While sitting in a booth on the ground floor of Venue in Vancouver, BC, I look up to the balcony and catch my first glimpse of Mette Lindberg, lead singer of the Asteroids Galaxy Tour. It’s surreal that this larger than life frontwoman rocking out the latest Heineken commercials is the same doll-like blonde beauty waving down at me.
As we launch into the interview, I can’t help but laugh at the yo-yo of answers that slide between straight face seriousness and a string of animated replies that are part words, part sound effects and part air band gesturing. As entertaining as ever on and off the stage, the enchanting, Mette Lindberg…
There are lots of horns and a big band sound to this new album, Out of Frequency. Was that the original concept?
Yeah, I mean Lars [Iversen] is a producer as well so we talk a lot about what we want of sound and how we like it to be expressed. We really like this filmic approach to music – that it’s [air band gesturing] bombastic, psychedelic big band, mysterious and romantic and not necessarily freaky, but daring. We like to paint and we really like Tarantino movies, Blaxploitation, spy movies, TV series and the Wire, True Blood is sort of surreal as well. We like that.
Your lyrics are always so wonderfully expressive. Where do you come up with phrases like “hip shake escape” or “head over heels on gasoline”?
We wanted this crazy laugh feeling. We’re from Denmark. Our first language is Danish and maybe we think of the words in another way. It’s like painting with the words. “Head over heels” is kind of a bit insane – good and bad, to put it with something more erratic like “geez Louise”. It’s something that reminds me of old movies in America. We play around with it.
Were there any major lessons that your learned on the album, Fruit, that you incorporated into recording and touring this time around?
You learn all the time so sometimes it’s difficult to say you learned exactly this because you will move and you’ll feel something else and that comes across in the music, maybe without thinking about it. We wanted to give it a more electronic sound, wanted to give it more bombastic. The first album was a little more…lo-fi sounding. We wanted this one to have more body.
Your music is very upbeat, happy and infectious. Do you have to be in a particular mood to convey that when recording?
No, because I feel that our songs are many things, like some of the lyrics are very critical or grabbing something with anxiety even though it’s got an ironic, easy touch on it, it’s serious – in a good serious kind of way. You’re not being too political. We use our imagination to create something around what we feel and we think is inspiring or like something that we were fascinated by. You can have the music route, which sounds very big and uplifting, but be about something blue.
Your shows are very high energy. What do you do to mentally pump yourself up for shows?
Red Bull [laughs]. I don’t know. It’s always really nice when you know you have good sound on stage. And when you have a great audience, when the audience is lively and express that they dig this, then you get happy. We move a lot and I dance around a lot and people swap instruments. The audience is important. If you give as an audience, it gives so much and you can work on it and you can share it, like yeah! You work it even harder because you want to [wild gesturing] pump them.
What’s been one of the most memorable moments on tour so far?
We crossed America with a big RV tour bus where we sleep and have a kitchen. That’s always really nice. We had a really good party the other night where we kind of crashed the sound system. It was too hot. We played a lot of funk and hip-hop. We just danced with our opening act, The Vacationers. Had some drinks and danced.
You’ve opened for both Amy Winehouse and Katy Perry at a time where they were quickly shooting to superstardom. Was the star appeal already quite apparent in both of them when you first met them?
I think so. The thing was, with Amy Winehouse, our first show ever was supporting Amy Winehouse. We didn’t even have the band together at that time. We just had a bunch of songs and was like, “Okay, sure”. Then we gathered the band and friends and people we liked, rehearsed two times and played six songs or something…Unfortunately she’s not here anymore. I really love her voice. She had a great rock and roll persona. I respect that.
Katy Perry, it’s been two or three years since we supported her in Europe. It was just, at that point we were somewhere else. We released our album and she played at big venues and had a big set up. It’s even bigger now. I watched it this summer in Rio, dancers and all that. I think she’s quite funny. When we played with her she was funny in a new way every night. She worked it hard, you know. I think that’s great. She’s much, much bigger now.
As a woman fronting a band, which frontwomen past or present has inspired and influenced you?
I’m actually most into men [laughs]. I really like David Bowie, Mick Jagger, Iggy Pop. I like a voice to be daring, personal and edgy. I like to play around with being girlish and stuff, but I also like the rock thing.
Everywhere the band goes now, do people offer to buy you Heinekens?
Not all the time. There’s been some, “I owe you one Heineken”, but yeah, bring whatever.