Danish pop group Lukas Graham has shot to international fame with their soulful single 7 Years, which topped charts around the world after its released in September last year. The self-titled studio album that followed won wide critical acclaim. Though he’s not been to Hong Kong yet, frontman Lukas Graham Forchhammer knows quite a bit about our city. He speaks about the inspiration behind 7 Years – and that it’s not the best song on their record.
Whereabouts are you as we speak?
I am in Salt Lake City, Utah, in the middle of America.
How’s the tour going?
It’s going very well. You get to travel around and see new places that we’ve never been before. And that is quite an amazing thing to be allowed to do.
How has the US audience been responding to your music live?
People have been singing along, so loud that sometimes I can’t hear what the instruments are playing! It’s really amazing.
Tell us what inspired 7 Years?
I heard one of my producers playing the melody for the intro on the piano, and I just got the idea of [sings] ‘Once I was seven years old, my ...’, and then I started writing this song, talking to the guys about the journey. And we decided to make it grow older and older and at some point cross from my place in life into a future speculation about how I’d like to be. But it was actually quite an easy song to write, it only took three and a half hours.
It’s amazing how it relates to such a wide audience.
We didn’t make it very personal. Everyone has been seven or eleven or twenty or thirty, so people can kind of put their own life into context.
But your songwriting in general is very personal.
I just find it easier to write about real things than things that aren’t real. I find it more fun to write about stuff that does happen.
Which song do you like best from the record?
I think Funeral is the most fun to perform live. But it changes. It depends on the time of the year, what mood I’m in, but at the moment Funeral is my favourite song on the album.
Your songs in the record touch upon a wide range of topics, going from when you were seven years old to your funeral! What would the next album be like?
Haha! Probably along the same lines. We’ve been reaching east and west and north and south and have seen a lot of different topics. We’re bringing lots of different juxtapositions into play. I want our new record to be happy and sad, slow and fast. I have ambitions to make someone laugh and to cry.
What’s your pre-show routine?
I just chill, do some meditation, some stretching, and we would remind each other that we just do this because we like it. And then we go on stage and kill it.
Have you seen anyone in your audience that really surprised you?
Not really. I always get a little more emotional when I see friends and family in the audience, especially when I don’t know they’re showing up. Some friends from my childhood made it to the show in New York and that was very special to me. But a show is a show, every show has to be better than the last show and every show has to be memorable.
What message do you have for your fans?
Thanks very much for listening to our music, to 7 Years, but listen to the rest of the album. 7 Years is not the best song on the record. I really want to come over to visit you guys, so the more you listen, they more we know you want us to come and play a few shows in your lovely part of the world! When we get time, yeah, Asian tour is coming up!
Have you ever been to Hong Kong?
I have never been to Hong Kong. But I know that Hong Kong was rented by the English for 100 years and 20 years ago Hong Kong was given back to the Chinese government. So I know a lot of Hong Kong citizens moved out of Hong Kong when that happened.
Impressive! What would you like to do when you’re here?
Hong Kong has some very tall buildings I’d like to stand on top of and look out over the city and the island. But also Hong Kong has developed some special small apartments where you have several rooms in one room, I don’t know if you’re aware of these furnitures where like the table turns into a closet, I think it’s quite fascinating how to utilise small spaces.
What song would you recommend for our readers?
Mine or somebody else’s?
Up to you!
I would like to choose Swedish singer called Sabina Ddumba, her song Effortless is a very beautiful song.