Copenhagen's Lower Gets "Mistaken for a Punk Band," Causing Inappropriate Moshing

Copenhagen's Lower have been together since 2009 and recently joined up with Matador Records, which just unleashed the band's first full length recording, Seeking Warmer Climes. The four-piece creates edgy punk that is forceful, creating a little pervasive anxiety as its noisy guitars teeter on the edge of explosion while generally remaining contained. The music is topped with brooding vocals that maintain a darkness while also revealing a bit of a lighter, romantic twist. The band has just hit the states for a tour and is playing Friday, September 26, with Merchandise, Rat Columns, and Body of Light at Tempe's 51 West. We got in a quick chat with Lower's drummer, Anton Rothstein.

Up on the Sun: U.S. vs. Copenhagen. Audiences, that is. Any notable differences?

Anton Rothstein: That certainly depends on the night. Our music is the same no matter where we play it, so I think people, to some extent, embrace it the same way everywhere. Sometimes, though, some people in the audience might have mistaken us for a punk band and acted like our music was aggressive and mosh-worthy. At the end of the day, it's not up to us to tell people how to act or listen.

Lower definitely exemplifies the classic Joy Division era, post-punk sound that is prominent lately. What do you think Lower brings that's different?

I guess what's different is that we are not a post-punk band. We are just a band. No genre-label required.

Lyrically, are there any messages you hope to convey?

Well, what our messages are is up to the listener to decide. One might get one thing out of some part of the lyrics while others get something else.

Is this the first time you're playing songs from the new full length on tour?

Actually we've been playing those songs since they were conceived, long before the LP was even recorded. I guess we play half-half of songs from the record and of new songs that people haven't heard before.

Has the band discovered any music collectively that you dig or that influences your sound?

There are some bands we all agree are influential to our way of playing. But I think what we listen to collectively is not necessarily something you'd hear in our music. We all agree that a band like Suede has a certain unavoidable quality. Lately, Simon has been playing a lot of footwork music to the rest of us, and Kristian introduced me to Jorge Ben, which I enjoy. Other than that, at least for my part, Prince Far I's Cry Tuff Dub Encounters, Gil Scott-Heron, and Albert Ayler have been on heavy rotation lately. And then there is Leonard Cohen, of course.

What's on deck after the tour is over?

We have a few shows planned in Portugal, France and Spain, and then we are taking a break from playing live, to write and record.

Lower is scheduled to play 51 West on Friday, September 26.

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Amy Young is an arts and culture writer who also spends time curating arts-related exhibits and events, and playing drums in local bands French Girls and Sturdy Ladies.
Contact: Amy Young