Esben and Mads, i.e. Reptile and Retard
Within two months of their arrival to Shanghai, Mads Damsgaard Kristiansen and Esben Valloe (i.e. Reptile and Retard) have managed to score an Antidote-sponsored headlining gig at The Shelter.
Taking a stage that recently hosted the likes of People Under the Stairs and DJ Kentaro, these two young lads will make their Shanghai debut this Saturday. Shanghaiist had a chance to talk to Reptile and Retard this past week about their music and exactly what “technosoul” is…
Where: The Shelter (5 Yongfu Lu near Fuxing Xi Lu, 永福路5号)
Starts: Saturday, April 4, 11PM
You guys are here as part of a study-abroad experience, so can you tell us what led you guys specifically to Shanghai? What will you guys be studying and working on during your time here?
Esben (aka Retard): We’re mainly here as participants in a three year program for creative entrepreneurs. It is called the Kaospilots. Some people have asked us why we’re not studying at the conservatory to learn a craft. We’re trained in group work and creative processes and people end up working with anything from product innovation and leadership to setting up concerts and cultural events.
Mads (aka Reptile): We’re using our new gained competencies to nurture our musical career. We’d rather be rock stars than overspecialized music teachers.
How did you guys manage to score a Saturday night headlining gig at The Shelter within two months of your stay in Shanghai?
Mads: When arriving to Shanghai we had but a few clues to who to contact. When playing a showcase at a reception we had invited a guy from the Antidote and either he felt sorry for us or he really liked our music.
Can you compare any differences or similarities between music scenes of Shanghai versus that of Denmark?
Esben: Both places have a lot of clubs playing cheap mass-produced pop music. And a couple of nice underground alternatives too. In Shanghai everything is big except the underground music scene. We think the city could benefit from having even more hands in the underground since the scene here is merely the size of the city we come from even though Shanghai, population wise, is one hundred times bigger.
Mads: The positive side is that Shelter makes us feel at home and when one of the best underground venues invites us to play a headline gig we feel even more welcome.
Let’s talk more specifically about your music. Describe what “technosoul” is and where your influences have come from.
Esben: Techno soul rhymes with rock’n’roll and that’s where we met musically. The band split up after playing a few reckless rock-gigs but we were really inspired by the style of one another.
Mads: He already had a couple of electronical projects going at that time and there’s no doubt that electronical music has a big future. We have a very different approach and taste. I have a very good taste in music whereas Esben’s really bad. His housey Berlin beats can rock a dance floor but the challenge is to maintain the authenticity. That’s where the soul comes in.
What do you guys have lined up for this Saturday’s event at The Shelter? Any other upcoming shows in Shanghai? What will Reptile and Retard be up to once you guys head back to Denmark?
Mads: We want people to release that little idiot inside of them and I think the Shelter crowd can definitely relate to that. We have a few surprises up our sleeves and we’ll bring something that they haven’t seen before.
Esben: We’re retreating to Scandinavia in the beginning of June to build on our recent inspirations and look at new continents to tour. As for now we’ll be doing Changsha and Wuhan in the end of April, but we might be looking into more Shanghai clubbing during the month of May. Let’s see if we’re still welcome after the Shelter gig.
More information can be found on the Facebook event page here.