Photo by Morten Rygaard
Let me introduce you to Mikas, one of the new budding artists coming out of the Aarhus music scene. That said the stages are by no means an unexplored area for the new artist. After several years as a drummer for Lydmor, Peter Sommer, and Stine Bramsen, Mikas has been performing at both small venues and major festivals – including Northside Festival. Then suddenly in 2013, he decided to let the songs, that he had been keeping silently inside his mind, flow free. He decided to give the solo-artist life a chance.
Musically, Mikas moves in between the polished and structured, and the edgy and audaciously bold sound. His particular focus on the lyrical sphere of his songs, combined with his talented drumming and a rather unpolished vocal, has resulted in a sound being both powerful on one hand, and fragile on the other. Fans of Stoffer & Maskinen, Ulige Numre and the likes will for sure love his sound.
Today he unveiled his new portrait video, which you can see below. Since his debut concert at SPOT Festival last year, he allowed the critically acclaimed documentary filmmaker Jonas Risvig follow him and his musical passion from the sidelines. The result is a six-minute video, where Mikas invites you into the mind of an upcoming artist balancing between the life as a father, as a husband, and as a budding artist fighting for his place in contemporary music. Indeed a beautiful video. Furthermore, you can get a sneak peek of his forthcoming single ‘Væk Mig Nu’ in the end of the portrait video. His debut EP, produced by Carsten Heller and co-produced by Peter Kjædegaard, will be out April 29.
You can follow Mikas on his own website or via his Facebook page, in order to get future news about his release. Before the release of his new portrait video, we decided to ask Mikas a couple of questions, which you can read below.
First of all, can you tell us a little about the project, Mikas?
Definitely. It started about two years ago. I’d been drumming for several artists. Played all kinds of concerts, from small venues with 20 people in the audience, to big festivals in front of 20.000 people. I had just finished a tour with Peter Sommer and it felt like I was suddenly in a kind of vacuum. What next? I decided to go to my rehearsal room with an open mind and see what would happen, if I tried to let my own creativity flow. It was like a wave of emotions and ideas. Ideas I have had for some time, but had been stuck somehow. I started singing into the microphone, even though I had always told myself I couldn’t sing. But what came out of me took me by surprise. There was something there that I had to pursue. Not perfect in any way, but maybe that was just it. The strength in that weakness. My whole body trembled when I wrote those first lines and made those first drumbeats. That session was the beginning of my first single “Vi Faldt Jo Ned” actually. And it just felt right. So yeah.. since that day I decided to go for it. This is me singing, drumming and playing synths on all the recordings.
Can you please describe the sound of Mikas, but without using any genre labels?
I tend to think in melodies all the time. I love beautiful melodies. Instead of chord structures I just let the melodies weave in and out of each other. There are a lot of different vocal and synth melodies in there for everyone to explore. The melodies are backed by powerful ambient drums, recorded in a huge room. On the other side of the spectrum, my voice has an almost fragile quality to it. I find that there is a wide space to explore between those poles. From the huge drumbeats, deep punchy basses and layers of synthesizers together forming an almost symphonic structure, to the more quiet, emotional, and fragile moments. There’s a lot of contrast and energy in there.
Soon you will release your debut EP, what can the listeners and readers expect from this forthcoming release?
A very genuine and true look into my world. I’ve put a lot of myself in there. Tried to make drum parts that I loved to play. Lyrics that I could sing in the most honest and sincere way. Nice melodies that got stuck in my own head. That’s where I start, but the songs are not only for me. I try to make room for the listener, so people can interpret them in unique ways. I think many people will be able to relate and put their own stories in my songs. At least, that is my hope.
You live in Aarhus yourself. How do you think the city of Aarhus has influenced your sound, not to mention the inspirations behind your musical creation? What inspires you in Aarhus?
There is just some intangible creative vibe about Aarhus that I have always been drawn to. I have lived here for almost 6 years now, and I’ve met and worked with so many inspiring people. I think we got a great music community with so many different branches and likings. But what inspires me is definitely the people living here.
Speaking about inspiration, what inspires your musical creation – both in regard to other artists and in general?
There are so many artists and songs that have shaped my own sound. My childhood home was filled with The Beatles, Genesis and Anne Linnet. I used to beat up my wooden bongos playing along to all those amazing songs. But what really got me going was Mew. They are the reason I bought my first set of drums at the age of 16. They still inspire me deeply to this day. Later on I became very inspired by Peter Sommer. It was a dream come true when I got the chance to tour with him. When it comes to lyrics I had a feeling for a long time, that I wasn’t able to write anything true or authentic. But when our daughter Kaya was born, that changed completely. Life just felt bigger. It wasn’t just about me anymore. Those feelings opened up something inside of me. It’s still a struggle sometimes to get the words out, but when they do, they feel sincere and real.
In your new portrait video, you talk about the life as both a father and artist. Can you tell us a little about how it is to be both a father at home and an upcoming artist as well?
I want to be the best father I can be. But also the best musician and artist I can be. And sometimes it is hard to get those two to meet. I’ve always immersed myself completely when I set my mind to something… So I really strive to find the balance between those two. Thankfully my girlfriend knows me very well and helps me structure everything. I have no idea what I would do without her. Everything in life that is worthwhile takes time. So I’ve become very aware on how I spent my time.. And I really love what I do. Love to be with my children and my girlfriend. Love to make, play and share music.
In regard to the history of Mikas, what have been the most memorable moments on your musical journey so far?
There have been many already! I remember the anxiety when I sent my very first rough demo to Carsten Heller (Nephew, Spleen United, The Minds of 99) and asked if he would like to produce and mix my EP. Thankfully he said yes. But that following week when I was awaiting his reply. I still remember that feeling of doubt in my stomach. Was this really good or was I fooling myself? That was in the very beginning. Now I’ve had so many incredible reactions and feedback. I signed with Playground Music and people, in general, have been really open and kind to me. I also remember my crowdfunding campaign when 100 people chipped in to make this dream into reality. Two days after the campaign ended succesfully, my girlfriend gave birth to our boy, Thure Emil. That was really intense.
Last but not least, my debut concert at SPOT Festival last year. People got rejected in the door because there wasn’t room for more people. That really surprised me. I balanced between really nervous and totally calm, which felt amazing. I think that everyone could feel that presence. I can’t wait to play live again. I really find that special. The unspoken bond that can happen between everyone in the room, is something beyond words.
What is the future plan for the Mikas project – both in regards to visions and dreams?
I really want to share my music. I feel so ready for this now. I hope someone out there will be touched by the songs. I want to pass that energy on that I’ve felt so many times myself. There’s so much life force in all of us. Sometimes it just needs to be jolted. That’s my dream. To really inspire and awaken my listeners with great songs and strong, loving presence. My debut EP will be out april 29 and right now I am booking concerts to get the chance to look my audience in the eyes. I am really looking forward to that.
Finally, you just unveiled your new portrait video. In short in your own words, what do you especially want to tell, as well as show, the listeners with that video?
I want to invite people in. Want them to know why I am doing this. I hope they can mirror something in their own lives. That it makes them think of their own possibilities and dreams. That is basically what it is. Me sharing my dream with everyone. And I have included a little surprise in the end, so the people that do not know me yet will have a chance to experience what kind of music I make.