Announces new album ‘Why Don’t You Dance’
Due 12th November via PNKSLM Recordings
Shares new single ‘Back Home’
Danish songwriter and frontman of indie-rock band Yung, Mikkel Holm Silkjær aka Holm, has announced his debut solo album ‘Why Don’t You Dance‘, due 12th November via PNKSLM Recordings. To celebrate he has also shared the single ‘Back Home’.
After three years of on-off writing and nearly six months of recording, Silkjær was almost done with his debut solo record when he finally figured out what it at all meant.
It was a powerful lightbulb moment for him both creatively and personally, and one that came with a little help from Raymond Carver.
Arriving home late from the studio, Silkjær picked up the legendary writer’s short story collection What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, and read Why Don’t You Dance? for the first time: a highly enigmatic tale of a man apparently selling off his life’s possessions in his front yard. It concludes with a young woman, who bought some of his belongings, still trying – and ultimately failing – to figure out what the man’s story was. “There was more to it,” says Carver in the penultimate sentence.
There was more, too, to the songs Silkjær had been working on for his solo project, Holm; Carver’s story helped to unlock the deeper truth to them. “‘I’d been reflecting on the record, and thinking a lot about the lyrics,” Silkjær recalls. “And reading that really resonated with me. It made me realise I’d been in a dark place for a long time, and that I hadn’t really been vocal about not feeling well, but it was there in the songs. There was this overwhelming sense of realising things weren’t going the way I wanted. As soon as I read the story, I wrote the last song for the album, which is about the catch-22 of wanting to get better, but worrying I wouldn’t keep producing good work if I did. We recorded it the next morning, and I knew Why Don’t You Dance had to be the title of the album.”
Speaking of the opening single ‘Back Home’ Mikkel says, “At times you bump into compelling people that truly fascinates you. It can be in a friendly context or a romantic context. Sometimes you meet someone where it’s more the naive perception of their life, which is never quite accurate, that compels you. Nevertheless, the song is about wanting to engage in some sort of a relation with a person, but not knowing how to make it happen. In some way it’s quite a banal feeling, which is why I think a lot of people might have felt it at some point, I certainly have been confronted with that sensation once or twice. The song references a specific incident in my life, but to anyone else it might mean something different, and that is, I think, the beauty about a banality.“
Holm offers this expressive ensemble, the moment the baritone deep vocal notes fill the ambiance against the rich keys, emotion overcomes the atmosphere. The lyrical movement delivers this intimate and raw exploration and adds this clear visual influence into the creation. Holm fuels this immersive world where we hang on each note, adding this comforting warmth from the tones forging the path of this release. “Back Home” builds on the piano keys and escalates to the charging grooves and infectious melodies, the careful drum beat with the accompanying cymbal taps melt with the intricate guitar riffs.
The low-end tonality that Holm flawlessly executes throughout can find similarities to that of Michael Stipe fused with Orville Peck, yet distinctly their own. The arrangement offers this intense thurst of the instrumentation that delves into passages of complexities that shines a light on the fact Holm has set out to write the most devastatingly beautiful songs.
Why Don’t You Dance is set to arrive at the end of what’s been a whirlwind year for Silkjær; the band he fronts, Yung, put out their long-in-the-works second full-length, Ongoing Dispute, to rave reviews back in January. The album’s title hinted at the sometimes tricky group dynamic, something he doesn’t have to deal with when he works as Holm. “It’s like being in a relationship, only you have three partners,” he laughs of the band. “When I write songs for Holm, I’m single! It feels like a playground; to me, it’s all about having fun.”
It sounds that way, too; Why Don’t You Dance is a gleefully varied guitar-pop record that veers between styles, from the fizzing energy of ‘Descending’ and opener ‘Intelligent Moves’ to the gorgeously melodic ‘Like a Dog’ and ‘The Rope’, via the stately introspection of tracks like ‘K’s Choice’ and ‘Back Home’. Recorded by Yung bandmate Tobias Guldborg Tarp (who co-produced alongside Neil Robert Young), Why Don’t You Dance is the sound of Silkjær stepping away from his group’s predilection for taut rock and roll and instead embracing a different side of his musical personality, one defined by his sharp ear for a hook, as well as – crucially – his burgeoning ability as an expressive lyricist.
“I’d never included a lyric sheet with anything I’d ever done until Ongoing Dispute,” he explains. “I’d never felt confident enough in my writing. But when I finished that record, I’d realised how important my lyrics are to my songs, so I decided that for these Holm tracks, I’d be as brutally honest as I could with them. It was intimidating; I tuck a lot of things away in life. I’m not somebody who shares a lot naturally. These are the most honest words I’ve ever written, and I’m nervous about exposing myself with them, but the process was very therapeutic. I learned a lot about myself.”
Silkjær has been in prolific form this year; as well as releasing albums both with Yung and as Holm, he’s set to head into the studio with the former already recording their next LP, whilst demoing is well underway for a second Holm full-length, which he aims to begin recording in December. The real reward, though, will come when he can finally return to the road; the exhilaration of his early solo shows, including a memorable pair of London gigs, was a huge factor in inspiring him onwards to pursue Holm more seriously. “The early touring I did was how I developed not just as musician, but as a human being,” he says. “This life we’ve all been living for more than a year now; it doesn’t feel like the one I want. I miss talking to people, I miss hugging people, I miss sweaty shows, and I can’t wait to get back to it. But I’ve come to value making albums, too, and hopefully one day, when I’m an old man, I can pull out a stack of records that I made with my friends, and be proud of them. That’s what it’s all about.”
1. Intelligent Moves
2. Valley of Dreams
3. The Rope
4. K’s Choice
6. Like a Dog
8. Back Home
9. Erase & Repeat
10. Why Don’t You Dance?