Thursday night at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco, Lemaitre makes their first stop on their We Got U! tour. Ecstatic for their upcoming show, Ketil and Ulrik welcomed me on their tour bus for an interview. Two super chill, down to earth dudes, we talked about southern food, hungover collabs and the bus tour they’ve waited for so long to do. As Lemaitre took the Regency’s stage, the euphoric energy filled out the room spreading the good vibes. Hits like their new single “We Got U!” and oldies like “Closer” and “Cut To Black” got the crowd moving and singing along around the room. The electronic band did not disappoint in delivering amazing energy throughout the show, reaching out to the crowd, and bringing an amazing set of talented trumpeters and trombonists towards the end of their set, filling the room with hype and awesomeness, Lemaitre came through with an outstanding opening show.
MMIBTY: San Francisco is the first stop to your tour! Are you guys excited about going around the US?
[Ketil] Yeah, we’re excited! And this is the first proper bus tour that we’re doing by ourselves so we can bring a lot of production. When you fly out, you end up spending an ungodly amount of time and money arguing at the check in counter, and you don’t know if you’re gonna spend $50 or $3000 dollars for all the equipment. We’ve been looking forward to do a bus tour for so long because, even budget wise it makes sense, you have everything in one place. Going back and forth to a hotel, to the airport, paying thousands of dollars of equipment overweight, it’s horrible.
MMIBTY: Are you guys excited to play in a certain city?
[Ulrik] San Francisco has historically been the city that has been the most turnt in all our previous US tours. Los Angeles, New York, San Diego, Vancouver…
[Ketil] Denver might be a wild card, we’ve played there before but only as support, but we’re excited to go back and play in all these cities. We’re also excited about playing in the southern states because of the food! We’re a big fan of ribs.
MMIBTY: Do you miss any food from home?
[Ketil] Bread. San Francisco surprisingly has a lot of great bread.
[Ulrik] But we like fresh baked from the bakery, when you see them making the dough type of bread.
MMIBTY: So you guys played Coachella this year, how was that experience?
[Ulrik] Awesome! When we got the news I were screaming on the phone because it was like, finally, it was one of the top three festivals we’d been wanting to play at. Still, Lollapalooza would be dope, Glastonbury too, but Coachella was definitely one of the highlights of the year. The show was amazing, we got a great slot at the Gobi tent at 10pm, a night slot, it was great.
[Ketil] And there were a lot of Norwegians this year, so we got to meet a lot of friends, hang out, it’s a really social festival. All the backstages are intertwined, so everyone hangs out there, it’s a super chill vibe.
MMIBTY: What is the best part about playing a festival for you guys?
[Ulrik] Getting to play to new people, you get a mixed crowd. Now that we’re headlining a lot of people come out to see us play, and that’s like…the bomb! Also, the people at festivals are really open to new music so it’s always fun.
MMIBTY: And you take the time to go check out other artists?
[Ketil] Yeah, definitely, we’ve been playing some festivals where we got to see some of our favorite artists over the last couple of years like the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Guns N’ Roses
[Ulrik] 1975 at Coachella this year was one of my favorites!
MMIBTY: So speaking of artists and music, what is your creation process when you’re starting a new track?
[Ketil] It’s mainly fucking around. Often you listen to a track, or you watch a movie and you’re like “oh, this soundtrack is amazing” and then you try to recreate it, but you can’t really because you’re not good enough, then you end up hitting another nerve and you’re like “oh, this is cool” so you just follow it and 90% of the time it ends up being terrible. It’s all trial and error, for example “Cut To Black” is a botched attempt at recreating “You’ve Got a Friend In Me” from Toy Story. Other than its piano, and sort of rag timing, it doesn’t really sound anything like “You’ve Got a Friend In Me,” and I wouldn’t have been able to do a “You’ve Got a Friend In Me” style song because I’m not technically proficient enough, but it ended up being its own thing, which turned out to be great.
