Sitting down with Pegboard Nerds

Pegboard Nerds is a Scandinavian duo
comprised of Alex Odden and Michael Parsberg. They’ve made their mark on the
dance music scene with releases that push the boundaries of genres,
in bass heavy 8-bit style. Their high intensity sound shows no signs
of slowing down with a busy tour schedule and huge releases such as “Hero
ft. Elizaveta” and “Try This”. It was so exciting to have the duo return
to Colorado for this year’s Global Dance Festival. We had the chance
to sit down and talk with Alex and Michael after the madness of their amazing

It’s so great to have you guys back
here at Red Rocks. I know you’ve played here before, and we truly love you here
in Colorado. What are some of your favorite venues? 

M) I think the Gorge (Amphitheater),
in Washington. That’s probably the second best. The Gorge is beautiful, and it
kinda depends on what you’re looking for. Foundation (Nightclub) in Seattle is
also great.

A) Seattle and Denver are turning out
to be our favorite cities. The way the crowd turns up! They’re not as big as
other cities, but it’s not about how big a city is, but how they turn up, and
how they get crazy.

What kind of preparations do you do
before your performance? Any sorts of of rituals? 

A) We have one, we didn’t do it
today, but I will let Michael tell the story.

M) We will take a bottle of Grey
Goose and we would pour out huge shots, and pour the rest into water bottles.
And we would drink out of the Grey Goose bottle, which we fill with water. So
Alex and I will chug chug chug (out of the bottle) and everyone else will drink
the real thing! And we are just drinking water (laughs). 

A) As for rituals, there’s nothing
crazy. We have a last minute talk about making sure we both have the latest
versions of our unreleased tunes on the drives, and maybe do a shot, and
say to each other, “Let’s get it!!!”

Is Grey Goose your favorite kind of

M) Grey Goose pear, that’s mine.

A) We also like wheat beer… like
Blue Moon. We just learned this trip that it is made in Colorado!

I couldn’t help but notice a tweet
you wrote last week. “The 90’s would be proud of this tune.”Can you tell us
more about that?

A) We played it tonight! It’s super
eurodancey. Michael’s from a more hip-hop background, but he was also
super involved in eurodance… the real European eurodance. We
have a specific vision of what eurodance was to us, and what it still
is. This tune embodies all those things: the riffs, the percussion, the
vocals, it’s all in there.

Your single, “Swamp Thing” has
a wild west sort of banjo line to it. Also, the melody of “Try
This” reminds me of a James Bond movie. These tracks are unique and tell a
story without skimping on the bass. Where do you get these inspirations?

A) It’s interesting because
there’s a lot of bass music being made these days, and a lot of it
comes and goes. I mean it’s very intense there and
then, but you don’t necessarily remember it. So what
we try to do is make bass music with a storyline to it. For “Try
This”, it was a spy/secret agent concept added to bass music. And for
“Swamp Thing” it was crazy country banjo-madness added. If you
can take the bass music concept and add (another) concept to it, it
gives an identity, a face, to the song. The inspiration definitely
comes from Knife Party, they’re masters at doing that.

I see you’re teaming up with Cadence
and Cause to raise funds for hearing screenings and ear infections for
underprivileged children. Can you tell us more about this?

M) Well it’s
just truly great to give something back. We are getting a lot ourselves,
and we want to give some of that back…why not give it to children in need?
We care about our hearing because we make a living off of it, and with me being
an audiologist for 20 years, it’s something close to me. We want people to
be able to hear music. Music is feeling, music is joy, music is
everything. Sound is everything…I’d rather be blind than deaf. So we
really want to do that for our community.

Alex, I know you are really
into drawing art, and that some of your work was even
offered as part of this fundraiser. What inspires your artwork?

A) Actually, the reason I got
into music was because of graphics. I’ve always liked to draw since as
long as I can remember. I used to draw the Ninja Turtles,
Transformers, whatever cartoons I saw on TV with pencil and paper,
super simple. When I got a computer, I actually made my first digital graphics
in Microsoft paint (laughs). I got involved in the demo scene, which is
smaller than the gaming community: more of a creative place where people did
graphics, music, and coding being executed live. At one of these tournaments, I
walked past this guy making music on this weird piece of software called a
tracker, which is basically your old school DAW. It runs downwards, not
sideways (laughs)..that is how I got started in music… that was in ‘96! But
the graphic thing kinda always stuck with me… whenever I need a break from
making music, I’ll sit down and draw something.

Wow, what a start.. and what a long way you guys have come
since then! Thanks again to you both for a killer set, and for taking a few
minutes to chat. Hope to have you back again soon!

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