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Danish punks Iceage take their genre-jumping noise on the road

Monday 22nd, June 2015 / 11:29
By Alex Molten
Photo: Cali Dewitt

Photo: Cali Dewitt

VANCOUVER — When first asked about Iceage’s upcoming tour, guitarist Johan Surrballe Wieth’s answer is hesitant. “It’s very long. That’s one thing I can tell you [it’s] about a month and a half,” he laughs.

The scale of the tour is impressive with dates spanning North America and Europe. This Danish band formed in 2008 while members were still in their teens and their successes have steadily grown. Weith’s band mates are bass player Jakob Tvilling Pless, drummer Dan Kjær Nielsen, and Elias Bender Rønnenfelt on vocals.

Their noisy and abrasive style of music has garnered positive attention from music critics on each release. The un-ignorable angst-ridden lyrics sung by Rønnenfelt come across with every word sounding painful and wrenched from the gut.

The term ‘critically acclaimed’ could easily be applied to them. “It’s nice when you feel that [you are] doing something that is important and that matters, that you can be proud of. Of course it’s nice have some sort of conformation,” says Weith, on topic. “You have to sort through it because some people are generally, actually interested in what you do, and some people just see somewhere that [they’re] supposed to feel something and then they sort of just live through that. So I think that it has its upside and its downside. I think that if it’s genuine, something people have a genuine passion for it, then I think it’s a very good thing. But people who are just there [because] someone wrote in an article that [they] were supposed to [be], then that’s a bad thing.”

The band has been called punk, post-punk, and noise rock amongst other things. Their sound is difficult to nail down into a genre and it has grown more challenging to do so with their new release, the third LP for the band, Plowing Into The Fields of Love. In the song “The Lord’s Favorite” there is an undeniable twang to the guitar, while in other songs like “Against The Moon” there are moments where the bands use of horns is reminiscent of the indie rock band Neutral Milk Hotel.

“We don’t write music in the way that we sit down and say we want to write this specific kind of song, we just write the music and then it comes out the way it does. So people tend to overanalyze a little bit, but we really don’t,” says Wieth, explaining that their genre jumping style is not something mapped out, “I don’t consider our music as one specific genre other than it is rock music. And then, I mean, people have the tendency to have to know [if] it’s either this or it’s that. [If] it’s post this, pre that, you know it’s what people say. I personally do not have to say that I play in a punk band nor a post punk band. I think people have a general need to do that… in order to relate.”

When asked to describe touring in three words, Wieth did one better and described it in four: depraving, uplifting, adventurous and misadventurous. But what is the biggest misconception about touring?

“That it is always fun. Yeah, I think that’s a big misconception. People usually tend to leave out driving for approximately eight hours a day,” sighs Weith, “What makes it worth it is that I really like to play music. It makes it worth it because we get to do things that other people can’t imagine, I guess. You get to meet terrible people, and wonderful people, and boring people. You get to see the worst places and the strangest places.”

Iceage perform at The Cobalt on June 28th.

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BEATROUTE AB E-EDITION

Alberta

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Blake Berglund: Paging between progressive and pastoral 

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