Georg Kajanus

09 February 1946


The legend... taken from the official SAILOR fanclub biography:
The Norwegian Georg Johan Tjegodiev Sakonski Kajanus seems to have led a life nearly as long as his name. He is the son of Prince Paulo Tjegodiev Sakonski of Russia and Johanna Kajanus, the famous Finnish sculptress. He is also the great- grandson of Robert Kajanus, a composer and confident of Sibelius. Kajanus has lived in Canada, where he learned English, in Paris and St. Tropez, in Mexico City, where his mother's studios are located, in London and - of course - in Norway.
The most reclusive and primitive of the SAILOR musicians, Kajanus' talents seem to exceed those of merely creative artists. Born in Trondheim, Norway in 1946, Kajanus moved with his mother and sister to Paris at the age of twelve. In 1959, the family relocated to Quebec. Working as a stained glass window designer in the French- Canadian province, Kajanus was lured back to Europe by the Church of England commissioners who had requested his assistance in standardizing ecclesiastical symbology for use in church architecture.
Since 1960, Kajanus has been at work compiling his family journals, searching for manuscripts and contributing scholarly articles relating to his famous forebears to University quarterlies. Although an accomplished musician and songwriter, his primary interest is not simply music.
"I refuse to limit my interest to any single aesthetic discipline", says Kajanus. "The days of the 'Matelot' were fun, of course. But, as far as my involvement in SAILOR is concerned, I was only interested in determining what limits might be applied to a medium in not only its most expressive and experimental aspects, but also its most readily- appreciated and commercial forms. When I write music, I am a composer. But when I paint or write, my interests are simply painting or writing. There is time for everything."
Before moving to Paris to join SAILOR in 1967, Kajanus lived in London (where he now again resides), and directed the activities of another avant-garde group, "Eclection". A close friend of M. Faux, the legendary proprietor of the "Café Le Matelot", Kajanus was shattered when the musical landmark was destroyed by fire 1970. He travelled to Mexico City, where he lived in seclusion until July 1973.
Kajanus is a man whose talents range across the entire spectrum of the creative arts. Yet as a musician he is unparalleled, communicating the wealth a richness of his extraordinary gifts, filling a void in the world of spread evenly with musical mediocrity.

And here's the true story...

with special thanks to James McCarraher:

Few bands can boast royalty amongst their ranks, let alone their lead singer, but then SAILOR was and still is no ordinary band.
Prince Georg Johan Tchegodieff (to give him his correct title) was born on the 09 February 1946 into a family heritage so steeped in history and cultural diversity that it would have been implausible that the young Prince would grow up to be anything less than extraordinary.
The only son of Prince Pavel Tchegodieff of Russia and French/Finnish sculptress, Johanna Kajanus, Georg led a quiet and settled existence in Trondeim, Norway until the divorce of his parents meant a move to Paris in his teens.
A further move saw Georg, his mother and sister relocate to Canada, where he became interested in the folk scene and early influences such as Gordon Lightfoot.
Eventually settling in the UK, Georg co-founded legendary folk-rock pioneers Eclection, before teaming up with young musician, Philip Pickett as Kajanus/Pickett.
Following a lack of commercial success, Georg concentrated on BA Robertson’s "Wringing Applause" album before co-founding KP Packet with Phil, the forerunner to SAILOR.
The demise of SAILOR following the "Hideaway" album was a relief to Georg. He felt the project had gone as far as it could at the time. It allowed him to indulge other musical interests, including DATA and the Mamluks.
The reformations of SAILOR in the late Eighties and early Nineties presented new writing opportunities but touring filled Georg with a cocktail of emotions: "As we retraced Hitler’s footsteps through the concrete tunnels leading up to the massive stage of the Waldbühne arena in front of thousands of music-hungry, middle-aged Germans, I felt a unique kind of terror. I was experiencing a new kind of male menopausal dementia!"
Georg left SAILOR in late 1995, formed Noir with Tim Dry and appeared as a television chef on UKs Channel Four show, "Feast". He is currently putting the finishing touches to his classical composition "People Industry": "People Industry is a highly distilled observation of the fundamental mechanics of mankind – instrumentally illustrated by a twelve piece ensemble (four violini, two violi, two celli, two contrabassi, timpani and cassa) and verbally defined by four vocalists (soprano, mezzo-soprano, counter-tenor and tenor). The focal point shifts from extreme close-up to celestial panorama; from the agony of childbirth to rampant consumerism; from our mutant bacterial ancestors to communication and our modern high tech world."
© James McCarraher 2004.

