Inbox: Mungolian Jet Set

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Mungolian Jet Set fellows Pål Nyhus & Knut Sævik take a moment to visit with XLR8R’s Inbox en route to Shangri-La. The Norwegian jet setters remember the King of Pop, discuss the delicacy of “promiscuous self-service,” share Bee Gees trickery, and design plans to grow fat on Italian food. Their forthcoming album, We Gave It All Away...Now We Are Taking It Back , will be out August 18 on Smalltown Supersound.

XLR8R: What are you listening to right now?

Knut Sævik: On top of my turntable is an '81 album from KANO called New York Gang, and I’m getting into Reinhold Glière’s “No. 2” and “No. 3” symphonies. The last few days I’ve been listening to Alf Cranner, a Norwegian singer and composer.

Pål Nyhus: As this is written hours after hearing about the death of MJ, it's a kind of weird, spacey medley of his voice in my head. I guess he is kinda trespassing all our souls now.

What's the weirdest story you ever heard about yourself?

KS: I don’t really listen to those stories.

PN: Well, the weirdest thing I have told others about myself was to make my daughter believe I am Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees. It started with her looking at the "Staying Alive" video and asking, “Dad, is that you?” I simply could not resist saying, “Yesss, sure…It’s me.” The story doesn’t work anymore 'cuz I cut my hair.

What band did you want to be in when you were 15?

KS: I really didn’t want to be in a band at all. I was more into simple three-voice computer music and different composers. I didn’t listen too much to bands at that time, although I kind of thought 808 State and New Order were quite cool.

PN: I kinda wanted to be in a band called Mungolian Jet Set, but I believe it was called Cottage Cheese at the time.

Worst live show experience?

KS: One of these two: 1) Falling off a (too-narrow) stage, bringing all the mixers and laptop equipment with me, killing all sound, light, and everything. 2) The power going off four times in a 20-minute set with a three-minute re-booting sequence on my laptop each time. After the third, I just left.

PN: Well, the most embarrassing "live show" I have participated in is the one I did on the floor of my folks’ bathroom. I was like 13 or 14, so was really into the joys of promiscuous self-service, but not good about locking the door promptly. It all resulted in my ol' man opening the door suddenly and saying, with the surprise face of the year, something like, “Uu-ooh—You lying there??” Needless to say, we never spoke of it again.

Favorite city to play in?

KS: That’s difficult to answer. I like them all, but I always enjoy Paris. Last time in Bucharest was great, and New York is also superb.

PN: I like the best clubs in Oslo. Tokyo.

If you could jet anywhere in the world this very second, where would it be?

KS: The International Space Station … or Ulan Bator.

PN: Shangri-La.

What is your favorite thing you own?

KS: I really, really like my set of Chario Hiper loudspeakers.

PN: I am not very good at owning things, and, in an ideal [world], nobody should own anything. But, I get pretty distressed without my phone—it’s more accurate to say it owns me.

Name one item of clothing you can't live without.

KS: That will have to be my hats. Oslo can get cold.

PN: I can’t live without my skin.

If you could reduce your music to a single word, what would it be?

KS: Fantasy.

PN: Schlong.

What did you always get in trouble for when you were little?

KS: Not being where I was supposed to be.

PN: I used to get in trouble for my honesty. I did not learn to lie until my 20s.

What other artist would you most like to work with?

KS: Hmm… Maybe Alarm Will Sound, Melody Gardot, and Artis the Spoonman.

PN: David Bowie.

What's the last thing you read?

KS: A biography on Alexander Borodin, the brilliant Russian composer and chemist.

PN: A Mo Hayder novel.

Complete this sentence: In the future...

KS: Mankind will stop the Earth from rotating, and everybody will eventually go crazy, living in a narrow line of constant daylight. Humans will be extinct.

PN: Love will conquer all, and Hate will be reduced to a laughing gas.

Stupidest thing you've done in the last 12 months?

KS: I do stupid things all the time, and I try to forget them. If you exclude all the famous last beers and the not checking twice for my $600 plane tickets and all that, I really don’t know.

PN: Haha, those I don’t remember. [Those moments] are gone in a haze of beer-, tequila-, smoke of THC-, and rum-induced nonsense.

What's next?

KS: The Dancity Festival in Foligno this coming weekend. Gaining five pounds on Italian pizza and pasta dishes, and lots of red wine.

PN: Off on a plane to Shangri-La.