Iceage have been subject to a battering – courtesy of the music press – that largely consists of writers both in awe of frontman Elias Rønnenfelt and equally frustrated that he doesn’t succumb to an expected level of candour.
Rønnenfelt has been sensationally called rock’s ‘most difficult frontman’, and yet it doesn’t seem to be a trait of the traditionally ‘difficult’ to release a single with the intention of donating any and all profits to a non-governmental organisation fighting the good fight on the frontlines of a pandemic.
“I consulted a friend who has been doing a lot of humanitarian groundwork at refugee camps around the world”, shared Rønnenfelt. “She told me that the Moria camp in Lesbos has particularly dire conditions, before the crisis and even more so now. She said that Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders were one of the most active and reliable groups she had seen around Moria, so therefore our choice fell on them. She also mentioned Team Humanity as fighting hard to better conditions in Lesbos in particular.”
In that respect, it appears that Rønnenfelt and the rest of Iceage are genuinely just big old softies, with a great sense of empathy for those less fortunate than themselves. While Denmark has seen over six thousand cases of coronavirus, with over three thousand still active, the country has been fairing far better than some of its European counterparts.
Rønnenfelt concurs, adding that “Denmark was the first European country to shut down after Italy, quite rapidly and for most, I think, unexpectedly. Society is at large completely shut but we are still fortunate enough to be able to go for a stroll outdoors with precaution. It seems to me that most are doing their best efforts at combating this garbage situation by staying secluded, and I feel fortuitous to have the ability to breathe some fresh air now and again in order to keep the cabin fever at bay.”
“Alas, the restraints of COVID-19 are making it so it’ll see the light of day a little later than what we had hoped, but in the meantime it is brewing, boiling, cooking.”
While unemployment has been on the rise around the world due to the lockdown, we’re also specifically seeing artists struggling to stay afloat with their loss of touring revenue. Rønnenfelt notes that Iceage have been fortunate in that vein also, having cancelled some shows but simultaneously having planned to recede into album-prep mode in any case. “This period was mostly meant as a period of time to stay somewhat hidden in the trenches until the next album cycle begins”, Rønnenfelt clarifies. “We’ve been lucky in that way, as opposed to others who’ve had to abort more devastating quantities of plans.”
The follow up to 2018 LP Beyondless is in the works from the band, who have delivered records since their inception that have earned them a reputation as unafraid to experiment and progress.
“However flimsy this might sound, I’m not ‘at liberty’ to say much”, Rønnenfelt comments on the yet-to-be-announced fifth studio album from Iceage. “Finishing touches are getting made and we’re dying to deliver this jagged beast that we’ve birthed to whichever curious ears that may be out there. Alas, the restraints of COVID-19 are making it so it’ll see the light of day a little later than what we had hoped, but in the meantime it is brewing, boiling, cooking.”