Last summer found madcap Bergen rock outfit Kakkmaddafakka out in the sun, as they made use of the exceptionally warm weather to put together their new album Diplomacy. As the sun shone down on Bergen (rare in one of Europe’s rainiest cities), the gang were outside writing songs for the follow-up to 2017 album HUS. “The summer in Bergen 2018 was really something else!”, says the band’s Pish Vindenes. “Suddenly Bergen was a Mediterranean city! It was amazing! It made us uber-creative. I was laying on the balcony boiling and dreaming in the sun. Out of nowhere I felt the urge to go inside and play guitar. Five minutes later I had a song. We could be outside writing songs which is very rare in Bergen. I feel it comes through in the sound.”
Kakkmaddafakka (Axel Vindenes, Pish Vindenes, Stian Sævig, Kristoffer Wie van der Pas, Sebastian Kittelsen) work fast. The band released albums in consecutive years in 2016 and 2017, went out on a touring schedule across Europe in 2017 and 2018 that would defeat a lesser band and balanced side-projects like PISH, all while maintaining their trademark firework energy and spectacular live shows without any sign of slowing down. HUS was barely out before their thoughts had turned to its follow-up. “We started straight after we released (2017 album HUS)”, says Vindenes. “Axel wrote the songs on piano and I wrote in a little more clubbish way. We are restless. In our collective we really strive to outdo ourselves all the time. We just like to keep busy!”.
For those who are already familiar with the band’s work, Diplomacy won’t be a step into the unknown. All the classic Kakkmaddafakka trademarks are there, from their manic energy (one of the factors that has made them such a monster of a live band) to their smooth and groove-built indie-rock sound. But on this album, it feels like they’ve taken a step up, and written songs with a greater gravity and maturity. There are no throwaway tracks here, everything feels fuller and more developed in sound, which results in a record where every song feels like an emotionally-striking hit, less scrappy indie and more rich, smooth alt-pop with massive choruses. Vindeness says: “The record is called Diplomacy and I would say that is the theme of the record in every sense of what the word means. It is a very personal album. Yes, it’s different than the other ones but at the same time it’s another Kakkmaddafakka album”. On production duties, the band recruited another big name on the Bergen scene, Mattias Tellez of Young Dreams: “He brought a lot to the table. We were not scared of using synths or heavy distorted guitars, and I think it’s a good look for Kaffmaddafakka. We had the songs before we went in the studio but in the studio we brought together a bigger sound than ever before”.
Diplomacy is out on March 22 on Bergen Mafia Records. Kakkmaddafakka head on a European tour this spring, starting in Vienna in April.