MMIBTY: Do you have any specific approach to sound design?
[Ketil] I’ve watched a million interviews, mostly of NOISIA, we met them actually at Stereosonic, and I’ve never been more starstruck than in that moment, I had been listening to their stuff for so long!
[Ulrik] and they actually mixed two of our songs, which we never thought would happen, that was crazy
[Ketil] I remember we were talking to our label about mixing our songs, since we had been mixing our songs ourselves for a long time, they had been pushing mixers for a while so I said “fuck it, ask those guys and if they say yes, then, great!” So they reached out to Nick, and he said yes, and I freaked out because I kind of didn’t feel confident enough that I wanted to send them the tracks because the sound design isn’t as good as it could be, and they were gonna hear how weak our drums are, oh no! (laughs) And it’s crazy listening to what they did to “Closer,” after listening to it, I felt like I just walked out with the tail between my legs. It’s so crazy what they did, that was the first time that someone mixed our song and did exactly what we wanted to do but we weren’t able to do it. And they changed nothing! There were no creative additions, they just did what we wanted to do but a lot better!
[Ulrik] They understand music, and they understand how it should be.
MMIBTY: Do you have any favorite vst’s?
[Ulrik] But we also use a lot of the Ableton live’s plug-ins, just because they’re so easy to configure, and so easy to work with within Ableton live, and we produce in Ableton, we use all their vst’s
[Ketil] FabFilter Compressor, and Kontakt and Serum are the top 3 ones.
[Ulrik] Most of the stuff is Ableton’s effects.
[Ketil] Yeah, the multiband compressor is great, and it sounds different than a lot of other multiband compressors, and the saturation is really good. The limiter is not that great, but we use it a lot. The iZotope limiter is crazy, but it takes a lot more effort.
MMIBTY: Tell me about your single “We Got You,” how did that collab happen, how was the process for you?
[Ulrik] We had been talking to The Knocks guys for a long time, but we never had any time to get in a room together. We had a weekend in New York, and we went to the guys’ studio in Chinatown and we, basically hammered out the song in a day, and we worked on it over the internet for like, half a year, but we basically wrote and sequenced the whole song in a day. We just jammed out in there, and made a sample, and then resampled. Actually the vocals on the track are the vocals we recorded that day in Chinatown, I was really hungover from the day before, and we tried to re-record it later, but I didn’t have the graspy, hungover voice! So it didn’t sound as cool, so we stuck we the vocals we recorded in one take.
[Ketil] It was the same with the guitar and the bass, I played it crappy on a baby guitar that was on their studio, and it sounded kinda weak, I thought. So I was like “I got a guitar collection at home, easy, I can start comping clips and start my own selection,” and I tried for like a day, and somehow it just sounded weaker and so much more clinical. So the only thing we really switched out and did stuff with were the drums and the bass line. The whole foundation of the track was laid on that one day, when everyone was struggling.
[Ulrik] A few times, it’s actually better working when you’re hungover, but most of the times you should stay away from alcohol! On this tour, I’m gonna be good to my body, drink only on the days we have off and a little bit before the show, or if there’s a really turnt party going on we might make an exception! But other than that, we’re working.
MMIBTY: What is your process with the visuals of your show?
[Ulrik] Yeah, we’ve done everything from designing the logo and the stage piece, to the programming, and we also have help from some really great people who know what they’re doing with the lighting, but overall we’re really involved in everything.
MMIBTY: Any favorite songs to play live?
[Ketil] I think “Last Night On Earth”
[Ulrik] Yeah, you know there are some songs that you play for 5 years, and they still work and they’re still great to play, and some songs that you’ve never played before, like the ones from our new EP. I’m really looking forward to “Last Night On Earth” and “Haze.” “We Got U” is always fun, “Closer” is always fun.
MMIBTY: And as my last question, what’s your favorite color?
[Ulrik] You’ll see on the show tonight the visuals will have a lot of blue in it!