We met New Politics before their show at The House of Blues Dallas to talk about how it all came together.
New Politics is part of a fresh crop of rock bands who are crafting their own renaissance, taking an entrenched sound and severing it, cultivating it and carrying it into the future. After a listen to the band’s oeuvre, it’s easy to see them thrive: tracks like “Everywhere I Go” have a spirited sound that’s altogether wistful and invigorating, while others, like “Harlem,” aptly balance buoyancy and complete submersion.
Signed to DCD2 Records, New Politics now stands as one of the most inventive rock groups to emerge in recent time. Vocalist David Boyd and guitarist/vocalist Søren Hansen formed the band in the late 2000s in Copenhagen, Denmark, moving to Brooklyn after signing with RCA, where drummer Louis Vecchio joined the band. New Politics shot to fame after the success of ”Harlem,” and have since amassed a loyal legion of fans through their raucous live shows, augmented by Boyd’s remarkable breakdancing abilities. Their sound bodes the beat and blood of their roots with a synthesis of the east coast’s sonic freshness and European joie-de-vivre-filled modernity.
What sets the Brooklyn-based three-piece apart is that they hybrid their off-kilter acrylics with a kinetic give-a-fuck attitude. In its entirety, the band’s 2013 sophomore effort, A Bad Girl in Harlem, blends soulful melodies and crashing vocals with mid-nineties rock textures that they have been vocal in their love for. Punk rock’s better off with New Politics, whose au courant, yet contemplative, songwriting crashes with the intensity of a freight train. From deeper, more introspective lyrics, like those in “Stuck on You,” to the more uplifting, titular tune, “Tonight You’re Perfect,” it is as though the musicians are baring their souls for the world to hear.
In the meantime, though, they’ll release their next album, Vikings, in early 2015, on which they veer from the effervescence of “Harlem” to a punk-ish punch in “Everywhere I Go.” The latest single is rich with rhythms and complex multiplicity from beginning to end. The underlying tonality, combined with Boyd’s gently thundering vocals, creates an ambiance that is equally exhilarating as it is rollicking.
“Dignity,” from their self-titled debut, is another standout track. It’s almost abrasive, riding sublimely constructed currents of energy through its unrestricted emotionalism, with the band’s fierce delivery tipped to the point of insanity and rage. As they said in the cacophonous musing: I’m so ashamed/ cause we’re all the same/ killing in the name money is the game now. Sign us up.
The band, who kicked off their headlining Everywhere I Go tour in October, is chipper as they file into the room after sound check. After a lengthy confab about the wonders of Texan cuisine, the group muses on everything from the underlying resolve of their music to their hopes of engaging in charity one day. Read on for our chat with New Politics.
What is your favorite song of yours and why?
NP: That’s a tricky question to answer because it honestly changes every day. I think right now we really enjoy playing “Everywhere I Go.” It’s super fresh to us and we are still figuring little things out every night on stage so it keeps it super fun.
Who are some of your biggest influences?
NP: Some of our biggest influences are Beastie Boys, Nirvana, Led Zeppelin and Charlie Chaplin.
NW: What comes first for you– music or lyrics?
NP: It could go either way with us. Sometimes we write music first and sometimes a lyrical idea comes and we work around that. Most of the time we will start with the music end of things though.
NW: Is there a theme behind the album lyrically?
NP: Not specifically but almost all of our songs on our upcoming record reflect back on a certain time for us. It’s a reflection on working through the rough times we had while writing “A Bad Girl in Harlem” and the success we’ve had since. Lyrically, I think “Vikings” is a celebration of all of that.
NW: Thinking about New Politics and the past few years, what is something you remember as a defining moment?
NP: I think a defining moment for us was hearing “Harlem” on the radio for the first time. We had been working so hard on the road touring and really grinding it out. When we heard Harlem play on KROQ in L.A. we were so stoked. It was like all hard work was really really paying off.
NW: How did the success of “Harlem” change things for you?
NP: The success of “Harlem” changed our touring life very much. We are now in a bus with a crew and production which is amazing and a dream come true. It also put us in head space where we can focus on writing new material, build our live show, and not worry about all the other things we were worrying about beforehand.
NW: How did you guys decide to be musicians?
NP: It was different for all of us but at young ages we all were introduced to music production and instruments. If you fall in love with something at a young age like we all did I think you know then that it will be something you dedicate most of your time to.
NW: On a final note, what’s next for you guys?
NP: Tour Tour Tour! and the release of our new album Vikings! So excited, can’t wait for the world to listen.
Interview by Nicola Wali, videography by Cameron Lee Phan.