Casiokids are a Norwegian synthpop ensemble from Bergen, and Stavanger formed in 2005. The band consists of Ketil Kinden Endresen, Fredrik Øgreid Vogsborg, Omar Johnsen and Kjetil Bjøreid Aabø. Associated musicians are Joachim Amundsen Trana, Eirik Utne, Einar Olsson, Geir Svensson and Snorre Sturla Lyngstad.
After releasing the single « Grønt lys i alle ledd / Togens hule » in the United Kingdom, the band was described by NME as « the best thing to come out of Norway since black metal. » The band has been compared to fellow Norwegian artists The Whitest Boy Alive, Röyksopp, and Annie. They have released an album named Topp Stemning På Lokal Bar that includes the song « Fot i hose », which was included in the comedy series Friday Night Dinner (as transitional music) and on the soundtrack for the football video game FIFA 10, and listed by the NME as the fourth best new song of the week.
In the summer of 2010 legendary Norwegian pop band a-ha gave away four separate prizes of one million kroner each Norwegian artists who they felt had the most export potential at that time. Casiokids was one of the recipients along with Susanne Sundfør, Moddi and Shining.
In October 2011 the band released their new album Aabenbaringen over Aaskammen in North America, Norway and Japan, with a worldwide release scheduled for January 2012. In November 2011 Casiokids visited Japan for the first time.
Ketil accepted to answer some of our questions :
What’s the story behind Casiokids. How did you meet and when did you get together?
It all started with me getting a demo version of the music program Cubase (which didn’t work properly) on my PC in Stavanger in 1999. Feddi and me (Ketil) made some songs with Feddi’s ex-girlfriend’s Casio keyboard (that we stole from her) based on melodies that our friend Ben used to hum loudly in the streets (whilst cycling). Then I quickly came up with the most horrible name I could think of, which was Casiokids, a name that I later came to think of as brilliant. 5 years after this, Feddi and I listened to the tapes we made in Stavanger and found them still to be interesting and amusing, and then we formed the band Casiokids together with Omar Johnsen and Kjetil Aabø.
Since you’ve released your first album a lot has happened. What difference can fans expect on “Aabenbaringen over aaskammen”?
Our first release “Fück MIDI!” was done mainly in Fredrik’s father’s office in Stavanger, the second album “Topp stemning på lokal bar” was done in an old cantina and in the hallway of the Bergen Jazz Association, whilst on this record we wanted to sit in our little grotto at Bergen Kjøtt (Bergen Meat) studio and dig a bit deeper and experiment more with production possibilities. For me the production sounds richer, a natural development as all of us are more used to recording and more eager to find possibilities with the equipment we’ve gathered (stolen) over the years. Fans of our earlier recordings (and fellow workers at Fredrik’s father’s office) will not be disappointed though, as we´re bound to remain categorized in the lo-fi-electro genre (forever). Even though we’ve become more interested in production possibilities, we still want to retain the rawness of the first two records. The dulcet tones of the Casio will always be at the core of our manifesto.
Is there a shared vision for the band?
We’re trying to make music that is somewhere between ABBA, Technotronic and Whigfield, yet fail.
How would you describe your process of making music together?
Its like like the musical « Cats », just without the cats. Well, and without the backdrop of rooftops of course. So, like « Cats », without the cats and the rooftops. There’s no cats, no rooftops and with no music from Andrew Lloyd Webber. No Webber, no cats, no rooftops….and no tickets at the door of course. There’s no dialogue, or, there might be, but it will have nothing to with the musical. No Webber, no cats, no rooftops, no tickets, no dialogue.
Come to think of it, our recording process has nothing whatsoever to do with this musical.
Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
Swedish music in general is a big influence on us, as Jens Lekman, the Field, Familjen, Bob Hund, Fever ray and
Jonathan Johansson. Apart from the swedes african music from Nigeria, Mali, South Africa and Ethiopia
influence our choice of rhythm and vocal harmonies. We laugh and ponder to Ivor Cutler, sing along
to Michael Jackson and lurk around town listening to Cornelius and Lindstrøm.
What’s on your agenda for the next 12 months?
How about downloading our free Casiokids app and stay updated on tours and news?
Out of all the live shows you’ve played so far, which have been some of the most memorable?
Oh. That has to be Roskilde 2008. We will never forget that magical evening.
If you could tour with any two artists, past or present, who would they be and why?
The Fiddler on the roof and The Von Trapp family. There would have to be a strict no-fiddling or harmony singing curfew after 11 pm.
Any new bands/artists you recommend us checking out?
Any closing words for TEEZ’FM listeners?
I’d like to do a shout-out to phaser effect and chorus effect who have both been living in the shadows for too long, we love you.
Thanks to Ketil and Casiokids
Special Thanls to Christopher Wareing
Interview by Thierry Jaussaud