Katzenjammer are bringing their unique blend of musical genres to the UK this month for a tour ahead of the release of their second album (the first in the UK) A Kiss Before You Go. The Norwegian girl group first broke onto the scene here last year when they did the festival rounds, including Glastonbury, and have been on breakfast TV this week promoting their tour, so we were lucky enough to get the chance to grill them…
You named yourselves after the Katzenjammer Kids, but did it worry you that it is the German word for ‘cat’s wail’, which isn’t really a sound you can dance to?
Well, this was a part of the reason why we picked the name. We kinda felt like the aristocats in the Disney movie, grabbing a dusty instrument and having our way with it, jamming and partying in an unpretentious fashion while howling at the moon. It also means hangover in German, which describes your condition very well, after having been to a Katzenjammer concert. (Well, the day after, that is).
When you started making music together, what was your ambition? Has it changed since?
It started off with no ambitions. We played music for the fun of it. Because we loved the songs and the fabulous energy we managed to create together. Of course, when we see that this joy is contagious and that people love what we do, we get ambitions about reaching out to as many as possible. Now we can live from this, and we would love to continue this way. The world needs more unpretentiousness, happiness and pure joy. We would like to be one of the ambassadors for this.
What other acts inspired you?
Every act that is genuine, where you see a genuine desire to reach out with your ideas, share your beliefs and images or musical universe, we find interesting. Whether we find it crappy or not. It could be fun to watch something that’s just a part of the money mill as well, but it doesn’t necessarily reach the heart in the same way.
You can play an incredible range of instruments, what is the strangest one and how did you discover it?
The theremin is probably the most weird and interesting instrument we’ve tried. (We used it on our first record, Le Pop). It’s like a invisible fiddle, that reacts on matter, so you create the pitch and volume with the presence of your body, or desirably: your hand. It’s very challenging and very fun!
You covered a Genesis song on your upcoming album, what other bands do you want to reinvent in your own style?
The more the band differs from Katzenjammer, the more fun it is to cover them. So, better to cover Scatman John, than the more latent Dick Burnet’s version of Man of Constant Sorrow. (Which is a great song, by the way) Solveig made a sort of a cover of master of Puppets, by Metallica. It’s called Lady Marlene, and is on the record A Kiss Before You Go. It’s hard to recognize, amongst the quiet, angelic, waltzy sounds, that the melody in the verse is the exact same as parts of Master of Puppets.
You’ve been making inroads into the UK market in the last year and have been on national TV this week, are you looking forward to your tour this month?
YES! We love the English musical culture and history, and find the country most charming. And your sense of humor suits us norwegians perfectly! We hope the Brits are equally ready for the Katzenjammer jolly mayhem.
You played at Glastonbury last year, how was that?
An extaordinary experience. It was a complete mess that day, total chaos, mud and missing instruments, missing transport, and missing members, but we managed to scramble everything on stage JUST in time and had a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious time up there!
What can people expect from a Katzenjammer show?
A flamboyant carousel of musical chairs. If you thought you knew what Katzenjammer was about before you saw a live show, you were wrong! Katzenjammer are full of surprises. It´s a “need to see live”- band.
And finally, how do you describe your music when someone asks you to sum it up?
Rattlefolkpoprockbluegrassoncircuswithcowboysandindians- music, without any boundaries!
We’ll be reviewing A Kiss Before You Go soon as well as one of the shows from Katzenjammer’s UK tour, so watch this space…