On June 3, 2015, Jonas Bjerre and Johan Wohlert did a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” session which lasted 2 hours. The original event can be viewed on this page: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/38er02/we_are_mew_aua/
The questions below are the ones Mew was able to answer in the allotted timeframe, sorted by “Top Comments”
Photo Credit: Mew
Pjulledk: Hey Mew a very big Danish Fan since year 2000 here. I’ve have One very good question that i hope you can/will answer. What is the song 156 about, there is a lot of theories on the Internet but what is it Really about??? Best Regards Kasper
Mew: We’ve seen a lot of theories. We hope people will continue coming up with them. It’s kind of a secret, sorry
crayfl: Are you guys planning on ever releasing a b-sides/rarity collection? Also related, are you planning on releasing any plus minus b-sides soon?
Mew: That’s a cool idea. Maybe one day. We have a couple of b-sides from + – available on the Japanese version of the album, and there are “quiet session” versions of 7 of the songs available online somewhere 🙂
ovaltine8: Johan: How does it feel for you personally to play “Silas the Magic Car” live?
Mew: It feels great! I get to sing, and I get to play bass with my fingers. Two rare things in the live setting for me!
ferro_man: When is your next US tour going to be?
Mew: we don’t know yet, but I think we’ll have some news on that pretty soon 🙂
sospidera: Jonas, I remember you saying that you got a lot of inspiration for lyrics from dreams, and something to the effect that you just sort of know when a certain lyric feels right, regardless of if it necessarily makes sense. How often do you find your lyrics to be “about” something in the proper sense, and how often are they more abstract, in that they just evoke a certain type of imagery or feeling, but not necessarily “mean” anything? That’s always a balance that I struggle with when writing my own lyrics and often feel a weird sense of obligation for lyrics to make more “sense” then they perhaps need to make, but often feel drawn to lyrics that just feel right for some intangible reason, lol. Thanks, and hope to see you in the US sometime soon : )
Mew: My lyrics are more a kind of reflection of reality, than a direct narrative. I think of them as glimpses of meaning, in a sea of some sort of chaos. The flotsam in the mind. Sometimes I am conscious about the songs meaning, but oftentimes I just filter a lot of feelings and thoughts and inspiration, pouring it out of my head
ovaltine8: Can you tell us more about the process of writing songs like “New Terrain” and “Western Silver Lion Cub”/”My Complications” that contain reversable lyrics and melodies?
Mew: Working in reverse reveal a whole different setting for your melodies. It’s something we’ve used since Frengers (the middle bit of Am I Wry is a mirror image of itself). We find that the chord progressions and melodic structures become something you would have never thought of in forward
Yusada: Hello, Johan and Jonas. I am curious as to the significance, if any, of your many references to health and medicine in your music?
Mew: Hospitals are strange places. People disappear there, forever, but people also come into this world at hospitals. I guess it’s a picture of some of the really big things in life, scary things and wonderful things
ovaltine8: What is being said in the garbled radio-transmission-sounding voice at the end of “Cross the River on Your Own”?
Mew: That’s one of Bo’s secrets. He won’t tell us!
mooncrane: What was the idea behind the album cover for And the Glass Handed Kites? I don’t mean to be rude, but it has made several “worst album covers of all time” lists. How do you guys feel about that?
Mew: We absolutely love it! m/m(paris) designed it. Their designs always stick with you, it’s not something you just forget. So many covers don’t really leave an impression. I think Michael and Mathias wanted to depict us kind of devouring each other, because we had been working on it very closely together for so long, and it’s a sort of very dark sounding album
steamoven: Hello Jonas and Johan! Mew has been my favourite band since I was around 15 years old; nine years and a “156” tattoo later, there’s no replacing you! So thank you guys so much for all of your hard work and amazing music. 🙂 As for my question: This has probably been at least brought up a million times; but why aren’t there any plans for you guys to visit Australia/New Zealand? Is it a distance issue perhaps? Thank you! <3
Mew: Thank you so much!! There certainly are plans and dreams and workings, and we REALLY hope to make it a reality soon! Never been and always dreamt of going. We’ve been very close in the past, but yes it’s far away, and logistically it just never panned out… yet!
SchizophrenianRedhea: Can we expect you to end your shows with Comforting Sounds? Or is Rows or Cross the river on your own the new ending song?
Mew: Comforting is hard to replace. People seem to get upset when we do. But yes, will not always end with Comforting, new things gotta happen
Nordpolarmeer: I love your music! When you write the lyrics for a song, are you sometimes afraid of cliches? How do you deal with this? I am a writer and I find this so difficult…
Mew: We used to have a rule to avoid the word ‘love’… but growing a bit softer with age we have allowed it 🙂 Cliches are often true, but they are also often boring, and should at least be put in some new context if possible
ovaltine8: Was “Witness” originally written to be more of a ballad than a rock song? The “Quiet Sessions”/acoustic version seems to suit the mood of the lyrics and melody so much more.
