Uffe Lorenzen aka Lorenzo Woodrose, the man behind the man, the artist that released under On Trial, Baby Woodrose, Pandemonica, Dragontears, Spids Nøgenhat and now is releasing his brand new and first solo album under his real name entitled ‘Galmandsværk’, look it up on google translator or continue reading to figure out the meaning of the word. We are about to embark on a timeline ride down memory lane and learn more about…the man behind the man.
Uffe, a lot has been written and said about you in the past many years, what is the less credible thing that you have ever read or heard said about yourself?
Some people seem to confuse my interest in psychedelic drugs with a narcotics habit, so they think I am high all the time, but as every one who actually uses psychedelics know, it takes more and more effort and courage to convince yourself to do them, so for me its like a once or twice a year thing.
When did you start playing music for the very first time?
At 11 or 12 I think. Banging homemade drumsticks on pillows and pots.
Who inspired you to start playing music?
No one in particular really. Music just became an obsession very early.
Did you receive any musical inspiration from your parents?
My older sister and brother both had record collections with very diverse styles so thats where my interest really started.
Please tell us about your childhood and where you grew up?
I grew up in a suburb of Copenhagen called Albertslund. The whole city was built between 1967 and 1973, so pretty much everyone who moved out there was families with kids. Very safe environment to grow up in, with bicycle lanes everywhere, a lot of new schools, nature nearby and a lot of kids my age. I biked to kindergarten at 4 all on my own.
How was school?
Fun at first, but I grew tired of that very quickly. The last 3 years in particular were pure hell. I guess I always had some issues respecting authorities. I was clever, but lazy as fuck. Eventually I dropped out of high school and spent a few years smoking weed and learning to play the guitar.
Are you a family man?
Not particularly no. Too restless.
You began your career in an early age, you joined On Trial at the age of 15. I assume at that point that the band was in a kind of development of its own and trying to find an identity. Please tell us in short how the band developed and when the true identity of the band was found?
Yeah, we went through many different styles, starting as kids in 1986 with fast punkrock and political lyrics in danish, then more new wave stuff in english and even a bit of rockabilly punk, then for a while we played a lot of covers, mostly Stooges and Rolling Stones, but slowly turning more garage rock, inspired by Nuggets and Pebbles compilations, then a bit more hardrock inspired by Guns N Roses and The Cult Electric era around the first LP, then even a bit grungy before finally settling in around 1995 with a more original take on a kind of stoner/garage/psych.
Which On Trial album would you say, if possible, captured the true spirit and soul of the band?
Head Entrance from 1996 and Blinded By The Sun from 2002.
During the evolvement of On Trial you started various side-projects, in primis Baby Woodrose which somehow ended up with you leaving On Trial to focus on the new band. Was it a natural development for you to seek you own ways and new stimulations at that point?
The thing is, I always wrote songs and eventually I had so many that didn’t fit in with On Trial, I had to do something with them. Also, it was getting weird not singing them myself at a point.
About the same time Spids Nøgenhat and Pandemonica came to life, did you have a lot on your heart and mind during that particular period of your life?
Actually both those projects were way before Woodrose. Pandemonica was my 4 track home recordings made between 1993 and 1996 roughly, but released much later. Spids Nøgenhat started as early as 1998 I think, culminating in an album in 2001.
At some point Dragontears came to life too, a project that sounds like it was born out of a spontaneous heavy dope smokin’ jam?
Yeah. That was basically my own project, but it involved a lot of my friends that were in all the other bands as well. I wanted to have some fun and try some new things. I like those 3 records a lot personally, but they didn’t sell as easy as the Woodrose albums which were more commercially digestable I guess.
Lets talk about your brand new and upcoming album “Galmandsværk” (“act of madness”), a solo project where you, for the first time, are using your real name Uffe Lorenzen. Why the album title and why use your real name at this point in your career?
Actually, the proper translation would be “the work of a madman” but it has double meanings as “gal” can mean both mad as in crazy or mad as in angry in Danish. Also, its a very old expression and unique for Danish language that it is one word. No other language has a word like that as far as I know. I felt like the songs are so honest and personal that it would seem superficial to use any other name.
How did the record come to life and what are you expecting or hoping to transmit to the people that are going to listen to it?
Last winter I had the opportunity and need to pull the plug on my daily routines and travelled a bit for 3 whole months, I ended up spending 6 weeks in a tiny apartment on a small volcanic island called La Gomera, staring at the ocean and playing the guitar, trying to reinvent myself. I don’t care much what people think of it, but if you want to know who I am and understand Danish, this is probably the best place to start.
You have attracted a lot of attention in the Danish media related to your song “Dansker” (Dane). Were you expecting a reaction like that and did you hit a soft spot in the Danish self-awareness?
Yeah, it’s a bit of a shame really, because the song is really good, but some people seem to misunderstand it. I guess I did expect to piss some people off, but my point with the song was actually rather to wake them up. It seems like their national(ist) pride gets in the way of them getting the point. I am merely suggesting a bit more action, protest and involvement instead of apathy..
