This week is a pretty big week in Toronto, I mean, it’s my birthday… Oh! And The Knife is coming for their new North American tour for their album Shaking the Habitual. The brother-sister duo, Karin Dreijer Andersson and Olof Dreijer, from Sweden has not come out with an album since 2006 with their hit album Silent Shout, not counting the soundtrack they released for their opera in 2010 called Tomorrow, in a Year.
I guess I don’t have to say that The Knife has changed a bit in the last decade, I mean an opera album!? It’s clear they are on the pursuit of creativity, so if you were expecting their new album and tour to be a pop-filled, super-fun dance time then you were wrong. These siblings are using their music to help spur people to think for themselves and to break free of what is considered normal – some of their ideas take root in Feminist and Queer theory, they are in the pursuit of destroying what is considered normal, attacking the monarchy, nuclear families, and other “neo-liberal” ideas.
In an interview with The Guardian in the UK Karin and her brother remark on the over-saturation of males working in the music industry and the effect it can have on it:
“But I wonder, who are these people who think like that about music?” demands Karin. “We’ve done 14 or 15 interviews so far for this new album and only one of the journalists has been a woman – and that was for a feminist magazine. I think that speaks a bit for itself.” – The Guardian
If there is one thing that The Knife wants you to know about their music it is that it is definitely political. They have a point to prove. Why bother creating music if it is just for “escapism,” music is a platform for people to freely express themselves without judgement, to be heard by people, and to hopefully change the way others think. Myself personally, I have always thought that music was never an escape, but a way for you to express yourself.
“There’s a narrative that culture or music should not have to do with politics,” concedes Olof. “We are learned all the time to not think, and that of course comes through in many cultural workers. But I believe that it’s in the music where you can really try out political alternatives and utopias. I have many friends who play around with these issues in their music…” – The Guardian
With this tour The Knife hopes to help break some of these ideas that our Western society holds so dear and help influence the way people think. They don’t want to create a fun dancey pop album for everyone to come dance to, and they won’t be dancing around with glow sticks anymore. This time around they are working in collaboration with an all female collective of choreographers and set designers, ditching alcohol sponsorship, and delivering a performance that just might inspire some people to think outside of the neo-liberal, gender-conformed box.
The Knife will be performing in Toronto on April 25th, 2014.