We Are Serenades
Alex Kemp, Milow
2220 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA, 90057
Doors 8:00PM / Show 9:00PM
This event is 21 and over
We Are Serenades
It started like a bit of a love affair.
A chance meeting between two sultry leaders of two travelling packs of musicians, stealing glances on the sly at a truck stop somewhere along the Autobahn. A short and shy conversation, sweetly cramped by mutual admiration, and the first ice was broken. Once back home in Stockholm Sweden, the two continued to run into one another, in clubs and bars, always at night, they were an artful smash-up waiting to happen.
Adam Olenius, having toured tirelessly around the world with his band Shout Out Louds for years, and Markus Krunegard, a prolific staple of musical Sweden both with his band Laakso and as a solo star, somehow found common grounds in a bit of a longing for unbroken territory. Songs were written here and there, in between tours, over the phone, before and after late outings on the town, and all that was certain was that these two champions in their opposing corners of the ring were equally dead set on teaming up. It was just a matter of time.
That time finally came in the winter of 2010/2011. Olenius and Krunegard picked out a studio where they spent two months compiling the bits and pieces they had accumulated over the past 4 years into a full length album under the name WE ARE SERENADES.
Band members say: "We set something like a dogma to follow. Repetitiveness, both of us singing at the same time, a bombastic, walkable beat. We found a common voice, declamatory and, well… a bit sacral. We were both used to running the show more or less, these rules helped us move past that!"
The album Criminal Heaven ended up consisting of 10 songs, all constructed according to the gospel of Markus and Adam. Having spent many a month on the creation of the album it was only natural that quite a few od the songs in their finished form came to represent the coming and going of a season – first international single Come Home being the most barefaced example with its sincere nudge at a Christmas spend away from loved ones. Particularly in songs like Birds and Oceans, another near – religious key element to the band's sound comes into play. A common infatuation with nature, possibly stemming from Markus' roots in the scarce lands of northern Finland and Adam's natively Swedish passion for the great outdoors, is as resent in the songs as the obvious love of an anciently ice ridden wall of sound.
Picked up by the legendary once punk, the new wave, then just plain ingenious label Stranded in Sweden, followed by a worldwide deal with similarly prestigious US Interscope label Cherrytree Records (Feist, Robyn etc). We Are Serenades proudly carry on a long tradition of Swedish made, well-crafted, stylish and clever pop music loved by generations of connoisseurs and outsiders alike.
Krunegard and Olenius may have spent their musical childhoods each in his own neck of the woods, but for We Are Serenades the future seems to hold plenty of wide open spaces and a world o opportunities to break new territory and preach their credo as one tight unit. And it looks like this one is going to be the type o love affair that stands the tides of time.
ALEX KEMP cut his teeth playing in the seminal East coast indie pop band SMALL FACTORY, sharing bills with bands like Yo La Tengo, Unrest, and Galaxy 500. After relocating to Chicago, he helped to form ASSASSINS, one of the greatest bands that never was. They opened for New Order and Duran Duran, but their label was shut down and the record got locked up by the lawyers. Free at last, he's cooking up his own speedball of joyous melodies, opaque imagery, and danceablility. Imagine Conner Oberst singing a Lauryn Hill track at a karaoke bar in K town, and its way late and you're way drunk. Its like that, but the hangover is optional.
The tour-de-force known as Milow is coming to America.
Over the last five years this Belgian artist (born Jonathan Vandenbroeck) has emerged as one of Europe’s most exciting young talents: a plugged-in singer-songwriter with the ability to touch a crowd and the pop know-how required to make great records. He’s an old-school soul with a new-fashioned sensibility, a troubadour fascinated by technology. Milow’s music gleams with the inherited songcraft of his heroes—Ryan Adams, Bruce Springsteen, Jack Johnson—but it also reflects a point of view all his own, with specific concerns about growing pains and the future of his generation.
This combination of the intimate and the widescreen has won Milow a devoted fanbase across Europe, not to mention a list of achievements that includes number-one singles, platinum albums, sold-out tours, performances at some of the world’s most prestigious festivals and millions upon millions of YouTube hits. What’s more, he’s accomplished all this as his own boss, releasing music through Homerun Records, a label he founded in his bedroom.
“I just never wanted to have to answer to anyone else,” he says of the DIY operation. “It’s always been my call.”
You’d understand, then, if Milow were in the mood to give himself a break—especially now that he’s relocated for the time being from Belgium to sunny Southern California, where he once spent a year as an exchange student during high school. For many artists, success means stop; for Milow it’s a reason to go. Instead, he’s excited to embark upon the natural next step of his career: building an audience in the United States.
Some high-profile Americans are already on board. Milow has shared the stage with Jack Johnson and Brett Dennen. Even Kanye West is a fan and posted Milow’s cover of “Ayo Technology”—yes, the 50 Cent/Justin Timberlake jam—to his tastemaking blog, helping drive the song’s eye-popping video to its current total of over 50 million views.
Yet with the same humble spirit that originally inspired him to take up the accordion at the age of nine, Milow is starting small on these shores, playing intimate venues like L.A.’s Hotel Café (which booked him for a five-night residency in February) and issuing a six-song EP that perfectly encapsulates what he does. On Born in the Eighties—assembled in part from earlier studio albums he released in Europe—Milow showcases his insightful songwriting in the pensive title track and “Canada,” about wanting to hop a plane in order to meet Neil Young. (“I just know we’ll get along,” he sings.)
“Dreamers and Renegades” reveals a harder-rocking side, while the anthemic “One of It” demonstrates why Milow concerts turn more often than not into mass sing-a-longs. And then there’s the still-stunning “Ayo Technology,” which he’s performed on countless radio and TV shows throughout Europe. Milow creates his own take on 50 Cent’s hit with a stripped-down arrangement that gives the song a strangely haunting vibe.
Ask Milow about re-introducing tunes so familiar now to so many across the pond and he’ll tell you it’s led him to think deeply about what an artist’s job should be and how he can strengthen the bond between him and his fans.
“Every time I get onstage, I feel like that’s an opportunity to show a little bit more of myself,” he says. "Some of my songs are about really serious topics, but I also like to have fun, and I think my shows are where I can make that clear."
YouTube is littered with concert clips that prove he’s right. Now that Milow is concentrating his efforts here in the United States, he can’t wait to present the evidence live and in person. A sophisticated music-scene veteran with the bottomless energy of a beginner, Milow is ready for what’s next.
Tue, May 21
Wed, May 22
Thu, May 23
Fri, May 24
Mon, May 27
Thu, May 30
Fri, May 31
Sat, June 1
Sun, June 2
Mon, June 3