Paranoia Pop – An Interview with Erick Ellectrik

Erick Ellectrick is a lithe man. He squirms around on stage like a cat trying to get out of a leash while a largely static Norwegian audience looks on with a reserved cheer. “Yes, it can take a long time before we (Norwegians) loosen up and it depends on the time of day of course”. This is the response I get during an email exchange, after his Musikkfest performance at Blå – a scenic riverside venue in the heart of Oslo. I ask whether this affects Olso’s small but viral music scene and he suggests it doesn’t. “Norwegians are very supportive of their favorite bands/artists and I know a lot of Norwegians that have excellent taste in music. Norway is not a big country; we all know that. But name another country with such a huge spectrum of different artists? Black metal, punk, electronica, hardcore, avant-garde, pop, boogierock, jazz, noise etc…”

I can’t argue with the man. Norway has always had a rich scene, and electronic music has always been a big part of that. I’m not just referencing space disco acts like Lindstrøm, but also less-obvious artists, like Biosphere and Erick Electrikk and His Fantastic Gang look set to join their ranks too. They delve in a variation of electroclash, Erick likes to refer to as “paranoiapop crashing with Eurodance in a shady morningclub.” It’s abrasive and energetic. It’s infectiously invigorating, with a hint of rebellion that can be attributed to Erick’s sneering vocals as yells into the mic. His soundcloud page doesn’t include these vocals, but Erick insists that they will definitely be present on the EP/album out in Autumn or early 2015.

I am told that Erick will be accredited alongside his Fantasy Gang on this release, but for his Musikkfest performance the enigmatic front man is barely accompanied by his laptop. I enquire later about the absence of his Fantasy Gang. “Erick Ellectrick & His Fantasy Gang is a pure solo act. They (the fantasy gang) only exist as a fantasy, but if I had to choose The Fantasy Gang I would pick Magne and my best friend Dag.” I later learn that EE and HFG is indeed a collaborative project with Magne Mostue (Accidents Never Happen, Heyerdahl) that started out as a group called WRISTS, only to be put on ice when Magne had his second pair of twins. “It was the start for Erick Ellectrick & His Fantasy Gang. Twins or not, Magne still plays a huge part in the project as a producer/beatmaker/co-writer. “ While Magne already boasts an impressive musical resumé, Erick’s furor into music followed a far less conventional route. “I played a troll (Trym from Trymskvida) in a school play when I was 9, and I used to ruin my friends gigs (especially Hiawata!, Nomber 5s and Sigh & Explode) with some stage invasions from time to time. I had only performed three and a half gigs before Musikkfest, so it was kind of my fifth gig as a solo artist.” Before I could question the math, he tells me that he actually started his career as a visual- rather than performing artist. “I took a small break from painting last year. I still draw ideas in my sketchbook almost every day, but I have not made a painting in over a year.” His focus is clearly on music at the moment and he tells me that without this artistic background the “music/act/ideas could and would never have happened.”

That artistic background definitely shines through during his performance at Musikkfest and it comes as welcomed relief from the many drab indie acts that occupied the stage before him. It was only a short performance, lasting a mere 20 minutes, and I would like to see EE and HFG in a different context for what I assume would be his fifth and a half gig, but even in those twenty minutes he managed to capture something unique in his performance. I’m not sure whether it’s the punk attitude that Erick exudes or the well-crafted electronic framework that Magnes creates alongside whichever Fantasy Gang Erick dreams up. All I know is that it works on stage, and that if Erick Electrick and His Fantasy Gang can capture the same results on a record, it would be nothing short of truly captivating.