Author: Ann Lancaster

Seattle, Washington-based UI/UX, front end web designer, visual artist. Proud geek, Frenger, & lover of indie music (especially live & Nordic.) Webmaster for @mewxinfo. Always creating.

This post is going to read a bit like a love letter to KEXP, and for good reason. This morning, at long last, the video from Mew’s live session at KEXP during their September visit to Seattle was finally posted. I’ve been waiting patiently (if not a bit anxiously) for this to happen for a month and a half. There are a myriad of reasons for my worries, however, they were for naught; as anything produced by KEXP, it is beautiful and masterfully executed. We just had to wait for the video crew to return from their latest trip to Iceland Airwaves, where they recorded their famous live sessions from that legendary music festival.

For those uninitiated, KEXP 90.3 FM Seattle is an indie music institution. In their previous life, they broadcast as KCMU out of the University of Washington campus in Seattle, before undergoing a brand transformation through help from Paul Allen (of Microsoft) and moving to their current location. Historically they have been known for breaking bands that have become huge success stories. (Anyone ever heard of a little band called Nirvana? You get the idea.) These days they run their operations completely on charitable donations from businesses and individual contributing members, and are one of the last surviving non-profit radio stations in the United States that is still run completely by human DJs. This is something amazing and special in this world where everything is becoming increasingly automated. Just check out their recent profile in the New York Times. KEXP has been an integral part of my life for as long as I’ve lived in Seattle. I could write a book about all the things this station does that make my life richer. I’ve made so many friends and learned so much about music and culture through them; after all, without their services it is possible I would never have found my way to Mew. They have earned my unending love and support.

Nick Watts is a big fan of KEXP: just check out that shirt

Most of you have probably run across their YouTube videos at one time or another. They run over 500 live sessions in their studios per year (that’s averaging more than one a day, which is incredible when you think about it.) Nearly all of them are simultaneously broadcast over the FM airwaves and internet stream, and this year they have also begun livestreaming some video as well. This wasn’t the case with Mew’s visit, though. Mew came through Seattle during a week that KEXP was running their fall pledge drive, which meant that the studio was jam-packed full of volunteers helping to take donations and all of the DJ staff were spending their on-air time asking for money, so all of the in-studio sessions were being recorded for later playback instead of being broadcast as they were happening.

I was invited to come tour the radio station and view an in-studio session as a thank-you gift for being a contributing member of a certain tier (it wouldn’t be polite to tell you how much money I donate to them every year, but rest assured it is…more than I can actually afford.) I had asked to visit when Mew came through, without knowing for sure that they would be stopping by. The tour felt a bit silly to me, as the previous week my friend DJ Shannon had asked me to appear on her Thursday night show as a guest DJ for a special Mew rarities hour. So clearly I didn’t really need the tour, but it was still really good fun to see the bustle of the volunteers as the whole building came to life during the pledge drive.

The view from inside the KEXP sound booth

When I entered the live recording booth and saw Mew on the other side of the glass, it was nothing short of a dream come true. It sounds so cliched, but it’s the only way I can explain it. When I’d heard their last live session back in 2009 (when they were touring for No More Stories…), I thought to myself how amazing it would be to actually be there to see it happening live. For years I dreamt of that, but never did I think it could actually happen. But there I was, and there they were, and everything was surreal. Nick Watts was sitting at his keyboard facing the window, and he noticed me in the booth and waved. Jonas Bjerre turned around and smiled when he saw me. I walked over to the open studio door to say hi. While we waited for the host DJ to arrive, Mew rehearsed a bit and I chatted with the handful of people inside the tiny sound booth: DJ Shannon, KEXP’s sound engineer, Mew’s tour manager, and the donor coordinator who had given me the tour.

KEXP’s sound engineer Kevin Suggs hard at work

The host DJ arrived, and everything got going. I continued to float on a happy little cloud of surreality, feeling so lucky and so proud to be able to be right there at that moment, going down the mental checklist of events that had to happen in order for this to be a reality. Incredible. I snapped a few photos but mostly I just watched intently, as I knew my iPhone’s dinky little camera would have nothing on the professional photos that KEXP would share with us later. As expected, Mew’s set was fantastic, although it ended far too soon for my taste. But since this was just one of three times I would see them that day, I thought 20 minutes was just fine!

