On 21 February 2018 ‘The Secret Plan of Ria Timkin’ celebrated its 2-year anniversary! I’d like to celebrate this amazing milestone by launching something new on the blog. On top of my own stories about my musical adventures, I’ll be posting interviews with my featured guests from different musical backgrounds that will help you find out even more about the behind-the-scenes of the music world. Whether you’re a musician yourself or you just enjoy reading about the music world, whether you know who the guest is or you’ve heard about them for the first time, I’m sure you’ll find a lot of useful and interesting things from these chats. Today we get a wonderful opportunity to talk to Dinner about his creative journey from a band member of a famous Danish band to a solo synth-pop artist with one of the most bewildering and inspiring live performances I’ve ever seen.

Dinner (Anders Rhedin) is a Danish producer and singer-songwriter residing in L.A. Until 2008 he was a member of a famous Danish band called Choir of Young Believers, whose song, ‘Hollow Talk’,  you might know from the opening credits of the Scandinavian crime television series called ‘The Bridge’ (‘Bron/Broen’). He then decided to start his own new project and make “gritty yet glamorous synth pop”. Starting from 2012 Dinner created a series of EPs that later on helped him secure a record deal with Captured Tracks and an opening slot on Mac DeMarco’s tour. So far, Dinner released 2 amazing albums: ‘Psychic Lovers’, a fun 80’s inspired synth-pop album, and ‘New Work’, which leans more towards the indie pop side. I seriously recommend checking out both! He also has 2 guided meditation tapes called ‘Dream Journey’ and ‘Dream Journey II’ if you’re up for some tuning into your consciousness.

I first met Dinner a couple of months ago after his show at the Crofters Right in Bristol. I was absolutely mesmerised by his stage presence, which was as puzzling, as it was engaging and extremely inspiring. As well as being really talented, Dinner also turned out to be incredibly kind, really wise and eager to share his musical experience with me. So I asked him to become my first featured guest on the blog and he kindly accepted. We chatted about the challenges that aspiring artists face and the feeling of being limited creatively. Dinner also told me what actions one should take to progress a music career and gave a few stage presence tips. Let’s jump right into the interview!

Photo by  Metter Hersoug

The music industry can be tough. Was there ever a time when you thought that no matter what you were doing, things just weren’t working for you? What did you do to overcome this challenge, break out of the negative thinking circle and make some progress?

I have always experienced a lot of self-doubt. I see the same in many other musicians – whether they are perceived to be successful by others or whether they aren’t. I think negative thinking is natural, constant, and won’t go away no matter how ‘successful’ you become. For me, the first step in managing my inner criticism is the awareness that is there. And then acceptance. Real, radical acceptance. Which can be very hard. And then maybe some form of action. Maybe I’ll honestly share my fears with someone I trust completely. Maybe I’ll do a ritual of some sort. Maybe I’ll do a dialogue on a piece of paper where I curiously engage this critical or fearful voice. Maybe I’ll ask it what it needs from me. I’ll try to respect it as an equal, as a living creature with needs and requests. And when I listen to those needs, this voice often feels heard and understood. Then it relaxes more. But there are so many techniques and methods. Whatever works. Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” was a good place to start, for me.

Could you tell us about the point in your career when you started feeling like things finally began to move forward for you? What events and actions have lead to that point?

When I got signed to Captured Tracks – that was a point in time where I felt like the wind was in my back, so to speak. The funny thing is that I didn’t do anything. They wrote to me out of the blue. At that time I had actually decided to stop playing music for good. I had mentally detached from achieving anything, in terms of worldly ‘success’, with music. I was looking for another path at the time, unrelated to music. Then I got an email from Captured Tracks out of nowhere. Leading up to that moment, of course, was almost 15 years of working with music (with way more perceived ‘failures’ than ‘successes’ under my belt). I guess perseverance could be listed as a form of action that led up to this point. And detachment.

Photo by  Metter Hersoug

What advice would you give to the artists like me who are trying to kick-start their careers? Should we be doing something special to break through?

For me, it was somewhat unhelpful to try and “crack the code” as to what other people had done in terms of arriving where they were (which is something I regret to say I’ve done a lot in the past). Someone recommended me to analyze my own success and failures in life instead, to see if I could find any patterns there. I don’t think other people’s ‘success principles’ would necessarily apply to anyone else than that person anyways. So it makes sense to me to understand my own private success/failure patterns. For instance, all my failures always have had to do with me attaching myself to the result, rather than staying grounded in the process and in myself.

You used to work with Choir of Young Believers and then decided to become a solo artist of a totally different genre. Have you always known what kind of artist you would really like to be and what kind of music you want to do?

I always wanted to do Dinner but it took me almost 20 years from when I started playing music till I felt ready. Dinner is the most personal expression I’ve ever had.

Was there ever a time when you felt like something held you back from doing the music you wanted to do? How did you cope with the feeling of being limited creatively and got back on track?

I feel that all the time. Money or time could be factors that hold me back – or at least, so I sometimes believe. Or maybe I can feel frustrated because I don’t think I get the opportunities handed to me that I feel I deserve! The best thing for me to do in these situations is to get back to being intimate with myself, the present moment, the songs. And just detach from my idea of how reality “ought to look like”. Again, a wide variety of spiritual techniques exist in order to detach.

Has it been a deliberate decision to keep being a self-managed artist despite having the support of a record label?  

No. I’ve had no luck in finding a manager. Managing a small band like Dinner is a lot of work for pretty much no money.

You supported Mac DeMarco on his 2015 tour. Could you tell us how you managed to put it together?

The first time I came across Mac’s music was on some blog, just when he’d put out his first EP, I think. It moved me so much that I wrote him an email via his Bandcamp (or something like that) telling him how beautiful this song was. To my surprise, he wrote back to me 15 minutes later. We didn’t stay in touch or anything like that. I often write to people if I come across their music and like it. Sometimes people write back, sometimes they don’t. But I don’t write to people to have them write back to me, I write to them to give them praise because, energetically, it feels good to acknowledge love for someone else’s work. 2 years later right after I got signed to Captured Tracks, I saw Mac was playing in LA, where I live. So I asked if I could open for him. Mac and the guys liked the show and invited me to play some West Coast shows with them, and later an EU tour. I don’t think he remembered that email – I never asked.

When I attended your show, I was stunned by how engaging and interactive you were with your audience and how responsive the audience was to what you were doing on stage. Could you give advice to other artists who are working on their performance skills and want to interact with the crowd more?

Analyze your favourite performers and their movements and techniques. Film yourself and watch it. Try and understand why they look better than you on stage. Repeat the process until you’re satisfied. This might take a few months of daily practice. And a handful of shows. But then chances are that you’ll be amazing.

How do you manage to get people with really different comfort zones in a similar mindset of freeing their thoughts and just enjoying themselves during your shows? Was it a process of trial and error or it’s the skill you naturally possess?

Both. It took some time to perfect. But the general vibe was there from the beginning, more or less.

Why out of so many stage names you could have chosen, you’ve decided to become Dinner?

I thought it sounded cool, I guess. If I put out music again under another name I’ll use my own.

Details are important! And it looks like no one would know it better than Dinner, whose well-thought-out music and live performances leave the crowd totally mesmerised and perplexed at the same time. He gave me a lot of useful tips and shared some real wisdom during our chat. How great that now I have a way of passing it all onto you!

Connect with Dinner: TwitterInstagram and Facebook.