There's one thing that Mette Lindberg — the blonde bombshell who fronts Copenhagen combo the Asteroids Galaxy Tour — would like to make clear: There's always a method to her madness. Take her band's unusual moniker, for instance. "We like that it sounds more like a journey or a trip or even a movie than a typical band name," she explains. "We like it to be going in all directions, so you can ascribe to it what you want and everything is possible. It's romantic, dangerous, strange."
Like their name, the music that Lindberg and core bandmember/producer Lars Iversen conjure up is also all over the map. That diversity is evident on the group's sophomore set, Out of Frequency, which was released this week on the indie B.A.R. Music label. Among its disparate tracks are the synth-bubbly "Heart Attack," the sinister horn-charted "Cloak & Dagger," and the Talking Heads-whimsical "Suburban Space Invader."
Meanwhile, the band's personal musical tastes run even further afield, from funk and Motown/Stax/Volt soul to Miles Davis, Billie Holiday, The Supremes, and even Lou Reed and David Bowie. "Plus we like spy movies and TV series like The Wire," says the singer, whose chirpy '60s-mod style is reminiscent of "Locomotion"-era Little Eva. "And we like to mix all that, then put a psychedelic big-band sound to it."
That may all sound a bit convoluted, but the end result is anything but. One listen to Frequency — or its peppy 2009 predecessor Fruit — and the group's infectious sound strikes home instantly. Which is why Apple execs pounced on the group's early single "Around the Bend" for an iPod Touch commercial.
How did they discover the track? Lindberg sighs. "Do you want me to come up with a really fancy story? Or should I just have a boring one? The truth is the boring one — we had some people working for us, getting our music into TV shows, movies and commercials, and they called us and said, 'Hey — we played this for the people at Apple, and they might want to use that song.'"
The Danes doubted it would happen, at first. "Then one night our manager called and said 'Oh, by the way — your iPod commercial is running, starting tomorrow.'" Lindberg laughs. "I was in a bar when I got the message, so I bought everyone in the bar a round."
A year later, the advertising world smiled again on the Asteroids Galaxy Tour. Heineken was launching a series of exotic party-set commercials, and enlisted the band to perform its sing-songy "The Golden Age." Filmed on location in a spooky Barcelona castle, the 90-second clip — called "The Entrance" — follows a dinner-jacketed hipster as he makes his way through a swinging soirée, eventually joining AGT on stage.
Lindberg didn't hire some snazzy stylist, either. "I'm wearing a black sequined glitter dress in the commercial, and it's a street brand from Copenhagen called Rude," she says. "I style myself, my hair and my makeup — I wear what I like."
And while corporate sponsorship may not be fashionable among some musicians, Lindberg dismisses such criticisms. "That kind of thinking is soooo last season," she sniffs. "We don't have a major label, we do everything ourselves. So you need to grab what's there to promote yourself — that's the new thing."