Múm, Mum

Photo(s) by Baldur Kristjánsson - © 2008-2014

What are some of the things you've all been up to since the last full- length (2009's Sing Along to Songs You Don't Know) and did they affect your approach to writing and recording the upcoming album (due out later this year)? What were some of the things you were thinking about or inspired by while working on the the upcoming album?

After Sing Along was released we did quite a lot of touring and in the end we grew a bit tired, so we took some time off. I have been studying film for the last three years and it has been really good to dive into something so completely different, something quite claustrophobic but still so rich and interesting. So I have been sitting in the dark watching films and reading books for three years. But of course we have been working on music. Gunni works as a producer for bands and I also play in another band called FM Belfast and we released and toured another album as well.

Recently, the band asked fans for album title suggestions via Twitter (@mumtheband). I think my favorites were "The Tale of Jammy Crumpet" and "Jazzercise". Did you get any inspiration from the replies? Or perhaps, in a exclusive, you-saw-it-here-first style, simply fill in the blanks- The title of Múm's new album is (drum roll, please) ___________ !

Haha, we have a name, but I think we are going to keep it a secret for at least a couple of more days. We ended up with having about a million names for the album, which is strange because it is usually what we come up with first. But we did have some help finding this one.

In the past Múm has worked on radio plays, and more recently a film score. Are you interested in bringing any elements from these different musical contexts, in particular the radio theater, to Múm's recordings and live shows? Or, are they fairly separate worlds?

Everything is connected, we feel at ease with moving between worlds. And so it is something we want to do more of.... especially film. Right now our dream is to make a proper filmscore for a proper horror film. Think Cannibal Holocaust or something in that direction.

Speaking of film soundtracks, though I enjoyed your recent collaboration with Kylie Minogue (the single "Whistle" from the soundtrack to Jack & Diane [2012]), I thought it kind of shameless how she was clearly attempting to steal some of your mojo and take it Down Under. What was it like working with such a dastardly villain?

No, she's a nice girl. If she is a villain, then she is doing a very good job of hiding it. It was a good project for us to do, we have never dipped our toe quite so far in to pop-music before. The experience was very interesting in most respects, but it also came with a very boring and tedious aspect of dealing with major labels and management. In the end we are very happy with the song. And we hope she does something good with our mojo.

You recently did a bespoke music project, where fans could pay you to create a personalized song from sounds/lyrics/ideas of their choosing. What has that process been like, and what are some of the most moving, inspiring, or absurd things you've received?

Best not to talk about that too much, because we keep it private between us and the people we work with. All of the requests have been really nice an inspiring, so we hope we can continue with this project. We are always trying something new.

There are only about 300,000 people living in Iceland. Given all the other great Icelandic bands and musicians out there, it's almost like every school has at least one kid who grows up to be an accomplished, world renowned musician. What is going on? What's in the water up there?
Who are some current Icelandic musicians we may not have heard about yet but should check out?

I don't think anything out of the ordinary is going on. Basically I think it has a lot to do with the community of musicians, we really do a lot to help each other out and be supportive. If you are looking for new up and coming Icelandic bands, I will suggest Retro Stefson, Nolo and Oyama who are all great in their own way.

In 2005, Múm came to Taiwan and performed. What are some of your impressions from that show and your time here?

It was amazing. We actually travelled down the coast and stayed for about a week in Taroko Gorge, which is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. But what we remember best of all is the food. The best thing was something like spicy fried octopus mouths... not sure if that makes sense. Maybe I dreamt it, but at least it was really really amazing.

What's better for a late night snack after a few too many drinks- Taiwan's stinky tofu or hákarl (Icelandic fermented shark meat)?
Finally, what is something in Icelandic that we can yell when we get excited during your show?

I dig the stinky tofu, so it's hard to make my mind up which is better. Too bad we are staying so short in Taiwan this time. If you want to shout something at us, you can try "Verslunarmannahelgi, yeah!", it's an inside joke but we will give anyone who gets it correct a round of applause.

Múm play with Wavves and British Sea Power on Tuesday June 11 at Legacy Taipei, Huashan 1914 Creative Park (華山1914), Center Five Hall (中五館), 1, Bade Rd, Sec 1, Taipei City (台北市八德路一段1號).

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