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Ylvis are a Norwegian comedy duo comprising the brothers Vegard and Bård Ylvisåker. They recorded this EDM parody and its accompanying video to promote the season's première of their late-night TV talk show, I kveld med YLVIS (Tonight with Ylvis) on TV Norge. The visual quickly went viral after they uploaded it onto YouTube.
The song asks the question: What sound does a fox make? It was produced by Norwegian producers Stargate, the team behind Rihanna's "Diamonds
" and Katy Perry's "Firework
." Bård described the writing process to Billboard
magazine: "The way we work is we just sit around and talk about things and get ideas and take some notes," he said. "I guess we must have been talking about what sound a fox makes. And then we had a chance to work with Stargate, a production company in New York City...We actually did a favour for them and we asked them if they could produce a song for the new season in exchange."
This was the highest-charting song in the US by Norwegians on the Billboard Hot 100 since a-ha went to #1 with "Take On Me
" in 1985.
Tor Erik Hermansen and his Stargate partner Mikkel Storleer Eriksen didn't compose the song's instrumentation specifically for Ylvis. Hermansen recalled to Spin: "We'd already been working on some beats and sent them a couple of options. They picked one or two that they liked. They came into the studio with the lyrics, and the fox sounds. We said, 'Are you sure this is what you want to do with it?' They said, 'Yep.' And we said okay and did it."
Stargate gave the backing track to Ylvis as a present after the Norwegian comedy team made a mockumentary video for them for Mikkel Storleer Eriksen's 40th birthday.
The clip was named as YouTube's Top Tending video of 2013. Runner-up was a military version of "Harlem Shake
" whilst in third place was the slapstick visual, How Animals Eat Their Food
, in which two men re-enact the eating habits of lizards and kangaroos.
A children's book based on the song titled What Does the Fox Say? was released in December 2013. The Simon & Schuster-published tome, which includes illustrations from Norwegian artist Svein Nyuhus, debuted at #1 on The New York Times Best Sellers List for Children's Books.
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