The Danish three-piece powerhouse Papir are readying the release of their sixth album, titled VI. The album is four tracks at just under 40 minutes and it’s an absolute stunner. Papir, which consists of Nicklas Sørensen, Christoffer Brøchmann Christensen, and Christian Becher Clausen have been making music together for well over a decade. Their self-titled debut as the instrumental three-piece we know them as came out in 2010. Since then, they’ve been building and honing their Krautrock-inspired sound into something that mixes those early German influences with post-rock, ambient, and even touches of art rock into a wholly unique sonic world.
Oh, they can also still very much rock.
Their newest album VI, and their second with Stickman Records, is a condensed shot of crystalline tones and forward-thinking rock. These four tracks are meditative and big, but aren’t so dense that you can’t find your way in. Falling into the album is like stumbling across the Aurora Borealis on a late night walk; all-encompassing and overwhelming, but easy to sink into its ethereal beauty.
I asked Papir guitarist Nicklas Sorensen about the new record, their writing process, and his hopes to break out some funk and blues riffs on a future album.
J. Hubner: So Papir is readying their new album VI for release. This is your second album with Stickman Records, following 2017s V. Going into the writing process for the new record, were there things you three wanted to change, explore, or approach differently than with the last record?
Nicklas Sorensen: Not really on a conscious level. We just work with what we have got, go to the studio and see how it fits together or doesn’t fit together.
J. Hubner: Each time out Papir seems to streamline the sound. Each record flows with a dream-like feel. With VI your sound is almost this power ambient feel. Bits of post-rock and Krautrock, but Krautrock that swings. What was the writing process like for VI?
Nicklas Sorensen: The writing process or creating process for this album was pretty much like we usually approach it – jamming a lot in our rehearsal room, extracting ideas from the jams, jamming again, talking, composing and making clearer structures and then attending the studio with some more or less finished material. The biggest change on VI was the mixing process in that we decided to mix the album ourselves.
J. Hubner: One big change this time around was the album’s run time. Where V felt like this grand, epic record at over 90 minutes, VI is just under 40 minutes with just 4 tracks. Was album length something you guys were aware of going in? Were there other songs that just weren’t used?
Nicklas Sorensen: We were probably aware of the thought that we didn’t want to repeat ourselves with another double album and that the idea of making a more compact rock record seemed pretty appealing. But yes – we did in fact record a bunch of high quality material that didn’t fit for this album, but who knows…maybe it will be the very content of our next album?
J. Hubner: How did you three get together as a band?
Nicklas Sorensen: That’s a long story…it goes way back to our teenage years. We used to play together in bands with vocalists, but ten years ago we decided that instrumental music was what we had always wanted to do, and then we started jamming a lot and recorded our first album. We played our first concerts…one after another and so on.
J. Hubner: When Papir first began, who were some band’s that inspired you three? Papir, to my ears, have such a unique sound. You can crank up the volume, but I think your power lies in the subtleties.
Nicklas Sorensen: Can was probably an early influence for all three of us, but I can’t really remember what I listening to back then. I think I was fighting my way through a dark phase of early industrial music…but yeah, to be honest I can’t remember.
J. Hubner: Do you still stick to Fender Strats mainly on this album? What is your current guitar setup?
Nicklas Sorensen: Actually the main guitar I used for this album was an Ibanez Roadstar. But yes, the Strat is also on the album, I think most of the guitar dubs was done with the Strat. Music Man amps were used for both bass and guitars (as usual by the way), and as you might have guessed Boss Delay-pedals are also part of both Christian’s and my pedalboard.
J. Hubner: Will Papir be touring at all?
Nicklas Sorensen: No, since some of us have family and rather ambitious full time jobs (well… not me), it is not really possible for us to go on a tour these days. But we will play some shows in Denmark and one gig in Norway too.
J. Hubner: VI is an amazing record. It might the most concise, honed in album from Papir yet. What do you think Papir X will sound like?
Nicklas Sorensen: Thank you! We are pleased to know that you like the album. Well, we obviously don’t know yet…but I hope we will finally be able to incorporate our slick blues and funk roots into the Papir-matrix when we arrive at our 10th album.
Papir’s VI comes out on May 10th via Stickman Records. Preorder your copy here.