Katzenjammer Interview by Elisabeth Robson

Katzenjammer ”“ the fantastic multi-talented and multi-instrumental all-girl group from Norway have recently gone platinum in Germany, toured most of Europe and have just completed a very successful UK tour. They have covered Genesis’ Land of Confusion so brilliantly you’d think that they wrote it themselves. Before they hit the road again Elisabeth Robson has spoken with Solveig Heilo and Anne-Marit Bergheim just before their final London show, about their loyal UK fans, Topshop and electric guitars.


Louder Than War: Katzenjammer Jenter! (Katzenjammer girls!)

Solveig Heilo & Anne-Marit Bergheim: YAY!!!!

LTW: I’d like to begin by saying ”“ Well Done Katzenjammer! Finally a real band with real women that are playing real music with personality! I know you’ve toured a bit in the UK before but how has this tour been so far and what have been the highlights?

SH: To see that we can actually fill the venues ”“ sell them out is very surprising!

LTW: you’ve worked hard for it though”¦

SH: We did, but we’ve just started to play here so I never expected people to show up. I think it’s surprising and very nice to tour here. I love it.

Katzenjammer Interview by Elisabeth Robson

LTW: An English crowd is very loyal, and they know a good thing”¦

AB: They’re really honest about what they like so when they come and they say they like it, we believe in what they’re saying!

LTW: Do you like coming to London?

SH: We dig it, man! We don’t have Topshop in Norway, that’s why we like London so much!

LTW: Do you guys live in Oslo?

SH: We live there (points to tour bus), we love it! We’re citizens of the world!

LTW: So, what’s your favourite thing to do here?

SH: I really like to take in the vibe of Camden. When we are here we always stay there, in the same hotel, so Camden is like coming home. The people are open-hearted and welcoming and I like that.

AB: I really like the English people in general, they’re very polite and say please and thank you, and ”Ëœlove’ and ”Ëœdarling’ and ”Ëœsweet’eart’ innit!

LTW: Have you ever explored any other parts of London?

SH: Not really, we never really have that much time to walk around, so we haven’t really seen that much yet. We’d love to though.

AB: There’s a great curry restaurant in King’s Cross!

LTW: What did you like about Brighton yesterday?

SH: The weather was brilliant, and the people are very open-minded down there ”“ it’s a cool crowd. It helps that 30% of the population is gay, that helps!

AB: It’s got so much air in the city, it’s easy to breathe. Everything is just so white and clean”¦

LTW: What I love about Katzenjammer is that you have brought harmonising back ”“ like the 60’s ”“ All of your voices are so beautiful and distinctive ”“ it brings up essences of Crosby, Stills & Nash, Joan Baez, etc”¦

SH: Well, instantly, I think we take a lot of influences from the music from “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou” ”“ there’s like a southern bluegrass vibe to our harmonising. I think we take influences from all those things. But because of the instruments we use, all acoustic, we need something to sew it all together. Harmonising does that well.

LTW: Any specific female musical influences? I’m hearing Kate Bush”¦

SH: We’re definitely inspired by Kate Bush, you know the high pitched craziness! Also PJ Harvey, the White Chalk album is a HUGE influence for me.

AB: Allison Krauss, of course Gillian Welch ”“ she’s a folk artist from Nashville. She sings in a Bluegrass style.

Katzenjammer Interview by Elisabeth RobsonLTW: It’s well documented about your multi-instrumentalism ”“ are you competitive? Do you compete with each other about how many instruments you can all individually play?

AB: Oh, we never compete! We can be curious about a new instrument”¦ like sometimes when we are arranging a new song someone will be like “no, I wanna play the banjo this time” ”“ we can then discuss what we’re playing.

LTW: How many roadies do you have?

AB: We only have one guy who is our roadie, tour manager and backline technician ”“ he does everything. And one sound engineer.
SH: Sometimes when we can afford it we bring in a lighting guy from Norway, other than that we pretty much rely on the venues for that stuff.

LTW: Have you had any time to write new material?

AB: For the past month we’ve been writing some songs for our 3rd album ”“ we’ve now got 5 songs each because we write separately. It’s very exciting because we didn’t know what kind of songs we were going to have. We got together and now we’ve got a good picture of what the album is going to sound like.

LTW: What is it like?

AB: It’s more grown-up, a little more mature this time”¦

SH: It’s a real mixture of up-beat and ballad type songs ”“ you’ll see.

LTW: Have you thought about adding electric guitar?

AB: Oh, we’re definitely thinking about it for the 3rd album. We had an electric guitar on “A Kiss Before You Go” but it didn’t feature in the live shows. But for the new album it’s probably going to be used in a rock style”¦ probably.

SH: An electric guitar is a good support for the sound. We need the sounds now, it’s bigger. It feels natural to bring it in now.

AB: But our sound engineer says that we play our acoustic instruments like they are electric anyway!

LTW: Do you think there’s a new genre emerging from Norway? There’s lots of fresh talent ”“ Are there Any Norwegian acts that you could recommend that are up and coming?

SH: Oh, of course – Susanne Sundfør and Rockettothesky”¦ Check them out”¦

AB: Jenny Hval from Rockettothesky ”“ she’s amazing she’s doing a solo project at the moment.
SH: “Barrie For Billy MacKenzie” is one of my favourite songs right now.

LTW:You seem to be coming here every few months or so which is brilliant! When are you coming back?

AB: Umm, we’re coming back for a tour in the fall”¦.

SH: Oh and in the summer, we’re doing some festivals as well ”“ Cornbury Festival in Oxfordshire in July and Beautiful Days in Devon in August.

LTW: Thanks very much ladies. See you then!


All words by Elisabeth Robson. More articles by Elisabeth can be found here.

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Elisabeth's interest in indie music began in the NYC punk and hardcore scene in the early 80's before moving to London in 1985 where she continued to both play and write. Always the bridesmaid, she has played gigs in lots of bands alongside such notables as The Fall, Bob Rock, some dude from Toto and Girlschool, but put away the bass (gave it away, actually) in 1992. These days she prefers to hunt down new music with the ferocity of a wild animal and 'out' hidden talent. She has a particular interest in Scandinavian (especially Norwegian) indie music - “because it is SO very unusual, and they usually despise us - I like that”, and endeavors to break away from the mendacity and mundanity of mainstream music journalism.


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