Knife Magazine

Video premiere : Grand Prix, Nightlife


Words by Jonathan Holst Bruus & Simon Lund Pedersen

Photograph by Halfdan Venlov

An intense and coldblooded story about a soldier ś downfall. A story that comes to life through sweeping synthesizers, groovy bass lines and a Low-era Bowie vibe. The catchy opening line, "walking home hand in hand, nightlife, no man's land", makes you listen carefully from the very beginning and after a few minutes, you'll most likely be absorbed into Grand Prix's unique universe that covers and questions themes such as victory, defeat, devotion and love.

Those themes are perfectly balanced in the video for Nightlife that consists of flimsy clips showing failure and defeat through racing sports, cycling and historical references. Besides that, the video shows life on the road, which gives the video a youthful and joyous touch.

Clips from actual nightlife and partying make the metaphor in the title even stronger, and with such a gr8 tune like Nightlife being the lead single - we can only look forward to Grand Prix's forthcoming EP.*

Enjoy our Q&A with Grand Prix.

Knife Different themes and topics like defeat, victory, love and death are mentioned in your press release. Are these the topics your forthcoming EP is centred around?

Bastian Yes, these are indeed the topics I worked with when I created the EP. I've thought quite a lot about the fact, that some of the biggest stories in the world are told through violence, aggression, love and devotion. Are these emotions the overall essence of human nature? That is a question that inspired me.
Some of the topics you sense on the new EP, are topics you might expect from Grand Prix: To find beauty and strength in both victory and defeat. With these new songs, I’ve tried to come closer to the mythical heroes awareness of inevitable downfall, as we all struggling to deal with that fact that downfall will happen.

KnifeIs your approach to songwriting more based on storytelling? If so, what inspires you? Do you usually find inspiration elsewhere than music?

BastianAs a starting point, Grand Prix is mainly inspired by mythology, religion and sports. Of course, I'm inspired by other music as well: March music as a recent example, but the main theme in my writings is the stories about a protagonist, who's trying to live up to the ideals I touch in Grand Prix. Those ideals are, as the great Corinthians once said; be on your guard, stand firm in faith, be courageous, be strong, do everything in love. Those are some beautiful ideals, which is hard to live up to – and that's why it remains the main conflict I try to describe in Grand Prix.

KnifeThe Nightlife video consists of small collage-like sequences, and all of them refers to the competitive spirit and mentality, where the strongest wins. It seems like you're extremely fascinated by the classical hero figure. Why?

BastianYes, I am fascinated by the heroes because of the victories and the defeats they embody, and for me, that is a symbol of something true.

On this day, at this hour – one human is the fastest and bravest person alive. Nowadays it's most common in sports. An example of this is the story of the former Italian cycling champion, Fausto Coppi. All his glory, the story of his life - is a true story, so true, that it became a myth, and evolved to a lasting symbol of beauty and strength in loneliness.

Sometimes we need those stories to be cheered up. Recently I studied the Italian poet Giuseppe Ungarette who wrote, "The one who doubts, do he believe in himself and truth?" 
I understood the line as the hero who always believes in himself, never doubts and is always ready to fight. In this case, he represents victory - truth. And isn't the truth what we seek in life?
At the same time, different sequences in the video show Titanic, Hindenburg and the Concorde. For me, these stories represent the sad fact, that in the striving for the fast, and the great, and the strong, the risk of failure, in these cases sinking or bursting into flames, increases and is in the end inevitable. I see it as an allegory to The Tower of Babel.

KnifeSince Grand Prix is a solo project, how do you start working with new sketches? Do you work isolated with your music or do you involve other musicians in Grand Prix from the very beginning?

Bastian I work isolated with the music for a long time before I start involving other people’s opinions in my musical ideas. When the songs for my forthcoming EP began to take shape, I called Mathias Saarsgaard and asked him to produce the tracks.

Thankfully he obligated, and then we recorded drums, percussion, bass, guitar, synthesizers, piano and vocals in the mentioned order. In that way, we built a solid frame around the songs. Working like this, the songs had the right form before they got a certain melody. I prefer working like that because it gives me some artistic limits, which makes me focus on the songs with a sharper concentration and precision.

I am very honoured and thankful to have great musicians around me like Ida Duelund, Rune Risager, Patrick Kociszewski and Mathias Saarsgaard, who are playing the instruments on the EP, which is recorded live.

KnifeIs there any audio and/or production trends that you feel particularly inspired by? And what did you focus on when recording the new EP?

BastianWith this new EP, my general focus was to put all my effort into making the rhythm sections. For example, in Nightlife, I have worked hard to bring percussion to a level of perfection, and there are a lot of interesting details to discover. I hope the listener will notice that.

Hmm, inspirations. This winter, I got overwhelmed by the Turkish singer Zeki Müren. He has the ability to reach out to something that becomes bigger than the song itself. It's the same with Jacques Brel. Lately, I have listened carefully to his works. Besides that, I listen to Elvis on a daily basis.

KnifeWhat will the spring and summer bring for Grand Prix?

BastianRight now, I am working on a novel about cycling, and that is why the spring concert wise is pretty quiet. When the summer is done, things will get very busy with a lot of concerts, primarily with Lust For Youth, but right now I can t́ get into details. I am really looking forward to releasing the EP since its been over a year since I last released some music.

Grand Prix - Nightlife

Mixed and Produced by Mathias Sarsgaard
Mastered by Malthe Fischer
Guitar: Rune Risager
Bas: Ida Duelund
Drums: Mathias Sarsgaard

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