Out with the old, in with the mew

By Craig Mcintosh ( China Daily ) Updated: 2015-08-08 08:08:31

Out with the old, in with the mew

Jonas Bjerre (center), lead vocalist of Danish alt rockers Mew, has promised audiences ‘colorful and magical’shows in Beijing and Shanghai.[Photos provided to China Daily]

Danish alt rockers take on first China tour after 6-year recording break sparks fresh inspiration

It's no stretch to say that, when it comes to China's indie music scene right now, quirky is definitely in. So Danish alternative rock outfit Mew should feel right at home when they make their debut in China this month.

"Our music has always been a bit quirky," lead singer Jonas Bjerre tells China Daily in an e-mail interview. "It's always had that mix of immediacy and something that maybe takes a bit longer to get your head around. The songs are quite layered with lots of details."

Mew are known for their large, experimental sound, which incorporates ingredients from shoegazing, post-rock, prog rock and pop, among other styles, while their songs can lurch from bright, symphonic moments to the darkest noir.

"We strive to convey as much of that to the live scene as possible, and I think we do quite a good job of it, too," Bjerre says. "But live will always be slightly more raw than the albums. I wouldn't want it to be a 1 to 1 rendition of the albums either, because there is more at stake.

"There is an immediacy to it that only a live show can give you, and that's a unique experience for us as a band, and hopefully for the audience."

Mew comprises Bjerre along with Johan Wohlert on bass, Silas Utke Graae Jorgensen on drums, and guitarist Mads Wegner, who in July replaced founding member Bo Madsen.

Formed in 1994 in Hellerup, Denmark, the band started to enjoy commercial success in 2004 after the release of their third LP, Frengers. The group followed this up with two critically acclaimed albums, And The Glass Handed Kites in 2005 and No More Stories Are Told Today four years later, which earned them swathes of fans across Europe, North America and Asia.

After a break of almost six years, Mew finally stormed back onto the scene in April with their new LP, +-.

"We toured the last album (No More Stories) for quite a while, and at the end of the touring we decided to take some time away from the band, each of us working on different things, to expand our horizons a bit," Bjerre explains. "I think it meant a lot to us, to try out things that didn't really fit in the band. It brought some new inspiration with it and gave us some new perspectives.

"We started writing this one (+-) kind of slow, and then Johan (who left to pursue other projects in 2006) rejoined the band and gave the songs we had been working on a new feel and direction, It was more of a band core again. So the whole process happened in different phases."

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