The delightful Norwegian duo Lemaitre released their Relativity 3 EP this week via Substellar Records, the third in a trilogy of records full of guitar-guided disco in the vein of Phoenix, inflected with the cheeriness of their countryman Erlend Øye. Above, watch their funny, sound-effect-themed video for “Fiction,” directed by Johannes Greve Muskat, then read an interview with the group about their name, Relativity and tacos.You’re a Norwegian group with a French-sounding name—but it’s a made-up French word, right? No, actually it’s the name of a Belgian priest, astronomer and physics professor who was amongst the first people to propose the Big Bang theory in 1927. His name was Georges Lemaître. Ketil read about it in a book, appropriately called The Big Bang. The word also means “the master” or “maestro” in French, but we were unaware of that at the time. We wrote it down on a list for possible band names, but landed on Lemâitre in the end. The ^ is actually supposed to be on top of the ‘i’, but we misspelled it and only found out when some French friends put us right. Facebook won’t let us change the spelling now, so we’re kind of stuck with it, but it’s a decent icebreaker so we don’t mind too much. Luckily, we feel we ended up with a pretty good name as the others we had written down were pretty goddamn awful, for example Pope of Dope, and Oceanic 815.
Were you on set when Johannes was making the video? What was it like working with him? Yeah, we make all the videos with Joe aka Johannes Muskat Greve aka JGM. We’ve been working together from the start, and he’s an old friend of ours from school. He started making videos about the same time we started making music and he has made all our videos pretty much for free. The cool thing about not having much money to make videos is that you have to come up with a great idea, and you beg, borrow and steal all the gear and props you need, and rely on a lot of good will from your friends. Most of the times the actors are friends or family of either us or Joe, but the actor in the “Fiction” video is actually a fairly famous comedian called Fridtjof Stensæth Josefsen with his own show on Norwegian TV. He helped us come up with the idea and got involved just because he thought it sounded like fun, and a cool thing to do.
When it comes to working with Johannes, he’s kind of the third member of the band, really. He travels with us everywhere, including trips to California, India and Lithuania, and then we get great videos out of it in the end like the “Keep Close” and “Continuum” films. And it doesn’t hurt that he has 80,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel either!
You’ve been releasing Relativity EPs for over a year. Why did you decide to make them a series like this? And how were you confident that “relativity” would be a concept you could explore over a long-ish period of time? Mostly because we want to be able to release music more frequently. If we were to do a whole album, it would take at least a year, and we would grow real tired of the songs before they were even released. We just like the process of making four or five songs at the time better than the classic two year album cycle, which we think is pretty redundant, especially for the type of music we do. We look at the three EPs more like one album so naming it Relativity 1, 2 and 3 made sense. It doesn’t really have a an overall theme or concept though, apart from the artwork is all obviously related, and features the light installation we use in the live show. But otherwise it’s just a snapshot of where we’ve been at musically over the last 12-18 months.
What’s your favorite food to cook, and how do you make it? Tacos! But real tacos, none of that ground beef with generic spicing rubbish. You’ve got to make it from scratch. Marinate the pork overnight in vinegar, olive-oil, soya, garlic and a lot of different spices. Cumin and chilli being most important. Make the salsa yourself with fresh ingredients. Improvise. But roast the vegetables first. Make a relish with onion and a lot of fresh cilantro. Its really easy, and we had to start making it ourselves because you can’t get a decent taco in Oslo. Tacos got a bad name because of Taco Bell and that kind of “fast food” taco. That’s delicious too, but only when you’re drunk.