Musicscan: Would you agree to say New Idea Society is still an underrated band in Europe? What are your expectations for your upcoming tour?
New Idea Society: Well, some people have loved NIS in Europe for awhile, but I know what you are getting at. We haven't headlined Leeds yet. We probably should though.
Honestly, I do think we are underrated in Europe. I hope that doesn't sound bad.
Musicscan: What you are heading for in the context of New Idea Society – to overcome boundaries or to play what feels right and comes to your mind naturally?
New Idea Society: I am not very interested in observing boundaries in New Idea Society. Each album has had a different feeling and concept. Even the first album You Are Awake Or Asleep, where the songs were rather standard we tried to push the manner in which they were recorded. It was very important to us on that record. On The World Is Bright and Lonely we recorded everything live, including vocals and on the new album we tried very hard to create space and use the sonic spectrum. I do not think about respecting any genre, I don't know what genre we are. The only type of band that comes to mind when I think of things like that are the Pogues. Somehow they would mix in something new but inter-weave it with a respect and total understanding of tradition that is quite beautiful. We are not trying to do that. That being said, on early songs like "The Quiet Nora Lee", I was aware of folk music of course. It had to do with Woody Guthrie.
Musicscan: As far as scenes and styles go, the underground is constantly changing, up and coming bands seem to have a different agenda that some of the veteran bands might had. Who do you feel sets out with the same ideology as New Idea Society; attempting to accomplish the same things that you have?
New Idea Society: I thought about this for awhile, but it is difficult for me to know what other bands are thinking. I only know what my friends are doing. I don't really know what agenda another band has unless they spell it out. Our agenda is really an in the moment kind of thing. We want to make the best song, record or sound in the moment. We want to play the best show we can in the moment.
Musicscan: Some of today s bands seem to miss passion and honesty. You have lots of both and that's why I enjoy Somehow Disappearing so much – it’s honest and profound and it’s having contrasts and a good dramaturgy to keep things interesting. Is it just a question of the right attitude towards music and being a band?
New Idea Society: I have noticed that it has swung back around to the point where it is not in style to show passion out right. There is a detached feeling now with some bands, but not all I am sure. The problem is, at any given time there are bands doing things across the spectrum but bigger media outlets only highlight who they are friends with or who the advertising money comes from.
Things have gotten quite bland. Some bands I think do this because it is actually the way they are feeling and it comes through in the music as honest and amazing. Kind of like how Public Image Limited albums sounded, but then others... you can tell it is just part of the trend of the moment.
There is no right approach to being in a band aside from playing the sounds in your head. IF there are no sounds in your head you shouldn't be playing.
Our approach to Somehow Disappearing was to make a dynamic album that we wanted to hear. It has a theme and ebbs and flows. We had quite a few songs that did not make the recording process or the album. Some of the band members like a few of those songs a lot, but they didn't fit what we were doing. I liked a song called Passenger, Alan like a song called Black Badge.
Neither fit on the album. Maybe we will get to them someday.
Musicscan: Are there specific things that you're doing to push yourself further in different directions? Listening to different genres of music, reading more music theory, practicing...is there anything you're doing on a consistent basis?
New Idea Society: For me it is simply to move forward and work. There are always so many songs in my head I feel like I am constantly trying to catch up. Maybe I never will, maybe it will all end tomorrow. I just need to work and record. I never think about music theory, but I do try to have less restrictions between my ears and recording equipment.
Musicscan: In my mind Somehow Disappearing is a pretty courageous record. It´s intense and really shows what New Idea Society wants to do, no matter what listeners say or expect. What would you retort to that?
New Idea Society: I love that you hear it that way.
I think you are hearing it the way I want it to be heard. It does not scream at you with gimmicks. It is a slow build and a slow absorption the way that albums were made perhaps before instant downloading. That is partially why "All Alone" opens with a swelling feedback.
Musicscan: How has the songwriting approach evolved since you started the band and you became more mature as songwriters? Are there still limitations you are confronted with in any way?
New Idea Society: Well, the line-up has changed a lot so that does slow us down. We end up spending time re-learning some necessary songs and we lose some songs that would be great to know. For example we don't play "Swimming In The Rain"
anymore and rarely play "Drawbridge Kid" even though people always ask about them. What we got though, from the writing of Somehow Disappearing was this incredibly unselfish outlook on songwriting. I don't think anyone would have argued for their parts to be louder of more prominent. We only focused on the song and the feeling. That is the main priority I have about recording music.
Musicscan: How important are compromises in the context of New Idea Society? Should they play a major role at all? To me it seems that you are not willing to take compromises into consideration at all…
New Idea Society: We have not yet made compromises that have gone against what we believe in.
We acted as support a few times to shows I thought were a little expensive, but we wanted to play them. Artistically there has been no need to compromise.
Musicscan: Is there something like a connection line for the single songs that have been created for Somehow Disappearing?
New Idea Society: Somehow Disappearing is a very romantic record, which makes it a very sad record, which also makes it a profoundly hopeful record. There is nothing more hopeful than the pain of loss because it leaves you feeling for something deeply. I find that to be the most powerful experience in life and I hope that is expressed in the album. There are so many dreams and feelings of beauty that are fleeting which of course is sad. All of those feelings are balanced in a way that when you tip toward one you lose another for a second. Sometimes I think that Sze´p Szi´v is the defining moment of the album, then other times it is the lyrics of "Autumn You", the sounds of "Halluminations" or the piano in "Disappearing". But in fact it was made as an album.
Musicscan: Musically and lyrically New Idea Society seems like a band fueled by raw emotion which is at the same time tempered by a “reflected” vibe. What are the motives behind writing in this style, what reactions are you seeking to evoke in your audience?
New Idea Society: There is no intentional writing style. I did try to avoid guitar chords on this album and I did try to be less verbose than on the last album, but the way in which I write is not constructed first and executed later. It is just there and I take it. I feel the sounds and try to find them, the words are just in my head. I don't know if that is how other people work, but I have no choice, I feel like I have to do something with it.
Musicscan: A last question: What do you hope people to take away from New Idea Society, Somehow Disappearing and from your upcoming shows?
New Idea Society: I hope those who are supposed to love the record love the record. There is a comfort in sharing these feelings that are so personal. To me it feels like giving so much. I hope people who love the record tell others about it. Word of mouth is beautiful.