Having made music since they were growing up together in Elverum, Norway, Tord Øverland Knudsen and Marius Drogsås Hagen are now officially making music together as Imitating Aeroplanes.
With Knudsen best known for his work with The Wombats and Hagen as a member of Team Me (both also have connections to the likes of Carnival Kids, Ludvig Moon and Spielbergs), they're making rather more expansive mood pieces as Imitating Aeroplanes - as debut single "Hourglass", taken from September's debut album Planet Language, shows to great effect.
Filled with burbling synth lines and gently pulsating beats pushing against a chiming guitar line and distinctive high vocals, the track makes nods to the duo's past while also creating something unlike anything they've been previously involved in. A combination of dizzying '70s prog ambition and '80s soft rock, it's a fine introduction to Imitating Aeroplanes.
We spoke to Knudsen and Hagen to find out more about their new venture.
Both of you have a lot of other bands you're involved in, so why start another?
"We started making new music together last year when Tord moved to Oslo. We quickly realised that this felt and sounded like a different band compared to what we have done together in the past. We also wanted to be completely free to explore different styles of music and create something we have never had the chance (or dared) to do before within our other bands."
What can you tell us about what makes Imitating Aeroplanes different?
"In Imitating Aeroplanes we have pretty much complete creative freedom to be weird, cheesy, poppy - whatever we want to do musically, we can do it. Pretty much everything is ok whether it makes sense...or not! With this as a basis for the creative process the songs could end up having sections or structures that are maybe unexpected, slightly weird sounds and melodies, but still with an obvious underlying love for pop music and hooks - Is it ok to steal from MJ? Yeah, why not!"
What influences the band?
"Our first tour together in Japan back in 2013 was one of the main inspirations to make this album and a lot of the early ideas were a by-product of our fascination for Japanese culture and people. We would also spend our mornings in the studio discussing everything from politics and the monarchy - to life in general, food, fishing or whatever before starting to record. These morning sessions influenced quite a few of the song ideas too. In the evenings we would have 'prog-rock dinner parties' where we would work our way through prog albums from the 70's accompanied by a bottle of red wine. Genesis and Yes probably being some of the most important bands to influence the making of Planet Language."
Can you tell us a bit more about the single?
"The first track released from our album is 'Hourglass' and is inspired by an old Japanese legend about Urashima Taro. The 'Hourglass' is an image on the limited time we've got on this planet."
Do you have plans in place for the rest of the year?
"First of all, Planet Language will be released in September. We have also got a handful of gigs booked in, some of them as a support for Highasakite, a show at Klubbøya [part of Oya Festival] and a few gigs to be confirmed. We have also started to work on some new music, so hopefully we'll have something more out next year!"