For a decade, Søren Løkke Juul existed in the backing-musician shadows of three groups in his native Denmark: the electronic Morfus, an experimental all-instrumental outfit called Badun, then a Fleet Foxes-inspired folk combo called Let Me Play You Guitar. The keyboardist-vocalist learned a lot, watching from behind the scenes, until he walked offstage one night and never looked back. Going solo, he started composing on his laptop and conjured up his first ethereal composition, “Magic Kids,” under the moniker of Indians and then landed a deal with 4AD, which just issued his debut, “Somewhere Else.” “When I got that 4AD call, I was dizzy for three days, because they had all my favorite bands,” he says.
So 4AD signed you on the strength of just one song. Then what happened?
Well, I was suddenly put in a position where I could actually work every day doing this. And I was just so thrilled to be at a company like that. I kept thinking I didn’t belong there. So in a way, it was also frustrating because it was a huge pressure. I mean, I made one song, but I’d never done a full record before. So I had to try. And I had to forget all about the pressure and go into a selfish mode of being creative and productive and just satisfying myself, first of all, by making more songs.
Didn’t you disappear into the desolate countryside to write?
Yes. Many of the songs were written in a house in Sweden, a house some friends of mine have, eight hours away from Copenhagen. There’s no phone connection there, no Internet and the town is so small you don’t see any people at all — you’re basically alone, and the house is so huge, it’s a bit scary. So you just put some wood on the fire, make yourself some nice food, and you can’t do anything except be creative and write music.
Did you quickly fall into a routine?
I woke up early in the morning, made myself a pot of coffee, and basically worked 9 to 4 every day. I didn’t have time to sit and wait for inspiration — I had to search for it. And it was a huge privilege. So many people are talented and want to create music. But it’s difficult when you have to work for eight hours at a factory and then try and be creative when you come home.
Why the name Indians?
It’s about nature. Because I think music is nature. And I like the idea that we are all Indians in a way — we are all natives, back to basic instincts and feelings.