Interview with Anne Marit of Katzenjammer

Interview with Anne Marit of Katzenjammer

by Christian Lamitschka for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show


Lamitschka: Music fans who may be hearing about you for the first time. How would you describe yourself and the music you play to someone who never seen or heard you before.

Anne Marit: We´re an unpretentious, energetic band who twirls around on stage and rotate between around 15 instruments, cookie jars, metal bars, balalaika bass, ukulele, mandolin, banjo and the list goes on, divided between four girls. We´re inspired by folk music from every corner of the world. From bluegrass/blues in the west, balkan in the east, french folk music in the south, and traditional folk music from Scandinavia in addition to a pinch of rock, pop and circus. 


Lamitschka: How was the last year for you? What were the highlights?
Anne Marit: Last year was one long tour all over the world. We played shows on both the west and east coast of the States, Canada, Australia, Europe – especially in Germany and Holland. We started our work with the new album, A kiss before you go, which is being released in September. It´s hard to choose just a few highlights from 2010 from all the fantastic memories we got from that year. But one very special moment was New Years Eve at the Woodford festival just outside Brisbane in Australia. The festival´s got a tradition that everybody lits a candlelight and are silent together for 3 minust before 12pm. There were thousands of people standing together each with a candlelight and everybody was thinking about the year that had gone and the year we were entering. After the 3 minutes past everybody exploded in a joyful scream and  they jumped happily around while we started our show. It was a magical moment we´ll never forget.
Lamitschka: How did you choose the title for the CD, is there a story behind it?

Anne Marit: There´s several reasons why we chose the title “A kiss before you go”. The record´s got a very maritime theme both visually and musically. And we were thinking that when the sailors are sailing away from their loved ones for a long time, “the kiss before they go” is a bitter sweet fare-the-well-moment. And sometimes we are the “sailors” when we´re off on a long tour away from family and friends.

In addition to that a lot people comes up to us after our concerts and tells us that the show and our music was somehow a positive and a wonderful flight from their sometimes quite difficult everyday lives. So it´s kind of a kiss from us to the audience before we go on on.
Lamitschka: Please tell us about the songs on your album.
Anne Marit:
– A kiss before you go –  is about a crises where the only thing you can do is to go. When everything falls apart, you fall apart too. And you kiss the gun before you pull the trigger.
– Cherry Pie – A recipe for cherry pie, yammi!
– I will dance (when I walk away) – is about finally making the right choice and walk away from a bad relationship.
– Gypsy flee – starring Dweezil Zappa on electric guitar!
– Land of confusion – the only cover song on the album. This is one of the greatest songs ever, written by Genesis.

– Rock Paper Scissors – written in Nashville with Robert Ellis Orral. About all the choices you´ve got in life.

– Lady Marlene –  a ballade about humans fear of not being normal.
– Cocktails and Ruby slippers – a frantically Beach Boys inspired tune.
– Loathsome M – fuzz boxes and metal bars are keywords to describe the mood in this energetic rock song.
– Soviet trumpeter – about the fear of exposing yourself to the world.
– Shepherd song .  A love story between a princess and a shepherd.
– Gods great dust storm – A majestic acappella song recorded live in a church. One of our favourites.
Lamitschka: What’s the difference between your last CD and the current one?
Anne Marit: If the the first album was more wood and countryside, the new album is more metal bars and urban. More rough edges and rock´n´roll.
Lamitschka: Your current single is being played by radio. What do you thing is special about this song that makes people what to hear it?
Anne Marit: It´s got all the ingredients to be a great pop song. It´s got a good melody, a catchy hook linee, a harmonic chorus and straight forward lyrics that aren´t too hard toanalyse.. All this makes it easy for a radio listener to sing along and get hooked by it. It´s basically a great song written by our friend Mats Rybø!
Lamitschka: What’s your favourite song among all the songs you’ve recorded and what’s the story behind it?
Anne Marit: Rock Paper Scissors is my favourite song at the moment. We wrote it with a fantastic songwriter in Nashville. The song is about making your own choices in life and that you can become whatever you want to be. It´s all in your own hands. The song has a great hook line and is a feel-good-tune that puts you in a good mood.
Lamitschka: Who do you look up musically and how deep do your musical roots run?
Anne Marit: We´re very different when it comes to taste in music. But we´ve got some common references like Tom Waits and old Disney movies. The last record is both the musically and visually very much inspired by a French movie called “The City of the Lost Children”. We´re also inspired by all sorts of folk music from all over the world.
Lamitschka: If you had the chance to change something about the music industry, what would it be?
Anne Marit: A lot of the music industry is based on how much money they can get, not necessarily based on musical talents. A lot of amazing musicians goes to waste because there´s no room for them. The radios play what the music industry tells them to play which means that they can control what a lot of people listens to. I wish there were several arenas where up and coming underground bands and artists could present their music to a broader audience.
Lamitschka: As an artist you have to do so many different things such as recording, touring, doing interviews etc. What do you like best, what’s your favourite activity?
Anne Marit: The best part is of course standing on stage in front of an audience and playing music.
Lamitschka: What was your big break that got you into the music business?
Anne Marit: We´ve had several big breaks. Here in Norway we were nominated for a Norwegian Grammy-award, Spellemannsprisen, for our debut album “Le Pop”. And that was one of the turning points in our carriers nationally. Internationally we did Eurosonic in Holland in 2009 and that led to more gigs and tours abroad.
Lamitschka: Before you became a star, where your friends and family supportive or was it a struggle?
Anne Marit: Our families has been very supportive all along. Given us good advices and driven us to every single rehearsal before we could drive ourselves.
Lamitschka: What inspired you to become an artist?
Anne Marit: When you´ve first experienced to perform for a group of people and seen how that effects some of them you kind of get addicted to it. Music is universal and can communicate in some many more layers than just words. If you can move somebody or touch someone with your music you get richer than all the money in the world could ever make you.
Lamitschka: What’s unique about you that differentiates you from other artists?
Anne Marit: We´re four girls rotating and playing 15 instruments, our genres is unique because we mix our different personalities and references together in a big melting pot. We don´t have any limitations and everything is allowed as long as we think it sounds good.
Lamitschka: What moments in your career stand out in your memory as highlights and achievements which you’re proud of?
Anne Marit: There´s so many highlights that it is impossible to pick one. This summer we did the Liberation Festival in Holland and over a hundred thousand people showed up. At that moment I realized that we´ve accomplished so much with this band already, that if this ended tomorrow, we could still be proud of what we´ve done. I´m proud of every album we´ve recorded and of every new fan we reach. And we´re gone keep on playing as long as the audience wants us.

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