Afterwards I was lucky enough to chat with all of the band members briefly (and to even practice a little bit of Danish with them; also a huge dream come true for me. It’s kind of amusing that the first native Danes I encountered since I began studying the language less than a year ago were the same ones who got me interested in the language to begin with. I’m not a brave person by nature, but I had to give it a try.) I made sure Jonas knew how badly I wished the backdrop animations would be used that evening during their full show. (I’ll say it a million times: their live show is so much better with the animations. It’s part of the full package that I fell in love with.) We took a few photos together, then waited a bit for their car to pick them and their gear up, and we parted ways for a couple hours before we would meet up again in a record shop across the street from the evening show’s venue.

One ridiculously happy Frenger with some Danish musician

Throughout that amazing day I had to keep reminding myself that it was all real, that everything I was experiencing was actually happening. I owe so much to the wonderful people at KEXP who helped me fulfill my somewhat ridiculous wishes. They always do amazing things for the independent music community, and all on a shoestring budget. They are currently in the process of moving into an upgraded facility near the Space Needle so they can continue to offer these experiences and more. If you have any spare cash, please consider sending some their way: it would be put to good use, trust me.

Text & Photos: Ann Lancaster


Wonder Ballroom, Portland, OR, USA (September 28, 2015)
Neumos, Seattle, WA, USA (September 30, 2015)


When you’ve waited six years to see Mew return to your hometown, it feels almost silly to try to attribute mere words to the flood of feelings washing over you. I’m quite sure many North American fans relate strongly to this sentiment. The last time the guys played Seattle, my entire life was turned upside down, so to say I was looking forward to this is the understatement of the century. In the interim, I have discovered the amazing company of so many worldwide Frengers and people within the independent music industry, so this time around there was an extra dimension to the experience I could only have imagined back in 2009.

I had originally planned to see all the shows in the Pacific Northwest (Portland, Vancouver, and Seattle), but I had to concede that I am only human and trying to do all of this would have diminished my experiences of each event, so I opted to focus on Portland and Seattle. In the end, I managed to see them five separate times over two days, leaving me with zero regrets about skipping Vancouver.

On this tour, the guys have been playing a series of in-store events at independent record shops, where they have been showcasing their acoustic versions of the more popular songs from “+ -” for small, intimate crowds in broad daylight. Having fallen desperately in love with the Quiet Sessions version of Witness, this was something I was very excited to see in-person. I first caught up with them at Music Millennium in Portland, where Jonas Bjerre, Johan Wohlert, and Nick Watts set up their gear in a balcony on the second floor, overlooking the record shop. They played their achingly beautiful, stripped-down versions of Witness, Satellites, Sometimes Life Isn’t Easy, and Water Slides.

Afterwards, they held a short autograph session and meet-and-greet. I got in line with the other excited fans, and upon reaching the counter I was delighted to discover they remembered me from our last meeting, ten months ago. We shared a few jokes and I even got to practice a bit of Danish with Jonas, which was a huge deal for me as I’ve been studying the language since returning home from Copenhagen last November.

Shortly thereafter I found myself inside Wonder Ballroom, at the front of stage right in between Mads Wegner and Jonas. Mew played a solid, energetic set, and I was extremely impressed with Mads’ guitar skills and ability to play their songs accurately. He has some big shoes to fill in his role as guitarist, and he is doing an absolutely fantastic job. The crowd was very enthusiastic and seemed grateful to have the guys back in town. I bought a bunch of merchandise, but didn’t linger afterwards as I had a very long drive home ahead.

