1982 out 11/3/17 via City Slang
LIIMA was born as much of breaking old habits as building new ones, and their second album, 1982 (co-produced with Chris Taylor of Grizzly Bear), provides a masterclass in pushing beyond comfort zones. Few things better illustrate the band’s urge to shake things up than the tour the band undertook ten months after the release of their debut album. It’s hardly unusual for bands to test material in public before they enter the studio, but this time they decided, before beginning recording, to take the show on the snow-covered roads of the northernmost realms of Norway, where the sun never rises in winter. Furthermore, if the crowds were small, this time it was because their audience was made up of school children. “It felt oddly familiar, waking up early on Monday morning to go to school,” smiles Tatu Rönkkö, “but to perform, not study, in front of 100 sleepy teenagers.” Casper Clausen, his bandmate, chimes in, “It wasn’t so good for the self-esteem,” he laughs, “but it put us in a good spot for entering the studio a couple of days later.”
LIIMA’s tradition of abandoning familiar routines began before they were even a band. In 2013 Clausen, Rasmus Stolberg and Mads Brauer first met Rönkkö, who would prove the catalyst behind its formation. The three Danes – who remain the key components of Efterklang – were promoting the release of their fourth album, Piramida, and their search for a new touring drummer brought them face to face with the Finn. “He killed it!” Clausen grins. “He wasn’t only playing the sickest beats, but he’d look up and smile at you, and just keep doing his thing.” Rönkkö performed with Efterklang until February 2014 when they played a show alongside a symphony orchestra and another ten or so musicians billed as The Last Concert. “It wasn’t our final show,” Brauer confirms, “and we knew it. We just needed a change.” As if to prove this, they reunited in July to play a Finnish festival, this time under the name Efterklang & Tatu Rönkkö. They spent the preceding week in a small cottage nearby, where they sought to create an entirely new repertoire. Though they didn’t know it at the time, this would be the occasion for the birth of LIIMA.
“We made music from when we woke up to when we went to bed,” Stolberg says. “None of us had ever done anything like that. This was just four guys throwing ideas at each other, jamming it out, recording things and listening back. Everything was written collectively together. There was this energy which was just insane. We immediately decided, ‘This should be a band!’” Of course, there already was a band, but this new venture was intuitive, guided by the gut, not the head. “It felt liberating,” Clausen elaborates. “With Efterklang, we’d work inside a computer, whereas now we never look at a screen.” That said, Brauer was, by his own admission, “getting deeper into some of the more nerdy sides of making music. Through software like MaxMSP and Supercollider,” he explains, “I’ve explored the math behind the music. I’m developing this ‘Fibonacci Clock’, where each note varies by a ratio of the Fibonacci Sequence. This way, the tempo isn’t static, and the feel of the groove keeps developing.”
Like its predecessor, 1982 was written during four residencies, beginning in January, 2016 at The London Edition, where they worked in a club in the hotel’s basement, sometimes watched by small crowds. They reassembled at another hotel in Copenhagen before embarking upon tours of North and South America, then Europe. They’d reconvene between trips to continue work, first in the less glamorous surroundings of a music conservatory in Viseu, Portugal and then, finally in August, at Berlin’s Michelberger Hotel. By the time they gathered in Mankku Studios in Porvoo in the Finnish countryside LIIMA were more than ready to begin recording with Chris Taylor as co-producer. Their Norwegian school trip had ended two days earlier.
1982 finds LIIMA – musically and lyrically – exploring themes that shaped their youth while looking forward to a future which is as uncertain as it ever might have been, and in which we all struggle to find our identity. This latter theme is one which has always been an issue for LIIMA, especially with Efterklang confirmed as an ongoing project, but here the musicians stake their claim firmly to both their new name and their new sound. For a band originally founded upon enthusiastic acts of spontaneity, 1982 represents a huge, sophisticated leap forward. The decision to form LIIMA was as bold as their new sound,and the results speak for themselves.