As they finally prepare to release their decidedly more electronic-influenced sophomore LP, 'II,' Spinner RPM talked with the quartet about their imminent return, recording with space disco pioneer Lindstrøm and some of their past antics, which include attempting to drunk-drive a forklift onto the stage while the Black Eyed Peas performed at a Japanese music festival. (After that failed, they ended up getting busted trying to pick up Avril Lavigne's limo.)
120 Days also made a beautiful ambient mix for us, featuring the likes of Cluster, Steve Reich, Durutti Column and Brian Eno, which you can check out below.
Tell us a bit about what you've been up to for the past couple years. Why the hiatus?
A mix of reasons. After touring the first album, we were all pretty exhausted and sick of each other. Being a band on tour can be an intense experience and when we got into the studio and made a bunch of recordings to try to make another album it added to the tension. At some point, we decided to take a break. Or rather, more than a decision, it was something that just gradually happened. Most of the sessions were scrapped and left to collect dust. We all did other projects during the break -- Serena Maneesh, Bygdin and Masselys -- and then, gradually we started hooking up again.
How did the collaboration with Lindstrøm come about, and what was that like?
We were on the same label, so that's how we initially met. We were fans of his work and he was into ours, so we decided to give it a try. Working with Lindstrøm was a blast; in many ways it was our introduction to working on computer and sequencing music. The whole first album was recorded to tape and without any midi-synchronization, in an authentic rock fashion, but this time we embraced computers and the marvels of technology. Lindstrøm, on the other hand, fell in love with our analog synthesizers, and after the session he bought a hefty collection of vintage synth gear.
What's the story about you guys stealing the forklift and Avril Lavigne?
We went to Japan after the first record, and we played the Summersonic Festival. It was -- like everything in Japan -- a very strange experience. The diversity of the acts was crazy, Black Eyed Peas played, Motörhead played, Cyndi Lauper. And then you had Kjetil and Arne from 120 Days walking around backstage, noticing that the keys to a forklift were in the ignition. All the Japanese security people assumed that the two Norwegian dudes knew what they were doing, and so they went for a drive. They tried to push their luck with where they could drive, but instead of security being worried about letting two idiots drive around drunk, they were more concerned about getting them a clear passage through the crowd. The only time they were stopped, by private western security, was when attempting to drive onstage during the Black Eyed Peas set, and when trying to pick up Avril Lavigne's private limo. Later they claim to have gotten to the highway.
Wow. Will you be touring again in 2012?
Yup, we'll be going through Russia, Norway and then onto you guys in the U.S. for SXSW. We come back and tour Europe in April, and then Summer festivals here and Europe, before hopefully heading back to do a more extensive U.S. tour in the fall. There is talk of going to Asia later in the year also -- we went to China late last year and it was amazing, a real eye opener, so it would be great to go back and do more of that part of the world. Playing live again has been really great for us. Great to have that feeling again, I know we all missed it.
120 Days' long-awaited sophomore LP 'II' hits shelves in the U.S. on March 6.