Two days later, Mew arrived in Seattle, my stomping grounds. I had the privilege of beginning my day with a private viewing of their live session at KEXP 90.3 FM radio station. Their setlist was similar to the in-store sessions they’ve been doing, and it was absolutely exquisite. (As a side note, KEXP is an extremely important part of my life in Seattle, and I had the unique opportunity to be a guest DJ on the station the previous week where I played a full hour of Mew rarities. What a dream come true!) I had the chance to chat briefly with each band member, and Jonas told me he’d been running into some technical issues with the background animations at some of the gigs, but he was hoping to have them working for that evening’s show. I crossed my fingers that it would work out, because I see the animations as an essential part of the Mew live experience.

In the KEXP studios

That afternoon, they played an in-store set at Everyday Music, an enormous record store just down the street from Neumos, where they would be playing later that evening. I found myself surrounded by other Frengers, several people I’d known for a long time and some I just met for the first time at that moment. There is something utterly magical about being in the presence of others who feel exactly as you do about this band, and this has become one of my favorite parts of seeing them live. Another meet-and-greet session gave birth to some truly ridiculous photos, and then we were off to the venue.

Everyday Music in-store session

Neumos is my home-away-from-home in Seattle (as it is the club where most moderately popular indie bands play here) and it was the place where I had first seen Mew in 2009. The night’s show was SOLD OUT! My friends and I secured a happy Frengers bubble at stage left, in front of Johan and Silas Graae. After the Dodos opening set concluded and I saw the white screen appear at the back of the stage, I actually screamed. The animations were back!

This gig was the eleventh time I’ve seen Mew live. Even taking into consideration the very first time I saw them in Seattle or their epic 22-song set in Helsinki last November, this was easily the best show I have ever seen them play. The band and the crowd were in just the right mood, and with the animated backdrops pulling me directly into the Mew world, it was exactly the experience I so desperately craved as a fan. I was grateful some of the first-timers I had brought with me could see them in the same way I had six years prior, and I know this won them some new fans. It was thrilling to see new animations for Making Friends and Rows (and holy cow, did they ever nail all 11 minutes of Rows live! What a fantastic thing to finally see in person!) Seattle absolutely adores Mew, and the feeling is mutual. Come back soon, guys!


Text: Ann Lancaster
Photos: Josiah Ivey and Ann Lancaster
Photo Gallery

Setlist: Portland
Witness / Satellites / Special / The Zookeeper’s Boy / Introducing Palace Players / Sometimes Life Isn’t Easy / Water Slides / Snow Brigade / She Spider / Medley / Making Friends / Rows / Am I Wry? No / 156 — My Complications / Comforting Sounds

Setlist: Seattle
Witness / Satellites / Special / The Zookeeper’s Boy / Introducing Palace Players / Sometimes Life Isn’t Easy / Water Slides / Snow Brigade / She Spider / Medley / Making Friends / Rows / Am I Wry? No / 156 — Comforting Sounds


Being a computer nerd and huge Mew fan means sometimes I stumble across things that haven’t been officially announced yet. So went the other week, when I was absent-mindedly browsing through Spotify and happened upon a listing for a deluxe version of “+ -” that included two surprises. In this listing for a 20-track album were the previously unreleased “Quiet Sessions” version of The Night Believer (this is track 7/7 of these sessions, never before included) and a brand new track called Daddy Drone. I promptly listened to both several times in a row.

Daddy Drone makes excellent use of Jonas Bjerre’s layered vocals. The same several lines are repeated over and over again, each time building in intensity: a child’s plaintive wishes on repeat. One can imagine a small child tugging on his mother’s clothing, asking for things, testing her to see if she’s paying attention. Some part of me wonders if this is the other side of the interaction presented in the unfinished song Boy that they premiered at the private show at Bremen Teater in Copenhagen and Roskilde Festival in 2012 (which featured the head-grooving owl animation!)

I wanna see daddy
I wanna go to school
I wanna light matches
I wanna build fires
I wanna see daddy

I could listen to this 20 times in a row and not get tired of it. It may be one of Mew’s shortest songs ever, but those two minutes are highly-addictive.

Other tracks on this new release include the seven “Quiet Sessions” songs that were previously given free to subscribers of Mew’s official mailing list, plus the NO CEREMONY/// and 808 State/Graham Massey remixes of Water Slides. If only they’d have included Drinking Soda and Western Silver Lion Cub, which to date are only available on the Japanese release. Release date in the US is listed as September 11, 2015.

