which is what we’d want to have if we were to release another full album.
MF: Throughout your career, you’ve always seemed to strike a balance between organic instrumental sounds and synthetic sounds. How important is it for you that you show off both these elements in your music.
L: It’s not so much a conscious choice to be honest. I guess we just make music in the way we like to do things. We really like the way organic instruments sound and we also love sampling music, so it’s just the way we ended up working on things I guess. It’s not a choice for us to say ‘oh this would be cooler with organic instruments,’ or ‘oh this would be cooler with electronic stuff.’ It’s just the easiest way for us to make the music that we like.
MF: It really seems like with ‘Stepping Stone’ you’ve finally broken through in a big way into Aussie radio play. Just from listening to the radio this year it’s had the most airplay of any of your music. Can you pinpoint why you think this song has been special for you guys this year?
L: I think Australia has a really good electronic scene because of triple j and because of the great music coming out over the years, and this song has a very hard-hitting electronic sound compared to some of the other songs we’ve made. So I think it works really good over there because it’s really just straight electronic and because electronic music is so big in Australia it really works well on the radio there, more so than other places in the world.
Watch: Lemaitre – Stepping Stone ft. Mark Johns
MF: Although actually playing instruments must allow you to bring a lot more to your live shows.
L: Absolutely, it’s a lot more fun playing live than DJing. That might also have to do with us not being the greatest DJs in the world, but it’s a lot of fun playing live shows. It makes a difference. It’s easier for us to have fun on stage if we’re playing something that is real time you know. A really big difference is that if you play something live, if you stop playing, the music just stops, and that adds another layer to the excitement of a live show. As opposed to if a DJ takes his hands off the controls for a second the music keeps on going.
MF: You’ll be in Australia very soon for Falls Festival and some headline shows. Give us a bit of an idea; what should fans expect to see from Lemaitre live?
L: Just good times and good vibe, there’s a lot of things happening. We try to play the music as close as possible to how it is on record while still doing as much as we can live. We have a pretty big light show and a pretty cool stage set-up with four of us on stage, a lot of synthesisers and vocals and guitars. The show we’re touring in America right now is going to be pretty much the show we’ll bring to Australia. We’re trying to bring as much as possible, even though we’re touring with a bus now and we’ll be flying around Australia. We should be able to bring a lot of cool stuff with us.
MF: You guys also had the opportunity to tour with Porter Robinson on his incredible Worlds tour. What did you guys learn from that experience?
L: It was definitely inspiring watching his whole visual set up, it was just amazing, nothing like we’d ever seen. Then actually just a few days ago we saw Porter playing with Madeon on the Shelter tour here in Los Angeles, and it was ridiculous. It was the best visual show I’ve ever seen
MF: Earlier this year you guys performed a concert inside Minecraft. What was that like?
L: We were asked to do it, and we played a show at this convention, this huge gaming and computer convention that happens in Norway. We were told it was going to be live broadcast inside Minecraft, it was pretty crazy. So we played a show there while our avatars played the show in Minecraft, broadcast directly into a server, so the people playing the game could actually watch the show live.
MF: For one reason or another your music seems to keep getting picked up in technology advertising. What do you think it is about your music that seems to suit that sort of aesthetic so well?
L: Definitely a big part of is that our music has really strong instrumental hooks, and strong instrumental lines. I would guess that sort of thing would be easier to have in the background. Royksopp is another act that uses a number of instrumental hooks; they’ve also been in so many ads. I think that is at least partially the explanation, and then we have an amazing team that handles the advertising placement. I think maybe that we’ve always had a strong following on the internet and that’s where we got our start, so a log of companies know about us because we’ve been pretty much mainly reaching out to people through the internet.