Mew: It was a real rock song first, starting with Bo’s magnificent riff!
swabl: Jonas, I remember reading on the website circa And the Glass Handed Kites that you drew a lot of inspiration from your “recurring nightmares” – is that still true? Any particular ones you feel like sharing, or unexpected ways it influenced the new music, or just interesting anecdotes about them? Thanks, and thanks for all the wonderful music!
Mew: I used dreams a lot on that album, it was kind of my method on that album. I still use it sometimes, but it’s more about waking up with a certain feeling. I used to suffer from sleep paralysis, where you kind of wake up but not really, and there are still elements from your dream, even though you know that all the other stuff was just a dream.. it’s hard to explain. Basically you are unable to move or open your eyes, even though you are (kind of) awake. Not very nice. Often following a nightmare. I used to dream there was a fox climbing on my wall, towards my bed, I don’t know why
vivianarivas: Hello, Jonas! I was wondering, why don’t you have a song recorded in Danish? It would be really interesting to hear a song by my favourite band in their native language.
Mew: I sang on a song on a children’s book/cd called Grønflammeskoven a while ago. It’s a pretty weird book and a pretty weird album, with a lot of cool and talented folks involved
ovaltine8: Jonas: Did you write the lyrics for “White Lips Kissed” or “Shiroi Kuchibiruno Izanai” first? What was the process like for writing lyrics in Japanese?
Mew: White Lips Kissed came first. I got a lot of help with the Japanese version, from a good friend of mine
ovaltine8: What is the best advice you can give someone who is just beginning to learn the Danish language?
Mew: Keep at it! It’s hard work! 🙂
ovaltine8: Will “And the Glass Handed Kites” ever be released on vinyl?
Mew: We hope so. I would say yes
tinypaperboat: Hi Johan and Jonas! I’m a huge fan, so thank you for doing this! This is a question for Jonas. What does “fear me, december” mean to you? I always wanted to know.
Mew: That whole song is about fear, I think.. and coping with life and death. December is always a sort of strange month, for many reasons. Can’t go into much further detail
2paclovesbubblebaths: Hey Mew! Thanks for doing this AMA. I love the band and your music. I’ve only been able to see you play live once in 2009 at the Trocadero in Philly. I’m really hoping you tour the states for the new album, which I also love. I guess that’s my question. Will you be touring the states? What is your favorite major city in the US? What band do you like to or would you like to tour with the most? Thanks for your music! 🙂
Mew: Jonas: I really like New York, probably where I’ve spent most time. Also really like Portland in Oregon, and Chicago. But in general really like the US a lot, and touring there. Johan: Los Angeles. Can’t help it
The095: Jonas, how much did working with Guy Berryman and Magne Furuholmen in Apparatjik influence your songwriting for +-? Love the new record by the way!
Mew: I’m not sure it did, that much. Apparatjik is an entirely different beast. It’s more about having a creative playground to try out whatever ideas don’t fit in our day jobs + having an immense amount of fun with it
ScotttStappp: Hey! You guys are on my short list of “bucket list” bands I haven’t seen yet! I heard there are U.S. tour dates in the works… is that really happening? Also, I was nervous when I heard Kimbra was making a cameo on +-, but The Night Believer turned out to be one of my favorites. How did that collaboration come about?
Mew: We believe it’s happening. We will have news soon You should come see us 🙂 Kimbra is a star, she sent me some songs through Rich Costey, asked if I wanted to sing on one, and I ended up singing on the song The Magic Hour, and in return demanded that she sing on our album too 🙂 I love her album The Golden Echo, she is fearless about taking things as far as they can go, like a kind of progressive pop music. And, like us, she crams so many ideas into each song, that it almost shouldn’t work, but does
SchizophrenianRedhea: Do you ever play Pink Monster live?
Mew: We have, a long time ago. It was pretty cool Maybe we should play it again?
haumooon: Hello Mew! How did the song “Rows” come about? And what was the process of writing that song like? Please tell me as much as you can about that song! I’d love to hear more! (It is an absolutely fantastic song! one of the best ever!)
Mew: thanks so much For the longest time, it was an instrumental piece that just grew and grew, it was almost like a film score, and then it fell into place when we got the chorus section, and vocals starting appearing. It’s a bit of a travel through different spaces
ovaltine8: How did the collaboration with Microsoft for Mew365/The Night Believer music video come about? Who came up with the original idea?
Mew: Bo came up with the idea and has spearheaded the project, it’s gonna be g r e a t !!!
jenne927: Please, please play Rows on Roskilde. I can see you havent had it in your setlist yet. You guys rock, and I “”love”” the fact that you have avoided that word. Too used i guess.