Buy “+ – Deluxe Edition” (digital) here (Note: may not be available in all countries):
iTunes / Amazon



At long last, Mew’s North American tour will kick off tomorrow, September 17, with a show at The Observatory North Park in San Diego, California. This will be Mew’s first proper tour on this side of the world since December 2009 when they were here promoting No More Stories…. With only a handful of festival performances (SXSW) over here in the interim, American and Canadian fans have been waiting for six full years to see the guys in action.

Mexican fans will be quick to point out that it is not a true North American tour, as there are no stops scheduled for their lovely country (save for the Festival Corona Capital later on this year.) With a gap of five days in between their Las Vegas and Hollywood performances, it stands to reason they may have intended to visit Mexico during this time, but for some reason it may not have worked out. Instead, they have filled some of these empty days with several intimate in-store performances at local record shops, which should prove to be very special experiences for all. Do try to get in to one of these if you live nearby! (All of the in-store events are listed on our Events Page with instructions on how to get in.)

We have amassed an army of eager reviewers and photographers to cover all the action over here, so be prepared to experience Mew from a new perspective! We will be posting things as they roll in, so you can expect a flurry of activity over the next month.

If you haven’t yet bought tickets (why haven’t you?!) there are still some available. Check out where they are playing in North America on our Events Page.

Hope to see you out there!


The morning of June 11, I awoke to a flurry of messages from friends all over the world. “Look! I found you!” they said. “Here I am too!” My entire social network was abuzz with the news of the release of Mew’s newest music video for “The Night Believer”. Just me and Mew and 999 of my closest Frengers.


Just a small selection of people I recognize and regularly interact with online, captured frame by frame from the final video

For anyone not in the know (which is unlikely given you are reading this website, but for the sake of thoroughness I’ll explain anyhow) the word “Frengers” is a portmanteau of “friends” and “strangers”. In the liner notes for the album “Frengers” they have given us a definition: “Not Quite Friends But Not Quite Strangers”. The word was eagerly adopted as the friendly name for Mew’s fanbase.

Mew has always had a very strong relationship with their fans. They have long supported this website and welcomed interaction of many kinds. Jonas Bjerre once told me he was astounded by the fact that so many people had come together around their band, to form acquaintances, friendships, and even marriages. Nearly every Frenger I’ve met online or in person has felt like an instant friend. There’s just something inherently special about Mew fans: they tend to be kind, friendly, intelligent, creative, and accepting of each other’s differences. It feels like a tribe brought together by an underlying shared attraction to the bizarre and the beautiful.

“The Night Believer” celebrates this tribe with great fanfare. 2500 people from all over the world were chosen to submit a webcam photo of themselves plus a recording of them singing parts of the song alongside Jonas. 1000 of these made the final cut. A week prior to the video’s release, Microsoft Denmark provided a behind-the-scenes video which explained in business-terms how the idea was formed and executed from their end. But what was the experience like for a fan participating in the process?

After Mew announced the project, we were directed to a web form to submit our information. They told us we would be selected based on geographic spread, in order to best represent the diversity of the fanbase. As we waited for a response, the anticipation morphed into real anxiety; of the hundreds of Mew fans I know in the world, only a handful had been accepted into the project. How could that be?! As it turned out, there had been a snafu in the process of sending out the invitations, and within a day almost everyone I knew who had signed up had also been accepted. Yay!

The next step contained two separate parts: a openly accessible collaborative Microsoft OneNote Online document which everyone was encouraged to add content to, as well as the video creation studio website which required a username and password to access. A very small subset of participants were also chosen to attend a short Q&A session with Bo Madsen and Silas Graae over Skype.


A tab from the OneNote document

The OneNote document was (and at the time of this writing, still is) available for anyone to freely edit. Frengers did all sorts of crazy and creative things, sharing their Mew-inspired drawings, paintings, poetry, photography, tattoos, even anonymous secrets! One of my favorite parts of this document was the “Mewtants” tab which came about as a result of the “Photo Booth” section of the video creation website.

