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New directions for Copenhagen’s Iceage

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“Beyondness” is the new album from Iceage, playing the Great American Music Hall. (Courtesy Steve Gullick)

On its new recording “Beyondness,” Copenhagen combo Iceage reaches a new level of sophistication — with classy Nick Cave horns and even woodwinds — and miles away from “Youth Brigade,” its brutal 2011 debut. Photos of the band underscore the change. Iconoclastic teen punks when they started, now, in their mid-20s, they boast the regal bearing and hooded gaze of Cave himself. “Yep. We’re getting old, we’ve grown,” says bassist Jakob Tvilling Pless. “But we’ve been playing together for 10 years, so it would be sad if we hadn’t grown.”

After your last perpetual tour, Iceage hit a brick wall?

Ever since we were 16, we’d been pretty much touring constantly. And we’d pretty much exhausted ourselves. We needed a break from the road. And since we didn’t have an immediate urge to write another record, or a vision for it, rather than forcing things out we decided to wait until our ideas were right, until there was an energy that just had to come out.

If you weren’t making music as Iceage, how did you spend that time away?

Being broke! Seriously, I had no money and I still don’t, because money doesn’t grow on trees. So I was working in a church for awhile. In the beginning, I mainly took care of all the practical stuff there concerning services. I was the one who had to show up in the morning and make sure the church was clean, and when th undertaker came by, I would get the deceased into the church and make all the funeral arrangements. And I was also the main one to greet all the people who showed up for services. The reason I started working in he church is because both of my parents are priests, and that was my way in. I’m not religious myself, but they needed someone to do the job, and I just thought it would be an interesting place to work. I didn’t have to participate in any religious rituals or anything.

What have you learned in your years together as Iceage?

That’s a very complex question. We’ve gotten a lot smarter, and we’ve gotten a lot dumber, as well. So we have learned to be as progressive as a human being can, because that lineage is also very much tied to us, as people. But because it seems like we’ve been doing this, we haven’t really reached a conclusion yet. So ask us again in six years; we’ll probably have a better perspective on it then.

IF YOU GO
Iceage
Where: Great American Music Hall, 859 O’Farrell St., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. June 8
Tickets: $19.50 to $21.50
Contact: (415) 885-0750, www.eventbite.com

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