The Harmony of Contrast

featuring Frederik Thybo - Violinist

The blending of a violin with electronica might seem like an unlikely combination for ECCO's new brand campaign film, 'Perpetual Natural Motion'. But for Frederik Thybo, a Danish violinist who appears in the film, and who can make his violin sound like an electric guitar, it is just another unexpected delight in his relation-ship with his bow and strings.

You wouldn't be alone in thinking of the violin as a deeply traditional instrument that plays beautiful, classical pieces of music. But, if you care to experiment with its sound, you will hear it is capable of so much more than that. Perhaps more than any other instrument, the violin can take you by surprise — just like it did to Frederik Thybo.

From the beginning, Frederik's relation-ship with the violin has been about pleasant surprises — he was just four years old, and on a family holiday in Prague, when his parents happened to pass a music shop, spotting a mini, child's version of the instrument in the window. They thought he might enjoy playing it, and they were right: Frederik has hardly put his bow down since. "I like how you can play the most emotional, beautiful piece on a violin, and you can also force sounds out of it that are less obvious and actually not that pretty, but in the right context it is interesting to work with the sounds that are almost indefinable and not noticeably being played by a violin. It creates a new, interesting layer to the music," says Frederik, a Danish violinist who likes to innovate, challenging others to change their perceptions of the instrument. "The range of sounds you can make with a violin is extremely diverse, and that’s without using any effects. I love both the beauty of the more organic sounds and also the more edgy, almost ugly, sounds."

Perhaps more than any other instrument,
the violin can take you by surprise...

For an example of how the violin can be used in a more contemporary way, listen to Frederik's band, Cody, who describe their sound as "folk-inspired pop melodies with hints of post-rock and Nordic gloom." Traditional instruments, such as the violin, are combined with electronic instruments, including synthesisers, "which takes the sound somewhere else," he says. "The focus is always on making a song interesting, and not just for the audience to listen to, but also for us in the band to play."

Another example is ECCO's new brand campaign film, 'Perpetual Natural Motion', with a score from Danish composer Martin Dirkov that mixes the violin with electronica, symbolising how the hybridization of two contrasting elements can produce extraordinary results. A rich, expressive, and dynamic example, the score captures the ethos of ECCO. "Martin's score was unique and very beautiful," says Frederik, who is an old friend of the composer, and who stepped-in to represent the character of a violinist in the film: "I must say the film is extremely beautiful and powerful, helped by a score that mixes the organic and the electronic."

Watching the film back, Frederik is taken by how the film explores ECCO's connection with nature. "I'm also inspired by nature," says Frederik, who has played for leading recording artists. "I live in Copenhagen so when I get out of the city and into the countryside, you get this feeling that only nature can give you. You're in awe of the grandiosity of nature, and at the same time you feel a real calmness."