A full and detailed account can be found in the book "A Glass Of Champagne – The Official Sailor Story".

Fanclub letter to the fans

Ola Compadres Marineros !
Yes, you guessed it right, I'm back in Mexico again. I'm sitting here in La Huerta, sipping my Sol beer and feeling inspired. I've been going a lot of painting as always, but music is still my greatest passion. It seems that this place has all the right ingredients for stimulating the body and mind. The girls look as good as ever, although there is a noticeable lack of clientele. I guess the recession has hit Acapulco as well.
After the break-up of SAILOR in 1978, I should have come straight here and steeped myself in romance, rather than losing myself in the electronic twilight of DATA. My intentions were good, but the reality of this "documentary- style musical doomsday machine" proved to be too much, even though the title track of the album "Opera Electronica" became the sound track to a short film called "The Towers Of Babel" which went on to the Silver Hugo Award in Chicago. Despite everything I made two more albums for DATA, "2- Time" and "Elegant Machinery".
After DATA, I received a phone call from a mysterious man from the East by the name of Umi Bayashi, famous in Japan for his pop album ("Umi", RCA/ Victot, Japan) he wanted me to produce for him in London the following year. I had never been to Japan, so off I went. I discovered, however, that there would be a greater involvement than merely production. I ended up teaching Umi English and co- writing the songs. But in spite of this, it was a most rewarding project and we have remained good friends.
Since then, between many trips to the sanity of Mexico and the wilds of Kenia to help a friend research a book about African lions, I finally made my way to Helsinki so that I could shift through the mountains of material in various archives and sort out, once and for all, the facts concerning my great-grandfather Robert Kajanus. He was a celebrated conductor and interpreter of the work of his close friend, Jean Sibelius, and was instrumental in bringing his music to the rest of the world. In Finland, Kajanus was equally well known for his womanising and living it up in the shady milieu of the decadent arts community of turn- of- the- century Helsinki. I have, on several occasions, been accused of having inherited some of his more disreputable traits. These are, of course, all lies.
I have finally managed to sell my studio, or should I say, my laboratory. My electronic "Jekyll and Hyde" days are over. I've drunk that potion once too often, and I'm now looking forward to 'melody' and acoustic instruments again, i.e. SAILOR. And for the third time, working with my old friends from 'Le Matelot'.

Georg Kajanus is selling 9 paintings in order to finance his new project:

  • Sailor's Night On The Town
  • Blue Desert
  • The Old Nickelodeon Sound
  • The Girls Of Amsterdam
  • Dancing
  • Melancholy
  • Keep Off The Streets At Night
  • Guitar Passion
  • Self Portrait With Christine

To see these paintings and to get more information about them,
click here!!

Radio Interview 2000

The following interview with Georg Kajanus was made by Karsten Wagner via eMail in November 2000. It was used in the second SAILOR radio special for the "Free Radio Kassel":

Question: Is it true that you have built the original Nickelodeon by yourself?
: I conceived and designed it, then built it with a little help from Henry.
Question: Some people say that the official band history - the story of the Café "Le Matelot" is not true. Can you tell us something about it?
Georg: What really is true or not in life is usually a matter of perspective or expediency. With regard to 'The World of SAILOR' that we brought to the public, everything was utterly true.
Question: The first SAILOR songs were planned for a musical. Will it ever be possible to bring it on stage?
Georg: Who knows? I have spent a great deal of time on the stage play (the book of the musical) and written further songs for it. So the package - the blueprint - is ready, if and when an interested party comes along...
Question: At the moment no original SAILOR albums are available in the record stores. Do you see a chance for a re-release on CDs?
Georg: I don't know. It is up to Sony and BMG, I suppose, to decide whether SAILOR is still marketable.
Question: With the SAILOR image you can do very much. The band had a good restart at the beginning of the 90s, but unfortunately your great album "Street Lamp" did not get much promotion. The band only performed live on Oldie nights. Then came the second break and the captain decided to leave the ship. What did you do having left SAILOR?
Georg: I composed music that was close to my heart. It is important to experiment and reach out to new places for inspiration. Some projects may be successful, some may not, but it is vital to "Follow your bliss". In other words, do whatever is necessary to feed your soul.
Question: What are your next plans?
Georg: I will continue to compose music that is close to my heart. I am presently still working on an opus that encompasses classically trained vocalists and a ten piece string orchestra plus timpani and orchestral bass drum. It is a sizeable work and I had no idea when I started it that it was going to take this long to compose. I have had to research the mechanics and emotional boundaries of everything from childbirth to the intricate workings of microbiology as well as the theories of earth as a living organism, just to mention a few themes. This all takes a great deal of time. Hopefully, in 2001 I will see an end to it!
Question: Are you still in contact with the other SAILOR guys?
Georg: Yes.
Question: Many leadsingers leave famous bands and most of the time nothing works for both sides any more. What do you say about the sentence: "Never change a winning team"?
Georg: That may work for many bands, but inspiration was in short supply for keeping SAILOR going as an Oldie Nacht entity. Without new recordings and new visions, projects become stale and this certainly happened with SAILOR, from my point of view. I never saw SAILOR as a cabaret act, doing covers of other people's material. The original SAILOR was for me a tremendous passion. But that was many years ago.
Question: SAILOR had their 25th anniversary last year. Do you see a chance for a project with the SAILOR guys again?
Georg: Although, I would never rule anything out, at this moment, I would have to say no.
Question: Will you inform the fans about your future projects on our website?
Georg: Of course. I will always inform the fans about any up and coming projects.

