The discovery of music can easily be comparative to the discovery of a fossil: a singular, personal experience, far removed from life outside of it, with artists acting as dormant shards that spend eternities waiting for you to find them. However, there are those lucky few who are gifted such shards, and find themselves neck-deep in something they never asked for, but eventually reveals itself to be a blessing.
“I had friends whose parents took us to concerts. I used to go to shows on school nights when I was like, 12-years-old, and I ended up falling in love with bands,” speaks Martin Rehof, the voice of Copenhagen by-way-of Seattle band Communions. The brother to fellow band-member Mads Renhof continues, “I don’t think it was until I moved back to Copenhagen that I started to get into the stuff that influences me now, but Seattle was my big introduction to music.”
The Rehof brothers moved to the Washington city when Martin was five years old, and although he started out writing from his Seattle suburb, it wasn’t until moving back to his birthplace of Copenhagen that momentum started to build. “When we started out, I had a small catalogue of songs, and I had played music in Seattle, but I was just a teenager. I was shy when showing people, so it was comfortable playing music with my brother and our friends. I hadn’t even tried singing up until that point, but I wanted to make something personal.”
Collecting at high school, it wasn’t until they all graduated that the Rehof brothers and friends Jacob van Deurs Formann and Frederik Lind Köppen started playing together. “We grew up in the same circle – listening to the same music, so when Communions came together we had a mutual, sub-conscious understanding of each other. That’s the cool thing about making music with people you’re friends with, as opposed to making music with musicians: it’s natural.”
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When questioning whether the idea behind Communions had always been there, Rehof speaks to the band’s conception holding a similar immediacy to their music. “It was only when we all came together and started playing my songs that Communions became a thing. We were booked to play our first show with Iceage at this place called The Jazz House, and we needed a name, so Communions came together off the back of that.”
Although sharing stages with Danish post-punk dissonance, Communions were injecting shameless pop immediacy into the local scene – standing out from others who frequented the warehouse landscape of Mayhem: rehearsal space, venue and artist-grown community, named after the Norwegian Black Metal veterans. “The whole Mayhem scene was real harsh and electronic,” speaks the four-piece’s frontman. “I don’t think we were making music that spoke to that as we came from somewhere else, but I think that scene indirectly influenced us. We weren’t trying to fit in. We weren’t afraid to stand out. It was this absurd situation where we’d become friends with these like-minded people, but we were doing our own thing.”
Whatever differences lay between Communions and the scene that was growing from the DIY space, thanks to their Seattle ties, Mayhem played a huge role in solidifying the band. “The space had just become this established place during those years when we were starting out. I attended a couple of electronic shows there before I even knew what it was! Jacob and Frederik knew a lot of people who were playing out of Mayhem, and they were rehearsing there themselves - just the two of them. We were friends from high-school, and when I approached them about my music, it all happened real smoothly. It was cool to start out where there was so much happening around us. The place inspired us to do something.”
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Melody has always been part of what we do. Our songs have always been pop songs.
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Speaking of Communion’s intentions, Denhof highlights the band’s forever-focus on writing something honest – a sentiment shared with the space. “Melody has always been part of what we do. Our songs have always been pop songs. We’ve always been trying to reach the same point.” The Danish quartet have spent most of their life together surfing the lines between shoegaze and sugar-pop – burying their direct sensibilities underneath sheets of atmosphere, but debut album ‘Blue’ sees Communions wearing their focused leanings shamelessly.
“If you listen to the production between the first EP and the album, ‘Blue’ is very clean and down to-the-bone. We wanted the song-writing to stand on its own. We didn’t want everything to get washed out and be this distant thing. We wanted the songs to be upfront. We wanted ‘Blue’ to speak for itself.”
Acting as a celebration of youthful naivety and transparent urgency, ‘Blue’ sees the end of an era for Communions and invites a new, ill-defined wave that they’re still waiting to break. “We’ve done what we’ve aimed to do, and have transcended that direct place when it comes to songwriting, so I think we’re going to focus less on songwriting and more on sound. We want to do more than write a good song. Maybe that’s not enough for us anymore.”
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Words: James Musker
Catch Communions at The Great Escape this weekend (May 18th - 20th) - to grab your ticket click HERE.