Simon Kvamm at Roskilde Festival 2010.
Nephew is a Danish rock band, formed in 1996, in Aarhus. They had their breakthrough in 2004 with the release of their second album USADSB. The release coincided with lead singer Simon Kvamm's highly successful appearances on Danish television in the cult comedy show Drengene fra Angora, which helped boost the band's popularity.
The band uses an unusual mixture of Danish and English in their lyrics; they started singing mostly in English with just a few Danish lyrics, but gradually, they have been using Danish more frequently in their songs. In 2009, when interviewed and asked about the language mix, frontman Kvamm said: "It's important for me to use the Danish kind of English that I speak...my mother tongue Danish, and my second language English, are very present to me in thinking and talking and speaking with others, and writing. Also in songwriting. And things just take form in one of those languages, or a mixture in between them. I can't really find a system to what goes the English way and what goes the Danish." The band considers Depeche Mode as one of its major influences. Around 2004-2005, a mix of Nephew's "Movie Klip" and Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus" appeared. It was later revealed that the mix was made by René Munk Thalund.
Early Days and Swimming Time (1996-2004)
The band was formed in 1996 by Simon Kvamm, Kristian Riis, Jonas Juul Jeppesen, and Søren Arnholt, all of whom were studying musicology at the university of Aarhus. In 1997 they participated in DM i Rock (Danish Championships in Rock), where they reached the semi-finals. In 1998 Jonas Juul Jeppesen, who was until then the bassist in the band, left the band, and was replaced by the current bassist Kasper Toustrup. After recording their first demo CDs in 1998 and 1999, they got some airtime on the Danish radio station P3. The band's first studio album, Swimming Time, was released on 3 May 2000, on the small label Martian Records. The album was well received by both critics and fans, peaking at #15 on the charts for 1 week. The band's gig calendar became even more busy than it already was, and the band performed both on Camp Stage at Roskilde Festival and a couple of venues in Germany. In spite of the band's success, the band members lost their enthusiasm and decided to take a break in 2001, but during their farewell concert in Germany, they rediscovered their passion for music and decided to stay together.
USADSB and Breakthrough (2004-06)
Nephew's second studio album, named USADSB, was released 30 June 2004. The name comes from the abbreviation for the United States of America, USA, and the abbreviation for the Danske Statsbaner (Danish State Railways), DSB. It was very well received and is seen as their "breakthrough" album in Denmark and elsewhere. This is in large part because of Simon Kvamm's participation in the Danish satire cult show Drengene Fra Angora, which helped make his a household name. USADSB sold far more copies than Swimming Time, going double platinum in Denmark and spawning six hit singles. It peaked at #1 and held that position for 7 weeks. The anthem for the fictional cycling team Team Easy On from the show even came second after one of the singles from USADSB, "En Wannabe Darth Vader", which topped the Danish singles chart. Aside from Denmark, USADSB has been released in Japan, Germany and Norway.
In 2005, René Munk Thalund joined the band as keyboardist. He had previously been in the electronic trio Shanks.dk with Nephew's producer, Carsten Heller, and Jesper Birk. With this new member, Nephew proceeded to make the song "Byens Hotel" for Værsgo 2, the 2005 Danish tribute album to Kim Larsen's 1973 album Værsgo.
Interkom Kom Ind (2006-09)
On 6 October 2006, Nephew released a new album, Interkom Kom Ind, which received many positive reviews, and fared well commercially both in Denmark and other countries in Europe. The singles, "Igen & Igen &", "Science Fiction & Familien", and "Mexico Ligger i Spanien" rotated heavily on Danish radio. It topped the charts for 3 weeks. The Mexico Ligger i Spanien Remix EP was released later in 2007, which contains remixes by Mofus and Klovn of the song "Mexico Ligger i Spanien", as well as both an extended mix and a short intro version of the song.
At the 2006 MTV Europe Music Awards, the band met Timbaland, who asked them if they could work on his forthcoming Timbaland Presents Shock Value album. Due to other commitments, Nephew couldn't contribute to the album, but they did produce a remix of the song "The Way I Are". Only the vocals from the original song are the same, the Danish band having completely redone the song. Nephew frontman Simon Kvamm also delivers new vocals for the song, which were included on the single release. The remix samples the melody from "Igen & Igen &", as well as translating lyrics from the song which are then incorporated throughout the remix. It was released in most of Europe as a B-side to the original single, and in Scandinavia, was played often as the main single.