Georg Kajanus Interview about Eclection
Conducted by eMail, for Richie Unterberger's book "Eight Miles High: Folk-Rock's Flight from Haight-Ashbury to Woodstock" (Backbeat Books, 2003)
with special thanks to Richie Unterberger and to Gary Diamond

Question: How was it that the group formed, particularly one which had such varied background and nationalities?

Georg: "Bangers", a well-known English-German sausage restaurant on the corner of Moscow Road and Queensway in London's Bayswater district, was the birthplace of Eclection. I was doing table-to-table entertaining with my huge Gibson B45 12-string, singing Gordon Lightfoot songs, amongst other selections. One of the customers one night was Canadian Michael Rosen who immediately sensed some North American connection between us. (At the time, Lightfoot was pretty unknown in Europe.) Michael was cruising Europe, much as I was doing, and had ended up in England to partake in the "fab" London music scene. We fantasized about forming a band that very night with great enthusiasm. We both lived in the area and had several subsequent musical encounters.
Michael was an aspiring lead guitarist as well as a trumpet player, which was to prove to be one of our more unusual features later. It was through Michael that the mad, Australian, redhead Trevor Lucas, became a member of the band. He was also out looking for a place in the musical sun of London. His track record was more considerable than Michael's or mine. He agreed to join up but was initially unhappy about playing bass rather than playing his favourite acoustic Fender six-string. He grumbled a bit but finally gave in. It was through Trevor that we met Kerrilee Male, another Australian, who impressed us with her wonderful voice as well as her beautiful appearance.
Also hanging out in Bayswater in those days was another friend of Michael's, Joni Mitchell. It was Joni who came up with the name "Eclection." There is, of course, no such word as Eclection, but her idea for the name was based on the eclectic nature of our nationalities as well as our diverse musical backgrounds. Soon we determined that the group would benefit from some more weighty rhythm, so I believe Trevor brought in Englishman Gerry Conway who is a very talented drummer and percussionist.

Question: The Eclection album, on which you wrote most of the songs, seems to me have a rather Californian pop-folk-rock feel, particularly in the harmonies and production. Would you agree or disagree, and how much was the folk-rock of the era an influence in your songwriting and arrangements?

Georg: I would agree that the musical direction of the group was probably closer to American folk-rock than anything else. I must confess, having spent my formative musical years haunting the folk clubs in Montreal, Canada and watching all the current folk and folk/rock programs on TV, I was strongly influenced by this music. The most influential artists for me at the time were people like Dylan, the Byrds, Fred Neil, Simon and Garfunkel, the Beach Boys, the Mamas and the Papas, and Gordon Lightfoot. Pre-Eclection, I was a purist fighting the acoustic battle versus the electric "demons" creeping into the scene. I remember being shocked when Dylan went electric. It is therefore ironic that I should end up a few years later playing an electric 12-string in Eclection. My first "ax" with Eclection was a green monster called a Burns Baldwin which weighed a ton and gave me neck-aches after concerts, but I didn't care as it had a great sound. Later I bought a Fender electric 12-string from Pete Townshend, who for some reason wanted to sell the guitar rather than destroy it in his usual manner.

Question: As the principal songwriter of the band, I'm interested in your appraisal of what might have made Eclection's material stand out, stylistically, from other bands, whether folk-rock ones or just other pop and rock acts.

