Casiokids

Child's Play

Jan 05, 2010 Issue #30 - Winter 2010 - Vampire Weekend
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Recounting Casiokids 2009 schedule, frontman Ketil Kinden Endresen sounds a bit tired, despite being on break from tour duties. "We played 170 shows in 18 countries. It came as a surprise because the year before that we played maybe 35, 40 concerts!" he explains in quiet awe, speaking from his hometown of Bergen, Norway. Nevertheless, the electro-pop musician perks up when discussing the upcoming year.  "In 2010, the idea is that instead of only doing tours, playing one city every day, we're going to be based in certain cities where we'll play many times, like London and Bergen and Oslo, and do different shows, ” he announces with excitement. "One rock show, one workshop and one show in someone' s apartment.

Back in 2004, globetrotting was the last thing on Endresen’s mind; he just wanted to have a good time making music. Even “Casiokids,” the name of the project he started that year with current bandmate Fredrik Øgreid Vogsborg, was a throwaway, at first. “I just called it the stupidest name I could think of. Later on the name kind of just stuck, and I actually started to like it.” With the tunes being built on old Casios and Endresen’s computer, the moniker was appropriate. “We used samples from Queen and Beck and Radiohead, and just made our own mixes of songs, or used them in our own songs, and brought them to parties,” Endresen says. “After doing that and playing around with different styles and making music for ourselves, I just couldn’t stop listening to those tapes.”

It was that obsession that led the media science student to form what soon would be a solidified band, fleshing out his samples-based project with the help of three additional full-time members, a handful of touring musicians, and a few unlikely characters. “We’ve done a project with a theater troupe doing different kinds of puppetry like shadow puppets and life-sized puppets and animation,” Endresen says, referring to their collaborative partners Digitalteateret. This desire to break performance boundaries has led the band to some unusual arenas. “Ever since the beginning when we started out in 2004, we’ve been experimenting with the idea of presenting the music in different venues, or places that are not venues. We’ve done workshops both for adults and kids, and we’ve played shows in underground stations, churches, and homes.” The most memorable show for Endresen happened in a hot air balloon during Norway’s Hove Festival, an experience he describes as “quite frightening! You’re really quite dependant on the wind!”

Although Casiokids sing exclusively in their mother tongue, language has proven to be a non-issue during their extensive touring abroad, so much so, the group plans to have a compilation of singles—previously unreleased in the U.S.—out this year via Polyvinyl. “People bounce and respond to other elements in the music that are not dependent on lyrics,” Endresen says. “Sometimes I’ve been really surprised in a positive way. There was this show that we played in Moscow; there were people singing along with our songs during the set!” He pauses to consider the artistic implications. “I see it as making something original and something that’s your own in a way, and that’s why I think it’s right for us to sing in Norwegian,” he explains. “So we just continued, and now we’ve been all over the world.”

(www.casiokids.com)

 



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