Spinguy ~ Hello. Thanks for joining us. I am hoping this interview pans out but I am worried because in the few emails we've had so far I can't seem to get 5 words out of you, and now I have to try to make you talk. Are you a close talker in person? In other words, do you tend to not say much?

Flemming ~ Hello also to you John....and thanks for your, as I see it, honest interest in my music...

I've just read all the questions, and it made me laugh, and made me feel warm several times - I can see this is not a normal interview-situation, and I will try to reply the best I can...And I am actually a quite talkative person...and very open I guess, which can sometimes be a problem when people are not ready....

Spinguy ~ That remark made me curious. I know I am not like the others, but how is this interview different? And is that better different or worse different? I know most "interviews" wind up being just the interviewer talking about the band with 2 sentences the band actually said in it. I prefer something resembling communication so I can let the band talk. Nobody wants to hear me, I am sure....

Flemming ~ Well the interview is different because you seem to challenge me with some personal questions, and that is without doubt better than the normal interview situation...you seem to be interested in what is behind me and I think you can make people talk. I am not the most interviewed guy in the world, but mostly the questions are like "when did the band come together" , "Why is the album called this and that" etc. and even before you have answered, the interviewer is thinking of the next question, not even hearing your answer.

That made for a funny situation on a radio-station in Cologne in Germany last month...I was live on air, but the interviewer was so uninterested that I forgot I was on the radio, was daydreaming a little, looking out of the window, so the interviewer had to ask me several times if I was still there :-) -- must have sounded odd listening to that radio-program...

Spinguy ~ I think this interview is a first for me in one respect as you are the first artist I've interviewed that has gone to school solely for music. You actually went to the Royal Danish Academy of Music to study. So does that make you a doctor of popology?

Flemming ~ About my musical education I can say that I did this mostly because of my curiosity....I have always been interested in how it would be to write for classical instruments, and how it would be to conduct an orchestra, and the whole mystery and history of the classical music world has always been interesting for me....So I took this education to survey myself and my abilities in comparison to these classical terms. And it was such a great and wonderful experience.

I had the best teachers in the world....And I am not kiddin...great Danish composers who have been writing for Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonics, Danish conductors who have been studying by Celibidache etc. It was SO inspiring, and every term I could have used the rest of my life to go deep in. I started to write some classical things for woodwind-quartets, and string-ensembles, and people liked what I did...in the meantime I was starting to write pop-songs, and after a few years doing both things, I had to make a decision. Either I should follow the classical writing-way or go for the pop-songs. I knew I couldn't do both full time.

You only have one life to count on here and now, and time is relatively short, so I knew that I had to make that decision. And the pop-way won. I figured that I could maybe use some of the classical parts in the pop-music, and in this way make more dreams come through at one time. Because basically I am a pop-boy. I was raised in a real working-class-family, and pop-music has off-course been a big part of my life since I was born in the sixties. So I also realized that the classical thing was not really in my heart, but I was attracted by the intellectual and clean thing in it.

My big dream is to make the POP-album with a whole classical orchestra. Big role-model is off-course Scott Walker. And I am working on it, but I am not in a hurry. I will have to have the right songs, and I don't want to rush that process

Spinguy ~ It seemed sort of funny taken in a "pop" context. One usually assumes people go that route for classical training. Nobody is doing a thesis on Bacharach & David or has classes where they sit and listen to Phil Spector records. I ask because it seems the norm for music schools to look down their noses at popular music.

Flemming ~ Actually the recipe of a classical pop-song, is the same recipe Mozart used for his symphonies....It is just cooked down to 3 or 4 minutes, but the way it is build up, is exactly the same. It would maybe be too complicated and technical to explain in this interview though...

But that is also the reason that I did choose the classical academy and not the rhythmic. Classical pop-songs are much more related to classical music, than to Jazz-music. Jazz-music has its history from Africa, and classical music is straight white european music. My roots. Of course I felt completely alone at the academy of music anyway. I never had any friends there, and I don't think that any of my class-mates understood any of my thoughts. But I don't blame them. I knew what I wanted from the education, so I concentrated on getting as most out of the teachers as possible.

I didn't go there to be stimulated social wise anyway ...