Two questions: 1. Are you into any kind of sports? 2. Which is your favourite soccer team in Europe ? Have a nice weekend. See you in July 🙂
Mew: Will take it into consideration 🙂 1) Johan: Football (soccer) ! Jonas: no. I’m a geek, 2) Johan: Chelsea FC. see ya!
ZissouKiyomizu: Mew I want to thank you as a whole, back in 2008 I was a exchange student in Santiago, Chile. It was a little overwhelming in the beginning, but one of my school mates invited me over to eat pancakes. He played “And The Glass Handed Kites”, That album is incredible and it was hands down one of my favorite experiences of my Teen Years. Can you send me an autographed album of The Glass Handed Kites? Listening to + -, Has been one of the best parts of 2015. Your music has always filled a void in me, thank you for that! Do you watch Eastbound and Down? What Albums have you all been listening too that you would recommend? Come to Philly!… or somewhere on the Eastcoast!
Mew: Love Eastbound and Down and were proud to be featured in it 🙂 And in the “leaving Mexico” episode, no less! I would recommend anything by Luzmila Carpio – Jonas
gniklas: Hi there! Thanks for doing this AMA 🙂 So you have numerous times referenced Japan and sung in Japanese. Why is this, whats your connection to Japan?
Mew: Japan was always fascinating to some of us, watching anime as a kid, and the mixture of super modern and ancient culture is very exhilarating and we loooove visiting Japan!
darkpassengerdriving: Hi Jonas! Who are Agarina, Callie, Louise Louisa, Mary, and Maria? I know I’ve read before that the inspiration for songs comes from a lot of your dreams; are they real people or just characters you dreamed up? Hope to see you all in Ohio soon.
Mew: They may be different amalgams of people I’ve known, but it’s hard to really tell. I guess they are characters that exist to tell a story
Jojowdge: Question for Jonas, I saw you guys perform on SXSW and during one of your shows there were some audio issues as you started playing My Complications. So during a short period as that was getting sorted out Bo asked the crowd for a beer and you asked (I believe) for some lukewarm Baileys. Why lukewarm Baileys? Did someone ever get you some? Next time you’re in America I’ll totally get you some. Which by the way, you guys are coming back right? Love your music, +- is beautiful, thanks for doing this boys.
Mew: The first video we ever did was for a demo of Panda. It featured the band playing in a park and on a roof, and Johan was a waiter chasing us around to serve us with baileys (I have no idea why)
Bonghat: Hi Mew! We’ve heard some of the tracks that made it onto + – evolve a bit (eg. Klassen became Satellites). Would you say that the editions that made it to the CD are the final versions, or do they keep changing? Looking forward to Roskilde Festival 🙂
Mew: Yes, they are the final versions, the album serving as documenting the finality of them. We did a little touring while writing, and it definitely helped the songs, hearing them through an audience’ ears!
Frengersargentina: Hey mew! We are your argentinian and first fan club in here. You maybe are really tired about this question but the struggle is real(!!!!) But is it factible a south american tour?
Mew: Hello Argentina!! Yes, it’s definitely something we are scheming at and working hard at making a reality!! We can’t wait to visit!
AmIRhino: Hi guys! Do you ever plan on releasing “Bamse”, “Boy”, or the song that was featured on the promo for Sensory Spaces? They all sounded great, so I really hope so! Fingers crossed that you play close enough to St. Louis in the future so I can catch you guys live! Thanks!
Mew: Bamse kind of exists in its only form, as different live recordings online.. We’ve never recorded it, but yeah who knows, maybe one day.. as for the other bits that’s entirely possible, but sometimes parts just don’t gel with anything else, and so we eventually abandon them… we’ll see
magnustagmus: Hi Jonas and Johan! Which show on your recent Europe tour stand out to you the most? And why? Hope you are enjoying being back home! And for the frengers here: Head over to /r/mew and help revive the sub! There is so much to discuss!
Mew: We really enjoyed the whole tour, it was gratifying to visit places we’ve not been to in a long while. Can’t choose one show, they were each an experience onto themselves
scalfin: What do you think of that clone Team Rocket made of you? Also, how many times have you heard that joke?
Mew: No idea what you are referring to… we are in the dark here
eenka01: Hey there, I want to thank you! Had a great time in Harvest Fest Istanbul, my friends who have never listened to you before said you were amazing, got yourselves new Frengers! Here is my question to Jonas: Are there any specific musicians that you would like to sing with? I personally loved The Night Believer with Kimbra!
Mew: I would love to sing with Luzmila Carpio, Kate Bush or Paddy McAloon
Proteus_Zero: Hi, Jonas and Johan! I love your music! And the Glass Handed Kites and Frengers are very important records to me and helped get me through some rough times. THANK YOU! My question(s) are: What music are you guys listening to lately? How much did it influence your work on +-? Are there any artists out there that you’d recommend and like us to look out for? Thanks again and keep on rocking!