On 5 November 2007, Nephew released a live-box set (Live-CD/2DVD) entitled Roskilde 07.07.07 based upon a much-acclaimed live performance at Orange Scene at the 2007 Roskilde Festival. The Live CD features songs from the albums USADSB and Interkom Kom Ind, including a special version of "Hospital" which features a guest performance by Danish rapper L.O.C.. The Special Edition of the box also includes the band's remix of the Timbaland track "The Way I Are". The album peaked at #2 for 1 week.
In September 2008, a Nephew remix of the song "Allein Allein" by German band Polarkreis 18, entitled "Allein Alene", appeared in Danish radio. It was mixed by the keyboardist of the band, René Munk Thalund, and Carsten Heller, who both mixes and produces for Nephew. It topped the chart for 8 weeks.
Nephew released their fourth album, Danmark/Denmark, on 5 June 2009, the Danish Constitution Day. It peaked at #1, holding the spot for 2 weeks. Following a performance at Roskilde Festival in 2010, the band announced that they would be taking a break from touring and Denmark, although they did play shows in Norway and China. On 23 November 2011 they announced via their official website that they would be playing several concerts in July 2012 as a part of the Grøn Koncerter ("Green Concert"). They also announced in the same press release that they had begun work on Hjertestarter and expected to release it sometime in the autumn of 2012. Nephew was also responsible for the official football song for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa: "The Danish Way to Rock", which sat at the top of the charts for 2 weeks. In addition to this, the Police Bells & Church Sirens EP was released in 2010, containing a radio edit, a "Dainty Doll's Trend Mix", and "Nephew's Nightlife Mix" (mixed by René Munk Thalund of Nephew) of the song "Police Bells & Church Sirens". Furthermore, two of the band members, René Munk Thalund and Kristian Riis, did backing vocals for Kim Wilde's song "Hey! You!" on her album Come Out and Play.
Hjertestarter was released on 2 November 2012. It went straight to the number one most sold album (in Denmark) that month and the Danish iTunes store, holding the top spot on the charts for 2 weeks. Nephew has performed at various events with the single of the same name; most recently the Danish Music Awards'12. When asked what this single was meant to convey, Kristian Riis said (roughly translated from Danish): "The album's title track is a tribute to the North Sea. The single acts to start up the heart–emotionally or literally in a revival." The third single "Gå med dig" featuring Marie Key went Gold.
1-2-3-4-5 and Igen & Igen & (2013-present)
On 18 November 2013, Nephew released an album boxset, 1-2-3-4-5, as well as a collection of singles, Igen & Igen &. 1-2-3-4-5 contains Nephew's five studio albums along with 15 bonus songs; early renditions of the songs "USADSB", "Mexico Ligger i Spanien", "Hospital", "007 Is Also Gonna Die", and "Hjertestarter"; a remix of "Downtown Europe" by Ørtz/Mofus; an alternative version of "Worst/Best Case Scenario"; an early version of "Superliga"; the previously unreleased demo songs "Swedenborg" and "Marking Princess"; and premixes of the previously unreleased "Pasfotografier", "Automatisk Mig", "Stop Nu Hjælp Nu", "The Day I Laminate My Heart", and "Jeg Kan Se". It peaked at #15 and stayed there for a week. Igen & Igen & is a collection of all of Nephew's singles currently released at the time, as well as one bonus track: a cover of the song "Det Si'r Sig Selv" by C.V. Jørgensen. It sat at #8 for 1 week.
- Simon Kvamm – lead vocals, keyboards, songwriting (1996–present)
- Kristian Riis – guitar, backing vocals (1996–present)
- Søren Arnholt – drums, backing vocals (1996–present)
- Kasper Toustrup – bass guitar (1998–present)
- René Munk Thalund – keyboard (2005–present)
- Jonas Juul Jeppesen – bass guitar (1996–98)
- Swimming Time (2000)
- USADSB (2004)
- Interkom Kom Ind (2006)
- Danmark/Denmark (2009)
- Hjertestarter (2012)
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