From Denmark to Denver, New Politics Keeps Up the Campaign for Alt-Rock
New Politics frontman David Boyd (center) discusses the band's formation and journey while the band prepares for its headlining set at this year's Westword Music Showcase.
Upon relocating to Brooklyn from its homeland of Denmark in 2010, New Politics quickly found its place in the music scene as one of the freshest and most energetic groups to debut in recent years. The release of the band's self-titled LP — a solid half-hour of blistering alternative rock — led to shows at festivals like South by Southwest as well as a supporting tour with 30 Seconds to Mars, eventually propelling the group to widespread national attention. It's hard to believe, but it was only a few years prior to all of this that guitarist/vocalist David Boyd and bassist Søren Hansen met for the first time through some mutual friends at a studio in Copenhagen. "We decided to grab lunch and started talking about music, all the things we love and hate about it," Boyd recalls. This led to several bouts of songwriting and eventually the formation of New Politics. "We wanted to think outside of the box.... Those first demos had something that people recognized but still felt original. People related to it. It wasn't too different, but it still had its own thing."
Boyd, who's currently writing music for the band's next studio release, a followup to last year's Vikings, takes his influences from a variety of places. Growing up, he was exposed to mainstream American pop artists such as Michael Jackson and Madonna through his mother and classic rock like Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix through his father. Boyd also cites the musical movements of the ’90s as having a profound impact on him, namely grunge and alternative acts like Nirvana and Rage Against the Machine as well as hip-hop groups such as the Beastie Boys, A Tribe Called Quest and Naughty by Nature. The effects of these influences clearly manifest themselves in Boyd's music, which combines the raw power of rock and roll with pop sensibilities and rapidly spoken vocals. But for Boyd, the categorization of the music isn't what's important, contending simply, "A good song is a good song.... It's not about genre, it's more about how the music you're listening to affects you.... It has to be you in your totality."
Boyd has learned a lot about how music affects its listener over the course of the group's career, especially with the widespread audience New Politics has garnered in recent years. Boyd keeps the focus on the fans: "The only thing that matters to me is that when we write the song, it's ours, but once it goes out to the public, it's not really ours anymore," he says. He recalls that one track in particular, "Dignity," with its vehement lamentation, amassed a sizable amount of messages from fans who appreciated the song for the way it spoke to them personally. "We kept getting messages...from fans thanking us for the song and telling us what it meant to them," he says. "It was a song that a lot of people took in different ways. It's really influenced how I am as a listener. It's so incredible how music touches lives," he says.
He also notes that fans in Denver have proven to have a particularly strong bond with the music. "We get a lot of love in Denver," he says. "One of the coolest things I remember is that we did this American tour, and Denver sold out first — and I just remember everyone knowing the words and singing along and being drenched in sweat."
Before I let David go to continue working on the next New Politics album (or whatever it is that Danish rock stars do), I ask him about his goals, to which he replies, "I just wanna write and play music, nothing more."
New Politics (from left): David Boyd, Søren Hansen and Louis Vecchio.
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