Slanted Press had a chat with Scandinavian indie-pop outfit Beezewax to talk about their new music and story as a band.
Founded in 1995, the story of Beezewax comes across as something that was meant to be.
Lead vocalist Kenneth Ishak and guitarist Thomas Olsen met through forming some unsuccessful bands and, as Kenneth tells us, “many bands later with horrible names we formed Beezewax with Thomas’ cousin and Jan Erik on bass”. With early success, Kenneth recounts how, at the age of 17, people in the music scene started offering the band shows, which quickly led to Beezewax signing to a local indie label. As a band, Beezewax are driven by their passion for music, as Kenneth explains. “I think of us as a band who really loves to come together to play these songs,” he tells me. While Kenneth writes majority of the songs, he is also aware of what “the other guys like and so on” and makes sure everyone feels involved. “Even though I write the songs, they really take ownership of the ones I bring to them - and I want that. I want it to be music they can live in for those 4 minutes of the song. Hopefully other people can have the same experience.”
Talking of music, Beezewax have been keeping busy producing new material. Most recently, the band released a new single titled ‘Closer’. Intrigued by the single’s name, I ask Kenneth about the inspiration behind it. “I couldn’t find a title for the song - and when It got time to release it, I had to send in a title, so ‘Closer’ was the first thing I thought of,” he tells me, “It’s actually the first word I sang to that melody in the song and I kept it as it just sounded right.” The single is out now and features guest vocals from Sophia Pettit (Night Flowers) and Jon Auer (The Posies). When asked about how the collaboration came about, Kenneth explains how it all fell into place. “Jon I have known for years, and of course his work in The Posies has been an influence - especially their craftmanship. When I had the song kinda together I sent it to him thinking that he would probably like it, and he loved it and wanted to sing on it. I had already thought that Sophia would fit perfect to sing the octave above me, I really love Night Flowers and the funny thing is that I met them at a festival in Leeds where they asked me to sing on a Posies cover, and I did, and we all got drunk and bonded - as you do.”
As Beezewax continue to produce new music, Kenneth is keen to emphasise how the band has evolved. “We were excited about we sound like NOW, so we made it in a very studio way, layering stuff - using Jorge Elbrecht (Ariel Pink, etc) to mix,” he says. “We were really pleased by the result but then we did almost 60 shows after the record, that’s when we realised what the band was really about, and what people like about the band - and that’s more the unsophisticated aspects of the band, just the simplicity of something being loud and fun. You know, fresh and uncomplicated.” Following the two singles, Beezewax are set to give us more music to listen to. “We recorded an album’s worth of material live last year in an old beautiful building. We have just been working our way through each song, finishing one by one - not rushing it. It will be called Peace Jazz.”
As we wait in anticipation for the release of Peace Jazz, singles ‘Closer’ and ‘Rainbows’ are out now.