There is alchemy afoot at the moment in Denmark. Pure pop gold seems to be streaming out of the place and the latest brilliant EP to come out today is ‘Happimess’ from an artist called mags. This five track release simply doesn’t have a moment of weakness. Every song could easily be a single and it’s clear that mags is an artist that doesn’t believe in half measure. The lyrics are brim full of a sincere, honest and relevant take on modern life and the superb pop production provides the best broad stroke background to the detail and beautiful colour that mags lyrical mastery adds in fine detail.
The five songs on the EP span stories about the power and intoxication of love and the feelings of not being able to let go of a broken relationship through to holding on to love even when it creates enemies. Margarethe Tang, artistically known as mags, is fired by the big emotions, by the tidal wave of feelings that you can either ride or be overwhelmed by. The fact that she is able to articulate this tempest and still create pure pop will really resonate with fans everywhere. Frankly, I can’t wait to see her play live in the U.K. but until then I’ll have to make do with being able to pose some questions and recommend you add this brilliant collection to your playlist today.
EP: ‘happimess’ is a great title for an EP about that mix of emotions where big dreams for love and life clash with the doubts and insecurities that we all have. Did you come up with the title and how do you think it sums up the five songs on the release?
mags: Thank you! Yes, I did come up with it. I actually think it was a typo whilst trying to write “happiness” in a text to a friend and that in itself is actually a great metaphor for the word “happiness” and the entire EP. Life moves fast and sometimes I make mistakes, things get messy and with this EP I wanted to touch upon some of the feelings and situations where I have felt awkward, embarrassed or extra emotional in both ends of the spectrum. It’s a word that doesn’t take itself to serious, makes sense but is a little flawed. That’s exactly how I feel as a mid-twenties woman trying to figure it all out.
EP: One of the things I’ve noticed has been an outcome of the pandemic and the subsequent restrictions is that mental health issues and emotional problems have become more normalised in that we are all aware of how prevalent they are in the wider society. Are these five songs a salve, do you think, for a love life at the moment?
mags: I agree! I have made the same mental health observation. And yes, I hope so. If not for love life then at least a salve to some of the big feelings that we all experience.
EP: For me, this is such a strong release. There’s really not a weak song on it. On an initial listen, I was struck by how well constructed the songs are, they are brilliant pop, and I guess that’s a lot to do with excellent production. But, as I listened more and more, I was struck by the honesty and insight of the lyrics, and that’s down to you. The songs span a whole range of life and love. You must feel very proud of your song writing?
mags : Firstly, thank you so much. I’m incredibly proud of this EP. I feel like every song has its own important place and that the productions not only support but lift the storytelling in the song writing. Birk Nevel has produced most of the record and he is just incredible. I am very proud of where I’m at with my song writing and I’m proud of making sure that I’m still and always at the core of the writing process. Putting words to my feelings is something I have been doing for more than 10 years now. I am very confident in the process and also… it serves as a vital surviving mechanism in my emotional life, ha ha.
EP: The EP ends with ‘happimess’, the title track, which feels hugely biographical but could be an empowering anthem for so many young people. Is that how you planned it to feel?
mags :That is exactly how I planned for it to feel. I felt like pointing the narrative inwards more so than ever on that song. Really wanted to open up about where I’m from in the verses and where I’m at in the chorus. Being fully transparent as an invitation for the listener to do the same. If not with people around them, then with themselves.
EP: Whilst all of your songs are melodically upbeat, the issues you deal with in them aren’t always quite so positive, for want of a better word. Was the dichotomy intentional or did you intend for the songs to be multi-layered; appealing on lots of levels. For instance, the intensity, depth and beauty of the words of ‘as long as we’re both breathing’ seems at odds to the pure pop production. As I’ve said before, I love this, after all ABBA perfected heart-breaking honesty with catchy production and they did ok.
mags: It’s something I’ve always leaned towards. The dichotomy of the lyrics/subject of the song and the soundscape. As I tend to write most of my songs acoustically first I get to set the theme there lyrically and melodically and then in the production I set the tone. I love that way of doing it because when I’m writing my lyrics I don’t want any limits to my honesty. I want to create a space of complete openness and I feel like I can do that comfortably knowing that I can make it sound so different in the production if I feel like it. I love a good sad banger. It’s a way of coping with and turning heavy feelings into something more positive and danceable – at least for the 3 minutes the song lasts, ha ha.
EP: Who are your main inspirations for your music? You’ve come a long way from Ry, your Jutland hometown; as it helped to broaden your horizons?
mags: Mainly people I love or the people they love. It usually comes down to that. Relations between humans are ever fascinating to me. I also find inspiration in other art expressions; movies, theatre, dance, contemporary art etc. I am like everyone a product of my upbringing so being from Ry has defiantly shaped me. Being somewhere that felt so big and small at the same time was challenging but amazing at the same time.
EP: Finally, are there any plans to bring your music to the UK? I’d love to see you sing these songs live and they really feel like they would resonate with a UK audience.
mags: Gosh, I’d love to! I love the UK. There are no concrete plans yet! But, there’s nothing I want more than to get out and play for as many people in as many countries as possible. It’s a matter for time before I will get to perform in the UK.