Introducing Take Five, a brand-new feature in which we we give you a few key facts about some of your new favourite bands. So, without further ado, meet Indians, a.k.a. Søren Løkke Juul, a Danish master of dreamy pop. From playing grade school parties to abstaining from Facebook, here are five things you need to know about him to stay in the conversation. By Madeline Giles. Photographed by Sacha Maric
Sometimes one song is all it takes. Back in December 2011, Søren Løkke Juul posted the electronic lullaby “Magic Kids” online under the name Indians. It was the only song he had written, but that didn’t stop renowned indie record label 4AD from asking him to join their club. “I didn’t have any idea about getting signed or anything,” recalls Juul, phoning while on a walk from his home in Copenhagen, Denmark. “I just made music for myself, really, and I decided to share things with my friends to get their opinions on it. Suddenly ‘Magic Kids’ went on this journey of its own, a lot of music blogs picked it up, and I think that’s where 4AD first heard me. After they contacted me, that’s when I decided, OK, I think I’m going to make an album.”
This month Indians will release Somewhere Else, an intimate and dreamy debut that Juul wrote, performed, and produced himself during breaks from touring alongside bands including Other Lives and Beirut in 2012. There are hints of Sigur Rós and Bon Iver in Juul’s breathy tenor, warm melodies, and serene distortions, but the musician says he tried not to overthink his sound. “I had to forget about all the pressure and just go on with playing around and enjoying myself making music,” he says. Here are five more things you need to know about Indians.
Growing up in a small town in Denmark, Juul started taking piano lessons at age eight. Three years later, he joined a band with three school friends, aptly called The Kids. “We played school parties, weddings—stuff like that,” remembers Juul with a wry laugh. “I think that’s where I found out I really liked playing concerts and the attention that comes with it.” Juul continued playing with a few different bands over the years and finally decided to go solo in 2011 because he “didn’t want to be in the background anymore,” he says. “I needed the challenge.”
“It’s about natives…we are all human beings together in this world—we are all natives in a way,” says Juul. “I like [connecting] the name ‘Indians’ with the idea of nature, because I think music is a part of nature, too.”
“I’m a very social guy,” he insists. “Maybe people think that I’m not because the music is so quiet, but actually I enjoy meeting and talking to different people about their lives. It’s a big interest of mine to see how people live around the world.”
“I made a rule that we’re not allowed to have computers or smartphones half an hour before a show. It’s about focus…if you sit on Facebook 10 minutes before a show, then you’re not at the show in your head. It’s a stupid way to not prepare yourself. I also never wear the same thing I had on before sound check—I know whenever I put on a new shirt, it’s a symbol I’m ready to go on stage.” He briefly pauses: “And maybe I have a shot of whiskey to get my voice ready.”
“Everything that’s going on in that town in amazing, and I was just so sad about leaving,” reminisces Juul, referring to a 10-day trip to New York in April 2012. “‘Somewhere else’ is the feeling I felt when I was in a cab and watching Manhattan through the window. I still remember sitting on the plane going back to Europe after that trip—I was very sentimental.”