Interview by Cheri Amour
Photography by Dennis Morton in Copenhagen, Denmark

While most of us were scraping our knees in the playground, no-rock sextet Pardans had their minds set on bigger things. Bound together from strands of various musical projects, the group bonded over alcopops at an end-of-school blow out. Frontman Gustav Berntsen’s intent was crystal clear: ‘to form a band that would mix rock with orchestral elements’. Listening to their skronking debut, Heaven, Treason, Women, it’s fair to say they’ve aced it.

Pardans is a welding of disparate tastes and instrumentation – pounding drums meet with chugging brass as free jazz thrusts itself from a saxophone reed. It’s an approach to craftsmanship that actually isn’t out of character for the Copenhagen contingent. Emphatic horns and laconic sneer have helped fellow Danes, Iceage, to make a name for themselves in Europe. It is fitting, then, that Pardans will join their post-punk peers on their European tour.

Touring itself is a subject that Berntsen weaves through his lyricism in album tracks like ‘Over The Alps and Into Milan’ and ‘Eurostar’. ‘I was travelling between Paris and London on the train a few times. There was something funny about that name but also quite ironic’, he explains, but is quick to mark the difference between that and being in the back of the tour van. ‘It drains you of all energy and you enter a psychotic state of mind. It’s not until I’m back in Copenhagen that I can digest these experiences and write songs’.

Long gone are the tired pop references to Eurodance export, Aqua and multi-platinum metalhead, Lars Ulrich, in Denmark’s capital. Today’s scene is decidedly more underground. 

It drains you of all energy and you enter a psychotic state of mind

The band recalls playing out the final show at Christiania’s jazz club Salon Pissoir before its closure. ‘The crowd was going wild, so for us it was a perfect and slightly sentimental way to say goodbye to one of our favorite places’.  Another place dear to the band’s heart is Danish festival juggernaut, Roskilde—so much so that Bernsten was able to eject from his sick-bed to take to the stage. As Patrick explains, ‘Gustav had been sick in bed with mononucleosis and strep throat, so we didn’t get to practice during the month leading up to the show. On the actual morning of the show, we were quite nervous but it turned out great. Suddenly, he had the strength to party for a week’.

Strength seems to be a reoccurring theme for the band who, since forming back in 2015, has been through a lot together. Debut Heaven, Treason, Women speaks to that transformative phase of your teens, gaining independence and moving on from your first heartbreak. As Berntsen shares, ‘I had just finished high school and broken up with my girlfriend. We had been together for almost three years and she was really my first true love. At the same time, I found myself in an apartment learning how to live on my own’. Over the heartache and into the limelight, Pardans step out later this year with a full-length release.

Pardans plays 3 August at De Nieuwe Anita. Heaven, Treason, Women was released in September 2016.