Interviews anglais

MEW (22/05/15)

Version française

Six years after their last record and their last show in Paris, Mew are back with the beautiful “+-“. We had a little chat with Jonas Bjerre (singer) and Johan Wohlert (bass) by a sunny afternoon.

Hi guys! It’s pretty rare to see you in our country.

Jonas Bjerre (vocals): Yes I guess it’s only our third show in Paris. We did one show with Nine Inch Nails then our first own show and tonight yes, it’s only our second own show in Paris.

Do you remember your first own show?

Jonas: Yes of course. It wasn’t there, it was at La Maroquinerie and it was a great show! Very packed, intimate and sweaty! It was after our first show with Nine Inch Nails and it was really a good night for us.

Did you have the time to visit the city?

Jonas: Yeah, just walkin’ around a bit. We went to the cemetery up there, Le Père Lachaise. Then we just had some coffees at the sun. We like to be here.

Are you inspired by the cities that you are visiting through your tour?

Jonas: Oh It’s hard to answer to that question. For example we did “And The Glass Handed Kites” in Los Angeles which is a sunny city, very sweet. But the album sounds very cold and dark so I think you are inspired by everything that happens to you at some level but it’s very hard to put your finger on what each things mean.



What was to tour with Nine Inch Nails ? What are the points where your both bands match?

Jonas: I think Nine Inch Nails deals with big emotions and Mew deals with big emotions too. But first, when we were offered the tour, I was very surprised! I was a bit scared about their fans. It thought they could reject us like “oh you’re too soft”. But actually, we did a very good tour. We did the whole European and American Tour with them which was supposed to be their farewell tour. Trent was very generous with us. He twitted about us, talked about us at every shows. He is a great guy.

You’re back with a new record “+-“, what was in your mind for this new record?

Jonas: We started before Johan came back in the band so it was a bit like up in the air. But when Johan came back in the band, we found a real direction for the record. We were finally sounding like a band, again. But, I think we just wanted to let the songs what the songs wanted to be. We didn’t try to fit them all into a box. I think we trusted that no matter what we do, it will sound like Mew.

So Johan, you’re the guy that, when you’re coming back, everything is doing okay!

Johan Wohlert (bass): (laughs) Yeah I wish! No, I think that maybe it was the right time for me to be back with the band and to create some nice music again. I just bring my positive vibes in the band and, maybe you could hear that on the record. It’s a bit more positive and uplifting. So I think it’s not just me coming back but the four being back, again.

We guess that getting older changed your mind about writing music. What are the differences between the writing sessions of this record and the writing sessions of your firsts records?

Johan: I think the main difference is that, for the first time, we write the whole record in Copenhagen and record it in Copenhagen too. We did not feel the need to sort of going away somewhere. So we just focused on this.

Jonas: Well in that way there is a difference but in the strictly music way, we didn’t that change change so much. We just want to express ourselves through our music and tryin’ to invent things that we appreciate. In that, it is similar but our lives outside are pretty different and that’s a good thing.



Why did you wait six years before making a new record?

Jonas: After the last album we toured a lot. I think we just needed a long break after that. We ended somewhere in Asia and we looked at each other and just said “let’s have a little break” because we never did that before. So we took a break and then we just slowly started to write some music again. We tried to build our own studio which did not really work out. I think, in the beginning we felt like “Oh we can’t do the same album again”. The way that we started to play sounded too much like the last record. We were only three people and it was a struggle. Then our producer went “let’s call Johan and see if he wants to write music again”. So Johan just came over and after a few jams it just felt like old times. After, Johan had to think about his commitment, if he really wanted to be back in the band again. We also went on tour in the middle of the recording. It was something that we never did. It was so cool because you have to experiment a lot of things on stage, in front of the crowd. That tells you a lot. About how people feel your songs and about how do you feel about your own songs.

So can we say that live had a big influence on the end of the recording?

Jonas: Yeah I think so. We wrote like half of the songs after our tour.

So now, you’re gonna tour differently then by the past because of your families.

Jonas: Yeah. We’re not gonna tour like two ou three months in the row. We want to have time for our families, friends and to feel like we have a base somewhere. We lived in London years ago. But we were always on tour so London never felt like home. But, when you reach a certain point of your life, you need to feel that there is a place that you can call “home”. But we’re gonna tour a lot!

We noticed that on each of your records, there is one very long song, like eight or ten minutes song. Have you ever thought of making a record with only very long songs?

Jonas: Actually we almost did on “And The Glass Handed Kites”. But, we don’t particularly see ourselves as a progressive band. Of course, it’s a part of what we do but, we just write the song that we want to write. We just see if a song needs to be this long and we let it. Sometimes a song needs to be more then two minutes.



You just decided to release your music by yourself. Why this choice to become independent and why do you think there is more and more bands taking the same way?

Jonas: I think there is an ongoing change in the music industry especially on the major label. We were on Columbia. And we were very happy with what they did for us. But we felt that we have to make a change. I don’t think it’s a good thing for a band like us to be on a major label. They are for big pop stars of maybe for big hip hop stars. But if you are a little bit weird, a little bit different, you have better at home. Sony and other majors used to have some department doing these kinds of music. But they all have to shot it down because of the business. So it’s a different place now. It’s kind of sad but it’s not sad in the same time because we have our home now. And we are very happy with people we work with.

Were you afraid of a lack of freedom by your major wants or needs?

Jonas: No, not really. It’s just we saw people change. We used to work with some guys and when we came back in the game, we didn’t now nobody in our work team. It was pretty weird. There is this thing that we can’t match with stuff like Shakira. Being our own label just makes more sense for us and for our music. Columbia made a lot of sense at the beginning. They did a great job. But at the end of it, it was not really appropriate.

Last but not least, our website is called “RockUrLife”, so what rocks your life?

Jonas: Right now I think it’s the response of the audience. Because, we took so long to make an another record, we were in a sort of bubble. And when we went out of this bubble, it’s so great to see that it worth it. It’s great to see that people are enjoying your work.

Johan: I’ve been away from these guys for so long and, being back and doing music which is meaningful is one of my best achievement. We’re here after a long break, it’s so good to be back and playing these songs we love, it’s the best feeling. The new record is rocking my world!




Nathan Le Solliec