New Politics have a motto: “Fuck It.” It’s kind of a crass, apathetic motto. But for the Copenhagen band it doesn’t mean giving up. It means taking chances—something they do with reckless abandon. For instance, when the band was on the verge of signing with RCA in November, they realized “If we’re going to become insanely famous in the U.S. we might want to actually live there.” So the three musicians packed up their instruments and recording gear, said “Fuck it” and moved into a loft in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Here’s another example: David and Soren had been writing songs together for over three years (for respective solo albums that have yet to see the light of day) when they realized that they had unintentionally started a band. The pair had experimented with every imaginable style of music (every imaginable style) and suddenly recognized that the combination of their musical sensibilities, as witnessed on the 300 songs they’d penned together, created something new and interesting. Plus, the rambunctious, beat-driven nature of the songs offered Soren a chance to “freak out and go crazy” onstage while David showcased his impressive break-dancing moves.
“We were at a point musically where you could say we had given up, honestly,” David says. “It was at that point. We were doing it solely as a hobby. In the back of our minds we might have been holding onto the dream but it was more about the joy of music and having fun. We were trying to help each other out and we ended up experimenting. We came up with a couple of good songs.”
So the guys uttered their ubiquitous motto and haphazardly sent two songs— “Stress” and “Make Money” into the Danish National Radio P3’s cleverly-titled Karriere Kanonen (“Career Cannon”) competition in early 2009. And somehow, out of the 973 bands that entered, New Politics were one of 42 selected to perform. Except, they weren’t even really a band.
“They called and said ‘Congratulations, you’re going to playing in three weeks at this club, are you ready?’” David says. “And we had never played live. We had three songs. We had no drummer. We didn’t know if we wanted a bassist. We had no idea.”
David and Soren called Poul, another lifelong musician about to call it quits. In fact, the call came just a month after Poul had decided to give up music in favor of learning to be a professional bricklayer. But Poul too said “Fuck it” and the threesome rehearsed a few times, decided against adding a bassist, and played a raucous first show that left the judges both bewildered and amazed. The band, defying all possible odds, made it to the next round and in April were one of four bands to win the Karriere Kanonen, which unfortunately turned out not to be a real cannon.
The win landed them a slot playing Denmark’s Spot Festival in May, where the threesome played a show so wild Poul and Soren left the stage covered in blood and Poul nearly beheaded a fan with a thrown drumstick. Record labels in Denmark were into this sort of thing and began to flock around New Politics, fielding offers. But the band, like the pilgrims, had dreams of America, and a one-take video for the band’s impassioned rock song “Yeah Yeah Yeah,” which aptly conveys their fervor for performing (and David’s ability to do a headstand on an amp), convinced quickly American record labels to come knocking.
“We realized we were at a point where we either had to go with the wave in Denmark and Europe and get a deal over there that was the best we could get or we could come over here and take our chances,” David says. “We decided not to wait.”
New Politics, who signed with RCA in November, are not done blowing off convention and expectation. They are currently writing their debut album, most of which is demoed in a really professional looking makeshift recording space in Soren’s bedroom. The trick, as the band will tell you, is not to spend too much time worrying about the technical aspects of the music. Just play it with energy and passion, say “Fuck it” and everything else will take care of itself eventually.
“It’s not that much about technique or skill, but that’s over-shined by the truth in some way,” David says. “I think people are ready for that. People are fed up with what’s going on in the world. There’s no real answers. There’s nothing solid. There’s no foundation. We feel like that as well. That’s why we write the lyrics that we do. You can almost laugh at life. We’re like ‘Fuck it.’ We are aggressive in our approach and we’re going to throw it in peoples’ faces. We’re politics. I think our music allows people to let something out. It’s a wake-up call.”