Interview: Mew bassist Johan Wohlert on the making of ‘Visuals’


Mew (L:R) Jonas Bjerre, Silas Utke Graae Jorgensen, Johan Wohlert Photo credit: Sasha Ryabina

Mew’s music has an otherworldly ethereal quality which draws listeners in with satisfying melodies and elaborate compositions that continue to evolve with each subsequent listen. As such, fans have gotten used to the idea that they will have to be patient between the development of each delicate yet complex album, but the Danish rock group surprised loyalists by announcing their seventh studio album, Visuals, would be ready for release this April 28 a mere two years after their sweeping 2015 album + – (plus minus).

Bassist Johan Wohlert credits the fact that Mew had a lot of fun while recording Visuals as one of the primary reasons that the album came together so quickly. “In the past we’ve definitely been guilty of taking way too long to decide on whether to do this or that on our songs,” he said. “This time around we wanted it to feel as fresh as it could and we wanted it to be as direct, somehow, as possible, so we didn’t want to overthink the musical decisions too much. If it felt good at the present, we went with it and we trusted that. If it felt good initially that was probably because there was something good about it. That, I think allowed us to move much quicker, and the creative process became quick and swift for us as a band.”

Mew is a band synonymous with both sonic and visual beauty – frontman Jonas Bjerre develops projections for the band’s concerts to accompany the music – and Wohlert explained that Visuals was a title that was almost so obvious that they had to go with it. “We’ve always been a very visually oriented band, especially when it comes to our live shows. And our music has always been described as being very visual and image evoking and dreamlike. I guess we were trying to tie in the experience of coming to a concert with the feeling that you get from the music. And the way that people view our music, Visuals seems to encapsulate a lot of that,” he said.

The track “Candy Pieces All Smeared Out” creates a vivid picture with its title alone and musically the tune’s march-like rhythm evokes elaborate scenes of protest that are complimented by romantic airy verses throughout. “That song has a very abrupt quality. There are some very obvious changes between the verses and the chorus. It sounds very collagey in a way, but at the same time – because of the way we made the song groove and swing – it ties together quite seamlessly,” said Wohlert. “I think it’s a nice juxtaposition the way the you can have musical parts that sound like they come from different places, but the way it flows just makes it quite an easy on the ear listening experience.”

Mew Visuals

Mew currently has announced plans to tour across Europe this spring and summer and U.S. tour dates are also expected in support of Visuals. Wohlert explained, “The U.S. is one of our favorite places to tour. It’s been a steady growing market for us and 2015 was the best tour with Mew, ever. It was so cool to meet people who have been listening to the band for 10 plus years and people who the music means a lot and all the people who have supported us all these years. It’s been truly humbling to be on tour in America for us.”

Visuals is currently available for pre-sale at iTunes and other outlets in advance of its April 28 release date. Head over to for a full list of European tour dates and for more information about the band.