Scandinavian multi-disciplinary artists Jonas Rönnberg and Christian Stadsgaard have joined Avian as The Empire Line for the Syndicat de la Couture EP .
AVN028 marks the duo’s debut on Guy Brewer's label, and their first appearance under the alias outside of Posh Isolation, the Copenhagen-based imprint run by Loke Rahbek and Stadsgaard himself, where they featured as part of the Devonian Gardens tape earlier in the year.
The two producers have long since been developing a rich, three dimensional space for their work—through both collaborative projects and as individuals.
Best known for his music under the Varg alias, and as one half of the Northern Electronics label alongside Abdullah Rashim, Rönnberg has explored washed out minimal synth variants as Född Död, as well as stripped back loop-techno and drone compositions under the Ulwhednar moniker. Stadsgaard runs his Noise project Damien Dubrovnik alongside Rahbek—who joins Rönnberg as part of experimental synth outfit Body Sculptures, a five-piece project featuring Puce Mary and Erik Enocksson—as well as Vit Fana, who contributes vocals on AVN028 opener "Fragrance Arpège."
Recorded at Mayhem, Copenhagen’s experimental performance and rehearsal venue, the EP sets a pair of heady noise recordings against more streamlined club fare—though both approaches maintain the same visceral, cinematic quality, with caustic drones pitching and bending in and amongst warped sequences or more rhythmic drum machine elements.
The project takes its name from Cristóbal Balenciaga’s Empire line, a collection presented by the Spanish designer in the late '50s featuring a womenswear silhouette that remains widely regarded as his finest contribution to the world of fashion. It’s this pinpoint nomenclature that moves the work above and beyond the basement, and up into a more luxurious, crystalline environment.
Ahead of the EP's January 23 release, "Cafe Anglais" is exclusively streamable in full below alongside a Q&A with the pair.
01. Fragrance Arpege
02. Cafe Anglais
03. Jewelry Armoire
04. Syndicat de la Couture
Syndicat de la Couture is the first release by The Empire Line. Can you tell us how the collaboration began?
We met a few years back at different venues around Europe and found out we had similar interests. It’s not often you meet people who in one conversation can talk about their favorite GG Allin recordings, their preferences in champagne, Japanese sex culture, the latest Givenchy collection, what Masonna records are the most refined, and what pizza is the best for hangovers. So, of course we had to start a band.
Back in September you played a Berghain showcase for Shifted’s Avian imprint, and the label is now releasing your debut EP. How did the connection happen?
We’ve both known Guy for years, and since he wants to do something different on Avian, we played the tracks for him. We guess that is why he asked us to do Berghain too—to do something slightly different than what you would expect.
The titles as well as the project name (being lifted from a 1959 collection by Spanish designer Balenciaga) reference fashion and luxury culture. Can you fill us in about the meaning behind the imagery?
Each of our EP’s will have different themes that are within our interest. Since The Empire Line is a reference to fashion history, obviously the first EP had to have the same references. But the next EPs will be about totally different aspects of life.
What does the future look like for The Empire Line?
Lots of hits, lots of bangers, lots of naked people, lots of mayhem on the dance floor.