Ylvis Interview - October 2014
By: YLVIS Fan Club

Published: February 5, 2015

Copyright © YLVIS Fan Club. All Rights Reserved.

OSLO, NORWAY - This past October, the YLVIS Fan Club had an opportunity to sit down with Bård and Vegard Ylvisåker after another sold out episode of I kveld med Ylvis LIVE and chat with them about their whirlwind year, their careers, and their future plans.

Taking a moment to breathe during their busy production schedule, Bård and Vegard were in good spirits and happy to discuss how much they are enjoying the new live aspect of their talk show.

“We love it.” Bård declares. “We’ve always wanted to do it and the network, I think, they have felt like it’s been a risky thing to do. Which it is. And they always kind of asked us, ‘What’s the reason? How can we benefit from you guys being live?’. And we always said ‘we think it would boost the energy and give us something like an X-Factor’, which I think it turned out to do.

“And we have always been live people because we started with the live shows, and we do live shows. So we are used to it and we like it. It becomes organic. Because if you fuck up then you have to talk about it… And when you do edited shows, maybe you remove something but the energy is still in us somehow, so it doesn’t always make sense.” Bård explains.

“We have had quite a few incidents on the taping of the previous seasons,” Vegard remarks “where we screwed up in some way and then things start to happen, and it just becomes crazy and completely out of script. And then we feel like ‘this is organic, this is funny’. Then suddenly the floor manager comes in and ‘okay cut, we’ll do this again’ and we say ‘No, come on, this was fun!’. And now he can’t do shit.” Vegard laughs.

Even though the brothers enjoy broadcasting live they don’t allow the format to dictate what they do. Still, they feel there is pressure to exploit that aspect of the show.

“We’ve actually not done that many things that require us to be live,” Vegard says “because there is no point in doing things just because it’s possible. We just do things that we think are funny. And the whole live concept is just about us feeling this nerve, this extra excitement that you get from doing things live; not necessarily showing to the audience that these are the possibilities that we have.”

Both Bård and Vegard agree that their talk show is pretty close to being the favorite thing they have done. They love the diversity and the opportunities it brings, including one of the highlights of their year: playing Spektrum.

“It’s a very good platform to do pretty much anything we want to do.” Bård says. “And now we get to combine it with doing live shows, playing- you know, pretending that we can play guitar and sing and stuff… We really get to do all the stuff that we always wanted to do, we didn’t even dare dream.”

When it comes to their music, Ylvis maintains there is no deeper meaning to their songs. They take the music aspect seriously, focusing on creating a quality product and letting the content drive the humor.  With regards to their songs they are hard-pressed to choose a favorite.

“Vegard’s is “The Cabin”.” Bård states.

“No.” Vegard counters.

“No?” Bård asks.

“No.” Vegard responds. “I hate those favorite questions because I think it’s difficult to point out…”

“But right now,” Bård muses, “if it hadn’t been for the attention, all the views and all the talk, I’d say “The Fox”. Because the product “The Fox” I think is a funny product. Even though it’s broad… it turned out to be what we wanted it to be… But I also like “Massachusetts”. I think “Massachusetts” is really weird in a good way.”

“You don’t like “The Cabin”?” Vegard asks Bård.

“I like "The Cabin" as well.” Bård replies.

“Vocals could be better?” Vegard grins.

“Yeah, vocals could be better.” Bård retorts. “But I really like the Christmas song as well.”

“Yeah! That makes me laugh.” Vegard agrees.

When it comes to their favorite song to perform live, they both agree that “Shabby Chic” is fun.

“For me it’s like “Shabby Chic” because I get to play guitar and shut up.” Bård says.

“Yeah, I like to perform that one as well.” Vegard remarks. “Although it’s the most stupid thing that we’ve ever done… to put that in front of the show, which fucks up my voice for the rest of the show. Still, I think it’s right to have it there and it’s really fun to do.”

“That song was made to be a second song, that’s why we made the song in the first place.” Bård insists.

Regarding their skits and videos, they like the element of reality best. Often humor is found in the unexpected results that arise when they do real things and confront real people.

“Videos that make me laugh is, for example, when you freed me from the army (and) Magnus’s horse breaks down.” Vegard laughs.

“I like the thing where we get drunk.” Bård says. “Because it was so real and so surprising. And the whole concept of drinking from like ten o’clock in the morning; starting the day with a bottle of champagne and being wasted at two o’clock in the afternoon and getting paid...

“We had one concern: that we wouldn’t get drunk enough. That was the only concern… because we wanted to seem real. We didn’t want to act or to pretend to be more drunk than we actually were. So really we drank our asses off.

“Then when you’re in the middle of it and you’re drunk and you feel really drunk, and then there is a whole staff like protecting you and just like encouraging you to act stupid... We were doing some grocery shopping in the middle there and I walked into this big tower of olive oil and I just tore the whole thing down. And there was like olive oil all over the place and four people just jumped in and started cleaning up, and no one got pissed.” Bård recalls. “So that’s a great feeling. People should do that more often, just pay someone to protect you while you're drunk and take care of everything you fuck up.”

As for regrets, Bård and Vegard admit to having a few. Nevertheless they try to take a pragmatic view of how the things they have done has shaped their careers.

“You know, when we started our careers we did a lot of stuff that we weren’t a fan of ourselves. “Bård reflects. “But in retrospect it’s probably the smartest thing we have ever done, because it was so broad. And even though we didn’t like it we got to build a name for ourselves. And then we could narrow it down afterwards, which is easier than being very narrow at the beginning.”

