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Casiokids's Norwegian Wood

The beauty of these Norwegian kidult instrumentalists is that they don't quite know what they're singing about and neither do we.

Casiokids play joyous, bouncey electro pop. What on earth they’re saying is anyone’s guess, unless you happen to speak Norwegian that is. Yet in summer soundtracks like Fot i Hose the quintet transcend speaking in tongues. Their impressive live show, combining visuals and shadow puppets of all things, can be caught at festivals throughout the coming months. We caught up with multi-instrumentalist Omar N’Dur and bassist Kjetil Bjøreid Aabø to talk calculators, Batman and turning a kiddie playground into a giant instrument.

DazedDigital: How would you describe your sound?
Kjetil: Dirty electronics, no analogue instruments. Of course the loud Casios and Tube Amplifiers I guess.
Omar: We mix a lot of different music styles because we all have slightly different tastes we bring into the mash. Everything from Japanese music to African to…
Kjetil: British indie music. Actually Fück Midi! was the title of our first album. That was the dogma and it stuck, record the sound as it is and not change it afterwards. It’s a nice way of doing it.
Omar: It’s more immediate I think.

DD: Why Casiokids?
Omar: Why not?
Kjetil: When Fredrik and Ketil started out the Casio was the first keyboard they had.
Omar: The only keyboards they had.
Kjetil: They’d record something and then bring it to a party.
Omar: I’m surprised by how fat the sound is from those small kids’ keyboards. It’s really amazing.
Kjetil: Especially the old ones, they’re really good.
Omar: We have these ‘90s keyboards that people used to think of the sound as really cheesy, that you can’t use them for anything. But we try to find those sounds that are a bit awkward, bring it into music and to not make it sound silly.
Kjetil: It’s nice that, when you’re just on the edge of being too cheesy.
Omar: It’s fun to be on that edge.
Kjetil: Of course we go over sometimes.
Omar: That’s deliberate, or we like to think it is.

DD: When you were kids did you have those Casio calculator watches?
Omar: Yeah. I found one at the Salvation Army recently. A ‘70s one, not like the ‘80s one. It was much bigger. It’s now broken, so I’ll have to fix it.

DD: What was the first record you ever bought?
Kjetil: I think Technotronik, a mainstream dance band. At almost the same time I bought this host DJ mix-tape, just a long mix which some DJ did.
Omar: I’m trying to recall. [Snapping his fingers] I think it might have been A-Ha!
Kjetil: The first record I ever got was the single for I Was Made For Loving You by Kiss. That was the first, but I didn’t buy it. I was like seven or something.
Omar: It was either Michael Jackson or A-Ha. I still like it.

DD: You use a lot of visuals live and did a gig for kids in a playground for the Sou La’Plage festival right?
Omar: Yeah, we had a playground made into an instrument with microphones on all the apparatuses. The kids were jumping around on them and making sounds that we sampled and then jammed over the top of, we were playing along on keyboards and stuff. That was a wicked experience.

DD: How did the kids respond to it?
Omar: They were playing like always.
Kjetil: Give a child a microphone and they’ll play something.
Omar: It’s a playground, they will play anyways. They really loved it and when they discovered that the microphones were there, they took them out and then started singing with us. That was really cool. That’s why it’s called to play.

DD: Who are your heroes?
Omar: Life or music-wise or both?
Kjetil: A big artist that made me want to make music was Aphex Twin. Mainly him, also Squarepusher. You’re an old prog-rocker!
Omar: One of my heroes is Batman. He’s my hero. Music-wise it used to be Frank Zappa for a long time, also Cornelius, a Japanese musician. I admire people that are working hard.
Kjetil: And are experimental.

DD: What does the future hold for Casiokids?
Kjetil: Lots of gigging.
Omar: Hopefully we will do another record.
Kjetil: Basically drive around playing for people.
Omar: Hopefully we’ll go to Japan. That’s the plan, going to places where we haven’t been.

DD: You sing in Norwegian, what on earth are you singing about?
Omar: Err, dogs.
Kjetil: Dogs? Love.
Omar: Yeah, love. That’s a theme I think. It’s actually Ketil and the other one who write the lyrics. Some of them are quite naïve, some of them are more deep.

DD: If there were a top three themes that you sung about?
Omar: And the last would be…?
Kjetil: Rainforests.

Single 'Finn Bikkjen/Gomur Mamma' is released on Moshi Moshi records now.