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Single Life: Miike Snow Rekindle Their Love Of Pop On 'iii'

Tuesday, 01 March 2016 Written by Huw Baines

There’s something in the argument that there are no great singles anymore. Like a standalone hour of TV being followed by a week of anticipation, the idea of fishing three minutes of gold from a rack of 45s or the shelves of a suburban Woolworths is an increasingly sepia tinted one.

But they are still out there; songs that have what it takes to shoulder repeat listens and monopolise the pick ‘n’ mix approach fostered by iTunes and streaming services. Released at the turn of the year to help usher in Miike Snow’s third album, ‘iii’, Genghis Khan is one of them. Its video, like its star-crossed protagonists, the supervillain and suave secret agent, helped to bring out the best in an already sparkling pop song.

Sinking slowly into a leather sofa at the west London office of their label, Andrew Wyatt discusses the song in terms of a personal cocktail of post-recording anxiety and self doubt that had to be overcome.

“After I make something I always go through a period where I think it’s shit,” he said. “I think: ‘We need all the help we can to prove that we’re not horrible people who suck.’ Every single thing that comes after the album’s done I want to be like: ‘No, it’s good! It’s good!’

“I’m very cautious about what I put out there and all the ancillary pieces that come after the music itself. They will change the way people see your music, there is no doubt about it. The Genghis Khan video is the perfect example of a video that makes the song more magical. In fact, there’s probably some people who wouldn’t like, or get, the song because, at this time in music, it needed that video to help you understand that the song had something to offer. Not just something, but that the song had something special.”

‘iii’ finds Wyatt back in harness with Christian Karlsson and Pontus Winnberg, with four years separating them from the kaleidoscopic ‘Happy to You’. Here there are closer ties to their pop-heavy debut, but flashes of album two’s grab-bag ambition are hard to miss in its flecks of funk and soul, Heart Is Full’s chop and change sample of Marlena Shaw’s Waiting For Charlie To Come Home and the slurred charms of I Feel The Weight.

“The first album, we thought of Miike Snow as a laboratory,” Wyatt said. “And then it became a band that had a future and a following. It became our lives for a few years there. We did that for two years but then we were kinda sick of that, actually. We went away and did our own things for a couple of years and Miike Snow took on the laboratory feeling again: Why should the three of us be making songs together? What ties us together? We’re very different, in many ways. The thing that ties us together is choruses, hooks.

“My mom always used to say: you can’t stand in the same river twice. There’s no way to fully go back to the first record having done that. You can’t really ever go back and recreate what you did before. It’s going to have remnants of every phase you’ve gone through. You will always be able to hear that in some way.”

Making ‘iii’ also represented a logistical challenge beyond the geographical separation of their bases on the west coast of the US, where you’ll find Wyatt, and Sweden, where you’ll stumble across Karlsson and Winnberg, also known by their production team moniker Bloodshy & Avant. Between records, the trio splinter. Wyatt put out ‘Descender’, his first solo album, in 2013, while Karlsson paired off with Linus Eklöw to release music as Galantis. All three continued to pen hits for other artists. Where Miike Snow fit in this jigsaw wasn’t always clear, but things began to crystallise again during sessions in Stockholm, Los Angeles and New York.

“I’m the only guy without kids so basically I made half the record with Christian and I made half the record with Pontus,” Wyatt said. “It was a different process. The other records we were all three in the room at the same time. This time it was very different. We had maybe talked about not doing it and ceasing to be a band, so there was anxiety getting together. We had to see. It [Miike Snow] came into our lives and changed the course of our lives. It’s always poignant when you’re trying to figure out if something is going to stay or go, whether it be a romantic thing or a band. They were very loaded sessions when we got together. I think that actually helped the music. There was a lot of emotional investment in the songs.”

That emotional investment is something that will have to stick around for some time if Miike Snow’s three members are to keep the fires burning. Spend any amount of time talking about ‘iii’ with Wyatt and the idea of not phoning things in will pop up more than once, tying in with the sentiment that a sense of obligation or necessity is not enough for a band to survive. Right now, Miike Snow are here because they’ve got something to say.

“One of the beautiful things about having been in a band that’s had some success is that instead of it being this automatic thing, bands just have this nature to them,” he said. “They’re like marriages, you know? Because you made it so far doesn’t mean you’re going to keep making it. Every marriage is like that too. You take it a day at a time or six months at a time. If you say you’re going to do something forever, you feel like you’re forced to. We started Miike Snow at a time where we didn’t need to do it. We had other things we could do.

“We ended up being this band. This idea that it is what I’m going to do for the rest of my life, first of all not many people are fortunate enough to do that, second of all even the Rolling Stones, after like 1976, it was kinda a year to year decision to continue to do the band. People don’t need to do it and it has to be a choice. Does it feel right to meet in the studio? Does it feel right to go on tour? If you take it in that way it’s much more magical than if you force yourself. That’s when you see records and the magic’s not there anymore. We do the band because we have something to offer, rather than we have to offer something because we have to be in this band.”

Miike Snow Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Thu March 03 2016 - NEW YORK New York - Le Poisson Rouge - NY (USA)
Fri March 04 2016 - BROOKLYN New York - Warsaw (USA)
Sat March 05 2016 - PHILADELPHIA Pennsylvania - Theatre Of Living Arts (USA)
Wed March 09 2016 - WASHINGTON District Of Columbia - 9:30 Club (USA)
Fri March 11 2016 - ATLANTA Georgia - Buckhead Theatre (USA)
Sat March 12 2016 - NEW ORLEANS Louisiana - Buku Music & Art Project (USA)
Sun March 13 2016 - HOUSTON Texas - House Of Blues - Houston (USA)
Tue March 15 2016 - DALLAS Texas - Granada Theater (USA)
Sat April 09 2016 - VANCOUVER British Columbia - Commodore Ballroom (Canada)
Sun April 10 2016 - SEATTLE Washington - Showbox (USA)
Mon April 11 2016 - PORTLAND Oregon - Roseland Theater (USA)
Wed April 13 2016 - SAN FRANCISCO California - Independent (USA)
Thu April 14 2016 - SAN FRANCISCO California - Independent (USA)
Fri April 15 2016 - LAS VEGAS Nevada - Cosmopolitan Pool (USA)
Sat April 16 2016 - LAS VEGAS Nevada - Boulevard Pool - The Cosmopolitan Of Las Vegas (USA)
Wed April 20 2016 - LOS ANGELES California - Fonda Theatre (USA)
Thu April 21 2016 - PIONEERTOWN California - Pappy and Harriets Pioneertown Palace (USA)
Sat April 23 2016 - ST LOUIS Missouri - Pageant (USA)
Fri May 20 2016 - NASHVILLE Tennessee - Marathon Music Works (USA)
Mon May 23 2016 - ST LOUIS Missouri - Pageant (USA)
Tue May 24 2016 - LOUISVILLE Kentucky - Headliners Music Hall (USA)
Thu May 26 2016 - COLUMBUS Ohio - Newport Music Hall (USA)
Fri May 27 2016 - PITTSBURGH Pennsylvania - Mr. Smalls Recording Studio (USA)
Mon May 30 2016 - MONTREAL Quebec - Metropolis (Canada)
Tue May 31 2016 - TORONTO Ontario - Danforth Music Hall (Canada)
Wed June 01 2016 - TORONTO Ontario - Danforth Music Hall (Canada)
Thu June 02 2016 - DETROIT Michigan - Majestic Theatre (USA)

Click here to compare & buy Miike Snow Tickets at Stereoboard.com.



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