Spinguy ~ It has always been my belief that Mozart truly understood that music was meant to wrench a smile from it's listener, often against their own will. In that light, were he alive today I am quite sure he would be locked away in a tiny studio with Moog and Roland synthesizers writing really catchy pop disco type records. I really think he perceived music as a gift that inspired man to lust for life. His music really is meant to be played while chasing some lovely lady around a table trying to get her frock off, and he knew it. Would you agree, or must I take my medication?

Flemming ~ I totally agree. I've read most of his letters, and they show him as a very modern man...and very in front of his time..I could easily imagine him be around and feeling quite comfortable in this millennium...maybe he is already re-birthed in some nowadays artist....maybe in Elton John :-)

Spinguy ~ In any case it seems to have paid off, because the instant your new album started I was knocked off my feet. It isn't just very good, it's really almost perfect. In fact, I'll take a liberty here and divulge a conversation I had with Ed from Shelflife. He told me he was offered your new LP here in the states but declined because according to him it was: "...too polished, and I just can't handle that slick sugary stuff anymore......and actually I never really loved it to begin with. That Labrador album is just way over the top." It surprised me very much he said that but he attributed it to a "phase" he's going thru now.

For the record I chastised him. To me that's like telling your hot new girlfriend "The sex was too intense and wild. I'll just take missionary and the lights off please...." There's no pleasing some people, is there?

Flemming ~ Of course there is no pleasing when you do music and art. I feel my music and the things I express are like a kind of a mission. If people don't catch the vibe there is in the concept of the music, there is nothing to do about it, is there?

Spinguy ~ I don't know. Parents force medicine down their kids throats because it's good for them...

I think there are two elements key to your sound that you manage very well. They are female backing vocals and brass. When both are used correctly they elevate songs to a whole new level. Obviously this was something you paid close attention too.

Flemming ~ The idea of the use of trumpet comes from when I heard the song "Close to you" by Burt Bacharach, performed by the Carpenters. In the middle of the song the tune goes a half note up, and then Herb Alpert comes in very short with the theme on his trumpet. That killed me!

I thought that this was the most cool thing I had ever heard. I went on listening to more Herb Alpert and Bacharach, and there was no doubt that when I would start my own band it should be with a trumpet as a part of the sound.

The female thing is classical. And I think it makes the expression more complete. I mean, girls like to hear boys sing, and boys like nice girls, so having a girl in the band means there is something for everybody :-)

Spinguy ~ Not when they're young. All my 8 year old daughter likes is girl bands. But I'm NOT complaining, the day of reckoning that account is not far off.....

Yes, the Carpenters were one of my favorite groups as a kid. So is that a dream of yours, to get to play with Bacharach one day? Instead of Elvis Costello, will it be you and Burt in the next Austin Powers movie?

Flemming ~ No it is not really a dream...I have other dreams that I think would make me more happy in the long run :-) You know that if you really dream of something, it would often come through, but that account is not unlimited....

Spinguy ~ The cd has a bonus track at the end which is a remix of "Why Does Nobody Listen" in which the trumpet has basically been removed. It's awful. It's like the soul got sucked right out of the song. Normally I like remixes but not in this case. I don't even like listening to it and I think that fact goes a long way towards validating the sound you are after. I think the trumpet is the one instrument that comes closest to being like a human voice in a song, in that it is not an accent but a major player. Once in, it can't ever go away.

Flemming ~ I agree, I also don't like that remix, and I agree absolutely about your opinions concerning the trumpet role...

Spinguy ~ Wow, and I didn't even have no fancy skoolin. I am honoured you share my sentiments.

How much of an input does your trumpet player Tav Klitgaard have in song composition? In fact, how much does everyone?

Flemming ~ Nobody has any input in the song-composition-process. I am quite a dictator on that field...but lately I've tried though to listen to other peoples view of song-writing. Sara, the singer on "Instamatic Lovelife" is no longer in the band, but my new collaborator Christiane, is quite experienced in song writing herself, so I try to listen to her input....but it is not easy for me...I am quite stubborn I guess....

