Set to visit our shores for the seventh time to play the Groovin The Moo festival as well as a few other shows around the country, Norwegian purveyors of amped up electro indie jams Datarock are a band who don’t like to do things in half measures. With their special 10 year anniversary music/video/photo anthology on sale now, in the form of the Super7 designer toy/USB stick currently on sale, as well a musical in the works, they’ve kept themselves very busy, an attribute that is nice to have when you live in Norway. Jokes Norway, but seriously you know how boring you are.
Anyway, finding himself far less fixated on Jane Fonda and Molly Ringwald than when I last spoke to him, main man behind the band Rock Steady Freddy aka Fredrik Sareoa and I discussed the band’ decision to release their anthology in such an unorthodox method, their longing for the halcyon days of 2002 when indie labels were prospering as well as their new found life philosophy of only trying the most stupid, ridiculous, repulsive and disturbing ideas they can come up with.
Music Feeds: So you guys are about to release the Super7 designer toy 10 year anniversary… thing. Can you tell us about it and what made you want to release it in such a bizarre fashion?
Rock Steady Freddy: First and foremost we’re so sick and tired of hearing about all the difficulties and complaints within the music industry, and we were inspired by the fact that we wanted it to be like it used to be. When we started out we were releasing on a small label called Tele Records who used to put out small vinyl releases, 7”s and 12”s. It was pretty much run by a guy whop did it as a hobby and he was the first guy to release Roykysopp, The Kings Of Convenience and of course Datarock. But those labels don’t really exist anymore, or at least they’re not run like they were when we started playing ten years ago because they have to relate to the new digital market and the indie labels really have problems with digital distribution and illegal file sharing.
So we decided that to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Datarock we would release everything we ever did, as well as everything new that we have. So what is the best way to release this in 2011? A designer toy! Why not? Super7 are a pioneer designer toy company, and Brian Flynn is an absolute legend, and it also turns out that the toys they make are actually made out of vinyl.
MF: (Laughter) Ok, so it all makes sense now…
RSF: Yeah, it’s all just an excuse to say we’re releasing on vinyl again. Also working with Super7 is kind of like working with an indie label anyway. They’re having fun, they’re doing fun projects and they don’t seem to too much about capitalising off their products, it’s just something that they do as a design project, in much the same way as indie labels used to be run.
A lot of indie labels tend to be run by people who still have a day job and Super7 are sort of like that, their main goal is not to make money. A lot of these companies are run by friends who are just doing it because they love making these toys. In some cases with the limited edition products, there might only be 40 copies made.
But back to the release, so I was thinking it’s 2011, people are consuming video and music together more and more, usually through their laptops, what is the best way to release all these music? A download is just so boring and I was thinking that if we’re going to do an anniversary release you want it to be something special and out of the ordinary. I mean it’s essentially a digital release, it’s a 4GB release wrapped up in a vinyl designer toy, and we did that because I don’t think you can really do a 4GB release as a download.
MF: Yeah it’s a lot to get through, and I can imagine that having the whole designer toy aspect added to the release means people are more likely to buy it, even if they don’t end up listening to all the music.
RSF: Yeah exactly. Also if you have this toy, you might plug the USB into your computer or your MP3 player and put it all across, and you probably won’t listen to all of it or go through the content at once. But one day maybe you’ll be listening to the music and you’ll want to watch the live DVD, or you might want to flick through all the photos while you’re listening to the music.
MF: Having the designer toy there would help as well, it’s like a little billboard promoting your music on people’s desk around the world.
RSF: Also though the shape of the toy is based on a diamond, it’s a diamond character which is actually a bit of a bad pun. So it’s a diamond, which is sometimes referred to as a rock, and the USB stick contains 1700 name files of data, so it’s a data rock!
MF: (Laughter) That’s terrible, you should be ashamed of yourself.
RSF: I remember I came up with the idea when I was walking home one day and I thought ‘wow, that a terrible idea, I have to do it.’ It was just ridiculous though, because I’ve been to the Super7 store in San Franscisco a number of times, I have their magazines and a lot of their toys, and I just sent Brian Flynn an email asking if he could help us to find people to work on the project, and if he himself would like to be involved. 5 mins later I got an email from him and 5mins after that we had a two hour conversation on Skype and it was done because he proved to be a Datarock fan. And regardless of how stupid the idea, it actually looks pretty cool as a toy.
MF: It’s great when stupid ideas work out well.
RSF: Yeah I know, we looked at our history and we a that whenever we did something really stupid it turned out great, whereas when we took the clever advice of people it never worked out that well. So our new philosophy is the stupidest things you can come up with, you have to do.
MF: What a fantastic life strategy.
RSF: Speaking of that, you know we’re writing a musical right now.
MF: Yeah I saw that in the press release, you got some big names there, Jack Black, Michael Cera, David Byrne and Devo? Is this real or is this all just wishful thinking?
RSF: Yeah I mean that would be the dream, to produce a movie with all of those people, but for now it’s all fantasy. If you noticed the way we wrote the press release we put question marks after all their names, you know, so they can’t sue us.
But yeah the idea was what’s the most stupid thing we could do, what is the most ridiculous, and repulsive, and disturbing thing we can do? So naturally we decided to write a musical?
Datrock will be playing as part of the Groovin The Moo festival as it travels through regional Australia.