Ex Norwegian really had its shit together.
Two critically acclaimed albums, viral videos, national tours, corporate sponsors, and an innovative sound ... But this past weekend the local indie-pop quintet decided to call it quits for good, playing a farewell show called The Last Tango at the Stage on March 24.
The legacy of the band will continue on with the albums Standby and Sketch, a pair of future classics for the world to discover .... posthumously. Miami has just lost its finest quirky pop band.
Founder and leader Roger Houdaille is now moving away to New York City. But before he packed his bags and hopped a plane, Crossfade managed to get him to answer a few questions about Ex Norwegian's breakup and the future.
Crossfade: Is the breakup of Ex Norwegian permanent?
Roger Houdaille: Yeah. But the breakup was amicable. We may find ourselves working together in the future. But it would be under a different name and circumstances. If a magical opportunity arose, I'm sure we'd get together and take it. But Ex Norwegian as a struggling band has ceased to be.
What are the immediate plans for the other members? Is it true they are starting a
Nirvana tribute band named Sketchvana?
We must be the only band to have covered songs from both the psychedelic '60s band Nirvana and the '90s grunge Nirvana. But I'm not sure if that is the direction the other members will go. Arturo will be recording drums for the new Sam Friend album up in New York. But as far as the rest working together, there are no plans.
Do you plan on starting a new band in New York?
No. At least, that's not the plan. I do have a "solo project" album in the can (tentatively titled House Music) which I plan to do something with up there. What exactly, I do not know!
Will "Girl With a Mustache" see the light of day?
I think there will be a posthumous release of some sort. We have a few unreleased things besides that song, including a live multi-track set recorded at Great Scott in Boston from the Sketch tour which shows the other side of the band not represented on the albums.
Any thoughts on Miami's music scene?
I like to think of Miami's music scene as being a bunch of little micro-scenes set apart by either genre or region. Some are hits but crappy and some are overcrowded and lonely. But overall, comparing the early days of the band in late 2008 to now, I do sense an improvement on many levels as promoters, venues, and artists try to make things better. And it's sure to just keep improving. There's so much amazing talent down here that it has to. I hope we contributed a little bit of good for the scene.
What are you guys listening to right now to cope with the loss of the band?
All I know is that it's not Ex Norwegian!
Ex Norwegian's Final Setlist for The Last Tango Farewell Show at the Stage, March 24, 2011
-"Fujeira In My Dreams"
-"My Name Is Paul"
-"Bibi Kan Werk It"
-"Never Marry A Railroad Man" (Shocking Blue cover)
-"Girl With A Moustache"
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-"Sappy" (Nirvana cover)
-- Fernando Perdomo