Georg: In some ways I am surprised that I ended up the principal songwriter in Eclection since I certainly did not think of myself at the time as an accomplished composer. However, I was very prolific and I had a good ear for melody. Other powerful influences on me at the time were classically-orientated music as well as the French chanson, i.e. Jacques Brel and Georges Bressens, so an interesting combination was created. As to my lyrics, what can I say? English was my third language (after Norwegian and French), so that should give me license for some of my poetic obscurities.

Question: It's interesting that you were signed to Elektra, possibly the most respected independent popular music label in America at the time. The label had signed very few other British artists at the time, other than the Incredible String Band. Do you recall how you got the deal with Elektra, and what sort of expectations the company had for the band in terms of the music and the audience it wanted to reach with your recordings?

Georg: My memories are a bit murky here, but I believe it was through Michael Rosen and Joni Mitchell that we managed to contact Jac Holzman. He came over to see us and seemed to like us. Of course we were flabbergasted when he did sign us, considering the icons he already had on his label. As far as expectations of the record company were concerned, we had no idea as we were never that planned or calculating in our approach. We just did what we wanted to do and hoped that people would like it. Sadly, the promotion of the album was badly organized in the UK by Polydor and we only made a few TV appearances, mainly in Holland. As far as America was concerned, there was no promotion that I can remember. Although Jac loved the album, there was definitely a problem somewhere in the marketing department. Perhaps it was the fact that we were based in the UK and signed to a US record company that presented a major logistical problem. Of course, the Incredible String Band did make the Atlantic crossover, but I guess we didn't catch the same boat. Also, we didn't have very forceful management at the time, which didn't help.

Question: There were relatively few other groups in the UK at that time that were combining elements of folk and rock with full electric and orchestral arrangements, as Eclection did. Did you feel that you were somewhat unusual in England in that regard, and why do you think there were relatively few other artists following that direction there at the time?

Georg: Again, Eclection's mixture of musical backgrounds and influences were in vast contrast to our contemporaries in England at that time. Also, our producer, Ossie Byrne, who discovered the Bee Gees, was instrumental in utilizing the string arrangements that lifted the tracks away from the current sounds. As a matter of fact, we weren't even sure of the idea when he first suggested it, but we were all pretty pleased with the result.

Question: To what degree were you pleased or dissatisfied with the Eclection album, and what are your favourite songs and/or aspects of the recording?

Georg: I have never made an album that I felt totally pleased with and the Eclection album is no exception. That said however, I listened to it recently when Collectors' Choice Music re-released it on CD and I was struck by the mood created by the vocals generally and some of the inventiveness of the vocal arrangements. I was also saddened by the fact that Kerrilee Male's voice was so tragically under-used. This was one of the main reasons why she finally left the band. I was also struck by the sloppy timing of many of the songs, however, that is more due to current music of today being "time perfect" (computer- or sequence-based.) Basically, I liked the naive and wistful flavour of the album.
Regarding my favourite songs, that's very difficult. I think the most original song on the album is "In The Early Days" sung by Trevor rather than myself. He was absolutely in love with the song and desperately wanted to sing it. I let him perform it, because the quality of his voice seemed more effective than my own for this particular piece. Michael's trumpet sounded quite magical on the track as well.

Question: How well do you think the songs of Michael Rosen, the only other writer with material on the album, complemented yours on the LP?

Georg: I don't feel that Michael's songs created any conflict with my own on the album since to a large extent the arrangements were worked on by all of us.

Question: Do you recall the details of how Kerrilee Male left?

Georg: As far as I know, she went back to Australia after the split. As I mentioned before, her voice was exceptional and I wish that we had found a way through our arrangements to create more lead vocals for her.

Question: Eclection didn't record much after the first album, although the group continued to play live for a while, with some different members. How did the group's sound change during that time, and what led to its dissolution?

Georg: After Kerrilee left, Doris Henderson took over. She was a very respected American singer in the folk scene in England. Unfortunately, the musical direction of the group then shifted to a much more jazz-orientated approach due to numerous guest musicians passing through. I was feeling more and more trapped in an alien musical environment and I finally had to leave. Also, the fact that nothing happened with the album was a bit of a blow to all of our egos. We never made any further recordings, other than a few demos.

FRK Radio Interview 2003

The following interview with Georg Kajanus was made by Karsten and Katrin Wagner via telephone in September 2003. It was used for a radio special about Georg's various music projects in Karsten's show "Handmade" at the "Free Radio Kassel":

Question: Do you have a project that you are working on at the moment?

