You are currently working on Volume III ...
Yes, we're about halfway with the mixing.
Are you satisfied with how things went with the trilogy so far?
Yes, it went just like we had dreamt, basically! We hoped that they would be good albums, and they were. We hoped that there would be a hit on each album, and there was, at least up to now. And we hoped that both would reach platinum and that they would reach #1 in Norway, and they did! And then we wanted to play at least five songs per album live, and we did that as well.
Was the trilogy received as you had expected or were there surprises, like songs that you expected to get a different kind of reception?
(thinks for a while) No, it's pretty much like we had expected. As you know, we started out with Philemon Arthur & The Dung, and we had expected those who like Kaizers to especially like this song. Of course we knew that it was no hit song, but it was a cool signature song that was new for us. We had never made such a song before! And it was really simple, but strong, and minimalistic. It was no hit, but it was the first bit we wanted to show from the trilogy, because we think it's a pretty smart song. And it turned out to be magical wherever we play it in Norway. I hope it works as intended. This was the first one we did, and the second was Hjerteknuser, and the idea about that one was that it was supposed to become a hit - and it did. And then the record was supposed to sell well, and it did, and then we wanted to play a lot live. And we ended up playing about eight, nine songs live every day, which is a whole lot! Actually, it turned out better than you would have believed.
You had written the whole trilogy before the recordings started. Did it change? Were there some songs that didn't make it in the end?
There are always some songs that don't make it, but what is most fascinating is that what has happened is exactly what we had planned. We planned everything beforehand and came up with a "blueprint", and we followed that one. And everything worked out, and up to now almost better than expected!
How can you plan something like that? Is it just experience?
Yes, and dreams and visions that we have, that define the goal. And then you aim for that and do what you have to do to reach it! Actually, we had everything ready before we released the first single, Philemon Arthur.
And then everything worked out just as planned?
It worked great! We wanted to sell out Spektrum and headline all festivals in Norway, and that's what we did. So all this went exactly according to the plan. And the plan was that for Volume II to be a success, Volume I had to be a success. So we banked everything on Volume I becoming a success! And the same for Volume II: First we released Tusen dråper regn as the first single, and then there was the hit Drøm videre, Violeta, which ended up being an even bigger hit than Hjerteknuser.
So this time it will be #1?
We never got a "number 1 radio hit". Maybe it'll be on Volume III? Of course we saved a hit for Volume III ...
Sounds exciting! The Hjerteknuser campaign is still in the media around the world ...
Because the ones behind it won so many prizes for it!
Was that something you had expected, that it would be so huge?
No, it ended up much bigger than we had expected.
How does it feel if people from Australia say: "We're doing the same now"?
Well, that is cool, but in the end it wasn't our idea. It's just like shooting a music video ... We actually won a Spellemannspris [Norwegian grammy] for the best video. "Best video: Kaizers Orchestra!" We didn't make that one; we cannot make videos. It's the people at Magnus Martens who won. But the statement was "Kaizers Orchestra won", even though we didn't shoot the video. And the same for the Hjerteknuser competition: "And the winner is ... Kaizers Orchestra!" But it wasn't our idea, we weren't there, it was Anorak and all the others involved who won.
When we have heard the full trilogy, will the know the full story?
Yes, it will be concluded. The whole thing is a musical. We're already a good way into writing a musical, I and Geir. We're writing the script ourselves, and the music is already done of course - or not all done yet; we need to do some more music for the musical.
A musical about the trilogy?
Yes, about the story of Violeta. A proper musical! We did Sonny, which is a theater play; music theater. And now we'll do a musical, like at Broadway, Westend, where everything's music. OK, of course there is some acting, but probably something like 80% music, 20% acting.
The next question would have been if there will be a movie of the trilogy now ... so no movie, but a musical?
It's not decided yet if there will be movie, but it will definitely be a musical! But I've also talked to a movie company that thinks it's in interesting idea to turn Sonny into a movie, and they also think it's an interesting idea to turn Violeta into a movie. But that's just talks until now, that they like the idea to do that. It hasn't been done so often before, shooting a film based on the universe created by a rock band's lyrics. This is quite new.
Because usually there's no such universe.
Usually you would base movies on maybe literature, thus books or writers. So this here is a totally new angle, to do a movie based on the universe of a band's lyrics! But that's far in the future, maybe ten years.
But the musical is a bit closer?
Yes, that might even be finished in two-three years already.
Something I was wondering about in the beginning of the trilogy was if you had planned to distinguish the characters of the trilogy in some way, by the way of singing, the dialect, or something?
Well, there's six characters in the story: the father, the mother, and the daughter, and then the brother, the best man, and the devil.
The devil? Not yet, or did I miss it?
No, all this will fall into place with Volume III.
Is there some way to distinguish the different characters? When Volume II was released, there was some speculation that maybe Geir sings the brother.
No, that's not the way it is. It's only in the lyrics, and I sing basically everything. A lot of the lyrics are about the mother and the daughter, and of course they are women, while I'm a man. So I'm singing the women's lyrics; "I'm wearing my dress" and such. But that's my style. I like the twist that a man sings about that! And that's not me, it's a character. But it adds a twist to it if there's a man singing a woman's lyrics. But in the musical, it will be a woman, of course.
Will we get to know at some point in time what you are singing in the mysterious line in Psycho under min hatt?
(laughs) No, we don't plan to reveal that. People will just have to guess. There's a lot of suggestions! We wrote all the lyrics in the cover, but this one is so unclear that we thought that we'll just leave it out. We have to maintain some mystery ...