IN THE SPOTLIGHT: “What does the Fox Say” to a Record Deal?

September 26, 2013


To be honest, when I first heard the song “The Fox,” by Norwegian singing duo Ylvis I felt a little disturbed about what is considered “Popular” music these days. It came blaring through my iTunes radio:

Gering-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding! What the fox say? Wa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pow!
What does the fox say? Hatee-hatee-hatee-ho!

You get the point. (And yes, that non-sense is all DIRECTLY QUOTED LYRICS.)

Brothers Vegard and Bard Ylvisaaker, who make up the musical act, had no idea their song would be such a hit. When the two made their music video for “The Fox,” their intent was to make a really bad EDM song….and to increase viewership for their Norwegian talk show, “Tonight With Ylvis,” which usually features comedy sketches, special guests, and some other music videos.

It wasn’t until I watched the music video that I understood that it was all just a massive joke (whew!). Garnering almost 2 million views in its first night, “The Fox” has since gone all kinds of viral!

Here’s the song, dance and video that became a smash:

Okay, now watch that about 5 more times and then you will start to understand why their massive joke is HILARIOUS. It is now closing in on 6 million views on YouTube, and has turned into an overwhelming amount of extreme offers that neither of them expected. Still, Ylvis has confirmed that they have signed with Warner Music for a global deal. Man, life sure can be ironic.

The pair has stated that their priorities are comedy first, music second. “We’re comedians. And we like to sing.” Vegard told the Hollywood Reporter in a recent interview. Vegard then added, “we’ll never pursue pure music as a career”.

The best part about this entire thing is how Ylvis nails the EDM parody with such accuracy. They are almost mocking their viewers by showing us just how much silliness we’ll put up with for a predictable beat and a catchy hook. It’s like some magical combination of Gangnam Style and The Lonely Island videos. Genius!

Okay, so here is the recipe for success (apparently):  

  • What sound does a fox make?  Go base a song on your curiosity about that.
  • In the music video, wear a couple of animal costumes — preferably a fox and squirrel (Rent them from the Norwegian Film Institute for $50).
  • Have your entire crew participates in an easy-to-learn synchronized dance…
  • Include a few brief segments that feature a computer-generated image of a fox.

With so many offers on the table, Ylvis isn’t quite sure what their next move is. “This is very new for us and everyone is asking, ‘What are you going to do now?’ We don’t know. We’re busy trying to figure out what to do the next day,” Vegard said.

The two made a humorous appearance on the The Ellen Show on Friday, in which she gushed over the two and inquired about their video (“Is marijuana legal in Norway?”). As one could probably guess, they gave her a little one-on-one training for making “The Fox” sounds.

Watch their hilarious interview  and performance with Ellen here:

Ylvis then flew into Las Vegas to make their live U.S. debut as the surprise guest at the iHeartRadio Music Festival at MGM Grand Garden Arena on Sept. 20. They are set to appear on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon on Oct. 9.

Watch their performance at the iHeartRadio Festival here:

For the time being, they are planning to record more music (in English and Norwegian) for their show, and are about to kick off their third season. Their label is currently promoting their new single, and “The Fox” continues to have success on the charts. The song is in the top 25 on iTunes, and is No. 25 on the Billboard Hot 100.

I must admit that I wasn’t that into Ylvis at first, but now that I have watched and listened to “The Fox” so many times while writing this article…I got it stuck in my head. I think I’m going to have to buy it on iTunes.

-Jenni M. @JenniferKayMo


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