Norwegian Electro: An exclusive interview with Lemaitre


By Serenat Kivilcim

Since forming in Oslo, Norway in 2010, electronic duo Lemaitre [link] has made its music a dynamic experience of pop, electronic, indie and hip-hop and immersed millions of music lovers in their unique flow. After a strong and playful performance joined by a large group of excited fans at Washington’s DC9 nightclub on June 22, Ketil Jansen and Ulrik Lund, the talents behind the music, sat down with blackonthecanvas and spoke about their band, personal lives, and more.

Ulrik Lund Lemaitre


So, is this your first time in DC? How did you like the crowd tonight?

Ketil: Yes, it is our fist time in DC. We wanted to see the White House and Abraham Lincoln statue. So, we ate crabs and drove by Lincoln memorial but there’s not much time for sightseeing.

Ulrik: Yeah, well we’re not as big here yet, but we will be, so sit tight. But, yeah, it was a really great crowd. We have more hard core fans here than in Europe. So, (at our shows) everybody’s dancing and singing the lyrics, and it’s really fun.

As a Norwegian band you appeared with a French name, Lemaitre, who was a Belgian Catholic priest, cosmologist, who proposed the big bang theory. Why did you guys decide on this name? Does it have anything to do with your music or your personal interests in science?

Ketil:  Yeah, we were very into popular science. I hated science as a kid, they were called nature classes in Norway, and it sucked. But after I graduated I read a book called “Unweaving the Rainbow” by Richard Dawkins, and it’s mostly about what those things mean that we never learned in class, like why is it a big thing to split the rainbow. To take an example of how we take inspiration from those names, we are named after Lemaitre who is widely regarded as one of the first people to invent the big bang theory.

Ulrik Ketil Lemaitre

According to your tour dates, you two will be performing all over the States through the end of October. How is the promotion of Lemaitre in North America working out so far?

Ulrik: Well, this is our 6th show in the US and it has been great so far. I guess we have about 15 shows coming up and its definitely going to be worth it we’ll have a lot of fun along the way. And in the meantime we’ll just work on the album, so we will be touring and working on our music at the same time; it’s a lot of work but it’s definitely worth it.

But you love doing it…

Ulrik: Oh yeah, we love working at the studio and making tracks.

 Ketil: Yeah, it’s fun to play, but I  hate flying, and I hate airports, and I hate driving. I hate traveling. I like to be in different places like DC and LA or wherever we go to, but I hate the means of getting there.

Ulrik: : Yeah he’s afraid of flying (chuckle).

Who primarily writes the lyrics? What inspires you?

Ketil: We both write everything. We have studios right next to each other and we have our own set of speakers so we can record and play around without interrupting each other, and if we have something good, then we’ll show it off and we might collaborate on it. One person might do the lyrics and the other will do the music or whatever, but yes, we fight ‘till its good. You can’t be like ‘aw, fuck it, I don’t care’,  you have to fight for what you believe in. Well, that sounded way more inspiring than I wanted it to (chuckle), but it’s definitely a fight for your opinion while the other is pushing for their opinion.

 In January 2014, you signed to Astralwerks Records, home to Porter Robinson, Deadmau5 and Empire of the Sun and many others. This sounds like a major move in your career. How did this happen?

Ulrik: Yes, that’s why we wanted to sign with Astralwerks, because from the 90’s up until now, they had some of our favorite electronic music. I mean, they first brought electronic music to the US. And just last year when they signed us, they signed like four of our favorite artists, like Deadmau5 and Porter Robinson. So, yeah, it’s a cool label. But we partied with Empire of the Sun when we toured in Australia, and it was awesome. They are so good live, they have such a great (live) production.

Ketil: The first night we went to Stereosonic, and Empire of the Sun was playing that night. We met them backstage without realizing it at first  There was a guy playing acoustic guitar in front of the mirror with full makeup and he sounded like Luke James Steele, so I worked up the courage to ask him, ‘are you in Empire of the Sun?’, and he was like, ‘Yea, I am, mate’. And then I saw them like an hour later, and that was the main guy, just warming up in the bathroom (chuckle).

As a native of Turkey, I have to ask if you have ever been to Turkey. It has a blooming young population that is very intrigued by Nordic bands. Is there a possibility that you will bless my people with a live performance?

Ketil: Well, hopefully soon, but I have never been to Turkey.

Ulrik: We have to do a big, extensive Euro tour and then stop by Turkey. And I guess I remember some fans saying they are from Turkey, but it’s definitely not one of the top places that we have fans.

Ulrik Ketil Lemaitre

What has been your favorite European tour spot and what has been your craziest experience while on tour?

Ketil: I like Paris. And as far as the craziest experience, well, we played in Tel Aviv, Israel, and that was a pretty crazy experience. We went to the beach and we saw like six Apache helicopters flying by, and then we went to dinner, and suddenly there was talk of Israel invading Iran, and we then talked to the girl we were staying with, and she was like ‘yea, we all have gas masks, it’s just a thing here’.

Anything you want to say to friends, critics or fans?

Ketil: Well, I’m not one for last words, but we’ll see…

Ulrik: We got some good feedback on the track that came out today, so yeah, check out all our stuff, and if people don’t like it then so be it, I mean, this is sort of different than what we’ve done before. It’s more varied in tempo and timing and stuff, but the style is pretty much the same.

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