Lorde isn’t the only artist on the Billboard Hot 100 to score a surprising hit, there’s also Ylvis — a brotherly duo from Norway who have hit #6 on the chart, besting Lady Gaga’s “Applause” with parody smash “The Fox (What Does The Fox Say?).” And, according to the bros Ylvisåker, that was their intention all along.
“We made ‘The Fox’ song and we thought, ‘We have to beat Lady Gaga.’…. It takes a fox.” Bård Ylvisåker told MTV News. And while we’re quite certain he was joking, that’s exactly what the comedy duo has done.
“It’s really crazy,” Bård said of the pair’s certified hit, which debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at # 29, according to the New York Times. “Everything that happens now is really strange and crazy and we’re just in for the ride. We don’t know where it stops, but we’re here as long as it lasts.”
“The ride” Bård is referring to started as a joke. The brothers initially created the video and song— which imagines what sound a fox makes — as a promotion for their
comedy talk show, “I Kveld Med Ylvis” (“Tonight With Ylvis”) in their home country of Norway. The guys teamed up with hitmaking producing duo Stargate to create the track, but their intention was not to make a hit.
“We thought, ‘We can’t come home to Norway with the intention of being a hit,’” Vegard Ylvisåker said. “Because as comedians that’s kind of poison. You have to always have a comic element in it. So we were figuring out how we were going to do that.”
The brothers decided that the only solution was to “misuse [Stargate's] talent,” Vegard said. “To have that opportunity and come back to the show and say to the audience, ‘Sorry guys, we had the chance, we couldn’t find anything else than what sound the fox says— we blew the opportunity.’ And then it sort of backfired on us.”
And by “backfired,” Vegard means something entirely different. The song became a viral hit, racking up nearly 125 million views since it was posted to YouTube in September — “Very early the comments were about this song going viral,” Bard said — and the guys have appeared everywhere from The iHeartRadio Music Festivalto “Late Night Will Jimmy Fallon.”
“We were rehearsing ‘The Fox’ with Jimmy Fallon and we had just barely talked to him and in the middle of the rehearsal, we just turn our heads over to the right and there’s Jimmy Fallon in the fox costume just going ‘Wa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pow!’ Screaming,” Bård said. “And Questlove on the drums. That’s really surreal.”
Although the guys were signed to Warner Music after dropping the song and accompanying video, they don’t currently intend on releasing a full-length album. Which means, dear Mother Monster, although the sly foxes have bested you this time, your next single could get them to say “uncle” — that is, of course, if we knew what sound they make it the first place.