Mew: Thank you!!! Luzmila Carpio, Death Grips, Fleetwood Mac
ina_mewkid: Hi! Thank you for a very nice coffee break (!) / interview at Angst Bar in Oslo a while back! I’m really happy with the result, and I hope you are too (if you got/get the chance to read it, that is ;-)). So, for my question: What are your best tips for making a bad day a good one? I guess a lot of Frengers, like me, have gone through hard times, and found a lot of comfort in your music. Have a very nice week, and I hope we’ll meet again in Oslo soon, or at Skral Festival this summer! Thank you for taking the time to interact with us Frengers and for being awesome! (Jonas, kan du hilse Bo fra meg og si at jeg fortsatt har pingpong-ballen han ga meg da jeg støtte på dere to i vinter? Haha!) Hugs from the colorful Ina Mewkid in Oslo
Mew: Hey Ina! Thank you!! We love the interview, and loved doing it! And a good pic you took. Meditation is sometimes good, when your feeling blue, I find. And being with good friends, or calling them up if you are far away. I will tell Bo! 🙂 See you at skral!
timleeds: Hi guys – 2 quick questions…firstly, is there any chance of Mew albums being released in 5.1 surround sound – they would sound (even more) amazing!….secondly, are you coming to Toronto or nearby this year? Cheers…:)
Mew: Yeah we talked about it.. maybe one day. Would have to be new mixes from scratch of course, so quite a project. But would be really cool! regarding Toronto.. would be surprised if not
Frengersargentina: How does it feel play with johan again?
Mew: It feels F#”&ng wonderful !
SchizophrenianRedhea: Can you reveal anything about the setlist for Roskilde? Any surprises or classics?
Mew: It’s gonna be excellent!
annimon: Hi Jonas and Johan!! Longtime Californian Mew fan here, I absolutely love +-, and I think it’s your best album so far! Do either of you have a favorite song from the album?
I want to chime in and say that I hope you release a +- b-sides, Western Silver Lion Club is one of my favorites and I’m bummed it’s only available on the Japanese version. And I would love for you to come back to San Francisco!! Question for just Jonas: Any plans for Apparatjik now that +- is out? Once you’re done touring?
Mew: Thank you!! Jonas: Rows Johan: Satellites. Yeah they always get a lot of good stuff in Japan, don’t they? Can’t wait to visit San Francisco again! Apparatjik keep doing things, whenever there is time, which is rarely.
seane: Mew! Love you guys. You’ve done a lot of very small runs through the US, but never, like, a full on tour. Any plans for something like that? Been a real fan ever since the break b/t Frengers and Glass Handed Kites. Not quite OG, but I’ve been watching your tour sched. for a while!
Mew: thank you playing all of the US is quite an undertaking, but I remember doing quite a long tour back in 2009, where we kind of went around twice. But there are many places we’ve never played and would love to visit!
jayrocking: Hi guys, big fan of the new record especially “Water Slides.” Did you ever manage to get off of the bathroom floor (ah ah ah?)
Mew: thanks!! uhm yeah
iheartmoon: I recently bought your +/- double vinyl set (nice by the way), do you subscribe to the idea that vinyl sounds better (or warmer)?
Mew: It’s hard to say. It sounds DIFFERENT. I think not enough value is placed on the physicality of the medium, the act of putting on a vinyl album feels meaningful in a totally different way than just scrolling on your phone. You experience it, as a physical act, an investment in time
sagla156: Hi Mew, I’ve two questions. 1. On Frengers you have 6 songs that is former songs from Half the World is watching me and triumf for man. Most of Them has changed quiet a lot, especially 156. How come, that you changed the intro and Feeling of 156 so much for Frengers? 2. Will you ever Consider Playing some of the original version of the song from your first two albums live in stread of the Frengers versions? Thanks for 6 great albums!
Mew: The original intro to 156 involved two choir girls and a lot of spanish guitar from Bo.. It’s a tricky piece, tricky to pull off live. Admittedly, we prefer the frengers versions, the time in-between gave those songs the opportunity to grow further, and we feel they are more developed in this form
ChucoV: Big fan and fellow musician from Texas Mew! What inspires the syncopation in your music, like in your songs introducing palace players and my favorite, repeater beater? I think yall are genius’ and wish yall the best! Thanx for your time!
Mew: thanks so much! not sure what inspires it really, i think it just comes about when we play together, finding our pockets
agentoneal: Hi, Jonas and Johan! First, a short story. While living in South Korea and experiencing the worst year of my life both emotionally and physically, your album, And the Glass Handed Kites was like a lighthouse in a tempest. I listened to it repeatedly, along with Frengers and No More Stories. I’ve always wanted to say thank you. Sure, I may have made it through that year in one piece on my own, but your music made the journey easier; it was as if I had a friend by my side and I’ll be forever grateful for everything you do. Sadly, you played Seoul the week after I left and Los Angeles the week before I returned. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to see you during the +- tour! My question: I’ve noticed a theme that resonates across albums — referring to someone by name. Farah, Agarina, Louisa, Mica… there are many. Who are these people and what significance did they/do they have to you? Thanks, Mew. I love +- and I hope to hear more new music from you in the future.