Are you more inspired composing music on a grey, rainy, windy autumn day looking out of your window and straight into grey concrete buildings or sitting on a terrace overlooking the sea with a straw-hat covering your eyes from a bright and shiny sun or perhaps sitting on a field that reaches into endlessness?
I can write a song anywhere which is really the secret to my creative output. I don’t even need a guitar or a pen and paper. I just need a bit of silence.
Do you find that there is a difference in the way you express yourself between English and Danish when writing lyrics?
Of course. But I have gotten so used to singing in English over the years that it will take some effort to turn my thinking process around and find my own way of saying stuff.
You have played several times at the Duna Jam festival in Sardegna. What impact has this festival had on you and how has it been to play at such an open-air venue in various stunning nature settings?
I have played Duna Jam 3 times. Very nice experiences all of them. I view it as more of a holiday, than a gig though. All the people there are really nice. I remember someone giving me a plastic cup of mushroom tea and listening to Motorpsycho in front of a magic melting sundown backdrop the best though, amazing show.
Ralph has been a long-time companion in your musical career and as a friend, who unfortunately is no longer with us. Please spend a few words in his memory?
He made me believe in myself, pushed me to do more than I thought I could, encouraged me and helped me get my music out there. I miss him. I keep thinking what he would have said about any problem that I encounter.
Have your prospects in life changed throughout the years or have they remained the same?
Pretty much the same.
When the tough gets going and the shit hits the artist. What keeps you going?
I have stubborn bones, so when I meet obstacles I get angry and work harder.
Have you ever had motivational crisis that blocked you and that kept a firm grip on you, preventing you from writing and composing?
Not really, no – theres too much self therapy involved. I dont do this for anyone else but me really. I only get tired of touring and doing interviews. But then when I have a bunch of good songs I make an album and the whole thing starts over again.
Is there any connection between ‘Hobittens Drøm’ and ‘Hobittens Flyvetur’ ?
They are both written with the same person in mind. Not the Tolkien character though.
The million dollar questions: of all the albums you have been involved in, which one are you most proud of?
The latest one.
Which of the many many songs you have composed has meant most to you emtionally and why?
Probably the ones that I wrote for people I know and love. Theres a bunch for Ralph like Light Up Your Mind, Jorden Kalder and Lever Vi Nu?
Best period of your life, when and why?
The last 5 years have been pretty good. Financially, emotionally, atistically. I feel grounded.
Worst period of your life, when and why?
Probably 2006-08. Was too worried and confused about myself. Felt like I was walking on glass.
What matters most to you in life and what matters less?
Love, friendships. Money is not that interesting, I spend it when I have it.
Have you ever imagined how your life would be without music?
Where would you have been today, if you dropped the idea of playing music?
I wouldn’t have and I couldn’t have!
Best and worst show you ever did, where and why?
Best? This years Roskilde Festival solo show. Worst, Gruta77 in Madrid 2007. I was too drunk, sorry.
Which artists/albums are you listening to in this period?
Currently moving apartment, so all my vinyl is packed away.
Recommend a few good upcoming bands from Denmark?
I like Love Coffin, TJ and The Reasons To Live, Fribytterdrømme, Sonic Dawn, many others that I cant remember right now.
Are you a believer?
I have come to believe in love, its not just about sex or reproduction. I think its the energy that makes the universe spin.
When is life beautiful?
A quiet Monday morning, coffee, vinyl and cigarettes.
Biggest mistake you ever made?
Signed a publishing contract.
Kindest gesture you have done?
I always carry pocket change for homeless people. Gets a bit too expensive in some major European cities though.
Until this day, how satisfied are you with your life?
Very satisfied, but it seems to become shorter and shorter which is depressing.
Are you moody?
Very. Most days are low.
Are you emotional?
Very. I surf emotions for a living.
Are you religious?
Not at all, convinced atheist.
Are you spiritual?
Not at all.
Do you have a temper, if yes, do you have an automatic safe switch or do you allow it to break out in full flare?
I control it pretty well. I am not violent in any way, but my words can get really sharp and merciless. I am still working on that.
Add 3 sensations to each of the following words:
Food! In Italy they would say that you are ‘un buongustaio’, one that loves good food and wine. I have seen that with my own eyes too ;-). What is your fave dish?
Haha, its true. I just love food, all kinds pretty much. But not much beats fresh seafood in my opinion.
I tend to give most artist the kitchen question and I am not going to make an exception here. How good are you in a kitchen, what is your strongest dish and who can testify?
I am an adequate but average cook in my own opinion. I have friends that are much better. Some traditional Danish dishes I can do as good as anyone on a good day, but mostly I am too lazy. My girlfriend loves my Pasta Carbonara though.
To avoid ending this interview with a kitchen related question, please write a short story/poem/song about your life up until today, in Danish:
Mit køkken er fyldt med kasser af pap
Jeg kan ikke finde hverken kniv eller saks
Men jeg har dog min kedel og min insta nes-kaf
En hvid dråbe mælk og resten kan skafs.
Uffe Lorenzen (Lorenzo Woodrose)