Spinguy ~ I am somewhat surprised by that, not that you couldn't do it all, but that the others don't mind having no input. I can't imagine a talented musician simply towing your line exclusively. Does that have anything to do with your band constantly rotating people, especially women? You've had so many of those I can't keep it straight. Isn't Christiane the one in the "Why Does Nobody Listen Video"? So is Sara the one in "Blue Balloon"? Then who is in the pool with you in "Freeway To Mars"? In fact there are two there, the one in the pool and the one looking in the shake up ball. You're not a gigolo are you?

Flemming ~ I think you have some kind of a point. (not that I am a gigolo though :-). Talented or not, musicians need something to play. Classical musicians can not play ANYTHING unless they have some notes...rhythmic musicians have a more improvising way of doing things, but if my ideas are better than their, (which they often are because I know the core of the song) they have to "obey"... (Ed. Note: Well, we know why he was alone at school now, don't we? :^ )

About the girls: Christiane is in the ""Why Does Nobody Listen Video", Sara is in the "Freeway to Mars" and Louise (the first singer in the band) is in the "In a blue balloon" video...It is hard to work with women...most modern women want to put down the man I guess...or maybe it has always been like that...and many women have a father complex - the absent father, so when you get close to them they try to punish you....puuuhhh I had a hard time....but the more my self-confidence has been growing through the years, the more it has been easy to be equal....and with Christiane I think it will last long...she is a very lovely and caring person...through the father-complex-struggle for sure, if she ever had one....

Spinguy ~ Wow, I'm not touching that last paragraph! I sure don't need to ask if you're single. Women, please refer all replies to Flemming Borby, www.labrador.dk

I was curious about your choice of band name. Because when I first got your album I thought it was something from Johan Angergårds Swedish Labrador label. Everyone I have since told about your album jumped to the same wrong conclusion at first mention of the name. Had you considered that problem, and why the Scandinavian fascination with the Canadian province of Labrador? Don't you guys get enough cold weather?

For the record I have a connection as well, as I played college ice hockey with a guy from Labrador. His name was Wally Edmunds and he threw up before every game, and not always outside the locker room.

Flemming ~ Well when I founded the band, I didn't know about the Swedish label...I heard about the label for the first time 3 or 4 years ago , and had the chance to meet Johan last year in Berlin...We had a chat and we'd asked each other why we've chosen that name...he didn't know actually as far as he was not the founder of Labrador-records he told me...anyway we had a nice chat and I have a great collaboration with him now, releasing albums in Denmark from his label through my label.

I visited a friend in New-York in 1997, and when I flew home, we passed through the big areas in Canada, and when I looked out of the window of the jumbo-jet, I felt completely in love with this big wide area I could observe from the window...I looked at the map and realized that the name was Labrador. I decided on the spot, that this should the name of my coming band, which I was on my way home to start.....

Spinguy ~ I like that story.

It is also a special treat that there are videos for 3 of the songs on the album, and two of them are on the disc itself. I think that's one of the worse things about the scene today as almost nobody gets to make a video anymore. The vid for "Why Does Nobody Listen" is great, and it has a very 70's air about it with the wide lapels and the ray ban glasses. Were you going for a dated look or is that just how everyone dresses?

Flemming ~ Nothing I do is actually accidental.....

Spinguy ~ But do you ever try to make it look as if it was? I suspect you'd like to keep some mystery about you, as much out of shyness as anything.

Flemming ~ yeah I always try to make it look accidental and natural....

Spinguy ~ While the lyrics to the song appear to be about a lost relationship, the video paints a different picture to me. The band is walking around with Depeche Mode like horn speakers as if trying to enlighten the masses, however no one is listening. This peaks at the end as you sing the chorus, "why does nobody listen, why does nobody care" and they inevitably "give up" and walk off. Is this a critique of the state of music in general, or for that matter the fate of this song itself? That it is so brilliant and so good, but the odds are nobody will ever know about it? It comes across very poignant and all too true and sad for me. I love the video but it leaves you sad, not happy, at the end of it.

Flemming ~ I had a hard time when I did that song...had big struggles with all the world around me...felt like nobody really could see what I was standing for, so if the outcome of the video leaves you a little sad, that's the reason...

