Perfecting their unique synth-pop since 1997

“I’m a little exhausted,” reflects Fredrik Saroea. “I’m tired, I’ve got a cough and a cold” – it’s no surprise. Datarock are currently attempting to conquer the world with the up-coming international release of ‘Datarock Datarock’, the band’s debut album, which is finally seeing the light of day in the US and other foreign lands.

The album was originally released back in 2005 on Datarock’s own Young Aspiring Professionals label and then reissued in 2006 for the UK, France and Australia.

Datarock have been perfecting its unique blend of synth-pop since 1997 when Fredrik met Ket-Ill in their home town of Bergen, Norway. The group has gone on to don their red tracksuits and big glasses for over 300 gigs in 17 countries around the world.

“We’re like a covers band with its own songs.”

This meant Fredrik and co spending the last month over the pond in North America having the time of their lives, meeting their heroes and supersizing Datarock’s ambitions.

“We’ve had a great time, we got to meet some really cool bands and play some crazy shows,” booms Fredrik. “We sold out in LA, which was great, and played a show in New York where everyone was dancing. In Mexico City Datarock played to about 4,500 people. They all loved it. It was crazy.”

The group also played seven shows at South by Southwest; “It’s a great festival, we played some magazine parties and did some private gigs, you can just get people together in a hotel room and do a show.”

“I was really surprised at the reception we got in America, we didn’t really know what to expect. The US is mad, there’s a lot of silicon, a lot of muscle and we didn’t know what they’d make of us guys walking around in red tracksuits and big glasses.”

Fredrik acknowledges that Datarock is “something of a novelty act” and says the album was about making fun music rather than a masterpiece. “We didn’t really think of ourselves as a band but music fans who tried to pay tribute to bands they liked. We’re like a covers band with its own songs.”

Although you’re unlikely ever to hear two Datarock songs that sound similar Fredrik claims “there’s a constant theme, a red thread, running through most of our songs. Sometimes we work on things and say, no, this isn’t Datarock.”

As well as playing lots of shows in the US the Datarock boys were hard at work doing lots of national press and television in preparation for the US release of their album, which is coming out on Dim Mak, US home to the Klaxons, Mystery Jets and the Rakes. But it wasn’t all work and no play.

“In Miami I got to hang out with Busy P (Daft Punk’s manager and head honcho of Ed Banger records) and the guys from Ed Banger records from Paris, it was awesome. I think it’s pretty much the most exciting record label in the world right now,” says an enthused Fredrik, who seems to have had the best time of his life.

The band also got to meet one of its heroes and key influences, Mark Mothersbaugh from Devo. “We met Mark and he gave us a tour of his studio. It’s completely round and painted green, it’s really weird. He had this crazy fold-out table with keyboards on it for six people. Apparently it took someone 20 years to make it and it took another guy a year to fix it. The studio’s full of loads of old equipment.”

But Datarock isn’t stuck in the past, “when we were out there we signed deals with EA Games to have our music on Fifa (the football computer game) and Madden (an American football computer game), it’s amazing. It’s going to see a whole new audience for Datarock.” The band’s ‘New Song’ will be used on both games.

“We’re even talking to the EA Games people about developing a Datarock game, maybe for mobile phones,” Fredrik revealed. “I’m interested in how music doesn’t have to be on a record or CD any more, it’s just a file. So I want to make a strategy game about that.”

Even more exciting for the band is the possibility of a Datarock television show, “We had two meetings with MTV and there’s talk of us maybe doing a TV series. It wouldn’t be a reality thing, more of a ‘Datarock takes on the USA’. We’re only talking at the moment but it could be massive for us if it actually happens.”

Like kids visiting Disneyland the Norwegian eccentrics tried to do everything they could while Stateside but their visit wasn’t without its regrets. “I wish I’d run up the stairs in Philadelphia. I love the Rocky films. I’ve not seen the latest one. I’m just waiting to get my supply of Viagra so I can go to the cinema and masturbate through the entire film.”

Whilst he’s waiting the band will be busy touring Norway, the UK (in May) and the US again, plus playing the European festival circuit. Then after the promotion of ‘Datarock Datarock’ is finished there’s a new album to record that Fredrik promises will be “just as varied as the first one.” He might just have to wait a while to catch that Rocky film.

Words by Peter Stiff

Join the Clash mailing list for up to the minute music, fashion and film news.