Danish punks Iceage have been on the tip of everyone’s tongue recently, but perhaps more so for their controversial imagery than their actual music. Whether it’s a genuine representation of their beliefs or just a confrontational aesthetic that too many have taken hook, line, and sinker is up for debate. If you aren’t in the know, they use some fascist imagery. Ok, a lot of fascist imagery, but while many acknowledge this is just a publicity ploy framed through a nihilistic attitude, they continue to push the issue.
Of course it’s offensive. Of course, it’s irresponsible, but what do you expect? Hopefully not an answer from these young Danes. It’s most likely not going to happen, but ok, let’s play the game. Via Collapse Board:
It’s not offensive — it’s just stupid. And not because it’s dangerous, but because it’s boring, a pathetic attempt to look tough, or interesting. I mean is this all you’ve got? Kind of/sort of half-assedly name-dropping some neo-Nazis into interviews? Personally, I can’t think of anything stronger, anything tougher, than speaking out against racism in your own country. To just sit there and blow it off, they must be cowards. I can’t help thinking of bands like Gang Of Four, Mekons, Delta 5 brawling with National Front skinheads in Leeds back in the late 70s. Compared to them, Iceage — in their silence, their unwillingness to say what they believe, offensive or otherwise — is truly pathetic. It’s all about the targets. It’s all about what’s said and what’s deliberately left unsaid.
And perhaps like Iceage, journalists are sidestepping the issue as well. Via I Rock Cleveland:
Most journalists, just ignore this stuff. I mean, if it was really an issue, Pitchfork would have asked them, right? Wrong. The pre-release interview made no mention of white nationalism or racism and in the Best New Music review for You’re Nothing, Brandon Stousy only had this to say on the subject, “When Iceage released their excellent 2011 debut, New Brigade, a large part of the discussion was dedicated to the nihilistic but crush-worthy Danish punk group’s ages (at the time, ranging from 18 to 19), and the fact that they sounded much older than that. You also got stories about their bloody live shows and, later, online handwringing about them baiting controversy Joy Division-style by apparently flirting with fascist gestures at one of those shows.”
Or maybe we’re focusing too much on Iceage when this is clearly an issue that goes beyond the scene in which Iceage exists. They’re a product of their environment. That’s not to say they should be excused – but as some point out – ultimately, their music will have to carry them through, not their provocative imagery. Oh, and their drummer is Jewish, somewhat important to note. Via Vice:
“When the first accusations of Nazi sympathies came, we didn’t take them very seriously,” Elias continued. “The argument was very vague. Now one of the biggest Danish newspapers has been running several stories about it. I don’t know whether to feel insulted or whether it’s just too absurd… Point is, we haven’t actually used any Nazi imagery, ever.” I asked Elias what was going on in Dogmeat: the iron crosses, the hooded figures, the switchblades pointing to the necks of Muslims. “That’s a collage drawing of different things I was seeing in the news, not a pro-race-riot drawing.”
Here’s a post we found from the drummer’s father, Helge Kjaer Nielsen, in the comments section:
As being a parent of one of the band members, and the teacher of two others I can assure you that they are in no connection with any right wing thinking. Some people out there are very paranoid, and the fact that the members of iceage have a difficult time dealing with their sudden fame, makes them easy targets. You people who are calling them facists, are doing the wright wing fuckers a big favour!