Written by Daisy Jones
30 Monday 30th January 2012



Looking forward to playing tonight?


Very much so. It’s sold out so it’s going to be a good show. It’s always fun to play London. Last time we were here we had so much fun.


You’re album came out 16 January. What are your thoughts on the end result?


I think it was a very different process, working with that album, than it was the first time we sat down and made an album as a whole. The two other times we released an album that was a collection of singles. So this time we created a story, a backdrop, for the album themes. It was about an explorer called Dr. Tarzan Monsoon who went with his propeller plane and discovered an imaginary rainforest. We did the album over two or three months trying to capture the mood of the story and I think it was the first time we created a whole album like that. Also, we do all the production ourselves so we can spend some time experimenting in our own studio.



Do you think that made a big difference to the final sound?


I think the fact that we’ve done everything ourselves means that we’ve become a lot more confident and we’ve broadened our palettes in many ways. I think that is what makes our sound a bit unique – the fact that we do everything ourselves. Many of the musical ideas as well come from the way we’re doing it, because we create the songs whilst we’re recording. I like that way of experimenting and of finding your way around studios and music equipment. There’s a reason it’s called playing. 


You’ve been a band for seven years now; do you think you’ve changed much?


We have changed. For instance, back in 2006 we were mainly instrumental. We didn’t sing at all and every gig we did back then was almost pure improvisation. We wrote imaginary set lists and then we came up with something to fit what the songs were called. We were more a jazz band. We still have some of those elements but there’s more structure to it now and more of a pop thing going on. We’ve also expanded. We started out with two guys then three then four and now we are six. When we do live shows we don’t know how many people are there any more. We should turn around once in a while!



Can I join your band?


Sure. What do you want to play?


A Casio? So you’re touring the UK at the moment. Are there any bands from the UK that you’re into?


We grew up listening to UK music. I think the UK music scene was probably my biggest influence growing up. New Order, Radiohead, Blur. Those bands have a way of reinventing the way they make music and I think we try to do some of the same.


What are your other influences without mentioning music?


Nostalgia? The Casio. It’s the only instrument that can play all instruments. My favourite Casio sound and the moment is the ‘oboe’ sound. It doesn’t really sound like an oboe, it sounds much better. The sound guy just asked me whether I can play the ‘tear drop’ sound on the Casio and that sound is actually a harp, although it sounds nothing like a harp. The Casio has reinvented all instruments.



I read on your website that you’ve been trying to find a successful English translation of the Norwegian verb ‘nynne’. What’s the closest you’ve got to?


We’ve had some suggestions of humming, vocalizing and scatting but I still think it’s limited to certain particular ways of ‘nynning’. The thing about ‘nynning’ is that there are less Norwegian words than English ones so it’s a more generalizing term but at the same time if you had the words humming, vocalizing and scatting and they were next to the work ‘nynne’, and they were shaped like circles, they still wouldn’t meet completely. 



A-ha gave you one million kroner a couple of years back…have you spent it all and what did you spend it on?


We spent it wisely, I would say. We have spent most of it by now and it’s gone on touring, recording the album and a bit of it went into building our new studio. We’ve extremely grateful to the legendary A-ha.


I love the name of your blog - ‘happyjokes’ - Have you got any?


Well I came up with the name when I was in Nigeria with our percussionist. We were there to do a radio documentary on the legacy of Nigerian musician Fela Kuti. We went to his hometown and in that city there was a billboard far away that said ‘happy jokes’. The name just stuck with me. There is something a bit overcomplicated with the words. It’s like double something that is not necessary. 



For anyone that hasn’t heard you yet – how would you describe your sound?


In France our album is categorized in the ‘world’ section but mostly I’d say it would be in the electronica section in a record shop. But once, after a show, a guy came up to us and said we sounded gay. So it’s sort of like gay world electro.


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