Interview: We Took a Stroll with Denmark’s Get Your Gun
city guide

One of Scandinavia’s most extraordinary bands, Get Your Gun are two still-youthful Danish brothers — Andreas and Simon Westmark — who make magnificently mature rock, suffused with the sound of ancient souls.

That uniquely epic noise was initially bottled on their debut album, The Worrying Kind, and is pushed to further limits on the new one, Doubt is My Rope Back to You.

Where do the Westmarks dredge up this mighty racket? True, there is a Viking graveyard in their home city, but elsewhere Aalborg’s once-grim industrial vibe is being rapidly replaced by a more aesthetically pleasing aspect. And that’s mirrored by the new record.

“A lot of things have happened in the time between: we played a lot of shows, we got older, we started experimenting with new instruments,” says Andreas, the bearded singer/guitarist. “The main difference, I think, is maturity. The first record’s main objective was to be loud and abrasive — in a deep and profound way, of course. We still are loud and abrasive, but with the new album, it was more about making something of beauty.”

Both they and the city have moved on: Aalborg’s impressive new waterfront is its focal point, although the most striking sights on the Westmark’s tour are the vast murals, commissioned from some of the world’s finest street artists; indeed, a new book about them is due out soon.

“Aalborg is traditionally an industrial workers’ city,” says Andreas, “but it’s developing more and more into a student city and the cultural life is expanding rapidly. Aalborg has been seen as a secluded grey place where there’s nothing really going on, but that’s slowly changing. Literature and film about Aalborg had a big influence on how the city is looked upon now.”

As the Westmarks’ guide suggests, though, music infuses their own Aalborg life.

Best Neighborhood for a video shoot
Simon: If you go past the old industrial area in the east harbor you’ll come to Hesteskoen (The Horseshoe). We filmed quite a lot for our video for the single “Black Book” there. You have a big outlook over the inlet and a few old industrial buildings. Aalborg has many old factories, which often become super expensive apartments, but there’s some cool stuff too.

Andreas: There’s a book and a movie about Nordkraft, the old power station, that is now a cultural centre. The venue in there is called Skraaen, they put on big concerts, but also really help new bands too.

Simon: Aalborg is a big Bodega city. At Susan Himmelblå — named after a character from a movie — there are big draft beers and a roof terrace to sit in, on the few summer days we get. Østerport is for when you want the old school ‘two beers for five dollars and smoke in your eyes’ vibe.

Andreas: Normally we use the Student House, where you can get a cheap and strong filter coffee. It’s a great place.  

Simon: Platform 4 is a good ‘all day place’, with a venue, bar and restaurant: it’s inside the old amusement park, Karolinelund, now turned into a park. But its roots are in experimental electronic music and art, and that shows every weekend in the night-time.

Music venue
Simon: In Aalborg we are lucky that we have a lot of good venues that complement each other really well. The Student House, again, has a good variety of alternative rock and pop. And Huset (‘the house’) is a small cozy venue with tables and chairs and a program of mostly alternative folk and jazz.

Andreas: 1000fryd is an old squat place from the 80s: at the start they fought with the city but now it’s a very important venue. Green Day played there, Nirvana almost did.

Coolest Neighborhood
Simon: Fjordbyen is originally a neighborhood for fishermen and dockers. It started out in the late ‘30s/early ‘40s as a village of small sheds where the workers could keep their equipment and find shelter from bad weather. Now it has evolved into a real neighborhood of small houses where all types of people live, from students, to middle class people, the old gang of fishers and the more quirky characters.

Simon: The Artbreak Hotel is a gallery where the artist Nils Sloth hails. He uses his space to host everything from his own exhibitions of his paintings, free-jazz concerts to receptions for new art releases.

Andreas: We had Aalborg Akvavit [a famously strong Scandinavian spirit], but that moved to Norway. I think the building became a nightclub.

Simon: So the closest thing to a local brew would be beers from Thisted Bryghus which is from out west. You can’t come to the Northern Jutland region without trying their legendary Limfjords Porter.

Simon: All around the city there are walls decorated with street art by both national and international artists, legally made with support from the city. It’s been going on for some years, and the group behind it are always looking for new walls to paint.

Get Your Gun’s album Doubt is My Rope Back to You is out now. 

photo by: Si Hawkins; background: Marketa/Flickr