Coming from the mystic, inspiring and green Danish land, the mature multi-skilled duo Emil de Waal and Anders Stig Møller are forming a new electronica experiment called “Yoga Class Anxiety”. At the same time, for Danish composer Rumpistol, two huge driving forces behind his music are the search for beauty and the search for new sounds.

As the first adventure of this musical merge, Rumpistol has chosen four of Yoga Class Anxiety´s original tracks and shaped them with his signature sound into a four-piece series. Each of their ongoing tracks has its own identity, history and background. Attractive and beautiful connections that make us think of music creations ahead full of quality and versatility.

Today we talk with them about sonic visions, musical aspects, and life.

Interview by Shantiago on 10/05/23.

Greetings Emil, Stig and Rumpistol, how is it going? Thanks a lot for sharing some time with us.

Thanks a lot for your interest in our music, Santiago. We are really excited about our project and this interview with you and Psybient.

Are you having a nice spring time? How does this season look like in Denmark?

Spring came last week and left again this week, which is quite cold. But it´s always like that up here and the fact that the sun is out and seeing tiny flower buds green leaves on the trees is just amazing.

Before talking about your emerging project, Yoga Class Anxiety & Rumpistol, let’s get back in time. Who are Emil, Stig and Rumpistol as artists? What is your musical path, and who are your influences?

Anders and Emil are two long-time Danish musicians with prolific careers in pop, rock, jazz and experimental music. They have worked together for years on their keyboards, basses and drums. Both always influenced and inspired a lot by electronic music and possibilities, this project came naturally and just waited to be born.

Rumpistol is an electronica producer pioneer and the three met in the Danish world/techno/jazz bastardo band Kalaha.

What’s the concept and inspiration behind this new project? How did this endeavor come about?

For Yoga Class Anxiety, Emil and Anders have gone fully electronic but still totally live-based: all the music is played live and by hand on electronic drums, hardware synths and buttons.

Rumpistol has lately dived into the world of neo-classical music. In this collab with Yoga Class Anxiety, he revisits his roots in a playful take on midtempo electronic music with lots of details and humour.

Let’s jump into the ongoing four-piece series. Could we know a bit more about this idea?

Emil and Anders were curious to know how the original pieces were experienced by other ears and how it could sound if someone else elaborated on them. Jens´ approach was a natural extension of the sound. As everything in the originals are 100% synth based it is was also a nice twist with organic elements and Jens’ more soft touch :-).

Within the three of you, there is a multi-instrumental vibe. Which is your vision for the integration of sound and different instruments with electronics?

There is always an interesting cross section between “synthesized” and “real” and it is always fun to blur the lines. The first dogma to surface was the idea that no microphones or samples would be used and see how far Emil and Anders could take it. Sort of like a “proof of concept”. This approach results in Emil playing drum sounds on synths instead of programming patterns on the machines or even just real drums. Meanwhile Anders would be programming and tweaking midi-devices that generate the notes and patterns live on some hardware synths, instead of playing them on a keyboard. So definitely out of our comfort zone. The weird and uncanny result made it pretty clear that Jens should have more room to be free and work without selfimposed limits.

What is the role of labels in your artists life? How do you see the value of a label in the modern realms?

Network, curating in subgenres, press and playlisting. Also – as making music becomes more and more accessible and the artist is responsible for the whole process from idea through recording and producing to final mix, it is nice to hand over something so you won’t get tired of it before it gets out.

The music has to change hands somewhere in the process and professional listeners and curators are much needed for that :-).

How did you start collaboration with Sofa Beats / Iboga Records? Would you share some insights about your work process with them?

The band Kalaha, that we are part of, has previously worked with Sofa Beats / Iboga Records for a remix, which was a good collaboration experience. So it was a natural choice for us to contact them for this project. They furthermore introduced us to Kaya Project, which seems to be an amazing match for Yoga Class Anxiety. Sofa Beats / Iboga Records are broadminded, open and music loving!

Would you share notes about your creative process? How are you producing the tracks? Are you following a structure?

The original Yoga Class Anxiety album is a result of 1 week of jamming on a set of specific devices and 2-4 takes per track. The drums are played Live on a DSI Tempest and the synth elements are provided by a TX7, Monomachine and a small Eurorack system. Also Eventide H9 and OTO Biscuit are in play. So a fairly simple and “skinny” setup.
The meat and soul is when Emils ideas and swing on the Tempest is paired with Anders’ generative systems built exclusively with the MIDI FX in Ableton Live.

A mix of chord machines, arpeggios, random generators and scale quantizers is manipulated with simple MIDI controllers. So the compositions are actually the result of performative exploration of human built systems based on old tech from 1983.

Do you have any preferences in terms of the DAW and plugins to use?

Anders is a heavy Ableton Live user and uses it on stage as well as in the studio. He is also a keen and avid user of the native plugins in Ableton. Both due to the stability in a live situation but also just because the quality is more than good enough. It is pretty amazing what you can do with native plugins. You can almost say that it is part of the “dogma” of the process. On the next project we will probably “allow” the use of Sound Toys, Fabfilter plugs and Max by Cycling74 for special use.

What are your plans for the future? Are you perhaps envisioning developing a live performance?

We will work on completing the four songs for the remix EP in a near future and Yoga Class Anxiety are planning to record a new album for release in 2024. It is definitely a huge ambition for us to develop a live performance set very soon and hit the festival scenes with hand played electronic music.

How do you see music in connection with nature, the universe, and humans?

Music has an enormous power as a communication tool between people of all nations, genders and classes. We like to think that all humans listen to music everyday. Such a strong and important universal language that connects us spiritually with nature. And as the technology around music creation gets even more and more crazy, we – as musicians and artist – have a kind of responsibility to explore and mediate these new mutations of that language.

Which artists from the current scene do you particularly admire? Also, artists related to the labels are releasing your music.

Squarepusher´s blend of crazy live instruments and mind-blowing programming has been a long time source of inspiration, but apart from that we are relatively new to the purely electronic genre and we have embarrassingly limited knowledge of the scene, the genres and our new colleagues. Of course classic pioneers as Kraftwerk and Aphex Twin are inspirational and in more recent years the hyper-pop queen Sophie has broken new ground in electronic pop.

Besides creative, skilled and experienced musicians, who are Yoga Class Anxiety & Rumpistol in their daily life? What do you do besides music?

We are actually all full time musicians and have been that for up to 37 years. Anders is touring the world with the Danish rock band Dizzy Mizz Lizzy. Emil is touring Europe with his ambient jazz/electronic/ambient duo and just won a Ben Webster-award for his work. Jens is releasing a piano album and working on music for a theatre play.
Other than that it’s pretty much family life with kids. We are lucky to get to spend all our work life with music in different forms.

And before ending, would you like to leave a message for the growing community?

Dear psybienters. Amazing to have you all around the world loving this sweet music form. Thank you very much for showing interest in our music and

Thank you very much for your words and insights. We look forward to the series’ upcoming releases as well as any future music that may emerge. A big hug!

Big hugs to all of you too. We are so hoping that you will enjoy our music as much as we do ourselves:).

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