As the Knife Silently Shouts

Text by Fiona Killackey
Photograph by Elin Berge

Olof D­reijer doesn’t like to talk about his favorite food. “I don’t usually answer those questions,” he admits from his studio in Berlin, “I always get so annoyed when I read [about] artists I like and their [favorite] food.” Probed to suggest a favorite moment or favorite musician, the 25-year-old Swede digests a pause before stating, “When we finished mixing [Silent Shout], it was the biggest relief I felt in many years. It was such a hard and great and deep and heavy period to make the album. When it finished I partied very hard!”

Silent Shout is the third album for Dreijer and his sister Karin, otherwise known as electro-pop duo the Knife. With two Swedish Grammy equivalents to their name, the success of the Knife’s second album, Deep Cuts, made the long-awaited Silent Shout somewhat of a challenge to complete. “We wanted to make something so much better, so much deeper and something you would get moved by, so much more than Deep Cuts,” Dreijer explains. “I had to trust myself a lot more.”

Trusting his instinct is something Dreijer has had to battle with throughout his musical career, most recently with the decision to allow José González’s cover version of the Knife’s “Heartbeats” to be featured in a Sony commercial. “It gave us some money to finance the live shows,” Dreijer says, “but that is not a good reason. We will never do an ad again.”

Though Dreijer appears to regret the Sony decision, its screen-time did draw in a fresh wave of fans, allowing the band’s sound to enter mainstream consciousness. It also funded much of their European tour, an event many believed would never happen because of previous comments that live shows were not a priority for the Knife. “We’re a studio project” explained Karin in December 2005. “There’s no direct connection between performing and making [the music].” The foresight of video director Andreas Nilsson led to a change of heart, as Dreijer recalls. “We started to talk to Andreas about live shows after he did the ‘Silent Shout’ video for us. The show we do is really his show and our music.”

While reviews describe Silent Shout as one of the duo’s darkest releases, it is the album Dreijer seems most satisfied with. “Deep Cuts was a rainbow album, very easy and poppy. Now we just want to get back to what we really like and how we want music to be. When people say this album is dark, I don’t think it’s so dark. I think lots about colors and Silent Shout is more like flying over white snowy mountains. It’s white.”


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