Louise Alenius

Words: Ida Frantsi / Photo: Sascha Oda

Composer Louise Alenius is a bold woman. She entered high brow classical music scene with an untraditional background- as a singer and sound artist. Being nonconformist is not always easy, but her fresh approach seems to be working as her latest project, the ballet Elephant Man, has received raving reviews and praise from the audiences and critics. In 2014 she is creating ‘Porøset’ a peculiar theaterproject at The Royal Danish Theater. She tells us about how showers and forests seem to spark her creativity and how we all can start listening to classical music.

How do you start your creative process? 99% of the time it takes off while I’m in the shower. I’m not sure why, but it happens very often, and that’s why I always leave my phone recording right next to the shower. If a beautiful melody or an idea pops up I just sing it or speak about it, then I have it recorded in case my shower gets very long and I forget it.

The music for Elephant man is very melancholic and mysterious (beautiful!). But did you sometimes just have the need to listen to some happy music and escape the melancholic mood for a while? No I’m actually very happy when I am right in the middle of this melancholy, and if my work flow is good, I can stay for days. I get so much into it the music and it is actually quite hard for me to step out of it.

BUT I love to dance. I have a group of friends I meet up with once a week to dance (We call it FRI DANS – Free dancing). Some people go for a run or play soccer – we just meet to dance. That is deffinetly a happy musical break, cause we only listen to fast and pumping dance tracks, I love it !

Have you had some new great opportunities arise after the success of Elephant man? In 2014 I will make my own project at The Royal Danish Theatre. It is very different from most other theatre productions I know, or things I have made myself. I am super excited about it, but it is too early to tell more than the name of my project ‘Porøset’.

Where do you compose? I could imagine some amazing dungeon somewhere in the middle of the forest. Do surroundings matter for the mood? I used to work outside in the forest when I made a French album Cours Lapin some years ago. I wrote many of the lyrics and melodies in the countryside, and recorded my vocals outdoor in a forest north of Sealand. I am very sensitive to my surroundings and it makes good sense for me to move around, but unfortunately when I make instrumental music like Elephant man I need to be in a studio most of the time. My music is often site specific – made for a precise location – so I want to able to work anywhere, even if it is less efficient than in the studio.

Is it as mysterious and creative as I imagine to work in dance theater or theater in general? What is the hard part what is the best part? I think it is fascinating to work in theaters. People sit down in the dark and listen to our story without being interrupted – when everything works together it can be extremely beautiful and effectfull.

The best part is to work in a team – Most of the time I make 90% of my music alone, so being a part of a team is great and very inspiring. I get so excited to learn from the others, and to see what they come up with – scenography, light, choreography etc.

The hardest thing (I have not tried that for a very long time) is to be unhappy with something on a production. And the end of the last show – that is a sad moment…

 If you would recommend one classical piece for someone who does not listen to classical music what would it be? Like an entry song to get hooked. 

The theme track from In the mood for love. It has a very strong melodic theme, the instrumentation is light and the structure is almost like in a popsong. That should be a very soft beginning…

Louise’s music can be heard at the ballet Napoli (The Royal Theater) premiering on 31s of february and playing until May 2014.