Fires of Denmark fights for the musical foreground
More than white noise. That’s what Mike Terrill, the musical genius behind the dream synth project Fires of Denmark, is going for with his latest album, "Interference."
The release party will take place at Carpet Booth Studios on Saturday, Sept. 28 at 7 p.m. The show will also include musical performances by electro-inspired acts Mottle and Dreamspook. Local video maker Tyler Aug will record the show to create a live concert video.
Terrill says that his Fires of Denmark project was really inspired by his love for one song: "In the Air Tonight," by Phil Collins. This song launched his quest to create what he calls "quiet dance music." His music, influenced by bands like The XX, Tears for Fears, Joy Division and TV on the Radio, embraces the idea of using traditionally pop- and dance-oriented instruments to create a sort of "post-punk sound."
For Terrill, the key is creating music that "can take your mind somewhere." He describes his music as "a little journey you can get lost in."
"If it doesn’t take you somewhere, it’s just background sounds," he says.
Last year, Fires of Denmark released "With Love," and Terrill has continued to build on his experiences recording that album to help inform his latest release. "Writing and recording music is all an evolution," he says. "I was never blessed with the finances to go to a proper studio to record, so I keep teaching myself, and with every project, I am coming closer and closer to the sounds in my head."
The sounds in Terrill’s head, as they’ve been revealed on "Interference," mix nostalgic longing and modern beats. At times, the music includes striated layers of distorted synth and bluesy guitar solos. Fleeting vocals drift over the record’s somewhat dark and slightly dissatisfied sonic landscape while the album is punctuated by tracks like "Failure to Notice Relevance" that feature a more pop-inspired ethos.
The album includes a few aural surprises. For instance, the track "Your Truth" includes layered trumpet melodies that get fuzzy around the edges as they reverberate and build, and "Silence and Empty Spaces" includes a vibraphone ostinato.
One of the standout tracks on the record is "Freedom From Your Own Ideas." Its catchy bass line, whispery vocals, and a repetitive, four-note melodic motif make it an earworm.
Some of the music on the record was inspired by compositions that Terrill completed for commercial applications. The song "Thursdays" is an example. "I originally wrote it as a background ‘catchy synth’ jingle for Rochester’s ‘Thursdays on First,’ but ended up keeping it for myself when it wouldn’t leave my head, and after a night in the studio, it transformed from a little jingle to a full-on journey of a song," says Terrill.
Terrill is excited to be performing his music at Carpet Booth, a place he says is a "creative, intimate space." He’s also looking forward to sharing the stage with Mottle and Dreamspook. Mottle was one of the first acts to share a bill with Fires of Denmark when both projects started performing live about two years ago, while Dreamspook is one of Terrill’s musical inspirations. "He was doing what I was trying to figure out in my head," says Terril.
For Terrill, the music is all about finding a unique voice.
"Find what makes you, you, and do that," he says. Now, he’s inviting you to explore the musical niche he’s created for himself.
What: Fires of Denmark "Interference" release party with Dreamspook and Mottle
When: 7-10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28
Where: Carpet Booth Studios, 5296 65th Ave. SE, Rochester
Cost: $15 (includes a copy of "Interference")