News: A strange week revisited
Posted: Aug, 8, 2011

(Photo: Geir Zahl. taken at the "rosemarch" in Oslo)

With the Oslo bomb blast and the Utøya shooting, Norway as a nation has really been put to the test during the past couple of weeks. Kaizer News talked to guitarist Geir Zahl about the band’s thoughts on the matter.


 

 

- What have the past couple of weeks been like for you?

- Well, we have kept doing what we’ve always been doing, but the first few days after the attacks we were in a very strange and unreal state of mind. It is impossible to remain unaffected by the events in Oslo and at Utøya, and like everybody else we were deeply shaken by the despicable atrocities. Taking out your rage on youths in this manner is simply just beyond the realm of reason, it’s absurd and incomprehensible.

- There are a lot of young people among your fans, aren’t there?

-  Yes, there are. There have been since the very beginning, and we feel very privileged that way. We’re used to seeing young faces light up when we take the stage, and we’re accustomed to seeing them sing along to the songs at our shows, singing their hearts out in pure and unadulterated devotion. Young people possess a unique sincerity and intensity, and the fact that we are able to reach so many of them with our music is something which continues to amaze us and which we value very highly. Having so many young people torn away from us in such a senseless act of violence has really made us realize how meaningful our “job” can be.

- You have performed at two Norwegian festivals since the attacks took place, at Canal Street in Arendal and St. Olav Festival in Trondheim. What has it been like going on stage and performing in the aftermath of these atrocities? For example, has it affected your repertoire in any way?

- No. The song remains the same, so to speak. If we were to remove any and all songs that have a hint of death and destruction in them, our sets would have become fairly short … But seriously, we have discussed this and reached the conclusion that we will not allow a terrorist to influence and control our artistic expression, and luckily, that conclusion and point of view is consistent with showing concern and respect for the victims and their families and friends. Therefore we have continued as before, and experienced a great sense of community with our fans in the aftermath of the tragedy. In Trondheim we were out on the town after the gig, and there we met a guy who had just buried his brother, who had been brutally and senselessly cut down at Utøya at an age of only 17. On behalf of his brother, who had also been a Kaizer fan, he thanked us for having come to Trondheim to perform. That experience really made a deep impression on us.

- The show must go on, as they say.

- Yes, it does. And this sentiment also applies beyond Norwegian borders. We played a festival outside of Düsseldorf in Germany last weekend, and the security personnel guarding the stage were very broad-shouldered and strict-looking. I must admit, I did fear the worst, because sometimes we encounter security guards who take their job a little bit too seriously and almost beat up kids who stage-dive and such, as if it were a personal insult to them. Since this was just a week after the attacks, we were rather shaken and uneasy, so it was very touching to see that our suspicions and fears were unjustified. The guards securely caught the kids that came rolling atop the crowd towards the stage, gave them a friendly pat on the shoulder and sent them on their way back into the festival night, safe and sound. Never before have we been quite as appreciative of security treating the kids in a respectful manner.

- Good to hear indeed. Now, let’s focus on the future a little bit. August will be a busy month for you guys?

 

- Definitely. It’s always the busiest festival month. We’ve just been to Stavanger for a couple of days and rehearsed songs from Volume III, and this week we’ll be performing Volume II live for the first time ever at the Øya Festival. I guess you could say that we're multi-tasking quite a bit these days. Hopefully there will be a lot to look forward to for our fans!

 

We'll repeat it to make sure you don't forget: This week, on Thursday August 11, Kaizers Orchestra will be performing Violeta, Violeta Volume II live for the first time ever at the Øya Festival in Oslo!