Mew: The names are not necessarily true names of real people, but rather they are characters that serve a specific purpose within the context of the story of the song. I know this seems vague, but I’d like to think the songs can take on new meanings and forms in other peoples minds, thus growing further than we could ever build them
whatsthesmack: We LOVE the new record. What inspired the album artwork?
Mew: I think m/m(paris) (who designed our last 3 album covers) wanted to depict the “inner workings of Mew”. The egg characters are designed by Korean designer Hyunji Choi
spiralbatross: Hey guys! Do you have any plans for upcoming tours in the U.S.? Also, I really enjoy the way you play with negative space in your music, especially in And the Glass Handed Kites. The way you use silence and small sounds is just as incredible as the big stuff. How do you figure out what instruments seem right for the occasion?
Mew: Thanks! yes definitely plans, just not sure when exactly yet. Kites had a very particular sound, it’s quite extreme the way we made it sound, very dark and cold in places, and I think we always liked the duality of big grand sounding instruments mixed with smaller, fragile things
ovaltine8: How much (if any) of “Clinging to a Bad Dream” was inspired by “Twin Peaks”?
Mew: Twin Peaks was and still is amazing. I’m not sure if we consciously thought to capture a julee cruise feel, but the ending of that song surely has a bit of that vibe. I think when something makes a big impression on you, it stays with you
vyseofthebluerogues: Hi! I’ve been a fan of your band since high school. Thanks for stopping by. What’s it like growing up in Denmark? I’m in a region that’s so much different from Denmark that I’d like to know a little bit from your perspective. It sounds like a cold place, or not intensely hot year round. Does anything about the environment there influence your music, do you think? -quick bonus questions for either of you: one country you would live in if it weren’t for denmark? name a danish food that everyone should try
Mew: Denmark has long and dark winters, but not as long and dark as other places in Scandinavia. It’s pretty mild in comparison with the north of Norway for example. But I think there’s a certain melancholy in Scandinavia, from H C Andersen to the music from here, a certain blue tone. Jonas: If I did not live in Copenhagen, I would live in Tokyo. Johan: Los Angeles or London. Danish food everyone should try: pickled herring(?) and ridiculously salty liquorice !!
pixiecow: What pets do you have? What would be your dream pet?
Mew: I’m (Johan) the only one with a pet at the moment i think? I have my trusted French Bulldog “Fuji” named after the Japanese vulcano. He’s actually my dream pet. I have wanted one for over a decade and finally got him 3 years ago. Frenchies are the best 🙂
Skiplicious: Hi guys! I saw you open for Nine Inch Nails a few years ago, not knowing who you were, and was absolutely blown away by your performance and music. What would you say was the overall reaction and feedback from NIN fans, and do you know why Trent Reznor picked you to open? Thanks!
Mew: Thanks a lot! NIN both band and fans were amazing to us! Trent is a super intelligent and cool guy. He just really likes the band, that was why he asked us. I think he got into us around the Glass handed kites record. And we actually felt we went down really well with the NIN fans, many have become Mew fans since then. Really happy to see NIN back on the road, we’d love to do more shows with those guys if possible!
akiramacgregor: Hi Mew! Are there any plans to release And the Glass Handed Kites on vinyl? It would be wonderful on that format!
Mew: I hope so. Vinyl is back in vogue!
ary_mew: What does the song No Shadow Kick means? I mean there are lyrics online but I heard it is a combination of different languages so what is the real meaning of the song?
Mew: I believe it’s a move from a karate computer game, if i’m not mistaking?
King_Halrald: Hey guys, just saw you in Paris and chatted to you after. Nick mentioned that one day when you’re older you might do a full live performance of Kites. He was joking but could that be a possibility? Would you ever consider playing an album start to finish live?
Mew: We might. Could be quite fun, as some of the songs are never played.
pepperidge: Snow Brigade is seriously one of my favourite songs of all time. What was the inspiration behind it?
