Prins Nitram

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 July, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 July, 2010, 12:00am

Rockschool, Sat, 9pm

One-man bands are usually associated with street-corner buskers, circuses and pantomimes. Not so for upcoming rocker Prins Nitram.

While the Danish star will play all the instruments in his songs at his debut Hong Kong show this weekend, don't expect him to turn up with a bass-drum on his back and cymbals on his knees: Scandinavia's self-appointed rock royalty has taken the art of solo-band-smithery into the 21st century.

Nitram (right) performs his brand of electro-rock with a video band comprising multiple clones of himself. On stage he'll take lead vocals and anything from drums to keytar, while pre-recorded images of his alter egos play every other instrument behind him on a giant screen.

'The idea came from recording my album with lots of artists who were not able to join me on tour. I couldn't play all instruments on stage, so I went for the next best thing,' Nitram says by phone from his home country, moments before taking the stage at the Roskilde Festival, one of Europe's biggest annual rock events.

Nitram, real name Martin Dahl, weds a flamboyant stage presence - on his last tour he wore a gold lame suit and sported a bushy moustache in a pastiche of a Vegas lounge star - to his hi-tech projections. His music, which rocks hard with an electro backing beat, is described by Nitram as 'doo-wop crunk', a strange moniker but one that perfectly describes the jaunty tracks on his debut album Bomty Bomty!.

'The toughest part of any show is pre-recording the accompanying videos,' he says. 'They are really difficult. You have to record the songs and the images that will be played ... It has to be right, or it can all fall out of sequence.'

Even with the best video production, Nitram occasionally misses a beat, and without a live band to cover the error, it's down to him to find a spontaneous way to catch up with the tightly choreographed visuals and sound.

'Actually, I quite like those moments - they're a real test. The audiences seem to like them too,' he says. 'I've actually built a few into the videos to make room for some improvisation.'

Nitram will be playing Hong Kong's popular Underground gig series, which has brought upcoming bands to prominence. He arrives after playing at the Danish pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo. 'The expo is not the usual sort of gig I'd play - businessmen and the general public don't really make up my audience,' he says. 'But ... I've found, from years of busking in the streets, that some of the best things happen when you don't expect them.'

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