From the hippie neighborhood of Christiania to the small bars in the city center via the best hot dog spots in town, explore Copenhagen with DIY musician Younolovebunny, who has made the Danish capital his adopted home.
Danish musician Younolovebunny, whose real name is Claus Frøhlich, is an amazingly resourceful artist who thinks the most important thing about making music is spontaneity. He doesn’t believe in demos as we know them; a demo is a track. That’s how, in just a few years, Younolovebunny has managed to gather hundreds of tracks on his Bandcamp page. Beneath the dusty cassette sounds, you can make out melodies that tug at the heartstrings, as well as some brutal riffs and battered drum machines – and it’s always no-nonsense. Think Nirvana, Daniel Johnston, Sonic Youth and Beat Happening. To get into the swing of things, we recommend his fantastic album Happy Nation II, released by French label Almost Musique in 2013. Claus kindly agreed to take us on our very own tour of Copenhagen, which he describes as an almost perfect city.
What were your first impressions of the city when you arrived?
I was scared… I grew up in the countryside and everything about big cities scared me. Today I love Copenhagen.
What’s the first place you bring people to if they don’t know the city?
Maybe Galathea Kroen, the bar for adventurers. From there, you can plan your very own adventure!
What do you think is the most exotic district, street, etc.?
The most exotic district is probably Christiania, a place for weirdoes and free spirits but also a really beautiful place. Try out a crazy bar called Woodstock if you are a lost soul, or Nemo Land if you need new weird friends. But beware of drugs and gang fights. Take a walk around the lake and discover strange houses. You should also go to Loppen, the best concert venue in Copenhagen. The atmosphere is friendly and the bands and crowd are often great. I’ve seen so many brilliant performances there, by bands including Apples in Stereo, Scout Niblett, Michael Gira, Meat Puppets, etc. It’s also a good place to discover new music.
Which districts do you never go to?
I try to stay away from the commercial areas as much as possible. Take a look around and discover the rest of the city! And we have great fast food in Denmark. Try a hotdog near the Rundetårn or a local falafel or shawarma.
What’s the best season of the year here?
I think if you’re a traveler you’re likely to prefer May to August – summer, basically. Go to Amager Strandpark; from the beach you can catch a glimpse of the highest building in Scandinavia, the Turning Torso in Malmö, Sweden, which is 190 meters tall. Yay! Also, Amager Fælled is a really beautiful place if you want something quieter and beautiful with fewer people. But beware of mosquitoes in the evening! Bring a tent and a barbeque, and maybe a boat.
What are your favorite spots for chilling?
Take the S-train C service to Klampenborg forest outside Copenhagen. It is an old forest with a lot of deer and gigantic old trees. Bring supplies! If you want to do something nearby, you should check if there are any horse races at Klampenborg Galopbane racing track. It’s a lot of fun! I won seven Danish krones last time I was there, i.e. absolutely nothing! You can bring your own food but not drinks.
Where do you go if you want to do something with friends in the city?
You should head to Huset i Magstræde, where they have a great café with board games. In the same building there is also a small cinema that screens interesting movies, and a great but tiny concert venue.
Near the city center you can find the Botanical Garden (Botanisk Have), which is open in the daytime and is a beautiful place with a large collection of plants and palm trees from around the world in an old glasshouse built by the founder of Carlsberg beer, JP Jacobsen. Make sure to bring a couple of Carlsberg beers along!
If you are a huge Carlsberg fan, you should also take a look at the Glyptoteket museum, built by Carl Jacobsen, son of JP Jacobsen. It features a great collection of ancient art and Danish art from the 19th century. If you prefer modern art, head to the Statens Museum for Kunst (the National Gallery of Denmark).
And if you’re now obsessed with the posh Danish lifestyle, go to Rosenborg Castle, near the Botanisk Have. Once upon a time, we had an insane king called Christian IV of Denmark, who had an eyepatch and spent the national treasure on insane buildings and weird artifacts and gold gadgets. If you want to discover the oldest kingdom in the world, this is the place to be.
What’s the funniest urban legend?
An artist/crazy soul cut off the head of the Little Mermaid statue by artist Edvard Eriksen – you can see it at Langelinie. To this day, no one knows who did it. The head is now back on the body. Take a look at the statue for yourself and try to understand why anyone would do such a thing… If you go there you can buy your own mini figurine of the Little Mermaid and try to cut off her head yourself. Once there, you can also visit the Royal Palace and take a selfie in front of the royal guards.
Tell us about a special event in Copenhagen.
We are very proud of our democracy in Denmark and have a special way of showing it. On certain days, you can visit the City Hall of Copenhagen and take a guided tour of the building. At the end of the tour, you will be served the famous City Hall pancake – we make the best pancakes in Denmark.
What’s the work of art (book, movie, painting, etc.) that best describes your city?
I think Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne has a beautiful description of Copenhagen, even though it is only a tiny part of the book. Jules Verne describes how Professor Lidenbrock and his nephew Axel climb the spire of the Church of Our Saviour at Christianshavn and look down while they prepare to go to the depths of the Icelandic volcano Snæfellsjökull.
Also, watch the old Olsen Banden movies with subtitles (The Olsen Gang) to get a glimpse of Danish humor, cultural traditions, and Copenhagen in the 1970s. Olsen Banden is a gang of three petty thieves who want to become millionaires. The movies were so popular in Denmark that the production company made 14 of them. Interestingly, the movies had a special appeal for many of the old Soviet countries.
What makes you most proud of living here?
Copenhagen is a nice place to live! Most things here make sense and there is something for everyone. The city is very old and you can discover history everywhere. Go to Assistens Cemetery to find the graves of some of the most famous Danish people, including Hans Christian Andersen, Soren Kierkegaard and Niels Bohr. In the summertime, people head to the graveyard to read books and meet friends – I guess it’s an unusual thing to do in a cemetery. Most citizens in Copenhagen are really kind and helpful.
What makes you ashamed of living here?
If you became mayor, what would be your first decision?
I have absolutely no idea… Free smiley T-shirts for everyone!
Are there any up-and-coming artists (bands, painters, etc.) you would like to introduce us to?
We have long history of great painters and artists in Denmark. If you need advice, head to the Sound Station record store at Gammelkongevej 94 – they know everything. Once, Thurston Moore performed at the store.
We have so many great bands here: Sockpuppets, Sfo.Ma.To, Hook Jaw, The Glow Cats, The Pedestrians Pets, Drunken Butterfly, Tail & Feathers, De Agtige, Hvasseline, Dungarees and Dragons, Nasa Dude, Frederik Teige, Jacob Faurholt, Orphans, Crystal Shipsss, Grøn, Goodiepal, Tex Fuller, Several Things, Green Temples, Alger Hiss, Anders Thode, DoubleStone, Late Night Venture, I Am Bones, New Artless Creatures, Tears, Dorks, Cliff Waters, 209, The Welfare, Roadside Puppies, Øjerum.
Photo: Courtesy of Younolovebunny