Sean Finnan meets Jonas Bjerre of Danish alt-indie boys Mew
With the title of their new album spanning a massive twenty-three words and describing themselves as “the world’s only stadium indie band”, Mew are a band with no fear of being described as pretentious.
The outfit started out in a north Copenhagen suburb fifteen years ago releasing material on their own label, Evil Office. Without the pressures of a major label on the band for their formative years, Mew were able to explore and develop their unique alternative sound, described as being “experimental dream pop”.
The band is now signed to Sony’s Epic label – but fortunately are given the same amount of creative control as with their indie label. Mew’s lead singer, Jonas Bjerre tells otwo that “Sony don’t really get involved that much. They really let us do our own thing. They knew that when they signed the band that we’d prove to them that we’d do everything ourselves.”
Five albums and a European tour with REM later (“Seeing Stipe up on stage from the side of the stage every night was pretty good value, on a learning scale, for a frontman on stage”), the band have arrived with their new album and the rather poetic title of No More Stories, Are Told Today, I’m Sorry, They Washed Away. No More Stories, The World is Grey, I’m Tired, Let’s Wash Away. This must hold the unique distinction for the only album title that can double as a poem, with the title taken from the chorus of ‘Hawaii Dream’. According to Bjerre, the lengthy title has met with mixed reactions. “I guess it’s the whole point. Some people like it and some people don’t. Whatever!”
Titling aside, the album has received some great reviews; critics have described it as “a surprisingly optimistic affair that does a good job of convincing the listener that Mew might finally be within screaming range of the dreamy magnificence they’ve long aspired to.”
With their music inspiring such vibrant reviews, one wonders what artists have influenced Mew’s sound. Describing themselves as “kids of the eighties”, Mew’s influences stem from acts such as Prince and The Pet Shop Boys, to the alternative sound of My Bloody Valentine. The effect of their somewhat flamboyant influences is evident in their sets: their performances are characterised by the use of visuals, transforming any venue into the band’s own haven. “We wanted to create a world around the music. We felt that we could go into any club or whatever place and turn it into our place.”
Mew bring their new album unto Irish shores for the first time when they play The Academy on the 4th November.
Mew’s album, thankfully referred to as No More Stories, is out now.