Miike Snow Interviewconducted by Hugo Lunny
We were expecting to give MVRemix readers and viewers the interview in video form, but that didn’t get to happen.
Upon arriving at the venue, Miike Snow’s manager told me that the video interview I had assumed we were going to be conducting would in actual fact not take place, and that we could still use the video camera but only for audio. He was informed one thing, we were another. And so, still wanting the interview to take place, we got what we could.
After meeting the tall lead singer Andrew Wyatt (the other two group members were visiting family), we went into a backstage room to sit and chat. Wyatt insisted that he was worried about his voice and that he only wanted to speak at a certain volume, and that he did. He considered his answers before answering, and didn’t just shoot off something in a conceited manner. There was time and consideration into what he said.
Occasionally answers were muffled by the bass of the soundcheck going on below us, however the transcripts explain exactly what was said.
MVRemix: Your album is being re-released on I-Tunes tomorrow with a couple of bonus songs, do you think of that as a brand new package… What are your thoughts on the album being re-released tomorrow?
Andrew Wyatt: I don’t know where I’ve always felt like those… Especially nowadays “Special Edition” or “Limited Edition” CDs or specially re-released editions of CDs are to give the people who stole the album the first time around a chance to buy it and I don’t have any problem with that in theory. I feel like there’s people who have become fans of the album that maybe they would consider buying it.
MVRemix: As an artist do you find ITunes and Amazon and all these other MP3 companies are able to devise a good enough revenue from sales. Do you make enough money from them or is it small because of the label and all the other involvements?
Andrew Wyatt: I think that you don’t make nearly as much money from stuff that comes through ITunes as you do from a sold CD. So that’s part of the problem that we’re facing as musicians and also as people who also buy music. Because the places that you can pay for music, you get a good download rate, you get a good quality of the download and I don’t think that there’s a lot of options out there. I think that because most major labels were caught really off guard by the whole process that we’re left where we only have ITunes and Amazon as a trustworthy bandwidth place to download. I mean anybody who has ever tried to look for something on blogs or on download sites knows what I mean. Often times a link won’t be there or you’ll try to download it but you can’t, or it half downloads. Those kinds of things. I think that hopefully in the future there will be more ways to pay for downloaded music.
MVRemix: Have you heard of the “Digital Rights” bill?
Andrew Wyatt: I’ve heard of it, I wouldn’t be able to quote it.
MVRemix: It just passed in the UK. Essentially what it is is a bill enforcing penalties on people who bootleg movies, music… It has actually finally passed, so that’s likely to change a lot of things. What are your feelings on the fact that an average downloader that downloads an album may have to face a hefty fine?
Andrew Wyatt: I tend to feel that’s gonna be so hard to enforce that it almost doesn’t matter. I mean it’s setting up some kind of precedent but I don’t think it in and of itself is gonna change anything. I also think that they’ve talked about broad taxes on people, the same way that people pay a small tax for the BBC… That it comes out of your tax money proportionate to the amount of downloads for that particular song – legal or illegal, there’s a sort of surcharge for that but that’s transferred to the copyright holder and I think that that makes sense to me.
MVRemix: I’m always very curious about the process of recording albums, and I read that you guys when you make a song always try to finish it. So with regards to the album “Miike Snow,” did you just set out to make 11 songs – did you have it properly sorted out. Or do you have a truckload?
Andrew Wyatt: No, I mean it’s almost… We all know how to start songs… By the time any two people decided that one idea was good, we all just then started jumping in on it and finished it. I think we did have this one situation where somebody started something and everybody else kind of looked at each other and went “Hmmm,” then we moved on. But that didn’t happen very much first of all. Second of all, I think once any two of us liked something then it usually got finished.
MVRemix: Do you ever find it problematic traveling around with a bunch of Swedish people and you’re the American. Do you ever find clashes because you’re the minority in a group of people that are from another place that speak another language? Have you ever learned Swedish or…?
Andrew Wyatt: Well I can understand a bit of it and I would like to learn to speak it better than I do. In short there are certain things, just different cultural things that are bound to come up when you’re co-habitating this closely with people for years now. I mean almost a year… But it’s nothing new. I mean we all can talk and work [things] out. That’s part of the thing that makes it sound interesting too; that there’s two cultures operating in the same.
MVRemix: Have you explored much of Sweden? I mean I know you’ve been there, but is it a country that you would consider yourself familiar with?
Andrew Wyatt: Not as a country, I mean I’m kind of familiar with Stockholm at this point. And my girlfriend is Swedish, we’ve been going out for a while, so I can imagine us spending some part of the year in Stockholm. But I don’t know if I could really see myself re-locating.
MVRemix: If you were to recommend somewhere in Stockholm that you’re average North American should check out, what would that be?
Andrew Wyatt: [ponders]
MVRemix: A particular maybe bookstore that you’d go to see…
Andrew Wyatt: Well most of the bookstores are in Swedish, so I don’t really relate to them very much. But there’s a couple music stores that are great. One’s called The Jam and its got a lot of really nice, vintage equipment. And there’s a place called Magasin 3 which is a modern art gallery that has a very beautiful bike ride. I would also recommend the Stockholm city bikes card that for the equivalent of like twenty dollars, you have a card which is good for the entire summer into the fall that will allow you to rent a bike by just pushing the card up to a censor and then you put the bike back later.
MVRemix: A la “Fight Club,” “If you could fight any celebrity, who would you fight?”
Andrew Wyatt: Tyra Banks. I’d whip her ass.
MVRemix: Are there any collaborations that Miike Snow and you, yourself are working on?
Andrew Wyatt: Miike Snow – we are always getting the offers to do remixes for people. I think now because we’ve been touring so heavily that we’ve sort of put a hold on that. But I think we will be doing some remixes for friends and for other people coming up this year. I’m myself going to be working with Karl Roth on his solo record. I’m also working with this guy called Michael Tighe from The AM, my old band who co-wrote a lot of Jeff Buckley stuff and he has got a project called Tiggers that we’re gonna go into.
MVRemix: Do you ever find touring monotonous?
Andrew Wyatt: [instantly] Yes.
MVRemix: I read that you always try to keep performing fresh, how do you manage to do that? How do you keep it interesting for yourself as a performer?
Andrew Wyatt: Well there’s always things. We have so many different devices that there are always things that go wrong every night so the show’s don’t go as planned. That definitely gives the shows different contours and memories. I think just your emotional space when heading to do a show. The venue, the crowd, the sound, how the venue sounds… The size of the venue. All of those things really change the overtones of the performance and give them different feelings. I forgot my shoes one time when I worked out, and I wore my workout shoes to the venue. I didn’t want to wear them on stage and so I went barefoot. I had kind of an interesting experience with that. Anything can change it.
MVRemix: Anyone that inspired your live performance?
Andrew Wyatt: This band called Dragons of Zynth, which is a great band from Brooklyn. I really like them a lot, I like their live performance. I saw Yoko Ono perform about two months ago and I really liked her.
MVRemix: Any last words you’d like to add?
Andrew Wyatt: [ponders] Yeah, I mean [chuckles] thanks for caring about Miike Snow.