Each Frenger was assigned a single frame from the video which we were supposed to mimic as closely as possible. Some of the poses were extremely tricky to match, often requiring help from another person to execute properly (like the back of someone’s head, arms playing air guitar or drums, or closed eyes.) What they all shared in common was the fact that the sample pose was ghosted behind your own webcam image, creating a weird hybrid creature of yourself and a band member. We quickly began sharing our “Mewtants” with each other, and this silly accidental artform derived from the video creation process took on a life of its very own.


The Photo Booth section of the video creation website, birthplace of Mewtants

Once you had taken a photo you were pleased with, the next step was to sing your duet with Jonas. This caused quite a bit of apprehension amongst shy Frengers who didn’t feel confident in their singing ability, but we were all assured that however bad we sounded, it would be “fixed” later on and we should just relax and have a good time. This Frenger cannot carry a tune, but I gave it a go anyway, and decided to keep my first take (which was not particularly great, but was punctuated with one of my cats loudly meowing to end the song.) I figured it would give someone on the other end a good laugh, if nothing else.

After a bit of a pause while the audio uploaded, the final screen appeared with a link to your own submission, which you could share with others over social media if you so desired. (After much cajoling, I did actually share my creation with one very trusted person, but I was not keen to do so.)

And thus began the wait as the submissions were all processed on the other end and edited into the final product.


The Recording Studio section of the video creation website

The video was slated to be released on June 8, but unfortunately circumstances behind the scenes caused the release date to be pushed back three days. Since I live in the United States, which is 9 hours behind Copenhagen time, I was dead asleep when the final video release was announced. Unfortunately I missed the initial rush of excitement and the chance to find myself in the video. My friends had already found me by the time I awoke. That’s okay though; it was heartwarming to see other people diving into the video with the same fervor as I would have.

Since I’d been involved from the start, I had a pretty good picture in my mind of what the final product would look like, and the end result was spot on. As a designer and computer geek, I got a particular kick out of the sleek, modern visual presentation, all the cute user interface jokes and less-than-subtle throwbacks to old Microsoft UI elements. But most importantly, I felt incredibly honored to have been part of the experiment, to have had some impact on a piece of art by my favorite band, and to share it with so many people dear to my heart.

Thank you, Mew.

Read more about the process on Mew365.

“The Night Believer”: Behind The Case

“The Night Believer (Featuring Frengers)” Music Video



After six long years, Mew will finally return to North America for a 16-city tour this fall. Half of the stops are on the West Coast of the US, where Mew have seen good support. San Francisco band The Dodos will open for Mew on these dates.

Pre-sale tickets will go on sale on Wednesday, June 10 at 9:00 AM local time on Mewsite. (Pre-sale password = waterslides) General sale will begin on Friday, June 12.


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 Reddit.

We have compiled the list of questions that Mew had time to answer on this page: Mew’s Reddit AMA.



Photo Credit: Mew


Glasgow was Mew’s first indoor solo (non-festival) show since the release of “+ -” and here they revealed what the new setlist could be like for the rest of the tour.

The Zookeeper’s Boy
Silas the Magic Car
My Complications
The Night Believer
Eight Flew Over, One Was Destroyed
Saviours of Jazz Ballet
Medley (Clinging to a Bad Dream / The Zookeeper’s Boy / Louise Louisa)
Am I Wry? No
Snow Brigade
She Spider
Water Slides
Comforting Sounds



For the T-Festival in Taipei, Taiwan, Mew played their first full-length show since their November tour of the Nordic countries.

Mew will continue their Asian tour with stops in Singapore and Indonesia, so you can look forward to reviews and photos from those shows.

Photo: Mavis Ku

Setlist: T-Festival

Satellites / My Complications / Am I Wry? No / 156 / Water Slides / Beach / Silas the Magic Car / Hawaii / Snow Brigade / Apocalypso / Saviours of Jazz Ballet / Medley / White Lips Kissed / Special / The Zookeeper’s Boy / Cross the River on Your Own —– Comforting Sounds