Mew: Not sure, but i clearly remember writing it in Silas childhood room. Now that’s a good memory.
albot4000: Hi Jonas and Johan! I have to get the massive fanboy bit out of the way first (sorry! I promise it leads to my questions!). Since first hearing the opening minute or so of “Am I Wry? No”, (way back in 2003 when they used to still have CD listening stations in HMV stores!), I have been utterly hooked and a massive fan of everything you guys have produced. A shared love of your music was also one of the first things which drew me to my partner (9 years together this July!), so your music is hugely special for us to say the least. What I love most about your music is how you are able to combine so many diverse and distinct-sounding influences and create music which is both fragile and muscular, intricate, complex and challenging yet instantly accessible, and has such depth and range. You guys basically combine everything I love about different styles of music in one sound, and I find it hugely inspiring as someone who tries to write their own songs but was constantly torn between different directions. I also have a high singing voice for a guy and felt I would never be able to sing convincingly or effectively along with heavier or louder music. Basically, you guys proved to me it is not only possible to fit it all together, but that it can sound absolutely bloody fantastic too, and so original! This was the lightbulb of inspiration which kept me making music all these years and getting hours of joy out of doing so, and so for that and so many other things, I cannot thank you enough! My questions would therefore be: 1) Which of your influences showed you something was musically “possible” or gave you a similar “lightbulb” moment in the way you guys did to me and what as it? 2) What else drives or inspires you guys to keep making music? Thank you so much for doing this AMA and for all the wonderful music and memories!
Mew: Thank you so much! 1) We grew up with 80es pop, good stuff like Prince and Kate Bush. But when we were teens it was probably Nirvana that attracted us to the idea of becoming a band. We’d done creative stuff before, but in a different way. It was just a new and exciting energy 2) It sounds a bit corny perhaps, but we inspire each other I think, more than anything else. Of course we keep our eyes peeled and our ears.. folded out(?) for new art and music
Nordpolarmeer: When you are in a creative process und you feel stuck, how do you deal with this?
Mew: Usually move on to something else, then come back to it later and find that it’s just as difficult the second time…
TealPumpkin: Hey there! I’ve been a big fan for a few years now, and your music never gets old for me 🙂 Also, I have to thank you for not only making awesome music yourselves, but also for introducing me to Swirlies! (Uninteresting fact: My favourite songs of yours are Cartoons And Macramé Wounds and Saviours of Jazz Ballet!) My question is: How has your skills of writing music evolved over the years? For example, did you write really bad and bland music when you first started, and did you expect to be able to write so intricate pieces later on? Have a nice day, you guys! Love from Sweden!
Mew: Swirlies rule!!! They were definitely a big influence, and taught us how much a rock sound can be skewed into many other things. I don’t know if we wrote bland songs.. they were always a bit weird I think. But they probably weren’t very good in the beginning… You have yourself a lovely day as well!
SpencerReynen: Hi Mew, thanks for doing the AMA. Two questions- first is probably easier to answer than the second. 1. Do you write your music before you record it or do you just remember it after making it up? Because some of those guitar parts are beautifully complex and incredible, by the way. 2. I love the overall sound you achieve in your records, especially Frengers, which is my favorite of yours. I was wondering how much processing actually occurs when recording, mixing, and mastering, such as: is there a lot of EQ/compression going on, or quantization (the lining up of imperfectly played notes to a grid for correction, for those who do not know) going on the tracks, or is it just extremely well recorded, or a combination of both? Thanks!
Mew: 1) We write the majority of it in a rehearsal space, but layers always grow in the studio 2) Thank you. Frengers had the drums and bass recorded onto tape, which gave it a really warm sound. Rich does a lot of stuff in the mix, but we don’t use quantising and stuff like that, we prefer to have it sound like a band playing, the human touch so to speak
barbivillarreal: besides Corona Capital? will there be a show in Mexico City? or anywhere else in mexico? Monterrey, guadalajara… etc?
Mew: We don’t know, sorry. Nothing planned as of yet. But hoping to tour lots more in Mexico!!!
Pjulledk: What are your best memories from meeting a Frenger??
Mew: Too many good memories to single one out. We have the most lovely, creative and loyal frengers there be!
Eucocon: What are you guys most excited of from coming to Mexico? Do you have plans on opening a second date, independent to Corona Capital? That would be terrific!
Mew: Just really excited to come back to Mexico finally! Had such an unforgettable time last. Not sure if more shows yet, definitely at some point, but not sure when
Edenono: Wold you do anything possible to open another date in Mexico? We are crying for you guys xD
Mew: yeah we know, but no plans as of yet. Hope you’ll come see us!
stepupmike: Hi guys, here’s a long time frenger from Mexico really expecting your show in our lands. My question is, on 2012 you came with a song in a concert that the frengers called “Boy”, what did happen to it? why was it scratched from + – ? Best regards, Aldo.
Mew: Hi Aldo We were never able to complete that song, it was a couple of parts that didn’t really gel exactly. But we might pick it up in the future, if we can approach it from a different angle
djkt: Hey guys! Big fan from Mexico and anxious to see you in November. I really love your songs but your titles are always interesting. Mind to share how the titles “Introducing Palace Players” “Cartoons and Macreme wounds” and “Eight Flew Over One Was Destroyed” came to exist? I really love the layer you add not just in your music but the names of your songs it is always great. Really love you guys! Thanks for your music it’s been part of my life for a long time.
