After two successful albums — the self-titled debut Miike Snow and followup Happy to You — Miike Snow's fans weren't expecting the "breakup" of the band in 2012.
Recently, the Swedish trio surprised and delighted fans with the unexpected release of third album iii, and the reunited group has been touring the U.S. The question on many fans' lips mirror the uncannily appropriate Miike Snow lyrics: "How long has it been? Shall we get into it again?"
But as far as lead singer Andrew Wyatt is concerned, the break from the band might as well have been a trip to the shops. "We were never on an 'official' breather," he says. He points out that between producing and releasing iii, "it was really only two years."
Apologizing briefly for the deafening braying of a cow roaming through his upstate New York back yard, Wyatt loudly filled Westword in on the circumstances of the band's short hiatus: "A lot of things go into being in a band. Personal stuff and individual stuff lends to tugging people in all directions. With a first record, there's a financial impetus, and that lessens with success, as well as after a few difficult years on the road" — all of which led to the unplanned "breather."
Miike Snow's audience is currently a mixed breed of newcomers and a die-hard cult following. Contemplating the experience of performing for fans who've hungrily anticipated the prodigal return of the band, Wyatt says that it's a give and take. "Funny thing is, that can go both ways. In the first place, we were not anticipating a fan base at all, but people came out and were singing the words, and it was surprising as hell! Works both ways." Enjoying the return to more intimate and unique venues, Wyatt says, "[Back] then, you could play a festival, and if 20,000 people weren't all going crazy, it was a disappointment."
The reaction to iii has been positive, with "Genghis Khan" reaching number five on the U.S. alternative charts. Considering Wyatt's collaboration with Mark Ronson, Christian Karlsson's individual Grammy-winning project Galantis, and Pontus Winnberg's own band Amason, it is unsurprising that iii is the most overtly dancey Miike Snow album to date. Wyatt explains that the result wasn't a concrete choice, over-simplifying slightly. "We weren't trying to make a particular album; we recorded, and picked, the best songs and the ones that had the signature feeling of Miike Snow."
We asked Wyatt to explain what he meant when he said Miike Snow "makes pop music that isn't bad for your health." "I think it means 'Don’t dumb it down. Don't be so obvious with the lyrics that you take away the the meaning from people.' Not saying the most obvious thing that I could say: I don’t want to sing something that I could say in a text message."
Miike Snow headlines the inaugural Divide Music Festival in Winter Park, Friday, July 22-Sunday, July 24.
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