Georg: Yes I do, very much so. Although I have to say I think I just finished it. My last recording is in London this coming Friday, the 03rd of October. This is not the completion of the project, but a work that I've been battling away with the last four years. It is not really anything like SAILOR. I'm not singing in it, I'm not performing in it, other people do that, but I've written everything - the music and the words. It's not really an opera, but some people might call it like that. In the area a lot of people refer to it as "crossover", which I don't really necessarily agree with as a term, but it's difficult to label things. So basically that's what I've been working on for the last four years. It will be finished and ready for the next stages very soon, hopefully for live performances and recordings and all sort of stuff. It's a big project, it takes a lot of time and involves many things - visual things and quite a complex staging.

Question: Do you have any musical influences? If so, from which sites?

Georg: I have very many different musical influences, as one probably could observe, with all the things I have been involved with. It really spans the whole lot, all the way from my very very early days. I grew up on Elvis Presley in Norway. And then I discovered the French chanson in Paris later on, and then folk music in North America in Canada. But all this time I also had a very strong urge of classical music, for a lack of a better term, thanks to my family. So I had many many different musical influences. And then of course Mexican music, Latino music too, very strongly. Basically, what I've been doing in my life is, whenever I had a strong idea about something, I can not decide what it should sound like in terms of using this influence or that influence. Like for instance the current work that I'm working on, it takes more from the classical area than from the strict pop area. So that's how that works.

Question: You had the biggest success in the band SAILOR. Which is your favourite album and your favourite song of the band?

Georg: It's really difficult because I wrote so much of it, or pretty much all of it. It's a little bit difficult to have favourites, but I think if I'm really honest I suppose the very first album meant probably more to me than any of the subsequent ones simply because it was the realisation of a dream if you like. And also because I was able to input some sound ideas as well at that time, which obviously was not really possible later because of recording business politics. So, yes, the first album would be my favourite album. But in terms of favourite songs I really couldn't tell because the each mean something. It's a bit like having lots of little babies and each song is a kind of little precious package that gets send out there and I have different feelings for all these little precious packages. There are certain songs that maybe I like more than others, for instance the songs "Sailor", "Let's Go To Town", "Sailor's Night On The Town", "A Glass Of Champagne", "The Old Nickelodeon Sound". These are songs that I still quite like as songs. I don't listen to these really any more. There has to be a reason for me to listen to them, either a friends asks me, or something happens and it's relevant to have a listen to some of the old stuff. And it's nice to hear the things back, but I have to keep looking forward. But listening for instance to the stuff that I mentioned I still get a lot of joy from, whereas others I don't. I'm not going to tell you which ones they are. So, there we are.

Question: Do you like performing your songs live?

Georg: That's a big question... I've always been very nervous performing live. There are several reasons for this, but let us start first of all with the initial reason: I was always very concerned about all the technical stuff that we had on stage. All the workings of the Nickelodeon, especially in the beginning, because certain things were vaguely mechanical. And I was always worried about things going wrong, and if something would go wrong it was me who would have to try to fix it because I had basically built the Nickelodeon. That sort of weighed upon me. And also things like later on: is the radio mike working from the guitar and all sort of stuff. So, there's always been a lot of technical pressure in terms of things being correct and working well, as far as from my voice, is it going to hold up, of course I experienced a couple of occasions losing my voice which was very nerve-racking, and also: is the monitoring good, are we singing on key, are we singing horribly off-key and various things. I always used to be very worried about all those things, so it maybe wasn't such a pleasant experience. But I tried not to show it. I hope I didn't. (Comment from Karsten: "You always looked cool!") Maybe that's why I was listed as "more serious". And of course just making sure I get everything right. Sometimes before going on stage if I was not careful I would start thinking about all the lyrics that I'd have to remember. Ok, I know I wrote all the lyrics, so there's no excuse, but I still sometimes thought "am I going to remember all the lyrics of all the songs?". It's a terrible way looking at it because you can sort of psych yourself to getting into trouble. You must just let it go, just do it, and it comes. You have to trust your instinct. (Comment from Karsten: "Remember the middle part of 'Shakespeare'! ;-)") Oh yes... There are plenty of things, and I remember for instance the last concert we did in England on the last tour which was at Cambridge College, a ball or something, and I was doing "Dancing" and I forgot virtually all the lyrics, or halfway through, and I was just mumbling some sort of semi-Norwegian to the audience, who looked very puddled. They were from Cambridge and tried to decide "is this some new language?". So that was a problem too. But basically live performances have always scared me, so I've tried to do the best I can, I hope it worked, but that's how it is.

