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Andrew Wyatt of Miike Snow
Something With Horns
by Matt Crawford on Sep 17, 2009
Two parts Swede pop and one part New York hip, Miike Snow emerged in the form of a blinged-out jackalope -- a mythical bunny with antlers -- but this band is no joke. The trio has the musical pedigree to match the buzz that has led to sold-out stops on its current U.S. tour. Pontus Winnberg and Christian Karlsson are the Swedish production duo behind Britney Spears’ hit “Toxic", along with tracks from several other top-tier pop artists. Andrew Wyatt has produced and recorded with numerous indie rock bands throughout his career and served as an in-house producer for Downtown Records. Together they mix the best of both worlds, with an indie aesthetic and big electronic hooks that are fun and mysterious all at once. Wyatt (vocals) spoke with SF Station during a phone interview from his home in New York.
SF Station (SFS): Where did the jackalope come from?
Andrew Wyatt (AW): It’s something that Christian’s tattoo artist made for us when we asked for something with horns.
SFS: How does that represent Miike Snow?
AW: I’ve never actually thought about that. It takes parts of different things that shouldn’t necessarily go together and then you can sell it to someone in a very cheap roadside restaurant.
SFS: Were you trying to keep your identity hidden with the jackalope when the band first went public?
AW: I think a lot of people have accused us of that and I don’t understand why. We weren’t trying to be mysterious; we just like that image. Our Myspace page always had our picture on it. We just wanted to think about the music and present it as something new. We didn’t want to necessarily advertise the other things we have done in the past. People are accusing us of hiding it because we didn’t advertise it.
It is kind of unfair. We have a right to choose whether we want to advertise the things we have done in the past or not. We didn’t feel it was really relevant for the band. We never hid it and we are not embarrassed of the things we did in the past.
SFS: You remixed a lot of indie-rock tracks when Miike Snow was first created and now a lot of bands are remixing your music. Was that always part of your plan?
AW: We just like doing that. Because we have been doing music for a while, we have a lot of friends who are talented producers and remixes are something that people do nowadays to get their name out.
There are so many blogs and people will put your music on their blog if you have a remix by somebody who is well known as a good remixer. It’s a good way for people to get to know about your band. Since we know a lot of people involved with music already, we decided to use that angle.
SFS: Are most of the remixes of your music authorized?
AW: They have all been authorized up until now. There is a new one that just came up a couple of days ago for our new song “Black and Blue” and I’m not sure if we authorized it. I haven’t heard it yet, to be honest.
SFS: Is that OK with you?
AW: We have respect for people who sometimes break the rules. I think it is important to have respect for people who are doing what they have to do to try to get their name out there. If people grab our song and they can make something good with it and get away with it, to me it doesn’t matter. It all depends on if the song is good. If it is not good, we won’t be into it.
SFS: You don’t use computers when you perform. Is it hard to recreate your record live?
AW: It is always a fun thing to try to start from scratch with every show. The thing with having a lot of computers is it always sort of blocks you into one rendition of a song. For obvious reasons, it’s boring.
I’ve been very disappointed with musicians, who have songs that I really like on their album, but then I go to their show and they are singing on top of their record. I could do that myself. I would much rather see people take a chance and put the effort in and see what happens. That is basically what happens at our shows.
Sometimes things come out great and sometimes bad shit goes on. If something breaks, it’s tragic and I get really upset during the show, but at least you’re having an experience and the audience can watch you deal with it. It puts the audience in a position of not knowing what you are going to do, which can be exciting and thrilling for them.
There is no risk factor involved with playing over a backing track. The only risk factor is your computer is going to break, your show is going to get cut short and people are going to feel like they got ripped off.
Miike Snow performs at Bottom of the Hill on October 3rd. Tickets are $12. Doors open at 8:30pm and the show starts at 9pm.
by Matt Crawford on Sep 17, 2009