Interview: Bo Madsen (Mew)

An exclusive chat with Bo Madsen, guitarist of Denmark's Mew, about the band's new album "No more stories / are told today / I'm sorry / they washed away / no more stories / the world is grey / I'm tired / let's wash away"

Some people are saying "No more stories" is Mew's 'happy' record. Is it?

I wouldn't say I see this record as happy, no, in places it's really not. But it's definitely a more colourful record. We tried to paint with a lot of different colours and this record has a really wide variety of emotions and moods and elements. We've also always liked songs that incorporate change somehow, to be able to change direction during the course of the song. But then sometimes you find a guitar part that's really fun just to grind away at for a while.

The song "Silas the Magic Car" has lyrics that mention you and Silas by name. That's quite different from other Mew songs, where the lyrics are often more surreal?

Yeah we tend to use vocals as another instrument and often the songs don't have a narrative. When you're writing a book you need a story and a narrative and you're building drama, but songs aren't like that. You don't need to have a story about someone: they went to the bakery and then they fell into the lake... We use words in quite a non-logical way, like using them as different colours. So I always shy away from explaining the stories behind songs.

Is it true "New terrain" plays a different song if you play it backwards?

Yes it will play another song, called "Nervous". We played some sounds backwards in the studio when we were making "New terrain" and we liked the way it sounded, so we decided to record another track onto it backwards. If you buy the vinyl version of the album it has "New terrain" as the first song and "Nervous" as the last song. We really liked the idea of beginning and ending the album with the same song.

The band is a bit media shy at times but you also seem to really enjoy communicating with your fans online?

I do have a private life that I want to keep for myself, just like Jonas does, but we also enjoy being able to talk to our fans and we see that as important. Music is about trying to communicate and to connect with something in other people. The live show is an interaction with the audience and they are part of it for us just like we're doing something for them. Together we're like a family, a family of Frengers.

Interview by Sophy Grimshaw