Miike Snow on Writing Pop That’s Not ‘Bad For Your Health’
How do you think fans of “Animal” will feel about iii?
I don’t know — you just don’t know. I try to stay on the supply side and not think too much about the demand side. I think what I’ve always done is written tons of songs and what happens to those songs you can’t really control anyway, so you just let it happen. I think people appreciate the spirit of it. Sure, “Heart Is Full” and the album opener are a total departure. We’ve never made a track before from a starting point of a pre-existing instrumental track from a hip-hop record and making a song out of it. We’ve never operated from that basis before. I think the question should always be “Is it good or isn’t it good?” Not “Does it sound like you?” or what people’s expectations of you are. You’re always going to run up against expectations versus reality in all aspects of life. I think we challenged ourselves and we still ended up making stuff that’s good. I think if people have an open mind, then they’ll probably still be satisfied, but in a different way than they were with “Animal.” When I hear “Genghis Khan,” I still hear main elements of Miike Snow, big time.
I see that in “Genghis Khan” too. So why hip-hop as the basis of this record? What were you listening to?
I’m looking right now at a J Dilla poster. J Dilla has always been one of my main favorite people that made music in the past 10 years. Christian recently brought in this J Dilla sample because they recently made all the stems available from Donuts and The Shining. We found this instrumental that was so inspirational. Once that was a piece of news that these instrumentals were out there, we just explored it like we always kind of do and it turned out to be a successful experiment. I really ended up liking the song “My Trigger,” which is the first on the record.
We tried a lot of things, which weren’t starting from the perspective of a hip-hop records. We were taking Ethio samples from Josh Diamond and Gang Gang Dance’s log, chopping up samples of what we got off an Ethiopian album and then turning that into a song. So, those are totally different ways of making a song. We’re all pop songwriters, so what we try to do is start songs from as weird of a place as we can and write that pop song that’s gonna galvanize people into singing the chorus, and feel really good for people to sing, without making them feel like idiots. Our formula has been take what’s great about pop songwriting and leave what’s not great about some pop songwriting and present that with as complex an array of instrumental aspects we can add on the production side.
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