A Man of Constant Sorrow; An interview with Hans-Christian of The Captain of Sorrow

Hans-Christian, the Danish singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer behind The Captain of Sorrow recently released a sprawling, ambitious record, Racetrack Babies, in a burst of spontaneous creativity. He wanted to capture the diverse sounds he was hearing in his head and enlisted his friends – Søren Hansen on guitar, Hans Madsen on bass and drummer Henrik Svendsen – to bring the record to life.

Racetrack Babies came out in Denmark in late January on Musikministeriet, which means Ministry of Music in Danish. This is The Captain of Sorrow’s first international release.

Ghettoblaster recently caught up with Hans-Christian to discuss it. This is what he told us.

When did you first begin writing the material for Racetrack Babies?

I write songs always and record them as sketches. When I have created them, I fear to lose them before the next one comes to me. Then I reassemble those which I have captured since my last release and dig out the songs I like the most for the next release.

Is there a cohesive theme to the tracks? Or is it more a collection of songs?

Well my songs come to me and I put the lyrics to them. Sometimes, they are a feeling or something I have thought a lot about and other times it’s just today’s thoughts. So I would call it a collection of songs with the cohesiveness that they emerge through yours truly.

Is Racetrack Babies your debut release?

With The Captain of Sorrow it is, but I used to play in a band called Racetrack Babies who I released three albums with.

 

The video for “The Captain of Sorrow” is pretty captivating. Are those your children? What’s the story behind it?

I gave Jesper Isaksen the director pretty free hands, so you’d have to ask him.

[From the director:

The video for “The Captain of Sorrow” is about Hans-Christian himself. He is “The Captain Of Sorrow,” a man on a “ship” that consists of his family, creative drive, music, thoughts, his guitar, song writing and his will to survive in a very hard and competitive music business.

However, we didn’t have a ship, so I chose to concentrate my idea around his family, also to make the video as personal as possible and thankfully his wife and kids were up to the task. Christian is steering his ship with his family on board and is actually just trying to navigate the sea as life rumbles on, but sometimes you can’t do anything about it, you just have to go with the flow, the wind, the tide and the current where ever it takes you.

That’s why he is sitting still in a chair with his family swirling around him, steady as a rock or maybe with a feeling of resignation or perhaps like a Buddhist monk, you don’t quite know – only The Captain Of Sorrow knows.]

Do you have any plans to make more videos for the release?

Yes.

What artists are you listening to these days? Any Danish faves we should know about?

Highly Suspect. I love them. Especially their latest material; great simple lyrics with a genius twist that catches the ear. The opening sentence: “You think you know me, I wish I did too,” from the song “Wolf” is a good example.

I recently boarded The War on Drugs, which I still haven’t unboarded.

Of Danish things, I just listened to the band Catch The Breeze’s new single “Paper Lanterns,” which I find brilliant. I visited IAMFires Bandcamp profile last month and keep visiting their page, when I need to rock hard. I also went to see their show.

I saw Turboweekend live this last summer which was a very good experience too.

What’s next for The Captain of Sorrow? Perhaps a visit to the United States?

We would love to tour The States. We have to get a nice tour together.

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