Interview conducted October 27 2019
Interview published December 6 2019
"You should never make a song to make money. You
should make a song because you need to tell the world something."
The Danish rockers D-A-D visited
Stockholm and Metal Covenant got to spend some time with singer/guitarist
Tobbe: What is still so attractive with
touring after so many years?
Jesper: Let me put it this way: If you're still
touring when you're as old as us, it's because you love it. There's
a lot of stuff that you could complain about. To me, to be able to play
music every day makes the music so much better. So it's the pinnacle
of musicianship. When you've played your set, like, 10 or 20 times in
a row, suddenly things open up, suddenly things become an entity on
its own two legs and the music plays itself. And when you've got to
that level, touring is perfect.
Tobbe: In May you finally released a new
album. [A Prayer For The Loud] Don't misunderstand me now, but when considering
how much records sell, or don't sell in fact, in these times, was all
the work worth it?
Jesper: Definitely. There's a funny tradition
in D-A-D; we never made money on albums. It's never been, like, a source
of income in that sense. It has been a creative endeavor, and that's
what it should be. It should be nothing else but a creative endeavor.
But of course you have to hope that the songs stand the test of time.
Right now we're playing 6 of those live and it really feels good.
mean, it's staying alive and everything about D-A-D is going forward,
even though sometimes timing is not with us, and sometimes the audience
is not with us, and sometimes we ourselves is not with us. But there's
no need looking back, there's no laurels to rest on. It is the here
and now that counts and it has always been like that.
Tobbe: I listened to the album twice a couple
of days ago and it struck me that it seems to contain everything from
Sympatico in 1997 until DIC·NII·LAN·DAFT·ERD·ARK
in 2011. A mix of those and all the records in between.
Jesper: We made one rule. We promised ourselves
to sound like D-A-D. And that's been part of survival and that's been
part of a "If you're busy being born, then you're not busy dying"
kind of feeling that we wanted to make a new album, a new band and a
new logo every time. This time around it was like "Let's admit
that we have a brand, let's admit that people go to us for a certain
kind of energy, let's admit to ourselves that what we have is unique
and worth doing again.".
Tobbe: Even though your main income didn't
come from record sales, do you remember how much No Fuel Left For The
Pilgrims  and Riskin' It All  actually sold back then?
Jesper: Oh yeah. They sold half a million copies
each, which was super great. But still, it was in the old days where
the artist never got paid anything anyway. But those songs are still
with us and that irrational value has always been much more worth than
money. You should never make a song to make money. You should make a
song because you need to tell the world something.
Tobbe: But it must be a little disappointing
for an established artist like yourself to compare record sales in those
days to Spotify and clicks and whatever?
Jesper: I mean, people are using music even more
than they did before, so we just have to go where the people are. I
mean, it's so funny to be in D-A-D, because when we started out it was
something that you maybe did for 2 or 3 years and then you got yourself
a real job. Now it seems like all the friends back home that got themselves
a real job got fired, and I still have a job. [Laughs] So it's not about
record sales; it's about being alive, and being creative, and that's
definitely high on my charts.
And comparing being a musician to a regular job. Well, I see no comparison,
really. Being a musician is like doing your hobby and going to work is
Jesper: Exactly. But that also means that you're
actually working 24 hours a day, which is also a bit stressful sometimes.
I mean, if we didn't like it we would have stopped. It's as simple as
that. And even though we go in 4 different directions as human beings,
when we meet up in the rehearsal space there's always a new riff and
there's always a new one-liner.
And that's magic. Nobody knew how that could
be. From very early on, even a couple of years into it, it was like
"Oh! Wow! We landed on the right shelf, so let's not throw it away.".
Tobbe: Let's go back 30 years, to when you
first got big. If you look at Jesper from those days, what do you see?
Jesper: I see a lot of good energy and I see
a lot of potential that needed to be examined, to be found out. For
instance, if you were a professional football (soccer) player you would
have done all your greatest life's work while you didn't know what you
were doing. And to do this, and still know what we're doing, and be
perceptive, and be conscious about what we're doing, is a miracle.
And I think that's exactly what the young Jesper
needed. To keep on digging into "What is it?". The rock 'n'
roll culture in Denmark is almost not there, so nobody knew "What's
a rockstar? What is it like being creative? What is an artistic life?".
I found it out, and I'm enjoying it.
Tobbe: If I ask the opposite: How would
a young Jesper look at Jesper in 2019?
Jesper: Very good question. Of course you have
to not consider the times, so to speak. Maybe there is a couple of songs
that would sound strange to the young Jesper's ears. But I think that
everything you do is a product of the times you live in, so you can't
really judge that part of it. I'd say that he'd be pretty happy that
that kind of energy is still there.
What else would he see? In a funny way we never really
believed, or had the urge, or were wishing for playing for 25000 people
each night. We grew up with punk rock. We grew up with crowds of 500
people and now we play for crowds in Denmark of 5000-15000 people and
we play for crowds around 1000 people in Europe. This is what we were
brought up on.
We never went to big concerts when we were small.
We never went to see Kiss, or whatever. It was always small punk rock
concerts and maybe also those bar bands that came from America, like
[The] Georgia Satellites or [The] Fabulous Thunderbirds. That kind of
That was our reality and what our dreams were
built on. So maybe the young Jesper could say "Are you still playing
the same places for the same sizes of crowd?", but I'm pretty sure
that he wouldn't say that, because it was never in that picture, to
play arenas. But you will have to ask him. [Laughs]
Tobbe: In your opinion, what is your greatest
accomplishment so far?
Jesper: I think the greatest accomplishment is
that we have been able to choose. We never had that total pressure of
the music industry on us. We never went wild on the drugs part. We never
really got out of balance. There's a feeling that we can manage on every
level, manage to stand our ground, manage to keep ourselves in it, manage
to say "But if it isn't me, I'm not gonna do it.".
something that comes with punk rock, but it's also something that comes
with knowledge. If we had gotten really, really big too early, one of
us would have died of an overdose. So that's the biggest accomplishment,
that we always kept our feet, more or less, planted.
Tobbe: Do you have any plans at this point
for another solo record?
Jesper: I'm making songs and let's see where
those songs are going. But it's definitely a place that's in my life
to stay. It's definitely something that I'm gonna pursue when the time
is right. I realize that releasing one more solo album would be hammering
down the fact that I would be juggling two careers and people will start
to look at me like "Okay. Why? How? Where is his main focus?".
And it has to be answered in the same way as
when I did the first album [Dying Is Easy, 2017], that it has to be
a win-win situation for two projects in my life. It has to be something
that feeds of each other, so when D-A-D is taking a break, then I can
do that. At one point it will happen.
Tobbe: I remember that we called your solo
album a little bit like D-A-D light, but when you do another solo album,
could you explore other territories a little bit farther away from D-A-D?
Jesper: I think it's very hard to give yourself
too much of a frame to work in before you start and then do something
creative. I mean, the first solo album was a mix between some D-A-D
stuff and some Jesper stuff. It was all made within 18 months, so it
was like I didn't know what I was doing, and I really loved it, in that
sense. I'm pretty sure that I will go down a more Jesper road on the
next album. But on the other hand, I am the lead singer of D-A-D and
that will of course reflect on my solo album.