This column last checked in with Portland's busiest violinist and jack-of-all-strings Peter Broderick in July of last year, as he was preparing to take a break from his numerous local music projects—including Horse Feathers and Loch Lomond—to move to Denmark on a trial basis. In an instance of serendipity that most musicians only dream about, he had been contacted by one of his favorite bands, Danish post-rock ensemble Efterklang, who, upon discovering his music on MySpace, asked him to move to Europe and join the group. Shortly before leaving for foreign shores, Broderick finished up work on a solo album of lush indie chamber music entitled Float, which came out earlier this month. On the occasion of its release, Broderick took some time to compare his dual life as a working musician in Copenhagen and Portland.
Do you have a day job in Denmark? How feasible is it for a musician to make a living through music there?
Nope, no day job at the moment. Efterklang pay me very well. And I've made some money playing solo shows and selling merchandise as well, and doing some film score projects. I don't think there are as many bands in Denmark as there are in the States, and because of that I think it's easier for musicians to make a living. And the awesome thing is that the government supports the arts over there. You can apply for grants and things if you play music, and most people can get support. If it weren't for that, I'm pretty sure the band wouldn't be able to pay me what they do, and we definitely wouldn't have been able to make it over to the US for touring.
How is the whole musical ecosystem in Denmark—audiences, bookers, promoters, etc.—different from what you've known in the United States?
I have found Europe in general to be way more artist friendly. Bookers, promoters, venues... and I'm especially realizing that, now that we're in the US touring. It's way more common over there to be fed well, put up in a decent hotel, to have the show promoted properly, etc. Maybe this has to do with venues over there also getting support, I don't know. But it's a different thing entirely from touring the US.
How easy has it been to suddenly join and situate yourself in an already existing and established band, let alone one of your all-time favorites, whose native language you didn't speak?
Well, the language thing is weird. I still don't speak Danish. I can understand the most important things now, and I understand more and more every day. I think it's really cool though. Language is such a bizarre thing... And it's awesome touring around Europe, where sometimes you're in a place with a new language and new currency every day.
So here's the million-dollar question: When are you returning to Portland? Or have those wily Scandinavians stolen you from us for good?
I'm not sure. Things are kind of up in the air at the moment. Try checking back in with me when it gets closer to October, which is when my work permit runs out.