The Guy Behind “The Fox”—The Summer’s Funniest Music Video—Talks About Going Viral


That’s the music video for “The Fox,” an infectious, wacky, and exuberantly funny new song by Norwegian entertainment duo Ylvis. It was posted to YouTube on Tuesday and is already a hit. Gawker hails it as the true “Song of the Summer,” beating Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” and Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.” BuzzFeed praises it as perhaps the greatest music video on the internet. The Week thinks it might be the “‘Gangnam Style‘ of 2013.” USA Today has weighed in, proclaiming it “the next viral music-video sensation.”

The video (directed by Ole Martin Hafsmo) depicts a man in an orange fox costume who dances and belts out noises a fox might make, including “gering-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding!” and “fraka-kaka-kaka-kaka-kow!” As you can tell, the lyrics (posted below) get creative and sort of insane with its answers.

For the vast majority of Americans, “The Fox” will be their introduction to Ylvis, a musical-comedy act inspired by artists such as The Lonely Island, Tenacious D, and Flight of the Conchords. But the duo (brothers Bård and Vegard Ylvisåker) is an established act in Norway, where they have their own talk show. The music video was meant to promote the show’s new season, but to the shock of its creators, it’s taken on a life of its own.

“To be honest I am quite surprised!” Bård tells Mother Jones. “This song is made for a TV show and is supposed to entertain a few Norwegians for three minutes—and that’s all. It was done just a few days ago and we recently had a screening in our office. About 10 people watched—nobody laughed.”

“The Fox” was co-written by Ylvis and their colleague Christian Løchstøer, and produced by Stargate, a Norwegian production team that has worked with Rihanna, Katy Perry, and other major-league pop stars. “For some reason they agreed to produce the song and the rest is history,” Bård says. “There was actually no great plan behind this [song]. We just thought it would be a fun song and video to make. And it was.”

When I asked Bård what inspired them to write a goofy pop song that focuses on things a fox might exclaim (as opposed to other animals), he said that it was a generally motivated by curiosity. “Well, there is some genuine wondering as to what the fox really says,” he tells me. “I guess we wanted to contribute with some suggestions. I mean, who cares what the shark says?”

With the new wave of attention Ylvis is sure to receive, the duo is still awaiting their invitations to perform in the US. As for the next step in their career? “I guess hosting the next Oscars would do,” Bård says.

Now here are the animal-and-sound-effects-filled lyrics to “The Fox” (via Dennis Bonilla):

Dog goes woof
Cat goes meow
Bird goes tweet
and mouse goes squeak

Cow goes moo
Frog goes croak
and the elephant goes toot

Ducks say quack
and fish go blub
and the seal goes ow ow ow

But there’s one sound
That no one knows
What does the fox say?

Ring-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding!
Gering-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding!
Gering-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding!
What the fox say?

Wa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pow!
Wa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pow!
Wa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pow!
What the fox say?

Hatee-hatee-hatee-ho!
Hatee-hatee-hatee-ho!
Hatee-hatee-hatee-ho!
What the fox say?

Joff-tchoff-tchoffo-tchoffo-tchoff!
Tchoff-tchoff-tchoffo-tchoffo-tchoff!
Joff-tchoff-tchoffo-tchoffo-tchoff!
What the fox say?

Big blue eyes
Pointy nose
Chasing mice
and digging holes

Tiny paws
Up the hill
Suddenly you’re standing still

Your fur is red
So beautiful
Like an angel in disguise

But if you meet
a friendly horse
Will you communicate by
mo-o-o-o-orse?
mo-o-o-o-orse?
mo-o-o-o-orse?

How will you speak to that
ho-o-o-o-orse?
ho-o-o-o-orse?
ho-o-o-o-orse?
What does the fox say?

Jacha-chacha-chacha-chow!
Chacha-chacha-chacha-chow!
Chacha-chacha-chacha-chow!
What the fox say?

Fraka-kaka-kaka-kaka-kow!
Fraka-kaka-kaka-kaka-kow!
Fraka-kaka-kaka-kaka-kow!
What the fox say?

A-hee-ahee ha-hee!
A-hee-ahee ha-hee!
A-hee-ahee ha-hee!
What the fox say?

A-oo-oo-oo-ooo!
Woo-oo-oo-ooo!
What does the fox say?

The secret of the fox
Ancient mystery
Somewhere deep in the woods
I know you’re hiding
What is your sound?
Will we ever know?
Will always be a mystery
What do you say?

You’re my guardian angel
Hiding in the woods
What is your sound?

(Fox Sings)
Wa-wa-way-do Wub-wid-bid-dum-way-do Wa-wa-way-do

Will we ever know?

(Fox Sings)
Bay-budabud-dum-bam

I want to…

(Fox sings)
Mama-dum-day-do

I want to…
I want to know!

(Fox sings)
Abay-ba-da bum-bum bay-do

And… scene.

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And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

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