Miike Snow: Tension and release

The last time Andrew Wyatt spoke to inthemix, he was pleasantly surprised that Miike Snow – comprised of himself and Swedish production duo Bloodshy & Avant – were doing well enough to be on the road. “We were doing it without much expectation about what would happen with it,” he explained of their debut, self-titled album. “We really didn’t think we’d be touring and stuff.” Two years, a second Australian tour and their sophomore album later, it’s safe to say that ‘touring and stuff’ is keeping the trio pretty busy.

Following the success of album number one and its anthemic lead single Animal, Miike Snow released Happy To You in March this year. Off the back of the new release, the trio are due back for their third Australian visit in as many years for July’s Splendour in the Grass. But before they touch down in Byron – and head down the East Coast for a couple of sideshows – inthemix caught up with Andrew and got this thoughts on Gotye’s big hit, what’s “disappointing” about Skrillex and what the US dance music boom has meant for Miike Snow.

Hey Andrew. Where in the world have I found you today?

New York. Home. On my own couch. It’s great!

Ha, it seems like you guys tour so much. It must get exhausting.

It can yeah, it does. But you start to adjust your world view significantly enough that your body – when it first starts happening it’s quite a shock to the system – but as time goes on you start learning techniques to start dealing with it a little bit better.

Yeah. So, new album. Given how successful the debut was, did you guys feel the “second album pressures” recording Happy To You?

I don’t think so; I think we really wanted to please ourselves on this album. The first album really exceeded all of our expectations, so rather than putting pressure on ourselves we used the success to actually relax a bit and do what we wanted to do even more.

One of my favourite tracks on the album is Black Tin Box.

I’m looking actually right now at the black tin box. There’s a store in Stockholm next door to the studio that sells antiques, but cheap antiques, and I purchased it there. Those were just stream of consciousness thoughts that came out. I’d recently gone through a breakup and those ideas spilled out on the track, which was really cool. I really like that song too. It’s one of my favourites to perform live.

So a big talking point at the moment is how much dance music exploding in the States right now. What’s it like being in the thick of it?

I think we’ve been unlikely benefactors of that. Because I think all of us have the skills necessary that if we wanted to go straight down that alley of making pure pop-dance music, we could have. But I think we wanted to steer clear of that, because the writing was kind of on the wall: at the time that we started making this record, it seemed like everything that hit the top 40 was like four-on-the-floor, using certain synthesiser sounds.

I think there’s something in all of us that sees the whole crowd going in one direction and it makes us want to go in the other direction. I don’t know if there’s something isolationist about that or what it says about our psyche. But I do think that we’ve benefited because our music has that energy level from dance music and a lot of it has dance music at its core, but we tried not to do dance music the way the top 40 charts were at the time. That coupled with the fact that we have managed to put on a pretty good show, which create the types of tension and release people experience at a dance music set, has allowed a lot of people who are really into pure dance music to get into what we do live.

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