Andrew Wyatt, better known to most as the front man of electro-pop trio Miike Snow, is here today to discuss his first solo project, Descender – described as a “32 minute meditation into the darker side of Andrew Wyatt, not seen on his latest endeavours”.
Along with Christian Karlsson and Pontus Winnberg – the Swedish writing and production team Bloodshy and Avant who’ve penned for the likes of Britney, Madonna and Kylie – Miike Snow’s eponymous 2009 debut long-player became an underground hit earning Andrew and the band a cult following.
Descender is certainly an ambitious solo project for Wyatt, marking the first time he has written, produced and orchestrated an entire album, using the 75-piece Prague Philharmonic. “I basically worked 16 hours a day for about 25 straight days. I would literally get up at 10am and work all day until 2am. Working non-stop and chain smoking.”
Although the record is a far cry from the alt-pop of Miike Snow, working with the production duo significantly changed how Wyatt approached orchestration: “There’s a song on the record called ‘It Won’t Let You Go’. There’s an instrumental melody that comes in the chorus that is first played on flute and violin and then it moves to the trumpet. It’s something that is very Miike Snow – to take a melody and just move it up to a different instrument. It feels unique and contemporary”.
The record has since been granted a seal of approval by his colleagues – “Yeah, they love it”. Don’t expect another Miike Snow album, however. The album is a haunting and romantic series of soundscapes, showcasing a previously unseen vulnerability to Wyatt. “I wanted the orchestration to be beautiful but somehow skewed and cracked. So I would play things in unusual keys – almost like a scribble.”
Describing the intensity of making this album, I ask if it was, in a way, therapeutic, to be so focused on one specific task. “It was very rewarding. But you don’t realise what’s happening at the time. You’re so concerned about the outcome when you’ve already spent all this money. You’re in crisis mode, so you can’t actually enjoy what’s going on around you.” No wonder, then, that Wyatt is pleased that a video was made for VICE documenting the making of the album. It means he can look back and appreciate the experience for what it was.