Cultures Colliding/New Music Discovery: terminal

Filter Magazine’s Culture Collide Festival came and went in the Echo Park section of Los Angeles and I can say that, without reservation, that it was a success. That’s because Culture Collide is an international music festival and very niche event with a very particular goal: to bring the various music flavors of other countries to meld and bleed into the already melting pot that is Los Angeles for discovery by hungry ears. This year 50 bands from 24 different countries participated in the 4-day, multi venue event that culminated on the fifth day with a big old block party.

Considering that I cannot imagine under what circumstances I would have discovered a little band from Denmark had it not been for Culture Collide- I say again- the damned thing was a success.

terminal. Thorsten Bæk (vox, guitar), Henrik Engstrøm (bass, synths, vox) and Rasmus Toft Ilsø Jensen(drums). What we have here are three gentlemen of Nordic descent (or Scandinavian as the two are interchangeable) who are possibly Calvin Klein or Abercrombie & Fitch models in this lifetime or the next (if they’re okay with pseudo soft porn). What we also have here is a Danish trio with the ability to craft deftly emotive songs (Danes are apparently very sensitive people) that have no fear of that thing called rock or an undercurrent of dance.

In the madness that was Culture Collide I was fortunate enough to catch two of their sets at the festival: One, which went smoothly; the other, not so much (technical difficulties are a bitch). But in the true spirit of rock and roll, they kept calm and carried on delivering an abbreviated and partially acoustic set that far from disappointed those who hung in for the duration. They (we) were rewarded with terminal kicking out a fairly gutsy “everything we have” set minus their backing track which- in case they hadn’t noticed- didn’t diminish the strength of their sound. Also, the power and dynamics of Thorsten’s vocals were clear and present with nothing to obscure them and that’s never a bad thing. Think an artful Gavin Rossdale and hold on to that.

With one full album (2009’s Bring Forth the Few) with the fantastically dense track “Chasing Light” and one EP (2010’s Ignite the World) under their collective belts, terminal’s sound has graduated to a more aggressive, formidable and infectiously grooveable level. They consciously weave a thread of electro/dance and- dare we say glam?- through the fabric of their alt rock and, from the listening, one can ascertain that a myriad of influences have found their way into their world. In the asking, Henrik waxed eloquent about what moves the band as well as himself:

“Even when we didn’t know each other yet, were definitely defined by acts such as Queen, Michael Jackson, Dire Straits, Pearl Jam, and Marilyn Manson. I, personally, have accepted in my heart that I love music, which is simply good. It can be the simplest song, and if there’s passion and drive and love, I’m on. We all listen to and love the Killers, Muse, Carpark North, Coldplay, Robyn, Jeff Buckley, and classical music but we’re not limited to particular bands. We embrace music in all forms and have no “arrogance” in regards to genres or bands.”

When all of the mechanical parts click onstage, terminal harnesses some serious energy; the kind that really good rock shows are made of. Yes they’re easy to look at and that’s always a plus, but what seals the deal is how they put out (musically) and encourage the listener to receive.

“I want others to feel what I feel, when I write music. I think about love, or the absence of love, between people, and the amazing thing that is the universe. Encapsulating what happens NOW and not worrying about the past or the future.”

Live in the moment with terminal.

Keep and ear on these guys as they’re prepping to conquer audiences well outside of Denmark in the very near future. In the meantime, feel free to catch up and get to know them on Facebook, Twitter and their official site