Hometown: New York City and Stockholm, Sweden
Album: Miike Snow
Band Members: Christian Karlsson, Andrew Wyatt, Pontus Winnberg
For Fans Of: Phoenix, Depeche Mode, The A.M.
Earlier this year, when Miike Snow released the single “Animal” off its self-titled debut LP, the band’s identity seemed shrouded in mystery—something that lead singer and songwriter Andrew Wyatt contends wasn’t planned.
“I don’t think we ever intended to make anything mysterious about the band,” Wyatt says. “I think it’s because those guys”—meaning his bandmates, Swedish production duo Christian Karlsson and Pontus Winnberg—“have done so much high profile stuff that people were kind of shocked we didn’t use that to try to get attention for the project.” He says “high profile,” and he means it: Karlsson and Winnberg produced “Toxic” for Britney Spears, which topped the pop charts and won a 2004 Grammy. But the duo’s collaboration with Wyatt gave birth to something much richer and deeper—an album that blends the producers’ proclivity for infectious synthesized beats the songwriter’s stark, eloquent narrative lyrics.
Formerly of early-2000s New York rock band The A.M., Wyatt drew from personal experiences in writing Miike Snow’s debut, an intimate process that he says isn’t his usual approach. “I think it could have been maybe that I was just trying to have a cathartic experience within the songs,” he says. Sure enough, the somber “Sylvia” takes an unexpected journal through tragedy and love; the name has been changed to protect the innocent, Wyatt says, but it the situation it describes was real. The raw, organic emotion extends to “Black and Blue,” Wyatt’s favorite vocal work on the album, which sounds like a tidal wave rushing forward and then backing off, its lingering sadness balanced by pounding, rhythmic beats.
Miike Snow will be followed up by tours of the U.K. and America in early 2010, and ideas for a follow-up album are already being thrown around, though no one’s more surprised than the band itself. “We really didn’t anticipate that we would be taking this project this far,” Wyatt admits. “But now that it’s become something that commands energy and effort, we have to make sure that we’re making something we really feel good about.”