909originals chats to Norway’s Ost & Kjex about new album ‘Songs From The End Of The World’

It’s been seven years since Ost & Kjex’s last long player, 2015’s Freedom Wig, and the Norwegian duo’s latest album, Songs From The End Of The World, is worth the wait – nine tracks of dancefloor-oriented beats inspired by the sounds of their youth.

The Snick Snack label owners collaborated with Viviana Vega, aka Whalesharkattacks, and Tracee Meyn on the album, which was released at the end of June, and features tracks inspired by the New Romantic movement (The Gallery), the electro of Anthony Rother (Dickie’s Pix) and the downfall of a Norwegian politician’s wife (Laila). Not the usual, in other words.

You can download/stream the album here.

909originals caught up with Ost, aka Petter Haavik, to discuss the new album, the duo’s production methods and Oslo’s vibrant club scene.

Hi, it’s so great to be talking to you ahead of your album release. How are you?

Doing fine thanks! Excited to be releasing our first album in quite some time.

Your last album was in 2015. Now, after a much anticipated wait, Songs From The End Of The World has just been released, on your Snick Snack label. Can you tell us about the album and the inspiration behind it?

First of all, we thought it was about time we did a new album. We had a loose vision that we wanted to make something inspired by the music of our youth – stuff like goth rock, industrial and early electronic music.

While making it, the pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine happened. A strange time for us all, which surely made its mark on the album. We were conscious that we would not make a lockdown album, so we made club tunes with the hope of being able to dance again. But the dark times are still present in the music, I think.

There are a lot of collaborations on the album, too. Can you tell us more about these?

We have been working with both Tracee Meyn and Viviana Vega, aka Whalesharkattacks, for many years. In the case of Tracee, ever since we produced Cajun Lunch in 2009. They are both amazing artists in their own rights.

Tracee, with her great, soulful voice and African American musical heritage, is such a great contributor to our music. She teaches music and singing at the University of Oslo and also leads her own gospel choir, which has joined us on stage many times in the past.

Viviana is a very different artist. She operates in a world of her own, combining goth, electro, hip hop, techno and many different things into something entirely her own. I can recommend her self-titled album from 2017, which really got me and Kjex buzzing.

It would be great to know how you A&R the label – is it all friends or do you listen to a lot of demos?

We focus on releasing Norwegian electronic music and try to be a positive force in the local scene. Hoping we can help channel some of the nice music we hear, out into the world.

What first got you into music? And how has your taste changed over the years?

Kjex asked me to join in a band when we were about 15. We have played together ever since. It’s more like our tastes have expanded. We still love much of the music of our youth, but keep discovering new stuff.

This summer I’m taking a deeper dive into Brazilian music, especially the Tropicalia movement of the late 60s and early 70s. There is so much lovely music out there.

You’re based in Oslo – can you tell us about the scene there? Also any tips for anyone visiting?

Oslo has had a small but thriving club music scene since the early nineties. There has always been a great love for house music in the city and also techno and disco. Today, we have three nice clubs dedicated strictly to club music. Storgata 26 for the young and wild ones, he Villa for the underground and Jeager for the mixed party crowd. There are also quite a few places with occasional dance nights. Plus, since the coronavirus, there has always been a thriving illegal rave scene in the woods.

Tips for dancing would be The Villa, for the best underground dance music, mostly house and techno. Always nice DJs; both foreign and local. Plus superb sound and dancefloor.

Also, I would recommend visiting Kafé Hærverk, which is a great venue for all things alternative – jazz, noise, folk music, experimental rock, electronic music etc. A bit similar to London’s Café Otto.

We would love to know more about your studio set up – what is your production process like?

We both have our own studios. Nothing fancy, but you acquire some gear over the years. We both use Logic as a DAW with lots of external stuff. We mostly send parts between us. Sometimes Kjex starts something, then I send him some vocals back and it goes from there. We keep building a tune back and forth.

You’ve played at some amazing venues over the years, are there any that really stand out?

We have had many special moments playing live, but some stand out of course. It can happen everywhere, really. I remember a very special night where me and Kjex clicked just that little extra in a Thai restaurant in Moscow, playing for a private party. We were also lucky to play the German Fusion festival a few times – a very special place and event.

Finally, do you have any gigs coming up that you would like to tell us about?

We have some nice summer festivals coming up in Norway, but nothing abroad unfortunately. Watch out for a small European tour this autumn and do please check out our new album, which is out now!

You can download/stream Songs From The End Of The World by clicking here.

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