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Sophy Grimshaw asks the band of producers how they rock live crowds ‘We always wanted to be in a band, but we got distracted, and suddenly found we were producing music for lots of big pop artists,’ says Christian Karlsson, one third of the group Miike Snow. ‘We never knew how to fit in on other people’s records, but we just did our own thing and sometimes it really worked.’ Together with his professional partner Pontus Winnberg, under the name Bloodshy and Avant, the Swedish duo produced tracks for Madonna, Kylie Minogue and Britney Spears – including Toxic, Brit’s Grammy-winning, genre-smashing, fanbasedemographic-defying hit of 2004. With nothing left to prove behind the mixing desk, the pair formed Miike Snow with American singer-songwriter Andrew Wyatt in 2007. ‘He was the perfect match, finally the person we had been looking for and that we clicked with,’ says Karlsson of Wyatt, who earned his stripes as a rock star playing with members of the late Jeff Buckley’s band. If Britney-meets-Buckley isn’t the easiest sonic prospect, Miike Snow’s eponymous debut was instantly listenable and effortlessly cool. ‘We really like to create great melodies and we have big influences from dance music, and a lot of indie pop and rock stuff,’ says Winnberg. ‘It’s a blend.’ ‘Making beats for other people felt like work to me,’ adds Karlsson. ‘But being in Miike Snow doesn’t feel like work at all. This is the only thing we want to do now. All I’m thinking about

is the next record, more touring and doing Miike Snow remixes of other artists during our time off.’ (As for the name: ‘We got an email from someone called Mike Snow and just said: “Let’s call the band that,”’ they shrug, ‘and just stuck an extra ‘I’ in.’) Miike Snow have spent the last year touring their perfect, silken dance-pop-rock internationally, playing to club audiences and huge festival crowds (including at V and iTunes Live). But how does a band founded by producers, with a singer who likes to mess around with Auto-Tune voice distortion, work a stage? ‘We needed to build a strong live reputation and put a lot of effort into that,’ says Winnberg, who grew up playing in punk bands. ‘So we

SNOW MEN Left to right: Winnberg, Wyatt and Karlsson. The band least likely to get swine flu

We don’t have any laptops on stage. Just old sequencers and people don’t have any laptops or anything computerised on stage, just old sequencers and people.’ This allows the band to improvise parts of the set each night, explains Karlsson: ‘We keep the arrangements completely open, so every show is different for the audience and they know it’s original. Not having computers makes it a challenge on stage, but that’s good. It helps make the live show interesting.’

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Miike Snow interview  

Miike Snow interview by Sophy Grimshaw