The Copenhagen scene: Post-Punk and Darkwave with Kasper Deichmann (St. Digue, Motorsav, Hævner, ex- Sunken)
We interviewed Kasper Deichmann, (St. Digue, Hævner Motorsav). This interview is part of a series on KTOWN artists, including Sophie Lien Lake (Pleaser, Konvent, LINK) and Salomon Segers (Night Fever, our interview at this LINK). – Italian versione here
We’re almost at the end of the K-Town 2023 festival, three days of hardcore and punk at Copenhagen’s Ungdomshuset. There are a few performances left, and Kasper takes the stage with Hævner. Eyeliner, makeup, and a short open vest that reveals tattoos on his chest. The drummer begin beating fast, Kasper’s guitar screams, but what stands out is Kasper’s delicacy and sensuality on stage. Composed and reflective, almost insecure and fragile. Nothing like what we’ve seen so far. In just a few minutes, Hævner’s music becomes captivating and resolute, bringing us close to intimate and intense emotions.
Kasper brings his personal and introspective vibe to every project, whether it’s the darkwave of St.Digue or the punk of Motorsav. A portrait of this artist, where he shared his youth, appeared on Devilution.
Once again, we find ourselves at Israel Plats, where Kasper and Sophie join us near the skate park. We crack open a can of Danish Pilsner “Classic”, toast, and we’re ready to begin.
Let’s introduce yourself through your music projects
I currently have three music acts. St.Digue is a solo project that focuses on darkwave and synth-based industrial music. Hævner is my post-punk project, I sing and play guitar. in Motorsav, I play guitar. A few years back, I was part of a black metal band called Sunken.
You dress a black metal t-shirt, what is it?
They are Spectral Wound! Back when I was in Sunken, we played some shows together. Their latest album, “A Diabolic Thirst” is awesome! Among their new songs, “Frigid and Spellbound” is my top headbanger.
How did you first get into metal and punk music?
My father introduced me to Metallica and classic heavy metal. I took it from there discovering music by following the history of metal: I started to listen more and more extreme music. Then I diverged getting into electronic, new-wave and much more …. I even had a hip-hop period! Growing with internet was helpful to find my wave, as it allowed me to independently explore music.
Which of your songs do you feel best represents you?
“Belong here” from St.Dige is the song were I feel I am expressing myself the most. It’s about feeling alienated, longing to fit in somewhere, fighting for it but never quite succeeding. From Hævner, I feel very attached to “Glasbur” (glass cage). It’s about watching others live their lives while feeling unable to engage with life as effortlessly as they do.
(As previously reported, as children Kasper often found himself unable to “fit in” as naturally as other children, note)
You’ve mentioned feeling like an outsider already as a child. How does that relate to your music?
Most of my music stems from a sense of loneliness and finding the strength to overcome it. Expressing these emotions through music is like a catharsis for me. When I’m on stage, I can release my emotional tension and be myself. It’s liberating to let out something I’ve held in for so long.
What’s your musical signature?
My music is melancholic, but also brutally and unapologetically honest.
Your different projects, Motorsav and Hævner, seem to have contrasting approaches. How do you balance them?
While each of my music projects adheres to a central theme, I always strive to do things differently within that outline. I see myself as a chameleon, able to adapt and manifest different facets of my personality in various ways.
Which are the social places for darkwave and post-punk in Copenhagen?
Copenhagen used to have a thriving post-punk and darkwave scene, but I arrived a bit late to the party.
Today I feel more embraced by the punk and metal communities. I also played at Metal Magic with St.Digue, it was a weird act compared to the rest of the line-up. I had to play very early in the afternoon, but that metal audience really connected with my music. When I play my music, I make clear that I come from a background in metal and punk, and people notice and appreciate that.
In Denmark, we play wherever opportunities arise, but there’s a noticeable absence of a dedicated hub for post-punk and darkwave, with the exception of Braincorp and the sporatic events at organized by Totentanz. We’re like lone wanderers, searching for spaces to perform. Some friends and I are trying to change that, looking for new venues or organizing events around Ungdomshuset, but it’s a work in progress.
Interestingly, it’s easier for me to get shows outside Denmark, like in Sweden and Germany. I’ve also been in touch with the Italian band Ash Code, and they’ve been supportive of my St.Digue project.
What motivated you to enter the world of alternative music?
When I started making music, it was about finding a connection with others who understood me and sharing that connection with people like me. My musical journey has shown me how people can relate to me through my music, and I let them be welcome in my space.
Let’s talk about your performance with Hævner at K-TOWN 2023. You played after many hardcore bands, offering a deep emotional post-punk sound. How did it feel?
