19.11.2010 Kaizers Orchestra (Plaza, Zürich)

The new Kaizer album “Violeta, Violeta Vol. I” will be released on January 31 – and of course it must be advertised beforehand! So Janove and Øyvind set their sails towards Europe and did a short promo tour. First stops were Berlin, Copenhagen, and Vienna, and the fans reported enthusiastically about how great these shows (and the new songs!) were. And not only the fans had a great time, but the two Kaizers also reported excitedly about for example the “talk show” in Vienna – which was filmed, so it might (hopefully) be available online some time soon.

Now Zurich was the last city on the promo tour schedule. Unfortunately the circumstances were a bit different for this show. In Zurich, it hadn’t been possible to set up a promo event just for Kaizers, like in the other cities. Instead, the two played as opening act for the opening act for Paul Smith, who usually is the singer of Maximo Park. Accordingly, the preparations for the performance were quite chaotic: The stage was full, the pickups didn’t work, the sound was lousy. But eventually, everything was set, so the only thing missing was an audience… But there was nothing to fear there, because – time for a little side story – before Kaizers were announced as support for this concert, 50 tickets had been sold in advance. Afterwards, the number went up to 200… It’s left to you to decide whether there might be a connection or not. =;-)

The hall didn’t get crowded, but it filled up quite okay – probably not with Kaizer fans though. I spotted maybe one or two that were there clearly because of Kaizers… not more. But that didn’t do any harm! The rest of the audience gave the pre-opening act a chance and seemed interested and eager to see what they would present. Of course there was hardly any interaction – the two presented their songs and promoted the album, no more, no less! They started with the amazing new song “Psycho under min hatt”, before Janove started to explain who they are and what they want. “This is Kaizers Orchestra! Not the full orchestra though. But the core and the heart of the band!” He he, don’t let the others hear that. =;-) The next songs were “Din kjole lukter bensin, mor” and “Femtakt filosofi”, before they finished with an old song (“Who has seen Kaizers before?”) , namely “Di grind”.

That was all already – the songs worked perfectly well with piano, bass and vocals, they gave a great foretaste of the album, and why does it actually take two more months until the album will be out?!? Overall, the performance was quite “down-to-earth”, as was to expect. But it was awesome! =:-D And by the way, you can watch it here: part 1, part 2!

But the promo work wasn’t done after the gig – right after the concert, the two did an interview, and I was allowed to be fly on the wall. And afterwards, I got to ask my own “leftover” questions that hadn’t been answered by the interview (which were just about all of them since the interview was pretty much the standard “would you introduce yourself to our readers/listeners” stuff)!

Actually, this was a bit improvised, I hadn’t really planned to do an interview. So that’s why you won’t get a nice typed-out dialogue now, but simply the interesting new facts. All from memory. =;-)

Let’s start off with a quote from the real interview. Question: “What can the fans of the ‘old’ Kaizers Orchestra expect now?” Well, very simple: Øyvind got a new hat, and the pump organ player now has hair! (I really hope that I kept my composure at this point and my jaw didn’t drop. ‘Cause I did wonder about Helge’s thin hair in the Hjerteknuser video – but actually about him going bold. NOT about him having hair at all. *uhem* Damn, how many times have I seen this band?!? *lol*) Later on, Janove told that this was just the beginning, and they only have five studio albums up to now – so it seems we still got a lot to look forward to! “And we don’t get older”, Janove joked.

We already got to hear and read quite a lot about the trilogy itself, so I didn’t ask about it again. But since Kaizers are taking on Europe again now – “trying to build it up again from scratch, with new people”- how do they expect that the Europeans respond to the trilogy? Because unlike the Scandinavians, most Europeans (except for the hardcore fans of course) won’t notice that the songs are related. Janove agreed – for the Europeans, the album is “just” a normal rock’n’roll album. And with the concept of the trilogy, they mainly want people in Europe to be… impressed! =;-)

The first song that was written for the trilogy was “Din kjole lukter bensin, mor”. The first lyrics, however (the first seven or eight songs were already composed, but they didn’t have lyrics yet) was “Sju bøtter tårer er nok, Beatrice”. Quite interesting considering that this song was also one of the first of the trilogy that were made public!

