Alexander Odden of Pegboard Nerds leapt into the air at Electric Forest, and just as the bass dropped, banged his head downward leaving his long blond hair flying through the sky.
The “Scandiravian” duo are well-known for their intensity, and just premiered an all-out electro track “New Style”, so you can imagine how awkward it must have been as they were getting their start spinning at LAN parties. "We actually played there once" the duo's other half, Michael Parsberg, clarified, noting that their moniker is but an anagram of the producer's names.
Letting us into their 8-bit heart, they further discussed another side to themselves. A side a little less rambunctious than Alex’s hair would lead you to believe. “I like just raging out to a banger that I won’t ever remember” Alex admitted candidly, “but we never seem to be able to sit down and make it ‘cause we feel that something’s missing.”
All of your music seems to be pretty intense, but do you guys ever just chill out or listen to other genres?
[Alex] We’re not good at… just listening to music actually. I know it’s really bad but, it’s kind of weird. But when I do, I think, ‘I gotta listen to more music because this is great!’, and then I never do. When I’m in my car I just like to keep it quiet. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t tracks that we like. There’s like movie scores, 80s, 90s, Euro dance, trance, but… we usually don’t sit down and listen to the music we make.
[Michael] It’s not like when we have a few hours off it’s like “Hey let’s listen to our own stuff!” (laughs)
So what do you like to do when you do have a few hours off?
[Michael] We don’t (laughs). We’re always working on our set and are always late. But, when we do have a little bit of spare time, we like to go to the movies. And we’re really angry because there’s a movie coming out that we really want to see.
[Alex] Yeah – Transformers. We like the sci-fi stuff.
What are your favorites?
[Michael] We saw a crazy one the other day… “Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood”. (laughs)
[Alex] I really like the Kubrick films to be honest. Stanley Kubrick - all of them.
[Michael] Also Blade Runner, Usual Suspects, Shawshank Redemption - even though I know it’s the most popular film ever made.
“Transformers” definitely feels a little like your style of music, but the Kubrick vibe is interesting. Would you say your music reflects your personalities at all? Do you think you guys be at shows like the ones you put on?
[Alex] I would say whenever we play at same festivals with Skrillex and Knife Party and other acts that are similiar, we try and catch that - definitely. It’s fun to be in the crowd and see their reaction as opposed to being on or backstage. The other week we went to see Astral Projection. We used to listen to goa and psy trance a lot back in the day, but just walking around at festivals is fun I think - I like the atmosphere.
How is the scene different in Norway and Denmark than here in the States?
[Alex] Big difference. Because there’s a scene. (laughs)
[Michael] There is a scene. And everything is so new in the US, people are still discovering it. It’s been in Europe for over 20 years, you know? The US is where Europe was 10-15 years ago. So it’s all like, evened out in Europe. They are not as curious about new things as they used to be. Plus, what they like over there is either really, really commercial, or really, really underground. And we’re kind of in-betweeners.
[Alex] We picked a lot of stuff from the commercial end but we like to pair it up with heavy production and a lot of bass so… The cool thing about America is that there’s room for it - there’s a scene for it.
I can definitely hear that in-between vibe on tracks like “Coffins” and “Hero”. How did those tracks come about?
[Michael] We thought Misterwives and Elizaveta were good fits. That’s what we really like - to get a good challenge. Because it’s not easy to take vocals from a completely different genre and put them with our production.
[Alex] The production of both of those tunes was challenging in that regard.
I can maybe see the Kubrick style shining through (no pun intended) on those tracks a little bit because those songs have cinematic qualities to them - more drawn out and melodic than a lot of bass music that’s out there.
[Michael] That’s one of our mantras actually. We won’t make a track that doesn’t have a melody - something recognizable.
[Alex] I like just raging out to a banger that I won’t ever remember but we never seem to be able to sit down and make it ‘cause we feel that something’s missing. That’s how the melodies always end up in there.
Your logo is pixelated much like a retro video game, are you guys gamers at all?
[Alex] Retro games, yeah, like the C64 or Nintendo. We don’t really play modern games, but we still play the old ones from time to time. I have a lot of the older consoles at home. I don’t know if you saw on Instagram, but we posted a picture where we made the pixel-heart with NES cartridges so that was sort of an homage to all of that. (Referencing Michael) He was on the Atari as well.
[Michael] No, but now that you say that, Alex used to attend all of these, like…
[Alex] …Like a LAN party. There’s a big one in Norway called The Gathering where like 5,000 people bring their computers and crazy sound systems.
[Michael] And we actually played there once.
[Alex] Oh dude that’s right we played there! We played at two! The first party we played, people were just sitting there on their computers looking up. (Alex recreates the scene, typing on an air-computer before slowly turning his head - perturbed.) There was zero people standing up in front of the stage.
Anyone at all?
[Alex] Yeah, the video guy and the sound guy. (laughs) That was pretty good for a LAN party and for The Gathering.
What do you guys have coming up? Anything of different style than what people might expect?
[Alex) Five, 10, 12 new tunes coming up. There’s dubstep, there’s trap, there’s electro and half-time electro.
Their moniker may only be an anagram of their names, but the Pegboard Nerds are 8-bit Heroes on the rise. Speaking about the new releases as a whole, Michael noted, “For the inexperienced EDM listener, we would probably say it’s kind of the same. But we would say it’s very different.” See them across the US and Canada for their Uncaged tour kicking off August 22nd.