Hailing from Sweden and the US, and having written for or worked with the likes of Britney Spears, Madonna, Mark Ronson and Carl Barat as songwriters and producers, Miike Snow are comfortable across a variety genres, as demonstrated by the band's electro-pop meets Wings second album Happy To You. With the record out on Monday (19 March), frontman Andrew Wyatt chats about the album, their famous guest and reveal just where 'Miike' is (just kidding, the band are named in honour of Japanese director Takashi Miike)...
How the devil are you? "I'm quite good thanks. I'm in Stockholm rehearsing."
Happy To You is your second studio album. Did you take a different approach coming into this one, than you did your debut? "I think so. The first album was actually almost done in our spare time and the second one was with the knowledge we'd been given the opportunity to make this a focus for ourselves and how could we express something that perhaps somebody else couldn't and what we were trying to express."
Is that why you've said before the album you thought that Miike Snow was an idea, and now you feel that you're a band? "Yeah, and I think that on some levels, we've pointed ourselves in a direction and tried to follow up on that direction with every additional song and idea that we did. We tried to figure out what our sound was and what we should focus on."
All of you in the band have written and produced for a lot of other artists and presumably you'll have a framework to work in for that artist's sound. Is it harder when you have to throw all that out the window and write your own songs for Miike Snow from scratch? "We would get to the studio and we'd be like ok its 4 o'clock now, by 10pm we have to have a song, and that's how we were used to working when we would work for other artists. We generally made the first album in that way. Where as this album we would take things home, we would individually bring in ideas and all decide as a group if we want to finish them. We would live with things for a little bit of time first."
How did Lykke Li, who sings on Black Tin Box, get involved on the album? "She's somebody that we toured with in the beginning then I did a couple of duets with her at her shows and people seemed to love. We just have a cool natural musical sensibility mesh, so it just seemed like a natural call to get her to come down and sing. We have a label together with her and Peter, Bjorn And John called Ingrid. We're doing it all together as a collective, bringing out new artists."
Any other guests on the album? "Dungen are a really great, I'd say even influential band, to the extent where if you listen to a band like Tame Impala you can say the direct correlation between what Dungen were doing in 1999 or 2001 and what Tame Impala are doing now. It's a very psychedelic proggy Swedish band. The mastermind of that band came and played Autoharp on a couple of our songs, his name's Gustav Ejstes".
Now the album is nearly out, you'll be hitting the road, how do you 'studio boffins' cope? "On the album there's so many new instruments, so the challenge is to pull that off. We want to try and give ourselves some smaller more intimate places where we can start out and try these things before we took them to bigger stages that we have scheduled for later on in the year."
You've remixed a lot of people, who would be your dream remixer of a Miike Snow song? "Aphex Twin, anything he wanted to. Mikke Snow Vs. Underworld would be awesome."
You got nominated for Grammy's Song Of The YEar for your work with Bruno Mars on Grenade. Did you go to the awards and more importantly how did that go down with your bandmates? "No I didn't. It wasn't that I actually wrote with Bruno mars, I think he's an amazing popstar and will make great music, but I think some of his music has been a bit wonky. He heard an old song of mine and actually turned it into that song. I wasn't even there so it didn't feel appropriate for me to go."
Finally, do you still get called Miike? "All the time. The day that no one thinks Miike Snow is a person is the day we should probably pack it in." Jim Campbell @jimdcampbell
Head to Miikesnow.com for music and more.