Check out this Razika interview in
Elle Magazine US
When you hear about a Norwegian all-girls band breathing new life into ska with infectious youthful energy, it’s best to stop and have a listen. Razika—four teenaged girls from Bergen, Norway—could make even the most staunch of ska’s critics take note. Their take on the genre is a shimmering update, one that crosses with pop.
Razika’s debut album—Program 91, out August 16th—is the band’s “youth history,” and five years in the making, sbassist Marie Moe and guitarist Maria Råkil told us, just days after violent attacks in their home country. The album’s name comes from a combination of their favorite band (Program 81–Norwegian new wave) and the year they were all born (1991). A bilingual gem, Program 91 might just be infectious and melodic enough to thrust the Norwegian language into the spotlight. Yes, the album is all about youthful energy, but Razika does it with enough polish to rise above the expected messy bedroom rock outfit.
ELLE: So I have to ask—how are you dealing with the upheaval in Norway right now?
Razika: It’s horrible for everyone. We can’t understand what’s happening here. It’s so unreal. We feel a deep compassion towards all of the people involved.
ELLE: What does Razika mean?
Razika: When we were 14 and 15, the four of us used [“Razika” as] this code word for a cute boy—it sounds really silly now. It’s kind of like saying “check him out, he’s a cute boy.” We were just like “yeah it’s Razika on the left.” It was the only right name for the band.
ELLE: Is it a made-up word?
Razika: No, it’s actually an African girl name. It was this weird girl at our school, so it was kind of funny ha-ha, Razika. We didn’t tease her or anything, she was okay, but we just liked the name.
ELLE: What bands influence you?
Razika: I think everyone in the band [has a] different favorite artist, but we’ve also had some mutual bands that we liked—like The Specials, Bad Manners, Bob Marley [and other] reggae and ska artists, but then we also have the new indie rock bands like The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys.
ELLE: So you guys sing mostly in English but why did you also include some Norwegian lyrics?
Razika: We don’t know, actually, why some of our lyrics are in Norwegian and some are in English, but we’re surrounded by both languages all the time, you just write what comes natural to you, and sometimes it’s Norwegian and sometimes it’s English. It sounds weird, but we don’t know how to explain it.—Alison Baitz