Efterklang's post-rock experiments were first heard in December 2000, when childhood friends Casper Clausen (vocals), Mads Brauer (computer), and Rasmus Stolberg (guitar) -- all three having recently moved to Copenhagen from the tiny Danish island of Als -- joined musical forces with pianist Rune Mølgaard (piano) and drummer/trumpeter Thomas Husmer. From the start, the bandmembers took a D.I.Y. approach to their music, handling all aspects of songwriting, recording, and production in their Copenhagen practice space. The self-released Springer EP was issued in 2003 on the band's own Rumraket label, with 500 copies packaged in fake fur. That same year, video artist Karim Ghahwagi joined the ensemble and began pairing Efterklang's music with integrated video collages.
Now attracting attention from record labels, the band signed with Yorkshire's The Leaf Label and issued Tripper in 2004; the orchestral album soon became the fastest-selling debut in The Leaf Label's history. Efterklang's popularity soared in Denmark, with "Under Giant Trees" debuting at number one on the country's singles chart. Several smaller releases followed -- the reissued version of Springer, One-Sided LP on Philadelphia's Burnt Toast Vinyl, the five-song Under Giant Trees -- and Efterklang released their third full-length, Parades, in October 2007. The group toured extensively for the next two years, and the hard work ethic paid off with an invitation to join the roster of 4AD in September of 2009, alongside the National, TV on the Radio, and Deerhunter. Even so, the band remained loyal to its first indie label, and the following month The Leaf Label released Performing Parades, a live CD and DVD of Efterklang performing Parades in its entirety with the Danish National Chamber Orchestra in Copenhagen.
For 2010's Magic Chairs, Efterklang’s 4AD debut, Clausen, Brauer, Stolberg, and Husmer attempted a more traditional rock sound by recording the basic tracks live as a four-piece before adding their customary lush arrangements. In August of 2011 the band traveled to the Arctic island of Spitsbergen, an abandoned Russian settlement near the North Pole. In Spitsbergen they spent time in the abandoned village of Piramida recording sounds in and around the decaying remnants of the town's leftover industrial remnants, including huge silos acting as reverb tanks and the world's northernmost piano. This audio expedition provided an array of unique sonic textures as well as the inspiration for 2012's isolated and shimmering full-length Piramida. ~ Andrew Leahey, Rovi