From Copenhagen-based synth-pop duo First Hate, one thing is for sure: you’ll never be bored. Enthusiastic in their approach to crafting experimental soundscapes, First Hate squeeze every last drop of their mouth-watering pop detours into a brilliant new album titled Daddy’s beard. From the modern ’80s pop sounds of “Someone New” to the westernized instrumentals of “Cowboys In The Tub”, the entire effort reflects the duo’s stratospheric range – and their ever-changing style of melodic crafting.
In a visual effort every bit as mesmerizing as their unique soundscape, “Commercial” opens with a quick escape followed by a roofless road trip – championing an unwavering sense of freedom. Slow and steady, “Commercial” slowly takes you on a journey through the city – during which the duo show that nothing really matters, simultaneously teaching us to let go and live our dreams instead. .
To mark the release of Cotton Candy, we sat down with the duo to discuss their band’s origins, their favorite songs and lyrics, and their dream alter egos. To stream the album, spotlight the track, and for the full interview, head below now…
Hey first hate! How are you?
A: Halloj Wonderland! It’s good to talk to you! Lately, we’ve been happy as little bunnies. Summer, new music from First Hate, new shows scheduled, vacations around the corner…
Let’s start with how you met, how did it go? And when did you decide to form a band and make music together?
J: We met in 1999 in Switzerland at the “Brainlord International Chess Contest for Incredible Kids” (we know, what name). As we were the only two representatives from Denmark, we spent the whole week together, eating Black Forest cake at the buffet and painting children’s graffiti in the hallways of our spooky hotel. A year after we were both kicked out of the chess club, we decided to form a band, but it wasn’t until 7 years later that we started making music.
And why did you name yourself First Hate? How did you find it?
J: Names are a strange thing, aren’t they? At first you hear the words first and hate, but after a while First Hate becomes like any other name, Louise, Michael or Lasagna for that matter. Now First Hate is synonymous with our sound and our universe, but it was originally just something we picked from a list of AI-generated names on bandnamegenerator.com, it seems the site n no longer exists.
A: Speaking of names, I think modern food names are boring because dishes are simply called what’s on the plate in order from large item to small item. Names like Tiramisu or Burger are simply more poetic. In Denmark we have a traditional dish called ‘Brændende Kærlighed (Burning Love). That’s a group name available for you right there.
You have certainly been busy traveling around the world. What has been your favorite place to visit so far and why?
A: Some of our favorite places to visit have undoubtedly been Ukraine and also Russia. I still remember the first time I came to kyiv from St. Petersburg and everything was in Cyrillic letters. Not being able to go back there and meet and support our friends is heartbreaking.
J: Favorite places are like favorite colors or favorite songs. Impossible to choose. We have made beautiful memories in so many countries now and the essence of the tour is also the changes in the environment you are going through. That said, being half Chinese, the China tours were a highlight every time. Being able to travel across the country and see it from a different perspective than with my family has been important to me. Filming in Japan was also life changing for both of us and it’s something we always look forward to doing again.
Congratulations on the completion of your new Cotton Candy album! What struck you the most in this last work?
A: We spent most of last summer at our friend Mads’ studio in Copenhagen. Unfortunately, the old scrap building will be demolished and a motel will replace it. Many artists came to add layers to the songs and we were very open. I think the realization that we can change genres and styles so many times over the course of an album, but over the years we’ve built a First Hate sound so distinct that you can still hear that c is us, it was fun to play with. I think we did a good job. What do you think?
And it comes with the “Commercial” focus track, which contains some stabs at the capitalist lifestyle. Do political comments run through the whole album?
J: Political, personal and emotional views are exchanged throughout the songs, much like how the brain works throughout the day. Or like scrolling through stories on instagram. A story about unboxing new clothes, a story about Israel committing war crimes, a story about a cute dog.
A: Our outlook on life is a bit skewed. I hope people will make their own guesses and interpretations of what the songs mean.
Do you have a favorite track? And if so, why ?
J: Most of the tracks were a favorite track at some point in the making of the record. It’s something that really changes over time. Cotton Candy has a special place in my heart because it deals with personal loss and the apathy of life. I lost my mother a few years ago while we were on tour, and the simple melody and chorus lyrics of this song are truly soothing to my soul. Cowboys in the Tub is also a favorite, just because of the slow and heavy vibe and Someone New really matches the summer air blowing just around the corner. For me, it’s the sound of the bike going to Anton’s studio to make music and go for a swim in the port of Copenhagen.
A: “Eat your spaghetti to forgetti your regretti” is my favorite line on the album I think. I don’t know if I have a favorite song? I have one song that I like the least haha… It can be hard to like your own work sometimes. It changes like the weather.
Are there still themes you want to explore in your music?
J: Writing and producing songs is a very intuitive process for us, and most of the songs capture moments and feelings from our daily lives. For both of us, making music is a bit like keeping a diary. We’re both busy in our minds with a ++ surplus of thoughts running through all the time, so I don’t think we’ll run out of themes to explore or things to write about. Some people confuse our love for mere universal statements, which on the surface may seem clichéd or even silly at times with a certain careless superficiality. In fact, we think a lot about our production and lyrical choices and like to work on and under the idea of what is expected from the narratives of a song.
If you had to choose a new kind of sound to explore, what would it be?
J: It would be fun to make really fast and uplifting music. Something like Happy Hardcore. It’s also such a good name for a genre and we’ve talked about it often, because it could very well match the ecstatic energy of our concerts. And we also love a lot of those songs. Being able to make sounds like Party Animals – Aquarious or even better, Scooter – Endless Summer would be a dream come true.
A: One day, when we’re too old to go on tour, we’ll win the international Eurovision Song Contest and save the planet. I would also like to be Elton John and be really good at piano and singing… Anton John… maybe one day.
And finally, what’s next for you? Do you have specific goals for the near and distant future?
A: We are not allowed to fully lift the sheets yet. But you can expect plenty of exciting FH shows revolving around our all-time favorite plus-size woman, mother earth, other bizarre music videos and photos. I think right now we’re very excited about the vinyls and the merchandise to be released. Having a New York-based label also means focusing more on North and South American territories, which is a dream come true!
J: There are many exciting things on the way. As for the specific objectives; We would like to play a sold out US tour soon and dream of playing Las Vegas at some point. If anyone can make it happen, contact us!