Carl Louis and Martin Danielle, the longtime friends who make up the duo CLMD is bubbling just underneath the surface of dance music, and about to burst and break free. Coming from a surprisingly small dance music community in Norway, the two producers have had quite a specific experience and outlook on music that ironically translates incredibly well to what is now a huge community of dance music listeners. CLMD has gone from dreaming about DJing in their rooms to playing big rooms in Miami and debuting “The Stockholm Syndrome” on their own label, Up North this week. We were able to sit down with the guys during Miami Music Week in March, where they talked big dreams and their future.
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Earmilk: I love to ask duos this question: how did you get into music on your own before you met?
Carl Louis: I don't think we got into music on our own because we've known each other since we were 6 years old! So naturally growing up and being best friends since then, we had the same interests and also got into music at the same time and house music as well.
EM: How did you make the decision that it was house music and electronic music that you wanted to pursue?
CL: We normally say it's one track (though you can't say it is one track that started everything): C-Mos's "2 Million" in the Axwell remix is a track that had a really huge influence on us. It's the track that really made us fall in love with house big time.
Martin Danielle: I think that changed our perspective on music. We were coming off a time of being under big hip hop influence and were listening to a lot of it, and there was a radio show in Norway which was sending electronic music and from there I think Carl really heard it and then showed it to me and we thought, "Woah," this is everything I want to listen to all day every day.
EM: How does hip hop influence your production today?
MD: I don't think it influences it that much now, but maybe some day. There are so many interesting elements in hip hop: the drums, the rhythm and everything. Maybe it's there underneath but I think our influences right now come from deeper electronic music.
CL: And we've been very into indie rock, or I should say indie electronic rock. For instance Miike Snow or Foster the People, those are bands that also give us a lot of influence and that's also why we have worked a lot with indie vocalists.
EM: Do you have a dream collaborator from any of those influences?
MD: Andrew White would be awesome to work with: he's a Norwegian vocalist and he is amazing. And also Röyksopp who are from the region as well.
EM: Growing up together, was there ever a point where you made the decision and said, "Okay, we're going to go into this together"? Was there a turning point at which you decided that and how did it come to that?
CL: Norway's weird because there's a really small community for house music and DJs get really bad pay. So we came from somewhere where it was an interest for us and went from just DJing in our bedroom to actually getting to play some lower end clubs in Norway. But they pay you the same amount if you were DJing solo and if you were DJing together. So at that point it was easier to DJ solo to make more money, and we could also get more venues booked. But at the same time it came to a point when we did "The Message" - when that got released on Rising Music and Axwell picked it up and did his edit. For us to get picked up by Axwell was like an all-time dream coming true, and it happened with our first track and then we were like, "Wow, maybe we have something to do in this business."
EM: It was a sign.
CL: Yeah exactly, and from there on it's just been head on.
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Since then the guys have really picked up speed and have been working on honing in on what they’re best at: progressive-leaning club tracks that have a unique edge. While their overall sound might remind us of the recent influx of Scandanavian (mainly Swedish) progressive productions, their melodies have just that extra something that gives them extra depth, and the extra attention paid to vocals is what makes their work stand out. Taking the step to make sure vocals are intertwined with the electronic undertones of each track, instead of treating them as separate elements, is where the key to their success lies.
EM: Your previous single "Falling Like Angels" was a huge hit, how has that affected you and your outlook in terms of what you see for the future?
MD: We have a new single coming soon, and have a lot of new music. We've really found our path with music and now where we want it to go and what we really want to do with it. So I'd say that our future is bright! But in all honesty we are really focused and we're really hungry and we want to make it and to achieve something. And to get as far as we can with our music and really fulfill our potential.
EM: That outlook is always motivating to hear. Can you tell me about your experience at Miami Music Week so far?
CL: Our official first time here as "Carl Louis Martin Danielle" or "CLMD" was last year at a showcase at the 50/50 club downtown and I think there were 20 people there. So that was our first official Miami experience, but I've been here two times as a participator earlier, which of course was amazing. But this is the first time that we can say we are really here as DJs, producers representing CLMD.
EM: So do you see a big difference this year? What's been your favorite part?
MD: It's been really good and really nice to meet other DJs and artists that do the same things as us. And hanging out and talking and getting to know each other and from there everyone is interested in music so we all have that in common.
CL: We felt the difference this year is that last year we felt we were kind of on the outside looking in, while now we are more apart of it and we get to participate in this great community. Yesterday we played at The Shelbourne pool party and we were hanging out with No_ID and Feenixpawl called us up and asked if they could come over. Then Max and AN21 came over, and then suddenly the NERVO twins stoped by, and it's crazy because it's all just so fun and we are all just hanging out. These are big big DJs and we've been admiring their careers, and then now we're suddenly sitting and talking music with them.
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EM: Is there anyone who hasn't just showed up that you're most excited to see perform or meet?
MD: That's a dangerous question! We have our idols and the people we look up to the most, but also when you are in this music and making it, you're so focused that if you see some people achieving some amazing things you need to remember that they're just people. So do your best to treat them as people.
CL: We try to stay grounded for ourselves and for others' sake as well. I remember when we did Size Matters in New York in 2011, and Steve Angello came up to us and we got pretty starstruck. I think that's the first really starstruck experience that we had. Steve talking to us, and I was stumbling to get the words out.
EM: What's coming down the pipeline for you in 2013?
CL: We want to release as much music as possible, as long as we know that the quality is 100% and it's our best. Our next single is coming soon: we just finished it. It will be out on our own label Up North with Sony and it's called "The Stockholm Syndrome" and hopefully people will like it. It's a bit deeper than our previous work.
Check out CLMD's Miami recap video below, which includes "The Stockholm Syndrome" as the soundtrack.
CLMD vs. Kish
The Stockholm Syndrome
- Up North (Sony)