Mew: hey! Palace Players I think came from Damon Tutunjian of Swirlies, who played with us on almost every album in some form, who at some point called us monkey palace players, and we liked this idea, the idea of us having alternate identities as a separate band, who got to introduce the album. The other titles you mention, are just kinds of images that appeared when we were playing them, it just came to be
crayfl: Gangway: are you guys fans? They seem to be unknown outside of Denmark.
Mew: Really good band Gangway! “The quiet boy ate the whole cake” is a stunner of an album. And who dosen’t like “My girl and Me”?
hakubiwashuu: Where do you get your ideas for your album artwork? I especially love the art for And the Glass Handed Kites. I actually picked it up at a used record store on a whim because I was so drawn to the cover, and I am so happy I did! Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions 🙂
Mew: The artwork is all done by a company called “M/M Paris”, they are a very creative bunch and we love their twisted minds and work.
avaruushelmi: Hi Mew! You have been my favourite band for over nine years already and I can’t even begin to explain how much you guys mean to me! I’m going to see you play live this summer and I can’t wait! To my question: are there any songs of yours that are kind of a continuation to each other? That they are about the same story but in different songs? Lots of love from Finland!
Mew: Silas the Magic car and Reprise are a pair.
Frengersargentina: Have you ever had any contact with argentinian culture?
Mew: Steaks 🙂 Buenos Ayres has always interested me with its mixture of old european culture and architecture and South American culture.
pixiecow: How do you take your tea/coffee?
Mew: Tea: neat, with a pinch of sugar. Coffee: Round, rich blend with lots of creamy whole milk.
yrreiht: Hey Mew! Thanks for the AMA! Any plans about coming to South America? I’m from Brazil and I’d love to see you live.
Mew: Without revealing too much, we’re working on it, yes!
ninaeatworld: How long is the span between the first idea for a song and a complete track? Which is first, the lyrics or the music? Is it easier to write after years of experience or do you struggle with coming up with new themes?
Mew: We always try to make it difficult for ourselves, because if it’s easy it’s oftentimes too easy. Sometimes the idea forms and turns into a final thing pretty fast, but that’s rare. We live with things for a while, develop them, and if we’re still excited after some time has passed, we keep it. Lyrics never come before the music, although sometimes I’ll jot down ideas and thoughts in notebooks, and use them, edited, for songs.
Mewjira: Hi guys! I’m a big fan from Mexico, since long time now. I really love how you guys seem to play and explore with music and lyrics. That really keeps me hung on to your music. I was wondering about your early years as a band or group of friends. What where your early motivations? And… What keeps you guys motivated today? Will you play a solo concert in Mexico? Cheers guys! Much Love from Mexico!
Mew: I think early on it was a real discovery to do creative stuff together. It was kind of like playing with legos, only you had a feeling of achievement, creating something together. We did a lot of stuff before finally figuring out we should be a band. The motivation is pretty much the same now as ever! Would love to play Mexico much much more!
redditguy001: Can you share a moment in time where you felt like giving up and not pursuing music anymore?
Mew: There will always be ups and downs. Each album is a challenge, and sometimes when you’ve worked on something for so long, a kind of madness takes you. And you think: what is this we’ve done? Will anyone ever like it?
akiramacgregor: Hello Mew! Clinging to a Bad Dream has been amazing me everytime I hear it… where did you guys find inspiration for the rhythm? Thanks for being so dedicated to your art!
Mew: Bo and Silas had this groove worked out for a long time, it was something they put a lot of attention on, something they developed over a time. When we started getting the parts together, it was a bit like a puzzle. The triplets turn into 8/8, which is a pretty weird change, confusing but kind of beautiful
mewxican: I’ve been waiting for more than 6 years for your comeback to Mexico, will you be playing the old songs? How do you like Mexico? Have you got to know any part at all?
Mew: Yes, sure we always love to play some of our older songs. Some songs you just never gets boring to play. We’ve gotten so much love from “Mewxico”, that’s quite special!
fernandak: Hi guys :-), i have 3 questions *What is your biggest struggle of being in a band? *Which album was your favorite to make? *Are there any artist you would like to collaborate with? can’t wait to see u in november
Mew: Well, it takes a lot to be with the same guys for 20 years, working, traveling etc. Actually the last one was my favorite as it felt a bit easier to me. (Johan) There’s almost too many to mention. Put us in a studio with Prince and let’s see what happens 😉
catfoodparty: Hello Mew! Huge, huge fan since high school! I have one question. Were y’all set to play Bonnaroo in 2010? I saw you listed on a credible site once the line-up was announced, but then you were never listed outside of that. It’s been bugging me ever since – I just want to know if you had been booked and had to drop for whatever reason or if the site was just wrong.
Either way, come play in Knoxville, TN. 🙂 Thank you!
