Saturday, January 20, 2018

Feelin' Young Again with Synthpop Duo, GENTS

photo: Ivan Riordan Boll
"GENTS is on one hand a longing for the past,
but on the other hand an embrace of the future."

Say you're at a party. Say you put on Rick Astley. Most people may give you a quizzical look, one that wonders why would blast such a throwback artist. Hopefully after the initial shock, you'd have people grooving. It's a game of musical Russian roulette you chose to play. 

That being said, say you're at that same party, and say you put on Danish duo, GENTS. The response is instant. The toe tapping, the moving of the hips; it's all hypnotic and nobody can stop. GENTS borrow elements from 80's greats - singer Niels Fejrskov Juhl has the baritone voice with an uncanny resemblance to Rick Astley. Synth player Theis Vesterl√łkke on the other hand digs into the keyboards with hooks as catchy as a Depeche Mode track. They have this otherworldly talent to sound retro and nostalgic, all while maintaining a contemporary, timeless twist. 

GENTS are a new and addicting heavy-hitter in modern synthpop. With an EP under their belt along with their debut album that came out in 2017, the lads have received widespread acclaim, along with a successful tour they dubbed their 2017 "cruise." Now, they've retreated back to the studio to work on new, equally danceable material.

After discovering the two I immediately set out craving to learn more, and hunted them down. Here's a quick lil' chat I had with Theis and Niels, getting into the heads and normalizing these intriguing and mesmerizing Copenhagen-bred fellas.

photo: Dennis Morton

Let's start off easy. What's your music best suited for. GENTS fans, what are they doing while listening to you?

People could and should be doing anything. We are not doing music for special occasions but for special people. But whether one is doing the dishes, having heart-ache or sipping cocktails on their yacht, we hope that people feel hopeful, feel weltschmerz, feel grand.

In an interview with Kink, you guys mentioned your creative process involves youtube-surfing and "decadent cocktails". What is your favourite cocktail, and better yet, what's your favourite youtube video you've come across?

Choosing one cocktail is like choosing between your kids (though we can only speculate on that). Not possible. But pastis is a dear friend of ours. Adding a bit to your bourbon sour creates heaven on earth. But other times you can just be in the need of some potent re-calibration and then a vodka-bull does the trick. Every time.

Like not printing a joke on a t-shirt one shouldn’t decide on youtube evergreens. But looking at Michael Bolton killing it in ”Can I touch you... there?” seems to keep on getting us.

Embrace the Future was such a great EP, and then when you came out with your debut About Time that was incredible too. Your music definitely has a playfulness of the 80s and 90s, but it's also a mature sound that you have perfected and really made your own. Did you both grow up in the 90s? Do you think that is what influenced you so much, or was it perhaps moving to Berlin together that influenced your synth sound?

Berlin was a good place for us to dive into our music. GENTS is on one hand a longing for the past, but on the other hand an embrace of the future.


I know you guys are back in the studio recording your next album, congratulations! I'm curious, because you have a very distinct sound, and one that has gotten endless praise, do you think your next album will be similar, or perhaps see you going in a different direction?

We are not gonna make the same record twice (at least not on purpose). But we want all of our songs and releases to contribute to some greater GENTS vibe that keeps getting refined. That feeling of dark decadence that whelms upon us these days.

I'm going to put you on the spot and make you pick between Wham! and Rick Astley.

Definitely Wham! George Michael is a true genius. ”Nothing looks the same in the light” is one of our all time favourites...

I love how some of your music videos look like they've been filmed on a VHS. Very nostalgic! Because of that, pick your favourite piece of 90s technology and explain why.

Spent most of our childhood working on our Pokedex in the company of our mutual friend, Game Boy.


On the topic of retro electronics, why do you think it's so important that people are focusing on buying records again and not just streaming and downloading music?

Listening to a vinyl is a perfect way to get back to some of the contemplation, that many are missing in times like these. Listening from beginning to the end, not constantly switching, swapping and zapping.

Some talk about better sound quality and all. Don’t know anything about that.

How about a favourite movie from the 80s?

Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back. A true classic.

If GENTS could re-do the soundtrack to any movie in the world, what movie would it be?

Coyote Ugly. Even though the original soundtrack is amazing – Can’t Fight the Moonlight is an anthem.

photo: Mangus Bach Pederson

Your music can get quite sensual, Trouble for example or even Brother just sound so sexy! Were you as successful at getting the girls when you were younger?

It’s a struggle being handsome. Sometimes you just want to be your anonymous self. But gotta give the girls what they want. It is both the power and responsibility of being a true gent.

Any plans for 2017 now besides working in the studio?

Meditation, baking bread and getting a tan going.

And lastly, the outfits. You both have such a sense of cool, understated style. The tracksuits, the turtlenecks, they're all awesome! Do you have a stylist? Who comes up with all that?

”True fashion comes from within. No stylist is as good as your own heart” – GENTS

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4 comments

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  2. What a great interview! I love how they say they're making music for 'special people' not 'special occasions' haha. Love the filming style for their videos - thanks for opening my eyes (or uh, ears) to something different!

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  3. I feel like I've heard "Brother" somewhere before and I can't quite put my finger on it, but man what an awesome groove!

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