We caught up with all female Norwegian 4-piece Katzenjammer to discuss TV obsessions, gigs in the North Pole and Genesis covers. Here is how it went:
Cougar Microbes: What time did you wake up today? Was it out of choice or necessity?
Katzenjammer : I got up at 4 am today and it was NOT out of choice, but because we had to catch an early flight to Austria to get to a festival there in time. But we kind of get used to irregular time schedules in this business.
CM: Describe Katzenjammer to the uninitiated? What have you been up to recently?
KJ: Katzenjammer is a illimitable band both musically, visually and mentally. No limitations and a lot of fun. We´re 4 girls twirling around with 15 instruments on stage. The genre is indescribable, but belongs to the folk roots with hints of rock, pop, circus, and impressions from all around the world. Recently we´ve worked on our new album ‘A Kiss Before You Go‘ and we´ve been touring a lot all over Europe and some in Australia and the US as well.
CM: How have you been killing time on the road, hobbies?
KJ: We´ve got different hobbies. Some of us likes to go for a run or do yoga, some likes to work on new songs and some do the hula hoop. But we all love to watch TV-series and I think we´ve seen pretty much everything by now. Right now we´re waiting for the next season of Dexter, Mad Men and True Blood. Can´t wait!!
CM: What have been your favorite venues to play? Any Venues you hated?
KJ: I can´t recall that we´ve been to any venues we´ve hated so far. If we have, I´ve forgotten it by now. But we´ve played on several great ones. The biggest and most spectacular must be the O2 Arena in London where we supported Keane in 2009. With a capacity of over 20.000 people, it was a positive shock to enter the stage.
The most bizarre venue we´ve played at was in Murmansk in Russia. There were cages a few feet above the floor containing naked ladies dancing energetically to our music even though we did ballads or up-tempo tunes.
And the most beautiful venue we´ve played at was outside on the deck on a boat a few miles outside the coast of Spitsbergen. That is way up north, almost the north pole actually. And we were surrounded by snow and ice covered mountains with hundreds of birds flying above our heads and a polar bear in the horizon.
CM: Is there a song you are simply sick of playing?
KJ: Of course you get more tired of some songs in periods, but the good thing is that we´ve got enough songs to be able to skip the ones we sort of dislike. And after a while it´s just fun to put it into the set again. Right now I actually like all the songs in our set. Because the new songs gives life to the old ones.
CM: What is the songwriting process like for Katzenjammer. Are you able to write on the road or do you do this in your off time?
KJ: Most of the songwriting happens on our off time. When we´re out on the road there´s always something going on and it´s a tight schedule. But if we write songs on tour it´s usually for other projects just to focus on something else when we can.
CM: Favorite Katzenjammer track and why?
KJ: Right now I think my favorite Katzenjammer track is from our newest album, and the song is a cover version of Genesis, ‘Land Of Confusion‘. It´s rock´n´roll, a lot of energy and coolness. I´m very satisfied with the result.
CM: If you could record any cover what would it be?
KJ: Difficult to choose only one. But I think if we´re doing another cover again it has to be something that´s musically very different from us. Maybe ‘Master of Puppets‘ by Metallica or something.
CM: Do your songs go through many revisions via demo recordings?
KJ: It depends on the song. Sometimes the arrangements and the melody is just there ready to be played when we write the songs. Other times the songs require more time and work to become perfect. The way we get to this point is to jam with each other and experiment different ideas. If we record any demos, it´s usually just for our own use and nothing nobody ever gets the chance to listen to.
CM: What came first, the lyrics or the melody?
KJ: That depends on the song too. But most of the time the melody comes first. And the lyrics might even come years later. It depends on many things, what kind of song you wanna write, if it´s personal or not.
CM: What are your views on auto tune?
KJ: I think you should be very careful with the usage of too much auto tune. A lot of today’s, especially pop, music use this both as an effect and to «clean» up the vocals. And by doing so you lose a lot of warmth and temperature in the performance. And for me it´s a big NO GO on live performances!
CM: Any other band/bands from your local scene we really should know about?
KJ: Norway´s got a strong musical scene these days. There´s several great female artists like Susanne Sundfør, Rockettothesky, Marit Larsen and Hanne Hukkelberg. We´ve also got some great bands like Team Me, Superfamily, Knudsen & Ludvigsen and many more.
CM: Most flattering thing you’ve read about yourselves?
KJ: After “Next big thing” in London, a reviewer wrote “With A-ha now retired, who better to fly the flag for Norway than these four talented women.”
That`s a huge compliment and we´ll carry it with us around the world trying to do so.
CM: What was the first record/tape/cd you ever bought?
KJ: It was a tape of the norwegian singer/songwriter Claudia Scott, ‘Flowers and Thorns‘ when I was around 9 years old.
CM: What was the last song that got stuck in your head?
KJ: A Norwegian song called ‘Vår beste dag’ by Erik Bye and Jon Rosslund.
CM: What was the last show you paid and queued up for?
KJ: I think it has to be AC/DC last summer in Oslo. It was fantastic!
CM: If you had to bring on artist back from the dead in exchange for sending a living artist down ,which artists would it be and why?
KJ: I´m not a fan of name dropping other artists I don´t like, because it´s all just a matter of taste and I don´t want my opinions to affect others. So I don´t want to send any living artists down. But if I could bring a dead artist back to life, it would have to be Jimi Hendrix!