Liss have been called Denmark’s most promising new band. In their first interview with NME, New Music Editor Matt Wilkinson travels to Copenhagen and finds a band on the brink of finding out how great they really are
Against a biting Nordic wind, four wide-eyed teenagers huddle together and shiver collectively. It’s 11pm and Liss are sat on a damp bench in the middle of Copenhagen’s meatpacking district, with an air of discomfort seeping through their every move. They are Denmark’s brightest musical prospects – with bright being the optimum word.
Whereas many of the country’s recent musical exports have been dark, gloomy and guitar-orientated (from the snarling gutter-punk of Iceage to Lust For Youth’s gothic tendencies), the music these newcomers make is far more linear. Brought up by parents who played them Stevie Wonder, Björk, Hendrix and Massive Attack on loop, they’re obsessed with the idea of soul in pop in 2015.
Most excitingly, in frontman Søren Holm, they’re gifted with a bona fide star-in-waiting: he’s a born performer with effortless, soaring vocals that recall The Weeknd and Frank Ocean. “I know I’m good,” he mumbles about his singing after much goading – and then immediately shows his softer side: “Also, I know that sounds really arrogant…”
The rest of the band are equally shy, with guitarist Vilhelm Strange admitting that until debut tracks ‘Try’ and ‘Always’ took off on Soundcloud recently they “didn’t even have any ambitions at all”.
Clearly, Liss know they’re good though. When they take to the stage an hour later at nearby grungey venue Bakken, they’re genuinely captivating. One new track sees deft touches of Smiths-esque guitar adding a new, ambitious layer to their already vibrant sound, while Søren’s voice is machine-perfect on the busy, mantra-like chorus to ‘Try’. Stuck somewhere towards the middle of the audience, Jamie xx – in town to DJ at a nearby club later on – looks on in awe, shaking his head. Like most people here he’s already fallen under Liss’ spell. Give it a few months and you will too.
Liss: The Details
Based Aarhus, Denmark
See Them Live Manchester Eagle Inn (November 2), Bristol Crofters Rights (3), London Electrowerkz (4)
Fact The band have been in the studio with noted XL Recordings producer Rodaidh McDonald
Listen ‘Try’ and ‘Always’ are on all major streaming sites now