I've loved The Micropops since hearing their first album. They sound a tad like a Norwegian cross between Kylie and St. Etienne. I jumped at the chance of interviewing the delicious Håkon and Sofie for dstp as they embark on releasing their überpop second installment of incredibly wonderful pop music....
How did the Micropops come into being?
Hi! Hmm, Good question. I guess I started writing songs in 2002. Then I accidently joined Idol in 2004 and came in fifth place in Norway, which was pretty amazing at that time. My career had a commercial boost, but it never felt right singing famous cover-songs. I simply wanted to be less commercial and more like my “really cool” musician friends at the local bar. I continued my writing and played small gigs with my earlier pop-rock band.
Then, In 2007 something happened. I met the love of my life; Sofie. The pop-queen! Now I suddenly got the opportunity to show my strictly secret pop-songs to someone other then myself, and she liked it. She had many great ideas and she really was a great singer, so I told her; “You should sing in the band.” My band was positive to play more pop and less rock and we felt that we finally did what we were born to do. Make pop. After months of great practice we agreed that it was time to make our debut-album “Nintendo or devotion.” A small dream came true. We got national radio rotation with the singles “Moonlight” and “Zelda” and we finally got the amazing opportunity to play sold out gigs, with our own material. The Micropops came into being!
Amazing! How did come up with that name?
The band members of The Micropops were at the wet, wet Roskilde festival in 2007. We felt so sorry for ourselves that we had to buy extra beer and micropopcorn to keep the good mood. We had a great time playing some pop-songs and the name “popped out.” Hahaha!
There are clearly light 70's influences in your sounds (I am thinking of delicious slicks of the album tracks like Vertigo for instance). Was that your intention or did they leak out naturally?
We don’t think it was the intention. We never wanted to sound like anything concrete. But there is a bit. We listened a lot to the Jackson 5 and the Beach boys at the moment of writing and that probably influenced the songs more than we knew. It's easier to draw conclusions like that when it's been a while.
Where did you get the name Nintendo or Devotion?!
The five members of The Micropops are all massive fans of the old “Super Nintendo” from 1992, (I got one) and especially its edition of the game “Zelda.” Friends told us that we had some of the mystical Nintendo-sound in our music. What a great compliment! ;) On the other hand we considered our music as being very emotional. So we let the audience choose; Nintendo, or devotion?
For me, it sounds very much like The Cure meets Kylie!
That makes us smile! The Cure's simple melodic lines on a marimba, a guitar or a flute is amazing. The song “Close to me” may be our favorite. And Kylie... We notice that many think they are too cool to enjoy artists like Kylie. Well here is our opinion. Everything from “The loco-motion” to “Can't get you out of my head” is mind-blowing danceable pop-songs and deserves all respect. The answer is; Yes.
The new single, So Surreal (which is immense btw), sees the Micropops venture away from that organic sound we hear in the first album and emerge with delicate electronic sound. Why the adjustment? Was it simply time to re-work the ambiance of the group to a more neon sound?
Well, Yes. We met this awesome producer/artist (Thomas Eriksen) and we produced and partied great together! We actually lived in his house in Oslo during the process. His electronical sound is amazing and we think it suits “So surreal” and our new songs very well. Its time to get down and dirty, but not just dirty. We are the kind of band that love Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber as well as The XX and Deerhunter.
We forgot to tell you: Me and Sofie are not a kissing couple anymore, we “ended” our engagement in 2008, so when we sleep over at producers' apartments we have a two-inches limit between our skins. Sofie tells me to say that we have become soul mates. Well, that's true, almost.
So then with all due adoring respect to the first album, So Surreal appears to be the song that illustrates your arrival as a band. Falling into place sort of thing. Are we going to get an entire album of such turbo pop delicacies?
Well, not all our songs on our upcoming album will be “Turbo pop delicacies” like So Surreal. We believe variation in intensity and tempo is crucial for a great album. We love “So surreal” and we promise you more of those “turbo pop songs.” Then we want to express something that is not turbo, but we still hope it's pop delicacies.
We have become a duo (with a band) now, writing songs together. It's more exiting. We have written for two years now which is quite a long time and we have massive ambitions. We are going to produce our new album this winter and Thomas Eriksen is definitely our mixer. We hope to give our fans some kind of a electronic, magic, hot winter-sound. A Micropops sound picture.
Do you have your eyes set on the UK? (and anywhere else outside Norway)? What next for the Micropops?
We have planned our virgin gigs in the UK and other European countries this spring. We really hope that we can give European youth something extra. We will love to make it big outside Norway. Can't wait to work our asses off to give our fans this second album.