There’s nothing like a good tongue shot.
Vanilla Bumble Bee male
when i read the first interviews karin and olof did for the shaking the habitual album cycle i think i cried or at least came close because i was so deeply moved by the direction they were taking. they were starting to work with feminist and queer theory at around the same time i was starting to engage with those texts.
of course, it all made perfect sense – i fell in love with the knife as much for their feminism (“one hit”, “na na na”) and anti-imperialism (“we share our mothers’ health”) as their sonic inventiveness. (it never made sense to me that so many people only paid lip service to their lyrics. silent shout is lyrically brilliant and incisive and incendiary.)
but that they were being this explicit about their intentions and politics – that was what was moving. that they seemed to feel this intense responsibility as musicians (with a perhaps unexpectedly large following) to make their intentions as unambiguous as possible – that was inspiring to me. and as someone who struggles with the question of how to effectively politicize his artistic practice – or, more accurately, the question of whether or not that’s even a viable possibility – the fact that the knife were at least trying was amazing to me. it felt like a reminder that yes, it is in fact possible to do things.
i remember the first time i realized that “full of fire” had an underlying robotic chant of “liberals giving me a nerve itch.” i think i was euphoric. i remember the first time i saw this video, which was – is – strange and beautiful and messy and compelling and resonant. it felt like the first time i heard “one hit” years ago, when i first realized what that frightening song was about. it felt like the first time i actually realized what “you make me like charity” was about.
i often talk about how tensions and contradictions are what i’m attracted to aesthetically. they are also what motivate me in my artistic practice. the knife always occupied a tense, contradictory space. they seemed hellbent on proving dichotomies false but not necessarily arbitrary. they were furious. they recognized their privilege. they laughed at themselves. they were my favorite band and i cannot wait to see where they go next.