There is hardly anything that makes Ultra Miami’s 2012 after-movie than the classic ‘Black Eyes and Blue’ track which kicks it off. Over time and tracks, CLMD had become House music’s favorite duo, a title that most wouldn’t take away from them despite their decision to separate into solo acts in 2014, with Martin Danielle carrying on with the CLMD moniker on his own and his childhood friend and the then other half of CLMD Carl Louis focusing on solo productions.
During the interview we notice that the decision to separate was one that was made in good spirit and the fact that both the producers are doing great as solo acts show that they prefer to put music and their friendship above most things. Delve into the history of the duo as Martin answers our question about the 2014 separation, inspirations, upcoming duos from Norway, his latest track ‘Dust’ and experiences in his humble and heartwarming way of talking. So sit down with us, as we venture deep into the lives of one of our favorite artists!
1) Over the last years, CLMD has had huge success with “Black Eyes and Blue”, and “Stockholm Syndrome.” However, Carl Louis decided to leave the project. Can you tell us about what happened, and do you often talk to Carl?
First of all, thank you for the kind words!
The reason for Carl leaving is a very in-depth answer. I think if you really want to get to the bottom of it you need to ask us both (laughs). However, I’ll try to lay out some of the main factors;
First off, Carl and I have been friends since we were six, and working together non-stop, everyday since we were 18. We were living, traveling and playing shows constantly and somewhere along the road, the friendship got neglected and we became more colleagues than friends. We stopped hanging out in our spare time and only saw each other when we “had” to. The success of CLMD was eating away on our friendship. So, at one point we sat down and discussed what was most important to us. The choice became clear, we had to put CLMD to rest, in order for our friendship to survive.
Secondly, and this is really something that Carl could answer better than me, but I think Carl was in away fed up with the direction house music or “EDM” was taking. We both felt lost in comparison to the sound we fell in love with back in 2005/2006. Carl also had a big wish to go “live”, and play more live instruments on stage, as band, rather than a DJ. So once he didn’t have the passion for doing our thing anymore, I would of course not stand in his way. The key ingredient in CLMD has always been passion and fun, and once he lacked one of them, or maybe both, there was no reason to continue.
For a long time, we were actually going to put CLMD down completely. It took me quite sometime to figure out that i wanted to continue the CLMD project, or even continue with music at all. I actually lost my passion for making music in the heat of the moment. But with time, I also realized that there is more to what Carl and I started. There is more in CLMD than where we took it, and CLMD deserves more. So now, after a lot of soul searching, experimenting and figuring out what CLMD 2.0, if you want, should be, I’m back and more inspired than ever.
It also seems to be the right choice for Carl, as his new solo stuff is really great, and much more reflects his personality. Its worth a listen.
And yes, of course Carl and I still talk. Maybe not as often as we should, but its also extra challenging when theres a 9h time difference and we are located and living our lives on the opposite side of the planet. We did actually get together and played a secret show last fall for our managers 40th birthday. He still represents us both, and we felt it would be a fun little homage.
2) Last year you moved to L.A from Oslo. What are the biggest differences between the two cities / cultures?
Well, actually Carl and I lived in NY in 2013 and before that I lived in NY, London and San Francisco by myself, with only pit stops in Oslo in between. Oslo hasn’t really been my hometown since 2008! Well, it doesn’t feel like it has, anyway.
But the main differences is without a doubt the weather! I love waking up to sunshine every day. I’m not very good with the long, dark winters of Norway, hehe. Culture wise, I feel LA is more open. People want to collaborate, and there is this sense of letting loose and just having fun. In Oslo I feel people keep more to their own and are very protective. I think the about of darkness has a lot to do with that.
3) For your newest single “Dust”, you picked Astrid S. for the vocals. What was the driving force behind that decision?
I noticed Astrid when she was on Norwegian Idol a couple of years ago, and I’ve watched her closely ever since. She has grown tremendously since then, and have in my opinion become one of the most talented songwriters in the world. And she is only 19!
But Astrid also has a unique voice, which I always felt would suit the CLMD sound. I feel that a part of the CLMD signature has become interesting (female) voices on the tracks, and Astrids voice is one that fits perfectly into that segment.
4) How did the “Dust” project come about? What was the inspiration behind it?
“Dust” kind of just happened, really. The idea was to see if there is anyway to make the acoustic sound merge with the electronic sound in a type of “human vs machine” kind of way, but from the human perspective. So we started of with the simple guitar you can hear in the beginning of the track, which was really played in a 105bpm. Astrid wrote the lyrics to that. Later we sped it all up to a 120bpm and build the track around the vocals and guitar.
The theme of track is really about the fear of losing control, but then allowing yourself to do so anyway. I think it in many ways reflects my past turbulent year, and how I have struggled to let go of what has been, but letting go was exactly what i needed to move forward.
5) You played a lot of concerts and festivals, what have been some of the highlights for you?
There has been a lot of great memories along the way, but in some weird nostalgic sense, I cherish some of the first ones the most. I think it was because of acknowledging that my dreams where starting to come true. One of my fondest memories is from back in 2012 and Carl and I were doing support for Steve Angello at the EDC NYC after party at Pacha. Steve Angello got delayed for some reason and we had to play way into the main act slot. We played so long we were starting to run out of tracks. By the end of it we were only playing strictly underground techno and remember being super afraid that Steve would think we were way off as a opening act. But when he did finally show up around 3 am he just put his hand on my shoulder, grabbed the mike and announced, “Since this is an after hour party, I’m only playing after hour music..” Then I knew we’re good.
6) With artists like Kygo, Matoma and Alan Walker getting large hype over the past years, do you see an upcoming trend in Norwegian music, like Sweden had the past 5 years?
Yes I definitely see Norway on a huge rise. Back in 2012, when we came through, Black Eyes and Blue was the only Norwegian-made edm-ish track on commercial radio in Norway. Now there`s a new artist everyday getting airtime. We might be late bloomers, but I am certain that this is only the tip of the iceberg for Norwegian electronic music!
7) What are the first few artists names that come to your mind when asked about up and coming Norwegian artists?
Kream, Coucheron, Istago and Kasket Club are all super talented producers. As for pure artists vocalists you have to check out Aurora, Alida and Ary. All of them have amazing voices that will give you goosebumps for days!
8) Talking about your influences and how it has shaped your music, who would you like to tell us about?
I`ve always been a major fan of the fathers of Norwegian electronic music, Royksopp. They made it major back in 2001 and I’ve loved everything they have done since then. But genre-wise, I`ve always looked closely over the border. Axwell has probably been the biggest influence of my music overall. But also Steve Angello and Sebastian Ingrosso, SHM, have influenced me. They always talk about how they grew up with Daft Punk and how they were so inspired by them.. Well, that trio was my Daft Punk, as solo artists and together as one. But I also have to mention Eric Prydz. No one can do what he does. Huge inspiration!
9) What plans do you have for the future of CLMD?
These days I’m actually working on a longer collection of tracks. I’m not sure if I would call it an EP, an album or just a collection of music.. but its something! Hopefully I’ll finish it very soon and be able to share it with who ever wants to listen!
To read about and purchase his new track ‘Dust’, click here.