The Knife announced their break-up yesterday. Like many devoted fans, I’m not happy about the knews. When I first heard the Knife, or just about the Knife, this odd brother/sister dance act from Sweden, I never would have expected to be sad to see them go. I thought they were too scary and weird to become a band I love. But I do. I love the Knife. I love that even their accessible tracks are still disquieting and weird. Take “Without You My Life Would Be Boring” from last year’s Shaking the Habitual. It’s easily the album’s poppiest song, and yet when I played it while drinking with my father, he said, “Brad, please turn this off.” I said, “No, listen to it, it’s good.” He said, “No. I won’t listen to it. It isn’t right. Turn it off, now.” I turned it off because I don’t like to make people listen to songs they find disturbing. My father then played Rammstein’s “Du Hast” two times in a row. You tell me which is more disturbing.
Anyways, when I saw “THE KNIFE” on my ringing iPhone yesterday, I picked it up and our telephone conversation began the way it always does.
I said, “Is this Karin or Olive?”
“Olaf,” said Olive, who always pronounces his name weird.
Brad: Oh. Hey Olive!
Olaf: How are you?
B: Oh you know. Another day at bradaustin.tumblr.com. It’s my busy season.
B: Uh-huh. So, the rumors are true, huh? The Knife is over?
B: Goddammit. Yeah, I figured. Shit, man. It’s a bummer, you know? I really enjoy your music and, while I didn’t expect you two to keep this up forever, I really could have used one more awesome opus from the Knife.
B: Yeah. Woulda been great. Shaking the Habitual was great.
B: Yeah…hey, is Karin around?
B: Great. Put her on, please.
O: Okay. Bye.
There was silence on the Knife’s end of the phone, and my heart sped up at the thought of talking to Karin, who I have a weird crush on.
“Hello?” said I assumed Karin. “This is Karin,” said definitely Karin.
B: Karin! Brad Austin here.
K: Brad! Hello! How’s bradaustin.tumblr.com?
B: Oh, it’s fine, thanks. Posted something this week that got like seven notes, so we’re not sweating it over here, ha ha ha.
K: Seven notes, not bad! Well, I read it everyday.
B: Shut the fuck up.
K: No seriously!
B: I post on it like once a month so I find that hard to believe.
K: Well, I only got hip to it a few weeks ago actually, so I have some catching up to do.
B: Oh, that’s really nice.
K: Keep up the great work.
B: Will do! Definitely not gonna pull a ‘the knife’ anytime soon, ha ha.
B: Pull a ‘the knife?’ Y’know, quit. The way you guys just quit.
K: LOL! Shit’s funny.
B: Yeah. Hey, Karin, listen, Olive said ‘LOL’ to me earlier as well, and I just think you should both know that’s not something anyone says in America. We write it in messages to indicate ‘laughing out loud’ but no one actually says it. You can just laugh out loud if something is funny on the phone, because I can actually hear you. Understand? I’d just feel guilty if I didn’t tell you. But please keep saying it, I think it’s so cute.
B: So, why the breakup?
K: Well, Olive has been working more and more with his new rap band, the Pizza Boyz, and I love Olive, but I also fucking love the Pizza Boyz, and I think it’s time he focus on that. As for me, I might do another Fever Ray album.
B: Fever Ray is dope.
K: No shit!
B: I feel like I’m having a difficult time understanding you. Are you by any chance wearing the melting mask from that youtube video where you accepted the award?
B: Thought so.
K: Yeah, sometimes I just put it on when I chill.
B: I’d do the same thing.
K: What’s your favorite Knife album, Brad?
B: Oh, Silent Shout, for sure.
K: Ha! Pretty boring answer. Everyone says that.
B: Yeah, well it just seems like a fact that it’s your best. There’s not really any filler on that, whereas on Shaking the Habitual and Deep Cuts, it seemed like you guys did more dicking around, even though I love both of those. But with like the 20 minutes of boiler room noise on “Old Dreams Waiting to Be Realized.” I just felt like, fuck you, I’m not gonna waste my time with that shit.
K: See, I feel like if you were a real fan you’d dig that.
B: And I feel like you guys put that on Shaking the Habitual just to fuck with people. Silent Shout was very respectful of the listener’s time and every song is pretty strong. But Deep Cuts does have “Heartbeats,” which might be my favorite Knife song.
K: Again, that is a very typical choice we hear from people who we don’t consider to be true Knife fans. And you didn’t even bring up our debut album, the self-titled one.
B: Yeah, haven’t listened. Probably not going to.
K: Well, you shouldn’t complain about not having another forthcoming Knife album when there’s one you haven’t listened to. What about that opera thing we did?
B: Oh yeah. What’s that one called?
K: I don’t remember.
B: Yeah, me neither.
K: Yeah, you can skip that shit. Hold up, Olaf wants to talk to you.
B: Oh. Good.
B: What’s up. Heard about the Pizza Boyz, sounds radical.
B: Yeah. What’s up, man?
B: Hey can you put Karin back on?
K: Hey, Brad, Karin here. Think I’m about done.
B: Hey Karin. Goddammit, I’m really gonna miss the Knife! You know? I feel strangely sad. It’s not like you guys died. You’ll both continue making music. But I dunno, I’m just bummed.
K: No, I get it. When Audioslave broke up, I was devastated, even though I knew I’d continue to follow all the members’ individual projects. But knowing I’d never hear another Audioslave album was sad. So I understand.
B: Yeah. I kinda have a weird crush on you.
B: Well, I’m gonna put one last song by the Knife at the end of this article. I’ll let you choose. What’s Karin Dreijer Andersson’s favorite Knife song?
K: Hmmm, “Fracking Fluid Injection.” That’s us in top form.
B: Hahaha. No. I’m gonna put “We Share Our Mother’s Health.”
K: Very safe choice. Very “Brad.”
B: Love ya Karin!
K: Love you! Love the blog! When will we see you next?
B: Thanksgiving, probably.
K: Can’t wait.
B: Stay beautiful, baby.
K: Always, LOL.
There you have it! A great conversation between good friends. So long, the Knife. Thank you for stabbing our hearts.