Locking yourself away in a chapel on the rugged coastline of the Irish Sea to record an album is probably near enough any musician’s dream, as it was for East London’s (via Denmark, New Zealand and Windsor) Klak Tik. To follow their (9/10 NME rated) debut album Must We Find A Winner the band (completed by Søren Bonke, Matthew Mitchinson and Jonathan Beyer and recently joined on drums by Andrew Joseph) escaped the trappings of East London’s alternative coffee shops and vintage chic for a simple purer existence in the Welsh village of Penrhos. For a month Klak Tik drew inspiration from the cold January sea, set up a make shift recording studio in a chapel, sang deep under Parys Mountain and shouted high into the chapel’s rafters, then walked out with what they believed to be album number 2.
Upon returning to London they realised that the idyllic location of a chapel, and the creative expression it obliges, was not enough to completely represent the reality of Klak Tik’s creative intentions, and so the writing and recording continued in Søren’s home studio for the remainder of the year. The resulting record, The Servants, is a tale of two lands; the powerful nature and the freedom that comes with solitude – and the infinite, cyclical, timelines and realities of the metropolis.
Although on this outing the songs could be described as leaner, the arrangements are not only deeper but the instrumentation reaches ambitions far beyond the orchestral direction of ‘Must We Find A Winner’. If pressed Klak Tik might refer to themselves as Post-Folk, to be filed loosely between Grizzly Bear, Sufjan Stevens and Love.
The Servants (named after the band Søren’s father drummed in during the 60s) marks a release for the band that is very much a product of the diverse, unique, surroundings it was recorded in. They’re a band that find themselves very much inspired by their locale, as Søren explains of the experience of recording in Parys Mountain.
“As we stood there and sung in the darkness, deep inside Mother Earth, it was as if the whole world had its eyes closed or had never seen at all, but then we were let out under a perfect starry night and realised that the opposite was the case. A clear view is best enjoyed after darkness. Music is best enjoyed after silence.”
The whole album is peppered with clues to Soren’s ability to observe something deeper in the smallest of details. Fire Souls talks of witnessing “fallen leaves like stories… folded into incarnations”. The song title is a direct translation of a Danish expression for people of a particularly altruistic nature, who dedicate their lives to the improvement of others. Written in the wake of the deepest tragedy Scandinavia has ever experienced, the song expresses the view that the souls of the many young boys and girls that were taken that fateful summer’s day in Norway will live on in perpetuity. Elsewhere, recent single Reborn alludes to having “finally woken up to the beauty of the world through a love song that I heard, by the rivers and the birds”. The song was conjured in the wake of a tube journey amongst the walking dead.
This is what Klak Tik do; they drag themselves to environments where the mind can wander, thoughts can unravel, and those small worldly details become something more significant. Perhaps it’s a lyric from the opening track, St Barnaby’s Lurch, that truly sums up Klak Tik’s innate need to make music and have it be heard; “Freedom makes us servants too, all for a reason you’ll see.”
After two great London show supporting Denmark’s Choir of Young Believers and fulfilling a collective dream of performing at Union Chapel, Klak Tik will spend the beginning of 2013 playing shows around the UK, with plans to return to Denmark and break new ground in Germany and Europe in the New Year.