Mew: oooh, sorry can’t remember? Knoxville sounds good though!
erjesmith: Guys I would like to ask about the shift in style from “No More Stories” in comparison to plusminus. I don’t know if calling it a bit more “listen friendly” is the right thing. But I would sure like to know your thoughts and inspiration that brought you to here? Love, from South Africa
Mew: It’s well spotted. We defenitely wanted more of a directness to the new album. Michael Beinhorn (producer) was quite clear about that and so were we. It just seemed like the right challange for us to do something slightly less progressive.
semenless: I just wanted you guys to know, that when times were tough, I listened to your songs. It really helped me through some hard times. And even though I’m not sure, what the songs are about, they speaks to me, and have helped me through every kind of hard stuff. I just want to thank you guys for being alive today. 🙂 Have you ever experienced music, that changed your life in any way? And if so, who was the artist? And what did the music do to you? Hugs and good thoughts to you guys, Amalie
Mew: Thank you Amalie! Music has defenitely helped all of us through periods of our lives that maybe weren’t the nicest. Music has a healing power which makes it such a wonderful thing to make and play. It creates joy.
l2ura: Love the new album. Why does it take you so long to write your new material? Hope that doesn’t sound rude. It’s worth the wait!
Mew: I guess we need quite a lot of time getting all the details in order. But the truth is that not all songs take that long to make, it’s just some of them. But you have to love the trouble makers just the same 😉
ninaeatworld: Are you guys familiar with Periscope? Would you consider joining?
Mew: I know “Pariscope” the info magazine on what’s happening in and around Paris. But guess that’s not it, right? No sorry, don’t know it?
babyfoxling: What advice do you have for little shy frengers who would love to come say hi when seeing you at festivals and such, but just don’t have the guts to? – best regards from shy frenger
Mew: By all means come and say “hello”. We like that 🙂
Phoebecyan: If you had be a household object and still have your mind what would it be and why? I would be a painting. Something not really noticed but every once in a while when somebody does hopefully I in some way make them feel better…or the opposite because my eyes seem to follow them.
Mew: eeeehhh… I’d have to go with my very large framed American flag.. Don’t know why, but “big is beautiful” as they say.
ken_ashcorp: How was it battling mewtwo?
Mew: Ace, we sure kicked his a..!
knockknockitswalt: Hi Mew. First heard “Eight Flew…” in a fan-made flash video and have been hooked ever since. My question pertains to your shoegaze roots in the late 90s. What are some of your favorite shoegaze albums? My Bloody Valentine has got to be one of them. Anything recent that you guys enjoy? Say You’re Sorry B-side is so good!
Mew: Shoegaze as a whole meant a lot to us growing up. My Bloody Valentines “Isn’t anything” and “Loveless” are both masterpieces. I’d say Slowdives “Souvlaki” is a fantastic shoegaze record as well.
akiramacgregor: Hi Mew, are there any plans to reissue Half the World is Watching me and a Triumph for Man? They are very hard to find. Thanks.
Mew: Don’t know, to be honest?
Sam_Kuzel: Hello Mew! How do you get some of your wacky effects (guitar bass & sometimes vocals)? What are your favorite effects pedals, and how much of that stuff is done in the DAW?
Mew: We just pick up whatever cool pedals we can find. Most of the stuff is done pretty old school with pedals and analog effects.
alcyone156: Hello Mew! My name is Ana. I’ve been a big, big fan of yours from the first time I heard you. I would like to take this opportunity to express my admiration for you and to say THANK YOU for your music! It has played a crucial role in my life, it has helped me to cope during very difficult times. Your music expresses feelings that I otherwise can’t put in words. Thank you from the bottom of my heart Jonas, Johan, Bo and Silas, you are amazing! <3 Now to my questions: Rows is a masterpiece. Which was your inspiration to compose it? Have you considered playing it live? Thanks and we hope to see you soon in Sweden 🙂
Mew: Thank you Ana. That means a lot. Rows is a wonderfull piece of music for sure. Yes i’m certain that it will sneak into the live set at some point.
zmanffs: Is it true none of you knew how to play an instrument before becoming a band? Just something I heard once. Looking forward to seeing you in Grimstad, Norway this summer! And thank you guys so much for ‘And The Glass Handed Kites’, my all time favourite album.
Mew: Yes, it’s actually pretty close to the truth. We weren’t good enough players to learn other peoples songs so we found it easier and more natural to just write our own. Guess that was a blessing in disguise 🙂
CelesteSan: Hi guys! We are really happy to know You’re gonna be here in Mexico, but We wish to watch You in your own show. Are you planning another show besides the Corona Capital?
Mew: No, not at the moment, sorry
pixiecow: How do you keep yourselves entertained on long tour bus journeys?
Mew: A good book always helps. I’m reading the one about Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth fame, good stuff! Also, just watching the landscape passing by allowing you to think about life is sometimes really nice.
Photo Credit: Mew