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Miike Snow

Written by Thomas Mitchell on September 23, 2009

If my dad were writing this article, he would joke that the last month has been a total Miike Snowstorm! Luckily for you he is locked away, but he isn’t wrong. One English singer and two Swedish DJ’s have taken the music world by the lapels and slapped it, twice. The infectious tunes of Miike Snow are being heard everywhere so I kicked it with Pontus Winnberg to see what’s up.

Music Feeds: Where is Mr. Winnberg right now?

Pontus Winnberg: I’m in Stockholm, Sweden. We just came back from a small North American run, we did Chicago, Montreal, Toronto and played the Jimmy Kimmel Show in LA, then Lollapalooza.

MF: Nice, so Miike Snow formed in 2007?

PW: Yeah we started recording the album late 2007, but before that we had been talking about it. We met each other in 2003 but not until 2007 did it come together. It has been really good, the album came together pretty organically, there were no special plans; we didn’t search for a sound.

MF: Does your side project work as producers (the Grammy-winning Bloodshy and Avant) carry over at all?

PW: I think as far as having studio experience, but other then that, this is a completely different thing. When we do stuff for other people, Britney or Kylie, it is for other people. It’s like work for hire, but this belongs to us.

MF: What is the writing process like for the three of you?

PW: We usually go back and forth in the studio, very organically. Whoever has an idea throws it down and after a while, sometimes a couple of hours, sometimes a day there is a song. Once it is does it can take a while to wrap. It took us like one year or so, but that was divided into different sessions. A lot of the time we find ourselves just hanging out in cafes in Stockholm, it didn’t really feel like work.

MF: The response has been amazing, I keep hearing things about the album, how has it been for you?

PW: It is good, it is really hard from our perspective to gauge the response, but playing live is a good indicator. To see people know the lyrics is pretty fantastic.

MF: What is the live setup for Miike Snow?

PW: We have three more guys plus us. So one bass player, one drummer and one keyboard/electronics guy. Then Andrew sings and plays guitar, I play guitar, electronics and piano and Christian does electronics and sounds.

We kind of decided not to have any backing tracks, we wanted to create a full-on live experience and it was quite a challenge. We didn’t want to have a false sound, we wanted to keep the doors open for development, and I think we’ve found a way we really like.

MF: Is the live show different to the album, in terms of vibe and sound?

PW: I think that the live sound is rawer, and it has a broader appeal. It is more energetic and has that danger aspect where something can go wrong at any time and we have no backing track to lean back on, so that brings the energy to a cool level.

We take the risk of everything breaking down, because ultimately it sounds better. That is a very important part of playing live, having that real aspect.

MF: Definitely. Energy is important to your music. I had a house party the other day and played your record. Everyone was into it, the place went off.

PW: Did people get fucked up?

MF: Of course. Was it a conscious thing to make such happy, energetic music? It is very popular at the moment with groups like Passion Pit and MGMT.

PW: Yeah it is kind of weird because we started so early on and most of the stuff we wrote was prior to MGMT, Passion Pit, that movement wasn’t around yet. We were all in the same process at the same time I think, which is interesting, it all broke out together.

MF: You guys are proud Swedes, how’s the scene in the land of the blonde?

PW: It is a very close scene. We’re all friends, us, Peter Bjorn and John, El Perro Del Mar, Lykke Li and that whole crowd, we know each other. It has been like two or three good years for Stockholm where a lot of people have been quite active in releasing good stuff.

MF: So you’re hitting up Ibiza on the weekend… How depressing, I’ll be in Bankstown with my father.

PW: Is Bankstown nice?

MF: Not really no, go on about Ibiza?

PW: Well two friends of ours, Sebastian Ingrosso and Axwell, have a residency on Mondays. Then after that we’re playing with Vampire Weekend on Ibiza Rocks, which is a hotel where the main stage is surrounded by the rooms and everyone hangs on the balconies and parties. The stage is surrounded by a pool. It’s not like anything I’ve ever seen before.

MF: Sounds sweet. In the future will the focus be on Miike Snow and less on Bloodshy and Avant?

PW: I think we need to take a break from producing for a while, we’re going to do some stuff for artists on our own, but we’ve turned down everything else to do this for now. It’s much more satisfying to do our own thing, it’s the ultimate goal.

MF: Do you guys have a lot of tours in the future, on the back of the album?

PW: We’re going to more or less be on tour for the rest of the year, so after this run we have a few weeks off then we’re touring for a month in North America, then to Europe and I’ve heard of some plans to visit your fair country, Australia.

I’ve never been there and I’m desperate to. I think Swedes and Australians would get along really well so hopefully we can make it. I think that is the plan before the end of the year.

Keep an eye out for tour announcements soon on Music Feeds. The debut Miike Snow album is out now through Downtown. Find it on Miike Snow

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