Spinguy ~ I can tell you they're listening now. I can track my sites hits, and lots of people are getting there doing searches for you. I think you are currently the "it" thing in the indie world right now. Is that good news, or just the first step to your pre planned world domination?

Flemming ~ I am happy if people start listening....I have no plans for world domination, but of course, like anybody who makes music I also want the message spread out as world-wide as possible....

Spinguy ~ "In A Blue Balloon" is an older song which was included on here as a bonus as well, along with it's video. It has a very peculiar beat to it that I can't quite place historically, but it's great. It's like a jerkier sort of bossa nova beat that moves the shoulders, not the hips. Does it fall under some genre I can't place?

Flemming ~ Copenhagen Disco-Mambo maybe....

Spinguy ~ By the way, do you usually cheat at Parcheesi?

Flemming ~ ED Note: He wouldn't answer!

Spinguy ~ So you're giving that a miss then? OK, so we have suspicions you're a gigolo, you cheat at games of chance, and you like classic lounge pop music. You seem a prime candidate to play Las Vegas, only we'll have to rename your show "The Flemming Borby Experience". I can see it now, velveteen jacket, topless show girls... do you snap your fingers when you sing, or do that elbow thing with the hand holding the mike? More importantly, can you do 3 shows a night?

Flemming ~ I am ready whenever... (See pic)

Spinguy ~ My kid likes the video for "Freeway To Mars" the most. She likes that your head is bigger and bobbles, and the funny drumbeat you do. In fact, that's one of those stupid attachments we all miss without videos. Since I've seen it so often now, every time I hear the song I catch myself mimicking your drumming, especially the last stupid cymbal hit at the end of it. To use an English colloquialism, I feel like a "dork" doing it but I can't stop anymore. The songs not the same without it.

Anyway, did you film that in a swimming pool? Was it hard to shoot?

Flemming ~ :-) Yeah we did it in a swimming-pool, and the photographer was standing on the bottom...then we went down 30-40 seconds at the time...and yeah it was quite difficult to act naturally under the water...but also funny...and I think that it turned out quite ok.

Spinguy ~ One thing that is interesting about your songs is they do violate one rule of the classic pop song. They are not brief. The "general" guideline being to keep it close to 2 minutes. There is no song under 3 minutes on here, with most clocking in closer to five. I didn't find it a problem, but sometimes just as I was wondering how long a song was going to keep going it ended. So it was at least noticeable, if not damaging.

Flemming ~ Hmm... about song length, it is difficult....when I hear the CD today I find maybe some tunes a little too long, but on the other hand I know the songs so well, so it is hard to really figure out...there is something in pop-music about repeating things two times, which I like, but I am now thinking of cutting things down more in the future...it just has to feel natural for you....and until now, the length of the songs as they are has felt natural for me.

Spinguy ~ "Instamatic Lovelife" is also your second album, the first being "Goodbye Susanne". Since I have not heard the first one I have two questions: How would you compare them, and can I get a copy of the first one from you to review?

Flemming ~ I think there is a quite big difference between the first and the second....the first was the debut-album, so no one knew the band...we did it very low-budget, and didn't know what to expect of peoples reaction. Also it was a quite insecure Flemming Borby singing and doing that album...my self-confidence was not very big at that moment, and I was very afraid that nobody would receive the music well...because I am quite ambitious, I was on thin ice doing the whole thing for the first time....I had played in a quite successful band GREENE, as the drummer, so standing all alone and saying; "Now it is my turn to show the world that I am more than a stupid drummer", was a big challenge to me...

(Ed: Now we're alienating drummers....)

When we had finished the album we sent the song "In a Blue Balloon" to the Danish national Radio P3, and they chose the song as "Song of the Week", which meant that the song was the most played song for a whole week....every hour they played it...and after that they played it every day for one year...so all of a sudden we were in business....

On the new album I used all the money I got from the air-play and the record sales...we recorded in a big studio on analog tapes...went to Prague to do the string-overdubs, and then mixed it all by the best (and most expensive) mixer in DK. So technically there is a big difference, but also the compositions and the expression in general has developed from the first to the second album I guess.

But when I hear the first album today, I also really think it has its own nice charm....and I will send a copy to you.

Spinguy ~ Thanks, I look forward to hearing it.