Ylvis appreciates their success and enjoys being in show business. However, they concede there are downsides to life in the limelight.

“Maybe it sounds weird, but sometimes I dislike the attention.” Vegard confesses, to which Bård agrees.

“It’s kind of ironical” Vegard acknowledges, “because you do things that are built to include the concept of attention. You have an audience, you have a big audience, and the eyes are on you all the time. But still that’s not why you do it. It’s very nice to please the audience and everything, but you still enjoy, for example, playing music during rehearsals and stuff like that. Maybe sometimes that’s one of the best times we have. Like if we rehearse something and then we break out into some different things, and things we’ve never done before. And we have a good time there you know, and it’s still without an audience.

“It’s strange because obviously we have a much broader audience now than we had before. It kind of scares me when you get recognized in the U.S. Because traveling abroad has been, it’s not a problem, but traveling abroad has always been like… what do you call it… there’s still breathing room. Whenever we came abroad before, we knew that ‘oh now people don’t recognize us and we can do whatever we want’. It’s not a big issue now, but you get the sense of it and you kind of feel a little bit claustrophobic. You know, okay is this what it’s like, potentially, if you get really famous? Is this what’s going to happen? You never have anywhere to go?” Vegard ponders.

With regards to whether “The Fox” has turned out to be more of a blessing or a curse, they both agree it is more of a blessing.

“It’s a blessing because we get attention, so that we can show people our stuff. Which is what we do, and what we are depending on, people actually watching our stuff.” Bård says. “But forever I guess people will always ask us and compare to “The Fox”. And we will never ever get those numbers again, which really doesn’t bother us at all, because we didn’t aim for those numbers and we never will again. So whenever we make stuff now it’s easier to show it to more people. And it’s easier to book concerts and stuff like that because you can refer to the song that people might have seen or heard.”

It is obvious “The Fox” brought many changes to their lives, including new fans from around the world. When queried about their thoughts regarding the advent of the Ylvis Fandom, the brothers seem somewhat perplexed by all the fuss.

“It’s like much of the stuff we do” Bård says. “It’s very, very strange and humbling and everything, but also since we know why it has happened, it’s not that strange. If you know what I mean. It is strange, but we know that it has happened because of a song that for some reason became-“

“Huge.” Vegard interjects.

“Yeah” Bård agrees. “Much bigger than we anticipated and hoped for. And then people are watching it, and then people talk about it. We don’t think we all of a sudden have changed into something that is worthy of fandom.”

“No, we’re doing the same things we always did.” Vegard maintains. “The strange thing is that one phenomenon like that can sort of change the situation for us. It’s larger than us, this song.”

“And we’ll never get used to the fact that we are like in Oslo and every Tuesday there are people coming from all parts of the world. It’s really, really strange.” Bård says.

“But natural in a way…” Vegard deadpans.

“Yeah” Bård chuckles. “We don’t understand it; we just accept that something has changed. And for now, it’s just fun.”

“Although we never moderate ourselves to please our fans.” Vegard adds. “We shouldn’t do that. We should just do things that we think is funny. But we are very aware of them. We are dependent on them. We know they exist, and we accept their existence.”

When asked if they have anything they want to say to their fans, they are quick to express their gratitude.

“We want to say, Thank you!” Bård states. “The last year especially, a lot have happened when it comes to fans and they are helping us out so much now. Because this is now very big for even our crew and staff to handle. And the fans are doing a great job just like sharing and commenting and giving each other updates and doing the stuff that we suck at, which is like socials and all that stuff. And it’s actually a really great job… and we love them for it. So, thank you.”

As for what the future holds for the Ylvis brothers, anything is possible.

“I think we should probably try to make a musical before we die, or maybe a movie. I don’t know, everything we haven’t done we should try.” Bård muses.

The brothers admit they are not usually ones to focus on long range plans, but they do know they want to continue in show business. Yet they don’t exclude the possibility of other industries, including the dream of starting their own small aviation company. With their youngest brother, Bjarte Ylvisåker, getting his professional helicopter license soon, they are considering going into the helicopter business.

Of course, five years down the road you never know where they might end up.

“Probably we are bankrupt and we tried everything,” Vegard speculates “and we’re in some hotel in-“

“Pasadena.” Bård interjects.

“Not Pasadena, we’re in-“ Vegard continues.

“Tulsa.” Bård offers.

“Stop interrupting me with names from the U.S.” Vegard retorts. “I think we’re in a hotel in Indonesia, singing cover versions of our own stuff, like “The Fox”…”

“Replacing “The Fox” with the nationality of the country: ‘What do the Indonesian’s say?” Bård suggests. “And we’re probably quite drunk and-“

“Divorced.” Vegard adds.

“I don’t think both of us will be wearing a shirt.” Bård ventures. “The chances that we’re both fully dressed is probably-“

“And we have grown a considerable tummy.” Vegard predicts.

“But the funny thing that people don’t know is, that we are getting really well paid.” Bård declares.

“Yeah.” Vegard chuckles. “So we’re kind of selling out, but it’s for a good reason. It’s because we need it for child support.

Hollywood, helicopters, or hotel lounge acts. For these two brothers, the sky’s the limit… literally.


October 2014

Bård Ylvisåker and Vegard Ylvisåker at Folketeateret in Oslo (Photo: TVNorge)