This past weekend, I decided to leave behind the rainy streets of Manchester to go and get pissed up on whiskey in a field and bust out flying head scissors with my pal in front of a crowd full of people in a big tent down in Cheltenham. But why Cheltenham? Could I not have achieved such athletic/stupid/drunken manoeuvres in a field much closer to home in Manchester? Well this was no ordinary excursion to Cheltenham, this was the weekend of 2000 Trees! As previously mentioned, I was dead excited for my first 2000 Trees Festival and it certainly did not disappoint. I will be getting to that soon, but firstly – Let’s talk about one of the nicest geezers in music at the minute…
Now, some people you meet are a bit up their own arse. You get this in every walk of life, but it seems to occur a lot more in the old music business. I’ve struggled with certain people…But there’s one geezer, a guy called Snævar Njáll Albertsson (a.k.a. the genius behind Dad Rocks! and Mimas) who is just the nicest bloke you could hope to meet. It shouldn’t really come as a surprise though. If you’ve ever listened to Dad Rocks!, you’ll know – beautiful melodies swirling around you with bitter sweet lyrics attached. I’ve been bigging him up for a while now, so I was delighted to be able to catch up with him at 2000 Trees this past weekend. On his new moniker as the nicest bloke in music today, he flashed a smile “I’m very flattered for that comment, Thank You very much – I’ll try to live up to that in the future as well”
These days, Snævar is backed by a band for Dad Rocks!, and even they are really sound, down to earth people. It’s not an act or a way to get into girls pants, they’re just a lovely bunch, as Snævar explained “We try to cultivate a relationship between us and the audience, and between us and people who care about the music. We do that in different ways, especially digitally – we try to get people involved. We have had these remix projects where we ask our fans to remix our stuff, or sing along to our tunes or whatever before hearing them.” ‘Year of the Fan‘ is the latest of these projects, which stems from their latest record – providing fans with the opportunity to write and record their own songs using Dad Rocks! Templates “So we sent our tracks out to some fans who signed up for it, and they got the instrumental tracks without ever hearing the original song that we made, and made their own lyrics and their own melodies and sent it back, and we released that as a free download. We want to get people involved and I hope that translates into us as human beings as well. So we try to be inclusive as much as we can, but it’s a natural thing for us, not something that we try to force.”
Walking around the Trees site with Snævar (both pretty much dressed the same, in our matching ‘Clever Girl’ Alcopop! Records sweaters and jean shorts…) we had a lot of people stop us in our tracks so they could tell him how much they loved Dad Rocks! Taking a backseat whilst Snævar took time to chat with fans, I admired his approach with people – Never a moment broke where he’d not come across as a lovely geezer, a smile pretty much etched onto his Icelandic-born face.
Earlier that day, Dad Rocks! had played to a pretty packed out crowd on the Axiom stage. When questioned on how the set was, Snævar summed it up in few words, “…Really good, compared to our standards (laughs)” The tent was that packed that I wasn’t actually able to even get in, so I took up a spot just outside the tent, which might have been even more perfect – taking in the gorgeous weather, surrounded by similar festival goers loving the set. Adding a bit more to the experience, he was pretty much beaming on how it had been “…Amazing for us. I was surprised to see that we could fill the whole tent and people stuck around and listened to the whole thing. It was a very very special show for us. Just to come back to the UK after 1 and a half years, after touring with Tall Ships in 2012, it felt like we had progressed in a way – I felt that came into translation via the audience, so I’m extremely happy.” Much like their brothers in Tall Ships, 2000 Trees was a place to debut some new songs, and Dad Rocks! were able to play some tunes that follow on from their first record, and they seemed to go over blindingly “They are coming across well. The difference between the first and the new album is they’re harder to play solo, they don’t make much sense solo I think, so I have to book a band, which makes it much more fun to play. I’m very very happy with it. They are extremely orchestrated, but I think it translates well live. Judging from the reaction today, it seems like it works so that makes me quite happy.”
The UK seems to be quite favourable in the Dad Rocks! Camp. I remember first seeing them perform at Kraak Gallery in Manchester as part of the Carefully Planned Festival a few years ago, and finding them a wonderful treat both on and off stage “UK is very special to me because it was the first country I ever toured in, with my other band called Mimus back in 2006 and we just kept touring the UK. It’s different because people are just there for the music, really. When we’re playing in Denmark, we get all these nice venues and big riders and good fees, but we might be playing to twenty people who could’ve been anywhere else basically. When we go and play a tour in the UK, people come to the shows because they wanna see us and because they wanna listen to our music and interact with us. That’s what makes it fun basically, so playing the UK is one of the nicest things I can imagine.”
This year sees the release of Dad Rocks! sophomore record ‘Year of the Flesh‘ – A beautiful piece of work that follows neatly on from previous record ‘Mount Modern‘, yet brings an even more dynamic sound to the table. Not only having to cope with second album syndrome, the record also saw a bigger, more personal challenge occur, as Snævar discussed, “People talk about this cliché about the second album being a difficult one and for me it actually was, especially because I was very happy with the first one. The second thing is that a lot of the lyrical stuff was a bit more personal, because a close family member was struggling with a disease called anorexia. So it was a very different process – a very personal one. That made it obviously more difficult, but also more gratifying in the end because it was important to me to translate a lot of those feelings into music, to deal with stuff.” The album is already out in Denmark, though Snævar sighs and tells me “noone there gives a shit.” Thankfully, we’ll be seeing the album released here in September (as will Germany, France and Japan) In promotion of the record, the Dad Rocks! Bandcamp features new track ‘Body Mass Index’ a wonderfully sweet little song, seemingly re-living the sruggles involved with his previously mentioned family affairs. “..A lot of blogs have picked up on it and said some nice words, got some radio airplay as well. I think it’s good”
Having played a ton of shows in support of their debut full length, including the aforementioned tour with Tall Ships, the Dad Rocks! star has truly shone, with much excitement being garnered for the new record. “The following grew and grew, and with the initial release of Year of The Flesh, we had quite a lot of sales and everything has gone really really well. There’s a natural development in that, it seems like the fan base is growing which is more than I can ask for.”
Sharing a beer with Snævar and kicking about the campsite for a bit, I was super happy to hear that things are going well for him. We said our goodbyes, and off he popped to join the rest of his band – no doubt attracting one or two fans as he went, always happy to accommodate.
You can hear the full interview below: