With its trademark mix of instrumental improvisation, catchy hooks and melodic beauty based in a jazz aesthetic, Hess Is More sounds like no other band.
Hess Is More first flickered to life more than a dozen years ago in Copenhagen, where drummer and singer Mikkel Hess had recently graduated from the Royal Danish Academy of Music. After spending his young life steeped in jazz, Mikkel greeted adulthood by falling under the sway of pop. From its first rumblings, Hess Is More revelled in the simple pleasures of pop music—all juicy dance beats and whistled jingles—while never abandoning the perspective of an art-damaged jazz act. In time, Mikkel relocated to New York. Hess Is More had long featured the drummer and a revolving cast, yet in the city a dynamic band slowly gelled. It is the type of project impossible to conceive outside the boundaries of New York City, with members hailing from far-flung corners, both geographic and stylistic. Rasmus Bille Bähncke, Hess’s studio lieutenant and fellow Dane, is a pop savant whose production has guided the world’s Mileys and Aikens. Matthew Parker is an American jazzman, his saxophone solos floating through the band’s songs like apparitions. Lifelong New Yorkers Pavel Kogan-Liakhov (guitar) and W. Andrew Raposo (bass) are pedigreed rock musicians, the latter responsible for the tasteful label Concierge Records. Dublin native David Mason, when not playing electric drums with Hess, performs retro-futurist electronic music as Listening Center. Nikolaj Hess (an established jazz pianist and Mikkel’s big brother) and Daniel Nentwig (of Berlin’s the Whitest Boy Alive) contribute keyboards. In concert, the band encircles Mikkel as he drums and sings. Encountering a frontman drummer in a rock club is an unexpected sight, but this is no shtick: Hess Is More is, in effect, a drummer-led jazz band that happens to play a bastardized form of rock music.
Hess is More, the New York / Danish institution in art house pop music – released its 7th album: 80 Years, its first on UK label Edition Records, in 2017Artist’s Website