Casiokids – “Dance is Definitely Universal”
You only have to look at their Norse history to see that Norway has always been a country which has been partial to an invasion or two. Therefore it comes as no surprise that in recent years the revival of the Norwegian music scene has seen them marauding through the charts in foreign lands. Erlend Oye, with his projects Kings of Convenience and Whitest Boy Alive, Annie and Royksopp have all made international impacts and fellow countrymen Casiokids are following suit. Renowned for their grueling touring schedule (2009 saw them hit 18 countries with a total of 170 shows, for example), they arrive in Japan for the first time this month, playing at both the Nordic Music showcase and also a very special live performance at Tokyo Indie’s next event on November 11th. Ketil Kinden Endresen, front-man of the band, gives us the lowdown on their new album and what to expect from their upcoming shows.
Your album is due for release in Japan and you are here on tour for the first time. You must be pretty excited?
Japan has long been on top of my list of countries to visit, so “excited” does not entirely cover how I feel. Id rather say it is a dream come true.
What are you looking forward to most during your visit here? Anything you particularly want to see?
Japanese food is my favorite food, so the trip should hopefully take the shape of a food feast for me.
You sing in your native language, which is fantastic. However, did you worry that it might harm your chances of becoming an ‘international’ act? Is there a pressure in the industry to record songs in English?
In the beginning we actually decided not to sing, and only used human voices sampled from audio books and interviews we did ourselves. As we experimented more with vocal harmonies in the studio we decided to follow the idea of making something as true to our everyday lives and personal experiences as possible, hence using the Norwegian language.
I truely believe one of our main goals as artists and musicians has to be to create something unique and original, and the Norwegian language was for us a natural part to achieve just that. When we first started playing abroad, in France and UK from 2005, we were continuously amazed that the reactions were so overwhelming when no-one could understand the lyrics. After a while we discovered how much of the energy we could send out and still catch the audience’s attention without them understanding what was said, both melodically and of course rhythmically. Dance is definitely universal.
For those not fluent in Norwegian, what does the new album title“Aabenbaringen Over Aaskammen” actually mean? Where did you get the name from?
The song themes and sounds on the album are shaped around and inspired by the story of adventurer Dr. Tarzan Monsoon, and his discovery of a hidden rainforest.
‘Aabenbaringen’ translates to ‘the revelation’, and ‘over aaskammen’ as ‘over the mountain ridge’, something that appears from over the mountain. Two of the words are written in old Danish-Norwegian with the double A, instead of the more common modern-Norwegian Å, and a ‘B’ to replace the more modern-Norwegian ‘P’ in ‘aabenbaringen’. This gives the title a hint of being older, in Norwegian grammatical terms, 100 years or so. Here is a recording of me, a modern Norwegian, but what the heck, saying ‘Aabenbaringen over aaskammen’!
The NME in England once described you as “the best thing to come out of Norway since black metal”…Do you agree?
Not really into metal, so I hope it was a compliment.
Last year you received a cash prize from Norweigen legends A-Ha to help you market the band abroad. How much has this helped your international success?
We’ve never won any prize before, so this kind of recognition has been very good for us and obviously made our lives a bit easier. A-ha’s support made it possible to record the album “Aabenbaringen over aaskammen” in the 3 months period we set aside for it.
What can our Japanese crowd expect from a Casiokids show?
Joy and dancing! We are very much looking forward to meeting you all.
We can’t wait to meet them either! Casiokids play a special show for Tokyo Indie on 11th November, as well as a host of dates in Japan:
10.11.11 Japan, Tokyo, Marz
11.11.11 Japan, Tokyo, Unit
11.11.11 Japan, Tokyo, Chelsea Hotel – Tokyo Indie
12.11.11 Japan, Nagoya, R.A.D.
13.11.11 Japan, Osaka, Shangri la
Casiokids’ new album Aabenbaringen Over Aaskammen is out on November 2nd on Flake records, pick yourself up a copy here
Words: Mark Birtles
Translation: Asuka Ozutsumi