Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Interview: Snævar Njáll Albertsson (Dad Rocks!, Mimas) - Big Scary Monsters, Formidable Moustaches, and Rockin' Old Men

Snævar Njáll Albertsson is the frontman for Mimas, the self-described Death Indie band from Denmark. Boasting post-rock sensibilities yet sprawling across a dizzying variation of genres, their first album 'The Worries' combined bizzare yet brilliant lyrics with  bittersweet musical dreamscapes. The second album 'Lifejackets' strayed away from the post-rock elements into math/pop/rock territory, and again exploring various genres like an indiscriminate kleptomaniac in a record store. It's a record that grins from ear to ear in the way the Cheshire Cat does; quite quirky and adorable but also slightly terrifying. He also goes under the moniker Dad Rocks!, the finger-picking, genre-bending acoustic guitarist who incorporates hip hop, dub, folk, pop and who-knows-what with the help of various accompanying instruments. His debut EP 'Digital Age' is something of a gem littered with witticisms and skilled songcraft.

This is one of the most enjoyable interviews I've done so far. I thank Snævar for kindly agreeing to be interviewed for the blog.
Read the interview after the JUMP
Linkage (I recommend Bandcamp):
Dad Rocks!: Bandcamp | Facebook | Tumblr | Twitter
Mimas: Bandcamp | Facebook | Tumblr | Twitter

As always, 'J' stands for me, and 'S' stands for  Snævsy.

J: First of all, why the name Dad Rocks! and Mimas?

S: It's funny 'cause with Dad Rocks! either you love or hate the name. But I've noticed when people actually listen to the music they tend to like it more. Obviously the first thing that comes to mind is a group of 50-year old men rockin' out while playing some Led Zeppelin covers... I'm a father to two fantastic kids, and playing music and being passionate about music is an important part of me. So I really hope that some day my kids will think that I rock, but I'm aware of the risk that some day they might simply find me embarrassing. Damn kids.

With Mimas we thought the name sounded cool. It's a moon to Saturn and it looks so much like the Death Star from Star Wars!

J: 'Lifejackets' has the happier sound of your two Mimas records. Was this a conscious decision, or something that came naturally?

S: It came very naturally. I guess we just evolve very easily. If you want post-rock records listen to Mogwai. They seem to be quite happy with what they do. Not that we're not happy about The Worries. We just felt that we didn't want to repeat ourselves, as we're constantly inspired by new sounds and bands.

Mimas - La Moustache Formidable (from 'Lifejackets')

J: Were you as a band worried that Mimas was going to lose some fans of the post-rock, instrumental elements of 'The Worries'? How do you think it turned out?

S: I think we were aware that the post-rock fans out there would find the new record challenging, or maybe even bad. But we were not really worried. We love our fans, and I'm sure some of those that wanted us to do another 'The Worries' would probably understand our need to try something different. We tend to focus on the positive things though, and it seems like we've gained a lot of new fans with this record too. And wow, we've been played on the radio too. Crazy shit.

Mimas - Cats On Fire (from 'The Worries')

J: You also play as Dad Rocks! as a solo project. How is the songwriting and recording process different to what you do with Mimas? Do you get inspired by the same things as Dad Rocks! and as the frontman for Mimas?

S: There are positive things and negative things about having a solo-project. With songwriting and recording all the decisions are up to you. It's a cool thing cause you get to learn a lot about yourself as a musician, but at the same time you sometimes need band-mates' opinions. That's not really possible with a solo-project. So there are good and bad sides. Regarding inspiration I think we inspire each other a lot in Mimas. I know it sounds gay, but it's true. Ideas bounce from person to person, and it's an exciting process. With Dad Rocks! it's often some element that's outside the musical project that gets the ball rolling.

Dad Rocks! - Nothing Keeps Up

J: What is the best thing about playing as Dad Rocks!, and playing with Mimas?

S: The best thing about playing as Dad Rocks! is probably that all decisions are up to me to make. But it can easily be the worst thing as well. With Mimas it's going on tour with my best friends.

J: You did a cover EP for Big Scary Monsters (available to download for free HERE). What was the hardest song to cover? Which one did you enjoy most?

S: They were all pretty tough. The Colour (ed: RIP) song 'Chutes' is just mind-blowing technically, so I had to re-work that one a lot. Toby from Shoes and Socks Off also has a really unique way to play guitar if you ask me, so I felt that I really needed to change the whole thing, but still keep the melody intact. I might have ruined the song, but at least I gave it a try.

J: Were there any songs on the cover EP that you knew would be voted in? Any surprise inclusions/exclusions?

S: I thought that there would be a Colour song. I love Colour but all their songs are just way to complex for me, so I was kinda nervous about that one. Obvious exclusions were Adebisi Shank and Talons. How the hell would I cover them? No chance in hell dude.

Dad Rocks - Chutes (Colour cover)

J: Are there plans for a debut album by Dad Rocks! soon? What should we expect?

S: Oh yes. It's way more hi-fi than the (Digital Age) EP. I have loads of people playing different instruments on this one, so you'll have drums, upright-bass, strings, cornet, clarinet and a good handful of instruments. Lyrics are still quite weird and contain words like 'breasts', 'tits', 'burger-king', 'shit' and so on. Take a look at this video from the studio:

J: What about Mimas's third album? Will we hear another change in direction like we did from 'The Worries' to 'Lifejackets'?

S: I have no idea what will happen with the next album, we've just started jamming some stuff, so hopefully we'll have a couple of new songs in the spring. I'm excited though!

J: How does touring in the UK compare to touring in Denmark or Iceland?

S: We've never played Iceland before actually! It's on the to-do list. For us we have a better following in UK. Maybe because our debut-album was released there on Big Scary Monsters Records. Our last Mimas tour was amazing and generally we had a lot of people coming to our gigs. Our fans are really kind people!

J: Were there any bands that were an absolute joy to tour and/or play with? Any nightmare stories?

S: Aw, man. Shapes are our homeboys. They are incredible people and we love them very much. We've done a couple of tours with them. But dude, we've played with so many awesome people/bands. Mutiny On The Bounty are very good friends, also Union Sound Set, Talons, Tall Ships, Stagecoach, This Town Needs Guns, Crowns On The Rats Orchestra. It's also been amazing to support the likes of Maps & Atlases, Why?, Sunset Rubdown and Mono.

J: What made you sign to Big Scary Monsters?

S: The fact that Kev (Kevin Douch) is a really passionate person about his label and bands. He really loves the bands he puts out, and I admire the fact that he started his label at such an early age and that he's now making a living from putting out music he loves. He has given both Mimas and Dad Rocks! a really solid fan-base in the UK, and we're now a part of a really great network.

J: Describe Dad Rocks! in three words.

S: wtf

J: Describe Mimas in three words.

S: La Moustache Formidable

J: Finally, recommend us a band from Denmark/Iceland that you like.

S: One of each! Denmark: Sleep Party People. Iceland: Sin Fang 

Signing out

Over and out

No comments:

Post a Comment