Question: Is there any chance that the SAILOR musical version will be on a stage one day?

Georg: Well, it is possible. But ironically I had contact from a person in England who has been working on an idea using a lot of these songs from SAILOR. It's an interesting idea. He's putting it into a kind of amateur production just to start up with to see what happens. He's got some good people working for him and good connections, he's also got connections with the Edinburgh arts festival. So, I'm observing to see how that goes. My own idea of the musical, which the whole idea of SAILOR was based on, has transformed more into a filmic idea. I've been speaking to my publisher in America about that, but it's difficult. Certain things have to happen in the marketplace with these songs to create a sufficient interest to unleash the sort of fun that one needs to create the songs or a musical. Those are very expensive things. But it's not impossible that there might be at least one version surfacing quite soon in England. I'll keep you informed.

Question: There are plans to release a SAILOR album with rarities entitled "Buried Treasure" next year. Do you have any never released tracks in your drawer for that project?

Georg: Yes, there are some - as you put it - unreleased tracks in the drawer. The question is of course whether it's best for them to stay in the drawer, or whether they should be dragged out and put on a CD... It's something that the audience will make their decisions about. There are good reasons... maybe... why these are still in the drawer. But actually I shouldn't say this because I don't want to take away the potential interest. There are some things which nobody has heard, and they will be going on to this SAILOR album.

Question: Once we heard that you wrote a song for the charity "Jonathan Seagull" festival which was planned in Hooksiel, Germany in 1995, "Seagulls Are White"...

Georg: "Seagulls Are White"? Oh yes, that's right. But nothing ever came of that, which is often how things go. I also wrote another song which was called "Stone After Stone" which was all about my feelings when the Berlin wall came down, but we decided not to use it because it felt a bit too political for SAILOR. We are in the nostalgia business rather than in the politics business. That will probably go on this as well, so you can make up your own minds.

Question: Which are the best circumstances for you to write songs or to have song-ideas?

Georg: That's very difficult to say. The initial ideas tend to come whenever they want to come, not when I decide I want to have them. They dictate by their presence when they come. Once the idea is there, there are a lot of different things that I do to nurture the idea forward. One thing is sitting in cafés drinking a glass of red wine or an Espresso looking at people in Paris is enormously useful. Let's face it: People have been doing that for a long time, a lot of writers, a lot of musicians and composers have been doing that, especially in Paris. It just seems to draw things out of you which is wonderful, especially in terms of the thoughts behind things. But I also tend to need solitude as well as the café-life. The two things together can nurture the idea.

Question: On which instrument(s) do you compose songs?

Georg: I used to compose mainly on guitar in the days of SAILOR - my several 12-strings. But it wasn't necessairily the only way. At the time because I was playing guitar all the time with the band I would tend to sit down at home with the guitar and work things out rather than on a piano or something. It depended. But generally speaking it's the guitar. These days: no instrument. It's basically just all comming out of my head and into the computer, which is the way most people compose these days. With my huge library of instruments on the computer I can just draw anything I want, which is of course the dream of all composers. So I don't really use the guitar any more.

Question: But you still have your guitar(s)?

Georg: The guitar that I used for SAILOR I left with the band because if they wanted to continue it seemed to make sense. In case they wanted to have those sounds, you know, like the Charango. Not the harp, because I don't think anyone would fancy learning to play the harp. The harp is still with me. I hope it's still surviving. I haven't played that for a lot of years, I tell you!

Question: Is it true that you constructed the first Nickelodeon all by yourself, and was it complicated to do?

Georg: Yes, it is true. Obviously I had a little bit of help here and there, but it was more or less just people holding things for me. The most difficult thing about the Nickelodeon was that I had a vision of this thing, which was very much sparked of the necessity of us being able to produce all these different sounds. And there were only two people who could be on the keyboards where there could be links. This was before the days of "MIDI". Of course when MIDI came along you could do anything you like, you had a sort of wonderful "MIDI-sandwich" including everything. But in those days: no. So I had to create links from the keyboards of the two kemble back-to-back pianos that we had. But I had to cut away the wood underneath to be able to get things comming out underneath to get triggered by the keys when they went down. The person who basically paid for this at that time was my publisher, and he was a bit worried when I started sawing out things from the pianos which cost quite a lot of money each. I think people were a bit worried about whether this was going to work. Of course me and my young arrogance knew that this absolutely would work. But it was difficult to get it to work, and also the doorbell mechanism to trigger the initial glockenspiel which we had as well, which were unfortunately destroyed by one of our psychotic road managers at some point. So yes, I don't want to sound too dramatic, but it was a kind of a vision that would be very in keeping. What it would look like and what it would sound like, that was the thing that I had in my head, and it made it possible for Phil and Henry to create all these sounds. Just the two of them. It went through several changes of course, like all prototypes, it had to be slightly adapted to be a little bit easier. Especially on Henry's side it must have been like driving a bulldozer pushing down a key. So some modifications were made. But it didn't take that long, it was quite a playable system, and it made this wonderful crazy old sound which was perfect for us.

