Exclusive retrospective

“I started to find the poetry within songwriting” – Iceage’s Elias Bender Rønnenfelt reflects on the band’s evolution
By Alex James Taylor | Music | 15 October 2022

Across five records, Danish outlaw eccentrics Iceage have continuously reinvented and reignited. What began with the hardcore pound of New Brigade in 2011, has since shifted through rolling country ballads (Plowing Into The Field Of Love), rock ‘n’ roll grandeur (Beyondless) and avant-garde, anti-rhythm jazz (Seek Shelter).

Now comes a point of reflection with the release of the band’s new rarities album Shake The Feeling, celebrating over a decade of incendiary output. Surveying their last three records – Plowing Into the Field of Love (2014), Beyondless (2018) and Seek Shelter (2021) – the tracklist of unheard and rare cuts represents a broad insight into the band’s thrilling study of song form and raw execution, including a cover of Bob Dylan’s I’ll Keep It With Mine.

Marking the release, alongside archival imagery taken by friend of the band Kim Thue, frontman Elias Bender Rønnenfelt has penned us an exclusive retrospective looking back across those three seminal albums, speaking about how they were made and what they mean to him now.

GALLERYPhotography by Kim Thue

Plowing Into The Field Of Love, 2014

“I still find it difficult to fathom how Plowing… came about just a year after 2013’s You’re Nothing. It seems a bit like a transition from boys to men. Also, the creative burst of throwing all punk conservatism out the window. Here I stepped into my own shoes as a lyric writer, feeling free from past restraints, I started to find the poetry within songwriting.

Written largely in Berlin in fairly desperate and penniless times – high and drunk on megalomania and whatever else I could swallow. Before the record was released, I remember the almost perverted pleasure we took in exclusively playing these new songs on American tours, leaving mosh-ready audiences angry and confused with this new material that did not resonate with whatever their idea of us was.”

Beyondless, 2018

“After the last record, we had creatively exhausted ourselves. It took a minute before the direction of where we were to head next suggested itself and I went of and did a couple of records with Marching Church.

Initially, I think we set off to write a raw and reptilian-brained rock n roll record, but of course, it became something of different measure than what we had intended.

Informed and inspired by new desperate and penniless times in New York City, now with a bit of broken heart in the mix. I think the record explores a heroic kind of hopelessness. A valiant debauchery.

Recorded in Gothenburg, in a studio obsessed with collecting gear also present in Motown’s Studio A, I think this is the record where we started using the studio space as an instrument in itself, while properly flirting with arrangement. It’s kind of a sexy record too.”

Seek Shelter, 2021

“This one is somehow the most strenuous to speak on, as the distance to having committed the thing is shorter. It was recorded in Lisbon, in an old dilapidated radio studio. Tall wooden walls and ceilings where rain was literally coming in from the cracks. Nis Bysted is the man we recorded all of our records with but here we added Spacemen 3’s legendary Sonic Boom in the producer’s seat. The songs are bigger here, the roof seems to have been raised. A warmth now exists in the ever-present desperation.

Look, I gotta pack my bags leaving on a month-long tour tomorrow – if you haven’t heard it, give it a listen. It’s a bloody good record.”

Revisit our in-conversation between Elias and Royal Trux legend Jennifer Herrema.

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