In mid-1970s London, the Sex Pistols had anger as a motivator, punk rock as a movement and the Malcolm McLaren-Vivienne Westwood boutique SEX as a hipster hangout. Copenhagen claims a modern equivalent: The Joy Division-urgent punk quartet Iceage, which leads a wave of teen and 20-something malcontent outfits dubbed “the new way of Danish f*** you”; the scene revolves around the Posh Isolation record label and store. Members play in multiple bands, says Iceage drummer Dan Kjaer Nielsen, 21, who’s also in Sejr. But it’s not punk rock, per se, he clarifies. “It’s something else, but something at least as good as that. We’re angry about some things, but we don’t aim it at the politicians.” Iceage appears in San Francisco on Monday, backing its brutal sophomore CD for Matador, “You’re Nothing.”
Do you guys all still live at home with your parents?
Johan [Wieth], our guitarist, just moved out. Apart from that, we all live at our parents’ house. And my parents think it’s great, you know, and they miss me when I’m away and stuff. But I’m a big boy and I can decide what I want to do.
What’s happening with Copenhagen youth nowadays?
Kids that I hang around with are just bored and want to create something. Something nice, where they get out their emotions. So it feels like a movement, but not like a movement that means anything apart from playing music. Although it feels like there is something bigger going on, something where I haven’t even found out what it is yet.
When did you first notice that Iceage had something unique?
From the start, when we began playing together. I thought we were really good at writing songs and that we could become something great. And not to sound too full of myself, but I think that we are great. I think we’re the best band around. And not just in Denmark — pretty much everywhere. I just think that we’re doing something that I haven’t seen done.
Do you have a philosophy?
Kind of. I used to be political and stuff, but there’s been no change at all in the [new Danish] government, apart from the faces you see on TV. So I don’t think it has any effect on us — it’s just more guys in suits saying more boring stuff. So you should just try and do what you think is right, have fun and do good work.
Do you have a game plan? I’m happy at my parents’ house. But I would very much like to move out. I’m 21 now, and I’d like to have a place of my own where I can do what I want! — Tom Lanham