Question: In the meantime SAILOR have their fifth Nickelodeon. Where are the others and the original one?

Georg: I think the very original one probably is still in bits in Grant's garage. That's the last I heard of it. And then there was the blue one after the reformation, which wasn't a real Nickelodeon, it was really only for TV. But the next one was the black one - the sort of Steinway-version of the Nickelodeon - which cost a huge amount of money. I think it was very beautiful, and of course it collapsed, but it still weighed a ton, and it was a monster - a serious piece of kit, as they would say. It was a very substantial piece of equipment, but hey - it was a substantial part of SAILOR! That's something I completely designed and had built, I didn't build it myself, but I had people build it. But I designed all the details on it, which took a lot of time. I thought it looked very nice, I was very pleased with that one.

Question: How many sailors' caps do you have?

Georg: Well, I believe I had a total of three. The very first one, which was the one that was used for the "Trouble" image for that "Trouble" album, was my favourite, because it was really nicely worked by a couple of people who provided some things for us for that photo shoot. That's the one that looked best. But it got stolen after some time, and I got hold of another one which wasn't so good. It was a little bit too small really, it didn't look right. And then I got the last one, which is the one I still have, which is ok. I bought it in America, because the first one was very much an American-style sailor's cap, and the third one was also that. The second one was more an English-style cap which didn't have "the look".

Question: Do you see a chance that all the original DATA albums will be released again, maybe with the single B-sides as bonus tracks?

Georg: I really don't know. The DATA stuff was a strange period in my life. I quite like a lot of the stuff that I did with DATA, but the setup - the business setup, the recording setup - all these things were really not in the right place. It was released through small independent recording companies, and it never really felt right from that point of view. Although I quite like a lot of the tracks. There was a Swedish guy who released a compilation called "Accumulator". But I don't know about any plans, and I certainly don't have any plans to release the original three albums. But you never know. It seems to be the time of recycling onto new formats. So who knows, maybe some enthusiast of electronic music might rediscover DATA and put up some new things. Who knows?!

Question: If there's a SAILOR song on the radio today, do you still get royalties?

Georg: Yes, I'm very pleased to say I do, which has made it possible for me to help the process of working on my current project, which has taken a long time. The normal route for these things is to be commissioned for, but because of my background being rather unusual and also because of the way I wanted to do this, I needed to do it in a certain way. It means that it's, like always, a big gamble. You devote a lot of time and effort to something, and you really don't know what's going to happen. But the important thing for me is to create the project, and if it works that's great, if it's commercial that's even better, in terms of reaching a large audience. But that's something we will have to see because everything about the project is a little bit unusual, but not in a sense that should exclude a kind of a mass-appeal, because it has simplicity in lyrics as well as complexity. Some of the sensibilities of the project benefit a little bit from a pop-sensibility rather than strictly classical. From that point of view it could work. We will see.

Question: The music-styles you had in your repertoire over the years were completely different, from warm-hearted music of SAILOR to cool computer music. How does is some to those changes?

Georg: I suppose it's a bit like what I said earlier regarding my influences. There are many different things that I like and things that I like to do, obviously. Some of the things might be quite different one from the other, but it still doesn't mean that I don't want to do them or try to do them. I'm always amazed when I see people or artists who are able to create one thing throughout their entire life. I'm not suggesting that this is not as good as creating several different things. If one is so satisfied drawing from one particular source in terms of one's artistic expression, that is extraordinary in a sense to be fulfilled from one source in that length of time. But marvellous in some ways. But most of us tend to need variation to some extend. Obviously I was inspired by the electronic scene happening in England after SAILOR, which inspired me to do some stuff with electronics. When I first heard your wonderful band from Germany, Kraftwerk, it was very inspiring and very innovative. So I also wanted to experiment with that, and that's how DATA came about.

Question: On stage and in the studio you played a 12-string guitar. Is it much more difficult to play this instrument than a 6-string guitar?

