The Disciplines
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   The Disciplines - Smoking Kills (2008)

The Disciplines - Smoking Kills
1. Yours For The Taking
2. Wrong Lane
3. Get It Right
4. Best Mistake
5. There's A Law
6. Oslo
7. Hurricane
8. I Got Tired

The Disciplines are a Norwegian band composed of Ken Stringfellow (vocals), Bjørn Bergene (guitar), Claus Heiberg Larsen (drums) and Bård Helgeland (bass).
Characterized by a brilliant Rock sound the band represents the meeting of talented musicians, the guys of the Norwegian Electro-Pop band Briskeby, and the American singer Ken Stringfellow whose career is very impressive.
Their first and new album "Smoking Kills" is out now! We can appreciate the singles "Best Mistake" and "Oslo", well disciplined Rock like we love....

Interview with Ken Stringfellow, singer of The Disciplines:

SWhen and how was "The Disciplines" born ?

K: Well, we're really just getting born now. The roots go back a couple of years; we played our first live show at a party in the band's hometown in Norway in 2006. We played a few times last year--parties and a few club shows in London, Berlin, Helsinki, Paris and Norway. Snow Patrol asked us to support them in London...but we're really just coming into our own as a live band now, and this record that we're making I think will cement that fact. In fact, we played the same party as our first show--it happens every year after Christmas--last month, and the difference was really amazing. you can actually see videos of both shows online--the first show we are dressed differently, and we're a bit shy. But the last show--look out. We are beating the shit out of everything in sight--us, the audience, the instruments...with love of course!

As for the "how"--I knew the guys from their previous band, a shiny pop band called Briskeby. They were very successful in Norway, and nowhere else. They had a female singer, who is marvelous. But, they were unable to break out of Norway--despite the fact they write great songs, look cool, sing in English and have hit singles. So, the guys wanted to do something with me, to try something new. The singer, Lise, has a record deal of her own. Everybody's happy. With their old band, it should be said, Lise and I sang a duet that was a huge hit--but again, only in Norway.

SWhere is the name of the band coming from ?

K: I think it suits us very well. The word "Discipline" has of course a naughty edge to it, but it also has a nerdy, scientist kind of connotation, in English especially. And of course, generally I more like a science nerd than an S&M aficionado. And my music has always been nerdy, too. So this band is where I get to act a bit more nasty. Again, with love!

SHow and when did all begin with music ?

K: I guess you are referring to each of us? the others: I have no idea! But they've come from the same town in Norway, and have played together quite awhile. I started playing in bands in my home town in the USA; the two towns we come from are incredibly similar...I had the feeling to be back in time when I went to spend some time in Larvik (small Norwegian town where they come from).

SWhat are the positive and negative sides of being a musician in Norway ?

K: Well, for me, it's all positive. I can say that Norway is a very wealthy's kind of an odd argument against the EU when you see how successful and prosperous things are in one of the only non EU countries in Western Europe (see also: Switzerland). I guess being an oil producing nation is one of the keys to Norway’s success. So, bands coming from outside are paid extremely well--the high cost of living is balanced in Norway by high wages, sort of like the UK--so, if you are American or French, you play there and suddenly make heaps of money...then you get to leave and not pay Norwegian taxes.
SDo you feel anxious before a show ?

K: No. I just feel like a spring coiling up. I have to work hard not to explode in the first song--I have to save some energy, as the show is extremely demanding physically.

SWhat musicians or artists had an influence in your life and in your work?

K: Many--many still will in the future. I am notorious for listening to records only once, and for the next thing! For this band, I draw upon the living spirits of Iggy Pop, Joan Jett, Beth Ditto and more for my work. And a bit of Feargal Sharkey!

SDo you remember what was the first CD you bought?

K: Yes, sure--it was Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band; but, I started buying records long before CDs were around. The first record I bought was by ELO!

SDo you think the emotion is different between a song in English and in Norwegian ?

K: No. I think human emotions are quite universal. The different cultures have different ways to express (or repress) them. But fear, hope, despair, joy, humor, anger--they are in all of our DNA.

SHow could you define the music of The Disciplines?

K: Disciplined! Concise, precise, efficient. No fat, no wasted space. Energy, movement and force. Like kung fu! 

SDo you agree with Victor Hugo who said :"Melancholy is the pleasure of being sad"?

K: If you don't engage life, you have nothing to lose, right? So you never know what you are missing. If you embrace life, you have to accept the fact that you will lose things along the way--that things are fleeting, and we all die. So, you have the opportunity to love life more, I think, when you know that it is precious.

S: When you write a song you follow your heart, your brain or your hand?

K: As Malcom X said: "by any means necessary". I try not to do the same thing the same way twice.