What was the hardest part in the studio, or what took the most effort? Nothing was really hard, the two agreed. “It was the best studio session we’ve had. Everything was prepared, and it was so easy.” The most difficult thing for Øyvind was probably that the recordings took place in Bergen, where he lives – and that he therefore had to get up at 6 a.m. every morning, even though the work didn’t start before eleven. But seriously: As always, the songs were recorded live, and often the first or second take was fantastic, so they could use it. For some songs it was more difficult, however, and there simply was no “fantastic” take – and Øyvind explained that they know by experience that if this “fantastic” version doesn’t appear in the first five or six takes, it will never come.

Kaizers were certain that the most difficult song to record would be “Philemon Arthur & The Dung”. Actually, the song is very simple, but it got a little “twist”, a little hard arrangement that makes the song quite special – and complicated, Jan Ove explained. Accordingly, they had scheduled more time for this song than for others. And the result: The first attempt was great, and it took five minutes to record the song! But they could use the extra time for “Sju bøtter tårer er nok, Beatrice” – that song seemed very simple, but in the end, it took forever to record it…

As Kaizers mentioned in several interviews, you can imagine the 30 songs of the trilogy as scenes of a movie, or maybe an opera. However, they are not in order but present little bits and pieces of the story. So, if you look at all songs together, will this give the complete story? Not quite, the two said. But they will provide a “context” for each song, which explains what it is about.

A somehow special song of the album is “En for orgelet, en for meg”, because there will be three different versions of the song: one with guest rapper Prinz Pi for Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, one with Blaxtar for the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg, and finally Timbuktu for Sweden and probably Norway. When they selected the rappers, Kaizers didn’t look for people who were famous. For example Prinz Pi: Kaizers asked for a “good guy” whose vibe would fit the “Kaizers vibe”. The people they work with recommended Prinz Pi, who is also in the same category as Kaizers and fills venues of about the same size; so they selected him.

Next up was a short Norwegian lesson for me: The song takes on the current Norwegian youth culture, with a little irony and humor, of course. The original “guest rap” part is done by a fourteen-year-old Norwegian girl, and the words that she uses (like “liksom” and “og sånn”) are veeeery representative of the way the youth talks, Janove explained. And in addition, the content is very naive, assuming that you could simply pack your bags and leave and learn how to turn water into wine – “and such…” He started rapping the rhymes right away to explain what he was talking about, and then he wanted to know how one could express that in German. “Nicht wahr?” But I guess Prinz Pi knows much more about the way the kids talk nowadays than I do, so I’m REALLY looking forward to hear the German version!

Of course I also wanted to know how the current plans for the tour look like. The countries are the same as on the last tours – maybe, if it actually works out, they might be able to add in a first visit to Italy (and of course an off day there as well *g*) this time. But this isn’t confirmed yet, so it might not happen at all. Overall and roughly speaking, Kaizers will tour one week in Denmark, then one in Sweden, and finally two and a half weeks in Europe. Norway will also get some concerts, of course, but that will be announced separately. As support they will take along Jarle Bernhoft. “He’s incredibly musical and delivers a great one-man show.” Sounds great! And not very surprisingly, Kaizers Orchestra will play festivals in summer as well. There’s no names yet (as it’s either not set where they will play or it cannot be announced yet), but as always, there will be festivals all over Europe.

One last question: What will be the difference between the “normal” Violeta, Violeta Vol. I and the limited edition? Will there really be more songs for those who visited the studio tour – like people were guessing? No, according to Janove. “The limited edition will be a deluxe version of the album, with better artwork and layout. It will feel even better! I guess it’s best to describe it with a metaphor: If you drink a good wine, you can drink it from a milk glass. Or you can drink it from a crystal glass! The content is the same, but it does make a huge difference… Yes, that’s a good metaphor for this. From now on, we’ll always explain it like this when somebody asks us about it!”

Great, so all my questioning resulted in something useful in the end! *g* I hope I quoted everything correctly – sometimes it would be smarter to record instead of take notes, I guess… *cough*

A huge Thank You to Kaizers for all this information, for patiently bearing my questioning, for the wonderful gig (that definitely made me want MORE again), and overall – for the great evening! And okay… how long is it until late January now…? =:-)

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One Response to “19.11.2010 Kaizers Orchestra (Plaza, Zürich)”

  1. […] 5x Skambankt, je 3x Katzenjammer, Monsters of Liedermaching und Kaizers Orchestra (wenn man den Promo-Gig in Zürich mitzählt) – also ein sehr gemischtes Jahr diesmal, ohne große […]