Georg: Yes, it's the difference between driving a power-steering car or driving a truck without power-steering. You have to develop this enormous claw-like left hand to push down those twelve strings all the time. There are certain electric 12-strings that have a much lighter action, but they had very narrow necks, and I was never really able to use them. Not that I used electric 12-strings in SAILOR, but before SAILOR in Eclection and after SAILOR I played with them, but concerning an acoustic 12-string like either a Gibson 45 or some of the Ovations that I used for SAILOR, you are basically talking about a lot of physical strength to be able to push down a clean sounding chord without getting buzzers and stuff. And of course you just have to train your hand to do it and end up with this very powerful left hand. So be careful: I've got a very powerful left hand!

Question: Might there be an idea for a Kajanus-DVD that shows all the facettes of your whole work?

Georg: Oh my god... It's possible that within the process of this new work that I'm just finishing now there will probably at some point, in the very near future rather than in the very distant future, be a DVD from that. I think this might include previous things. It's possible, I'm not sure. There has to be a kind of specific resurgence of interest, much in the same way as one of the previous questions, in a sense to generate interest sufficiently to warrant for instance doing a DVD or if you like a documentary on a person's life-work. Some people do phenomenal lot of stuff in their life, and other people do rather less. I'm definitely in the "rather less"-category, as much as I don't sit around doing nothing. I have a lot of different interests, I like to paint, and I like to do many different things. But when it comes to my work there are only very specific things that are sufficiently exciting to me that would warrant a sort of massive effort necessary to get it done and then out there and all that. So, if I had three times more ideas in my life, then I would have done three times more musical work. But I hadn't. But I'm sure it could still work to put it all together as a part of a documentary, some other friends of mine have been playing with the idea doing this. The question is: If my current project should be very successful, then of course there would be a good reason for people to want to see a documentary on my life. Without it I don't see any reason why they should.

Question: Who created the original SAILOR logo?

Georg: The original SAILOR logo was created by someone called Roslav Szaybo. He was of Polish origin, working with the Art department in CBS records at that time. He came up with the logo. He also came up with several other ones, but there was something about this particular logo that everybody seemed to like. It had kind of almost Caribbean colours, it's difficult to explain, and the "S" in some ways almost leaned towards, in my sort of psyche, a bit like Dollars, so we had a kind of romantic Dollar swaying along the waves. It's difficult to describe what it felt like for us, but I think we all pretty much liked it straight away, and it was very much Roslav who came up with this.

Question: Can you imagine to perform solo concerts only with guitar?

Georg: No. I think the experience would be much too terrifying. It would be difficult. I can't really see myself doing that because a) I wouldn't have time to do it and b) it would feel a bit odd. (Comment from Karsten: "But maybe we can see you in some other way...") Who knows, if things work out really well, maybe I can do a world tour just saying hi to everybody... Sorry, that's a joke.

Question: When will we have a new CD with songs from Georg Kajanus in our hands?

Georg: Well, the very first will probably be some of the stuff that will be surfacing on this new SAILOR album with the additional stuff, but aside from that I guess really the next thing will be my new project. But also, just for my own psyche, I wrote three Norwegian songs a few years ago. I just decided that I had to do something in Norwegian, but I don't even know what to do with them because I don't want to remarket myself as a solo artist with three Norwegian songs. I can just hear the recording companies say: "Why would we want to do anything like that?" And I would have to say totally understand it. But anyway, I have to figure out some way of getting those three out because I actually really like those three songs. They deal with my childhood and stuff like that, but I think they are rather fun. (Comment from Karsten: "Send them in and I play them in my show...") Well, actually that might be an idea. Maybe I let you have copies to see what the German fans will say about it. I don't think they will quite be able to understand Norwegian. Although we are of the same group of languages we are not that close. But I might do that. (Comment from Katrin: "It would be a nice collector's item for everybody!") Yes, it certainly would be. And it certainly would be a rare one! I can't think of anyone who would have written anything in Norwegian deliberately, you know. So, we'll see.

Karsten: So, those were our questions, and I want to say thanks to Georg Kajanus here on the phone. All the very best for your comming projects.

Georg: Thank you very much Karsten, and thank you very much Katrin. I enjoyed talking to you both, and I hope my answers will be of some interest to your listeners. We must do this again some time.

Go to:

Georg Kajanus
Henry Marsh
Phil Pickett
Grant Serpell
Gavin & Virginia David
Peter Lincoln
Anthony England
Rob Alderton
Oliver Marsh
Nick Parvin
The crew...

© copyright by