Iceage are no longer strangers to scrutiny by the masses. It seems everyone and their mother has an opinion, whether hailing praise for their abrasive onslaughts, or simply passing off their attempts as youthful histrionics. They may not have much to say about their music in person (they’ve been known to be rather stoic), but Iceage’s nihilism whips itself at you in song form with the sense of immediacy, all products of trying to make sense of some very volatile emotions — naturally, considering the average age of the band is about 20. I managed to get a hold of guitarist Johan Wieth, who was on a bus somewhere in Copenhagen. He spoke mannerly, never divulging too much about the band’s inner-mechanics, beginning with his experiences touring the country.
“In Canada, we’ve played the major cities — Vancouver, Toronto and Montréal — but never Calgary. Our Canadian shows have always been good, we’re excited to be able to get a chance to play this city and to experience Sled Island.”
Much of their imagery and photographs of the band the band are pervaded with blood (on faces, on guitars) with crowd swarming and swallowing the band like a cult. Wieth laughs, “Sometimes, people will feel something about the music and then they will act out the way they feel. Sometimes, things can get a little crazy. It really depends on where we are playing and what kind of crowd we are playing for.” He explains, “Once, though, there was a guy who tried to throw Elias [Bender Rønnenfelt] out of the window. That was pretty fun to watch.”
I ask him about the transition from New Brigade to You’re Nothing and, in true Iceage fashion, he maintains a fairly general answer. “I think we’ve progressed in a very natural way, because we’ve known each other longer now. Our instrument playing has improved and we’ve also gotten to know each other better, musically. Some of us have known each other since we were little kids, but getting to know someone by being in a band with them is very different.”
As a band of humble and modest beginnings in Copenhagen’s DIY punk scene, they are now two albums into a very public domain, something Wieth explains that has always and will always take getting used to. “In a way, it’s nice to get attention, because it makes us more accessible. It means that there are more people coming to shows and showing support and by doing so gives us more opportunities. But, in another way it creates hype and a set of expectations.”
Amidst the impetuous disorder of touring, press and conjecture, Iceage has still managed to find time to focus on the crux of all their efforts. “We’ve written plenty of new songs since You’re Nothing, probably about six or seven. We really make it a point to continue our songwriting whenever we get the chance. This is what is important to us.”
Catch Iceage at the #1 Legion (downstairs) at 1 a.m. on June 20.
By Nivedita Iyer
Photo: Kristian Embdal