Jonas Bjerre, Bo Madsen, Johan Wohlert and Silas Graae are Mew - a band who express an impending sense of doom across a sea of intricate melodies. Brought together while making a film on the destruction of nature their love of cinema still shines through on their live shows which feature Jonas' synchronized projections. Designer Magazine caught up with Jonas (Vocals) and Bo (Guitar) as the band supported OkGo on their UK Tour.
Q: As this is the first time we've spoken to you guys,
i'd just like to give our readers a little background from where you're
coming from. I believe you formed in Art School, how exactly did Mew come
Jonas: Actually that's a misconception. We get that a lot, but we were actually just in school. We did a film together, we had a week where we had to do something artistic and I had a video camera so we did this film and we did a soundtrack to the film. So we started playing together in 7th Grade and after I finished school I worked in post production, but it wasn't film school.
Q: Denmark isn't known for it's musical heritage, but
this year there seems to be a great wealth of talent heading over to the
UK. Have you noticed a significant change when you go back home?
Bo: The scene in Denmark is pretty good. For the first time ever we have more than one band that is doing something outside of Denmark - Junior Senior, The Raveonettes and us - it's like the indie scene of Denmark has suddenly exploded. For years the major companies never wanted to invest in music and not wanting to believe in music but now it's really good.
In the old days we had to exaggerate how big we were back home, but now were actually quite big. We get played on the biggest and most popular radio stations and our song "Am I Wry? No", that's the most fucked up song you'll ever hear on those stations. We want to push the limits of what you can play on a normal pop station and in places like Japan, Norway and Denmark that is what's happening right now.
I'd be glad if we became a band that size of the Afghan
Whigs, but we've always ambitions of becoming bigger and bigger. At the
same time all the bands we really enjoyed were semi-big bands. You'd be
surprised that if you looked at a band like Sonic Youth - I don't think
they ever sold more than 200,000 copies of one record. I don't know how
much the Pixies sold, but I can imagine they sold 200,000 of any record...and
we've sold 100,000 copies of this one and it's like woah!!!
Q: To this day you still mix up your background in
post production with the bands live shows. Is it important to capture this
Jonas: We always say that music is good if it can be like a film as a progression and sometimes it ends up a different way that it starts out. I think we use the films to emphasize the song and the emotions and the stories in the songs. It makes for a more direct emotional experience.
It's cool to bring what we do to a pub, because people
don't expect anything like it. Our live shows are something they'd expect
if it was in a big canopy or something.
Q: In terms of the Mew sound it is quite cinematic
and epic, but at the same time it's never bombastic and overwrought. Is
that what you aimed for?
Bo: You need to have a lot of stuff happening to keep people interested enough to listen to a record 200 times, if you go out an buy record you'd at least want to listen to it as many times as that. My favourite records i've listened to over 500 times. But at the same try we try to make something that is accessible the first time so you can scratch the surface and like it, but you can also keep going and all these parts are there. It's the balance that it interesting to find, between the really easy end and the really complicated - it's not difficult to make a really complicated song but to make a really complicated pop song takes something more.
Were writing at the moment, but the problem is we'd usually spend 3 years making a record. It's kind of a problem if you want to get the album out a year after the first one, but it's forcing us to work. More than half of a record is talking about it and getting ideas about the structure of it and the way instruments can act out different parts.
The album "Frengers" is out now through Sony
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