Casiokids | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Casiokids

Of Moustaches and Mayonnaise

Oct 10, 2011 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


It’s hard not to smile when listening to a Casiokids album. The 8-bit melodies—created via their namesake Casio keyboards, of course—bounce and crackle with a Mario Bros. meets of Montreal energy. Their first album—a collection of singles called Topp Stemning På Lokal Bar (“Good atmosphere at the Local Bar”)—paid tribute to their good time vibe, encapsulating a night’s worth of adventures and booze into a mere eight tracks.

Sophomore album Aabenbaringen over aaskammen, sees the Norwegian collective maturing—adding both orchestral and organic elements and a narrative through-line about an adventurer named Dr. Tarzan Monsoon to the mix. For all their maturation, the band hasn’t completely ditched their sense of humor. Check out our silly conversation about time travel, secret identities, and mayonnaise with the “kids” below. Be sure to catch their set at our CMJ party on October 19.

Laura Studarus: When did you “meet” the subject of your album, Dr. Tarzan Monsoon? (Internet searches indicate he may not exist—so now’s the chance for you to prove his existence!)

Ketil Kinden Endresen: Dr. Tarzan Monsoon is constantly traveling, exploring new worlds, and therefore hard to get hold of. I hope our roads may meet one day.

Feddi Øgreid Vogsborg: Dr. Tarzan Monsoon introduced himself sometime back in 2008, so he’s been lurking around in our creative stockpile for quite a while. He’s an old adventurer and explorer. He owns a plane, and has an extraordinary moustache.

Would this new album have been possible without the 1 million kroner grant from a-ha? (Can we request you start covering “Take On Me” in their honor?)

Ketil: The a-ha fund made it possible to take a break from touring, and focus all our efforts on creating the stories and melodies that make up Aabenbaringen over aaskammen.

Feddi: We’ve been in our studio recording the album for the better part of 2011. That would definitely not have been possible had it not been for the generous grant from a-ha. We’re very grateful for that, and we have actually considered doing a cover at some point. If we were to do one, we’d choose our favorite ballad, “Stay On These Roads.”

How did you manage to write a new album while touring for the better part of two years? Superior time management or superpowers?

Feddi: Here’s where I’ll refer you to the previous answer. The superpowers were obtained from a-ha. With their contribution, we were able to take a break from touring just long enough to finish the album.

Casiokids recording sessions: Controlled chaos or diplomacy in action?

Ketil: Fredrik, Aabø, Omar, and me are all in the studio producing and writing, so it’s different from song to song. Sometimes one of us will create the meat of the song whilst others do the condiments, other times it’s more like a creative soup.

Feddi: Both. It depends who’s in the studio at any given time. We tend to work in pairs, or threes. Different constellations each day, and at least working on 10 different songs within a short period. It can be quite chaotic sometimes, but then again, I think the chaos inspires us. Having made an idea for a song one day, I could arrive in the studio two days later, and the song would be totally different. That sort of thing happens all the time.

How did you decide to sing in English for the first time? (Dr. Monsoon put you up to it, didn’t he?)

Ketil: You are perhaps referring to “Golden years?” It’s common in Norwegian to sometimes use English expressions and words to lightly pepper and salt our native Norwegian tongue.

Feddi: Actually, we still sing solely in our native Norwegian. I guess the song titles “London Zoo” and “Golden Years” make people jump to conclusions, but alas, they are just titles. As for Dr. Tarzan Monsoon, I believe he doesn’t even understand English.

For those of use who don’t speak Norwegian—and fear the linguistic mess of Google Translate—how would you describe the themes of the new album?

Ketil: Mostly about nostalgia and animals.

Feddi: The overall theme revolves around this “revelation” Dr. Tarzan Monsoon has while flying his old plane over the hillside and discovering this hidden rainforest. Some of the songs are directly or indirectly connected to his observations exploring the forest, but I wouldn’t say it’s anywhere near being a concept album. Nostalgia is another important recurring theme.

Casio sponsoring Casiokids: Greatest idea ever or the marketing equivalent of dividing by zero?

Ketil: In April 2011 we did a show for Casio Mexico in Mexico City, which was a pleasant experience. Casio for us is mostly about nostalgia for our first Casio keyboards, still the meat of our act.

Feddi: We’ve always thought that the company Casio would eventually sponsor us or sue us. That would be great publicity either way. But believe it or not, we were brought to Mexico City in March to do a Casio showcase there. So this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

What one non-musical item would the Casiokids be lost without?

Ketil: Food.

Feddi: Mayonnaise, computers, or gaffa tape.

If your time traveler of choice appeared and offered you a show in any era, where in the past/future would you perform?

Ketil: Dinosaur show?

Feddi: Machu Picchu, 1530.

Be honest: Do your labelmates (and collaborators on Selskapets triste avslutning”) of Montreal have secret lives where they work boring day jobs and wear sweaters and running shoes?

Ketil: We mostly meet them on tour, and since both of us are constantly touring it should suggest that there would be no time for anything else apart from music.

Feddi: As we still haven’t been to Athens to visit them, we can’t be 100% certain, but I think what you see is what you get. Very un-boring and extraordinary people, that is.

Are Ketil and Beck secretly the same person? The look a good deal alike, and we’ve never seen them in a room together…

Ketil: Beck has been a great inspiration for me. Same person? I wish.

Feddi: I have to admit I haven’t seen them together either. And Beck has Norwegian genes as far as I know. I think the dance moves is the only way to tell them apart.

(www.casiokids.com)



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