I knew from the start that K-TOWN was primarily a hardcore festival, so I initially felt out of place. I worried that people might be disappointed since my music was quite different from the rest of the lineup. However, those who stayed for my set really connected with my music. When I saw people having fun and dancing during the performance, I realized that it didn’t matter what people expected; their passion for music was what counted.
I love hardcore, but it’s not something that comes naturally to me. I’m more comfortable expressing my vulnerable and introverted side.
You showed great courage performing your deeply intimate music at K-TOWN. Where did you find the strength to be so genuine on stage?
It was knowing that I was backed by my friends: my bass player Mathias and my drummer Johan. I love them to death and being aware that they were playing with me at that show helped me a lot.
At which concert did you feel the most understood?
Probably when I played as St.Digue at Metal Magic. Even though only a few people in the front row were going wild, I felt a strong energy exchange between the audience and me. When the first person started dancing, I knew I could draw the energy I needed. Every time I was going back watching him during the act, I felt good and in the right place!
Your music has a very sexy edge, when you are on stage you bring a very sexy and seductive look, reminiscent of a Berlin-era David Bowie. How did this develop?
My appearance isn’t just about catching people’s eyes; it’s a natural way for me to express my inner feelings. In a way, I feel associated to my appearance in a deeply personal way.
I started feeling the need for a more seductive look when I was in Sunken. We had strict stage attire rules —black jeans and band t-shirts— which is totally fine, but I definitely felt like I wanted to be more adventurous than that.
Starting new bands allowed me to experiment more and explore an intimately sexy image, breaking away from aesthetic constraints and conformity: it felt deeply liberating.
What does it mean to you to bring this image to the stage?
I express a sexuality into all my projects because it makes me feel more at ease. The more intimate and seductive is my appearance, the more nude and sincere I feel. It’s a way to break down my barriers and liberate myself. Stripping away everything and leaving no excuses allows me to feel free from any defense, and so be as open and sincere as possible.
Sophie, a close friend, shared her thoughts on this: “I was in the audience for St.Digue, and the first time I saw Kasper perform, I could definitely connect. Visualizing the intimate side of his music through his appearance was crucial for establishing that connection. Dealing with questions about your sexuality during your youth is challenging. Finally acknowledging that you can also express sexuality through your music, in front of an audience, is a way improve your acceptance of this personal journey.”
Despite your stage presence, when you play guitar in Hævner or Motorsav, you create a powerful sound. How do these contrasts fit your persona?
Playing with people’s expectations in that way is fun. At least people won’t forget it!
In your music and aesthetic, you took some difficult choices: you joined the flock of black sheep as a white fly, how does this align with your identity?
I’ve always felt anti-anything, even when I was part of it. When I played black metal, I felt like I was anti-black metal. Even at K-TOWN, I didn’t want to conform to the other acts at K-TOWN. In my personal life, I don’t fit the conventional mold of what society expects a man to be. My musical expression reflects this feeling.
Growing up, I felt like I was told too many times that something was wrong with me. Now, I’ve found a way to express who I am and want to be. I enjoy making fun of these people who attempted to hold me back by trying to level me down to conformity during my life.
Sophie added her perspective: “I can relate to the extreme opposite experience. There’s always the expectation for women to fit a certain stereotype: be girly and cute. Being on stage, screaming, and being aggressive is a way to push back against those expectations. It’s like breaking down a wall to be able to be wild and unattractive” Kasper echoed this sentiment, saying, “It’s about going against what society expects from women or men and challenging the stereotypes imposed on you”
Let’s wrap things up. Who are the “New Blood” in the music scene?
Some final impressions
Kasper shared a deeply personal story about how music became a way for him to affirm himself. Embracing our true selves and unique qualities can be challenging, especially when we don’t fit the mold of what’s considered “normal”.
Feeling like a lone wanderer can magnify the fear of rejection, but the strength I witnessed during Kasper’s performance in K-TOWN was truly inspirational. He stood out from the crowd to stay true to his feelings, without compromise.
Observing his performance at K-TOWN 2023 felt like an emotional journey. It was like watching a misfit battling with himself for ten minutes and then confidently unleashing all he felt, as if he had nothing to lose. Once you discover the deep connection Kasper has with his music, it becomes impossible to ignore the depth of the person behind it.
When he mentioned feeling “anti-everything,” I could sense his desire to be accepted without compromising or conforming to the stereotypes of what society would like us to be.
His performance at K-TOWN wasn’t just a misplaced act; it was a lesson of authenticity.