Sound Off: Mads Langer
Jun 30, 2020
Right now in the entertainment industry, many artists are learning fast that they either have to sink or swim in this new wave of creation. Mads Langer is no excuse… actually, he’s a pioneer!
Giving fans a way to safely rock out from their cars, and I don’t mean blasting music from The 405, the artist known as Mads Langer was the first artist to hold an outdoor drive-in concert during the pandemic. As a successful touring artist who sells out arenas in his country, Langer reinvented the concert-going experience in response to his 40+ date summer Festival circuit being canceled almost immediately. The result was 500 “car attendees,” who quickly showed their appreciation with honks to replace claps.
Hailing from Denmark, the platinum-selling and award-willing artist is also still releasing new tracks. One of the recents “Flawless” is a beautiful song about the romantic sparks between he and his wife upon meeting (Fellas, take notes). The airy song shows off the artist’s contemporary side in this mid-tempo track. On the trail of new releases is also “Life In Stereo”. Released two weeks ago, the song pushes his boundaries further as the “feel-good” song glides along a disco-funk groove with an irresistible melody!
We got to sit down and talk with the artist about the writing process in his new singles, his first song, and performing drive-in shows!
1. Tell us about “Flawless” and the inspiration behind it!
I wrote “Flawless” just after I met Julie, who is now my wife. It’s a song full of hope for the future. I love the fact that you can play this song acoustically in an intimate setting, but it also really works on the big festivals. I love playing this song live as it combines the singer-songwriter side of me, and the more contemporary sound that I have been exploring over the last couple of years.
2. Ok, you literally had a sold-out parking-lot concert! How crazy was that and how this idea came up?
Yeah, it’s been an amazing ride doing the drive-in concerts! I have actually been doing 10 sold-out drive-in concerts since the first one that went viral. I am so grateful that I have been able to be a part of spreading a little bit of sunshine in this crazy time, and share some precious moments with my fans. Though it is not the same experience as a normal concert, I have really enjoyed being able to interact with the audience in a whole new way. I have implemented Zoom conferences in my concerts and that has enabled me to talk directly to people in their cars. That has brought me closer to the people who listen to my music and that is something I will never forget.
3. You announced a mini-tour of more drive-in shows! Are you excited? Did you plan something special that is different than your other concert?
Yeah, I’m actually in the middle of the tour and every show is different! I ask the audience what songs they want to hear and that way, we create the concert together. I really get pushed out of my comfort zone by letting the people in the cars decide on the setlist and it is so much fun.
4. Tell us about “Life In Stereo”!
So over the last six months I’ve put out music that has been dealing with the darker side of life. “Life In Stereo” is all about the bright side. I feel like the title, “Life In Stereo,” really paints the full picture of who I am as an artist. I’m a music lover and I love being able to write dark, alt-leaning songs, but chasing the happy songs is as big thrill for me. “Life In Stereo” is an invitation to a party that everybody is invited to. I feel like the world is at a very crucial place right now where we all need to embrace the beauty of the differences between us. For me, music is one of the greatest tools when it comes to uniting people. My hope is that this song will put a smile on people’s faces when they hear it, and that they will potentially share a smile with someone they love or, even better, with a stranger.
5. Growing up, were you always been around music?
I grew up in a home with a piano and a vast record collection; music has always been a big part of my life. I started playing the piano when I was three years old and I never looked back. I grew up in the countryside of Denmark and did all the regular stuff that children do. I think the main difference between me and my friends back home was the fact that from a very early age, I knew that music was going to be my path in life. I would spend 4-5 hours every day practicing on my piano.
6. What was the first song you wrote?
The first song I wrote was a very melancholic love song. I was seven years old, and I remember that my older sister told me that I couldn’t write love songs until I was older and understood what that was all about. So obviously, I kept writing love songs *laughs*.
7. We are dying to know how is your creative process when creating a song. Do you have any specific tricks?
I spend time every day being in a creative space. I never try to force the process of writing a song, but I force myself to sit down and be open to whatever may come. I write down lyric ideas every day; I sit by the piano or with the guitar, jamming and improvising, to see if there is a song that wants to be written. For me, the true beauty of spending my life writing songs really is the fact that I can’t explain how to do it. I have written more than 700 songs since I was 7 years old, and I still haven’t been able to figure out why and how you sometimes end up writing songs that will stay with you for the rest of your life.
8. You became internationally known for covering the song “You’re Not Alone” by the band Olive. Were you expecting the success of that?
No, not at all. I recorded my cover version of “You’re Not Alone” because a Danish radio host wanted me to do a soundtrack for his program about the ’90s. The song wasn’t supposed to be a single or anything, but all of a sudden, it was charting all over Europe and the rest is history!
9. Tell us about your musical references and inspirations!
I think that I am rounded by a combination of the Danish folksong and hymn traditions that we were singing in school from a very early age, and my father’s vast record collection of English and American music. I started speaking English at a very early age because my best friend was from England and lived down the street. When I was introduced to The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Pink Floyd, Neil Young, Carol King, and many more of the greatest, I was hooked. When I started exploring music on my own at the age of 10 I immediately fell for Jeff Buckley. He had a huge impact on the way I developed as a singer.
10. Favorite thing about Denmark?
My favorite thing about Denmark is our welfare system. I have been lucky enough to travel all over the world with my music, and it has become clear to me what a huge privilege it is to grow up in a society where you have a lot of faith in the authorities. The difference between the rich and poor is much smaller than any other place I have visited.
11. Tell us an artist, dead or alive, you would die to work with?
When I was in the very beginning of my career I was in the studio in London and Adele was in the room next door. She was also doing her debut album, and I remember already thinking back then that it would be amazing to sing with someone that gifted. So, doing a duet with Adele would probably be at the top of my musical bucket list.
12. So, you had to change the concept of your summer tour this year due to the COVID-19. This new set-up is something that you are willing to adopt for further tours?
Right now I’m enjoying the drive-in concerts! That being said, I am dying to go back to play regular concerts again. I will probably stage dive and go out and hug every single person in the crowd when I do my first concert in a normal way again. The whole concept of talking more and having an actual dialogue with people in the crowd is something that I am thinking about bringing along with me when everything is back to normal, though.
13. An unforgettable memory?
I will never forget when I met Paul McCartney at Soho house in Hollywood. I was standing in the bar and all of a sudden he was standing right next to me ordering drinks for his friends. I told him how much his music has meant to me and he smiled at me and said, “Thank you mate.” Until this day, it is still one of the biggest moments of my life.
14. What does popular means to you?
Popular means that there is something about what you do that is right. It doesn’t mean that it is better than stuff that is not popular, but you must have hit something that many people can relate to. Popularity comes with a responsibility, I think. If you have a big platform to speak from, you have to be aware of the fact that many people are listening.
15. Tell us about your new releases, plans, and what is coming next?
“Life In Stereo” is leading up to an album coming out late in the summer. I like writing songs that are both representing of the light and the dark, so the album will represent that. There will be uplifting songs but there will also be songs such as “Monsters In My Mind” and “21:4” that will reflect the other side of me.
- Photographer Alex Høgh Andersen