Hailing from Norway, post punk band Antipole have released their debut full length record Northern Flux on Unknown Pleasures Records. Their debut brings together previously released digital singles with six brand new tracks of brooding dark wave and mesmerizing interwoven guitar leads. Largely a solo project from main songwriter Karl Morten Dahl, this record also features stunning vocal contributions from Paris Alexander and Eirene that add to the dreamy mix of post rock and shoegaze. Drawing inspiration from classic post punk records of the 1980s, Antipole are able to craft songs that not only nod to the past but also feel timeless in their expression of emotion. I recently had the opportunity to chat with Karl as he shared some thoughts about their new record, his songwriting process and a love of Joy Division.
Overblown: Hello Karl, thank you for taking some time out for this interview. Congrats on a fantastic new album. Could you describe Antipole for the unitiated listener and also share some of your influences?
Karl Morten Dahl: Thanks for asking, and really happy to hear you like the album! I’m trying to create addictive, melancholic coldwave/post-punk. When I started Antipole in early 2014 the idea was to write melodies and record them in a way that they sounded like a post-punk band recording from 1982. I started recording songs again after I met Anne-Christel. She’s heavily into obscure post-punk old and new, and listening to that inspired me a lot. Obvious influences were and are New Order, Joy Division and The Cure. Not as obvious influences would be The Chameleons, The Sound and also newer bands like The KBV, Motorama and Mode Moderne. Whether the influences can be heard or not I’m not the one to decide. Disintegration by The Cure has been kind of a gold template to me. Very sad and emotional music, yet so beautiful. The songs have gotten more electronic after I started collaborating with Paris Alexander (Brighton, UK). He has also contributed a lot to song ideas/arrangements/writing and of course vocals plus writing his lyrics. Lately Eirene (Brighton, UK) – has also contributed a lot.
Overblown: How did you get your start creating music? Is there a goal for the music of Antipole?
Karl Morten Dahl: After picking up the guitar at the age of 17 I tried creating songs from day one. Songwriting is an artform I really admire and respect. It was probably until I was 25 until I felt that I had written a good song. In the early 2000s I played, wrote and recorded with a psych/pop band called AqPop from Trondheim. We released an album (Beautifully Smart, 2004) and played gigs. I think there are some really good songs on there. But it wasn’t until I started focusing on post-punk I felt home. Like THIS is me. The number one goal is to write and record music I like. I’m the biggest fan of Antipole 🙂
Overblown: Was the writing or recording process different at all for this new set of songs on Northern Flux?
Karl: No, not much. I can finish a song in 20 minutes. Sometimes I have to pause a movie or doing the dishes because I get a melody in my head. Reflected In You on Northern Flux came to me one night watching Stranger Things with Anne-Christel. The collaboration with Paris Alexander on Getting Frequent Now inspired me a lot and the new set of songs on Northern Flux were written just before as well as the months after the release of Getting Frequent Now (April-July 2017). If I wasn’t working with Paris Alexander I guess most of these songs would have been released in a more lofi instrumental form. Like the first album Panoply – Songs for AC.
Overblown: How did you connect with the fantastic dark underground label Unknown Pleasures Records?
Karl: Pedro of UPR approached me after hearing the cover of Insight (Joy Division) and Dans l’entrée. He suggested we release an album on CD digipak. UPR has lot of very good bands Anne-Christel and I really like so it was a perfect match.
Overblown: One of my favorite aspects of Northern Flux are the way the vocals melt into your excellent verb heavy guitar lines, what inspired you to work with Paris Alexander and Eirene?
Karl: It was pretty much by accident. After releasing Someday 45 and Narcissus as instrumental digital singles I had an idea of getting the songs remixed in a more electronic way. I asked DJ Mighty Ming (from Brighton) and he suggested to connect with Paris Alexander. He remixed Narcissus. Which I really liked and suggested to do more. Which we did, indeed. On Northern Flux the contributions from Paris Alexander and Eirene are extensive.
Overblown: The choice of Joy Division classic track Insight as an instrumental closer to this new record is interesting, how’d that come about?
Karl: I’m a big fan of Joy Division and Insight is one my faves and I had an idea that it would fit the Antipole approach. Recently I recorded an instrumental version of Isolation from Closer. Hopefully I’ll make use of it one day.
Overblown: What does the future hold for Antipole?
Karl: Two live shows are planned for 2018. Synth Wave Live 2 Artefaktor Radio festival in London, UK on April 7th and W-festival in Belgium on August 19th. Sharing the stage with Clan of Xymox, Lebanon Hanover and other legends at W-fest will definitely be the highlight so far. Anne-Christel and I are traveling over to Brighton, UK in January 2018 to practice.