Simon: First Lektion was strictly a mixtape recorded live on four turntables with three people playing and it consisted mostly of hip-hop related beats with overlays of folk, rock and other genres of music.
Martin: Basically, instrumentals and a cappellas. It was a mash-up mixtape. We did it live on turntables and that was a cool part of the process. As for Lektion 2, we went broader than just hip-hop. In Denmark, this album is still referred to as a hip-hop release, but actually, I think there are only six or seven minutes of rap on it. It’s primarily an electronic release I would say. Lots of beats are from electronic artists.
Simon: We also brought in world music elements. We started buying Bollywood albums, Turkish rock albums, etc. and I think that was the biggest change. We did not want to sound like a producer chopping up samples, we wanted it to sound more like a band consisting of people from all over the world. So we put lots of small sound pieces together that made the album much more detailed.
Martin: But it was still a mixtape. I actually think that the change between Lektion 1 and 2, and 2 and 3, is equally big. Some people hated Lektion 2 because they thought it was not hip-hop enough, but for us, it was a huge breakthrough. We started playing at big Danish festivals and were pretty successful. But then, one day, we received a letter from IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) saying that we'd be sued if we did not stop what we were doing. So our website went black for two years. It was really bizarre. We kept underground, but in the end, it turned out well for us.
Prior to the shutdown, Lektion 1 and 2 were free to download and they spread over the Internet really fast. We did not give any interviews, we just wanted people to talk about our mixtapes with their friends and families instead of reading about them in the magazines. So people felt they were part of the movement. I guess that is why Den Sorte Skole got so big in Denmark. Then, we decided to produce the third Lektion with samples from vinyl records from all over the world. We wanted to make a fully sample-based album with samples from the 1980s and before, covering lots of different cultures, genres, and countries. The rise of the Internet gave us the possibility to research, collect and get records from everywhere.
The third Lektion has many parts without beats and is a mix of different kinds of music. We worked on it for two and a half years, as we had to learn how to produce from samples and move out of DJing. Every time we had something that sounded like it belonged to a certain genre, we would throw it away. But every time we had something that could not be placed in time and genre, we thought it should go to the album. Another important difference is that the third Lektion was made for listening at home, while the other two were supposed to be played in front of standing audiences. This was a big change in our sound.
Simon: At that time, a lot of music was considered successful if it was for a party, but we wanted to do the exact opposite.
Martin: We just wanted to be old and boring (laugh).