I do have to say however, that the new album does not strike me as being "well" recorded, "well" meaning that it does not seem like a recording of the modern period, but rather really dates itself to the early 70's. The soundstage, vocal placement and shading, all sort of come across in a single plane, very reminiscent of that period. There is only one or two instances on it where your voice is miked "hot" and comes across strongly and higher and more up front in the soundstage, and it only happens on a part where you are speaking with no musical accompaniment.

Don't get me wrong, this is not a complaint, and the technique does suit the music, but it is not recorded especially dynamically. Was that intentional, or should I stop prying into all your secrets?

Flemming ~ I don't really remember - but I am happy at the outcome of the album...

Spinguy ~ Have you always found yourself more attached to the late 60's early 70's period of music? It is odd to me that it seems to be either that period anymore or a C86 fascination with everyone. I can appreciate elements from both but I am still amazed everyone ignores the 78-83 period which to me not only has it's share of valid moments, it may in fact be the best era. It was truly the one time when almost anything went, from A Flock Of Seagulls to Aztec Camera. Perhaps that's why people can't peg it down and copy it.

Flemming ~ The late 60's and the early 70's is the period of my childhood...it stands for me as a very bright and optimistic period in history, and also the period where pop-music was invented...all the optimistic and pure poppy songs were made then, and I must say that this is what I have in my heart, basically....

I believe also in the pop-mission to believe in real and honest love between people...not only for couples, but in all aspects of life....it might seem a little escapist and unrealistic, but I am truly gay inside (not homosexual though :-))

Spinguy ~ You mean you're "gay" like they were back in the roaring 20's.....What did Felix Unger say, "Happy and peppy and busting with love?"

OK, enough cryptic references. What year were you born? I was born in 1963.

Flemming ~ that is a secret I am sorry...I am normally quite open, but about my age I am not...

Spinguy ~ Wow, you are full of surprises. I'll have to saw you in half and count your rings one day....

OK, I have some questions my daughter wanted me to ask you. What is your favorite Labrador song?

Flemming ~ Nice of your daughter to ask! At the moment I like "Wandering Star" a lot, but always I am very happy about "Don't Forget Your Raincoat"

Spinguy ~ What is your favorite colour? (this is very important to kids for some reason)

Flemming ~ orange

Spinguy ~ What is your favorite food?

Flemming ~ Seafood

Spinguy ~ She liked the answers, except for seafood. Of course had to ask one more. What is your favorite animal?

Flemming ~ all baby-animals (Ed. Note - Everybody....Awwwwwww....)

Spinguy ~ I saw you went to Japan. How was it? While their charts are no better than anyone elses, they do have a strong indie scene. It seems when the Japanese like something, they don't do it half way. Were you treated with awe?

Flemming ~ Fantastic people the Japanese...very engaged , and we had a wonderful time there...we made a showcase at the largest HMV-store in the world, and some people came from Hokkaido to Tokyo to see us...Hokkaido is 1000Km away from Tokyo...

Spinguy ~ I have to also ask, so what's with the red hair? Is it your natural color? Is there Irish in you? Flemming O'Borby? It's OK, I think it suits in any case.

Flemming ~ :-) It is natural with a little extra colour added

Spinguy ~ Orange by any chance?

It seems obvious to me, that doing all you did, the study, the videos, the great album, that you really would like to achieve some level of not just success, but of actual recognition. What do you think are your odds given the state of things? Are you big in Denmark?

Flemming ~ Yeah I am not really after success in a normal way, but as I said I feel like I am on a kind of a mission....we are not big in Denmark, but well respected...

Spinguy ~ Any plans for a tour of the States?

Flemming ~ No response from the States so far, unless you are from the States John?

Spinguy ~ Where did you think I was from? What kind of response will get your ass over here? Well, I know the answer to that without asking, the green kind that rustles...

I think that should do it. Thanks for your time, and thanks for an incredible album. I'll leave the adjectives for my review, but it will certainly be in the top 3 if not album of the year for me this year. As fine a piece of work as I have had the pleasure to hear. Many thanks from all of us.

Flemming ~ I am really happy too for your interest in our music...hope to meet you some time - and please say hello to your daughter.