S: What is your favourite song of The Disciplines and why?

K: Hmmm. no idea, really--my favorite is which ever one is going well at a given moment in a show, or whatever. Whatever I'm focusing on is the favorite!

S: As musicians, what are your feelings about internet?

K: I've heard about it, it sounds incredibly useful! :) Kidding. I don't have much feelings about it, but, I know at this point it would be impossible to live without! It's like the telephone, the TV--it's kind of a miracle, but we just use it like a beast of burden. 

S: Can you describe what is a typical The Disciplines' day?

K: Well, I don’t know about the other guys—I live in Paris, and my typical day right now involves taking my daughter to school at 8.30…and then probably working on music at home all day, all night. I spend an hour in the morning in a café. Our guitar player, Bjorn, is studying to be a doctor, so you can guess what his day is like. The others—Bård, our bass player, and Claus, our drummer—they have to go to work. Actually, I don’t even know what Bård does. He won’t tell us!

S: What are your hobbies aside music?

K: Hmmm. Learning, that’s certainly one. I play tennis…and of course, playing with Legos and Playmobil with my daughter.
S: Are you venturesome persons?

K: Dominique, my wife, applauded me the other day. We went to the marché pres de chez nous, and were going to buy some cochon de lait roti. But we were late, and they were basically sold out. There was just the head left—and I bought it (only €2.50!) and ate it…even Dom, who is French and used to eating all kinds of guts and things, couldn’t go there.

S: Where would you like to play in the future, is there a place in the world you would love to visit?

K: Many!! I try and visit new countries and play there as much as possible. Last year I played, solo, in Bosnia and Luxembourg. This year…hard to say, but I’m working on Macedonia, Romania and Bulgaria. I welcome any invitations for the Disciplines or me solo! Anywhere!

S: Are there any things, which you are afraid of? Do you have any fears?

K: As a parent, I always fear I’m not doing enough, or that I am doing things the wrong way…I want my daughter’s life to be incredible and rich and full of love. I try my best. 

S: What is "the best mistake" you've ever done? 

K: Mistakes: many. So many, it’s hard to chose a best one!

S: What is the best moment and the best place to listen to your music?

K: Well, I will always say: at our shows. I think we have worked hard to make the vibe of the show very special…very high energy, like a kind of safe violence…but, never angry or machismo, very inviting and full of love.

S: As my website is dedicated to Manic Street Preachers maybe can you say some words about them?

K: I saw them at Benicassim in 2001...I'm pretty sure that I opened for them with the band Big Star...they sounded great but we had to catch our flight to we were driving away in the bus watching them out the back window...maybe if you guys know them you can get them to take us on tour!

S: You decided not to take part on REM's 2008 tour in support of "Accelerate", is it to concentrate more on The Disciplines ?

K: Actually, they are not taking a keyboard player this time...they are going for a big guitar rock sound...I was mostly playing organ, piano, samples,, it opened the opportunity for me to take the Disciplines all the way.

S: I know it's a difficult question, but if you would have to keep just one album from your CD collection what album would it be?

K: Haha! I’d probably take my own solo album, Soft Commands—as I have so many memories from the people who worked on it with me.

Ken Stringfellow - Soft Commands

S: What was the last song you listened to before the interview? And, if you know, which one will be the next?

K: Before the interview I listened to the mastering of a song my wife recorded for a compilation of covers of the Posies (my longtime band in the states, from before the Disciplines etc). I made some comments to the mastering engineer for a few small changes. Now I’m listening to an album by a band from Memphis called ‘Antenna Shoes’. They have some songs in French, in fact…

S: Can you tell me the name of one French song, or singer, or band?

K: Sure, I mean, I live here, you know? I am a real fan of Syd Matters—in fact, I spoke with Jonathan, the singer, about collaborating with the Disciplines on something, recently. I have worked with a few people here in France—I did the string arrangements for the new album by Cali, which is coming out in February; I produced a band from Paris called Cheap Star; a band in Toulouse called Palace of Sin; a singer from Paris called Mateo. I have played bass and keyboards for a singer named Olivia Baum…etc etc. So, I’m starting to integrate into France a bit.

S: And say something in French?

K: J’aime bien a manger des pieds porcs.

S: What are your plans for the nearest future?

K: Finish the Disciplines album next month (Fevrier). Start working on getting the record out in the different territories around the world. Oh, and work on the cover art.

S: And finally, what's the most important thing in life for you?

K: I really think that having a stable family, with my wife and daughter, is what gives me the strength to do all the other things in life. And it keeps me grounded to where my real priorities are.

MANY thanks to Ken Stringfellow and to The Disciplines for the  interview!

More informations about The Disciplines:

- on the official website:

- on their Myspace:




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