This year eight promising Norwegian talents head for The Great Escape in Brighton. Curious to know what the best new, Norwegian music sounds like? It’s time to update your playlist.
In February 2014, Highasakite released their second full-length album, Silent Treatment. It was a mix of unusual, dark and occasionally anthemic pop music, tied together by the voice of lead singer Ingrid Helene Håvik. It topped the Norwegian album charts on its release but, incredibly, it then went on to stay in the Top 40 for a record 94 consecutive weeks, breaking Odd Børretzen and Lars Martin Myhre’s previous record. After nearly two years in the Top 40, the scale of their achievement has not disappeared. “It’s pretty surreal. It’s sort of hard to grasp in a way. Of course, we’re overwhelmingly happy and proud. It’s just really, really awesome,” says guitarist Kristoffer Lo. 20 May the band releases their much awaited third album, CampEcho. Golden Ticket is the latest single from the coming album.
Since he released his first single Forever last year, dePresno has been referred to as one of the most exciting muiscians in the Bergen music scene. The same week as the single was released, the 20-year-old got booked for five different festivals, among them renowned By:Larm. When he released single number two, Stranger in Disguise, history repeated itself and dePresno got booked for the prestigious Eurosonic festival. Even though he’s barely entered his 20’s, dePresno’s lyrics contemplates around the big issues in life – time and love. His work is inspired by the lyric traditions of Leonard Cohen, Paul Simon and Tim Buckley, however, the fact that the world has changed since their time is reflected in dePresno’s work. Combined with blues and electronics-filled productions, you will remember this talent. These days dePresno works on his debut EP, which is due to release Autumn 2016.
Dagny describes herself as a songbird of the North, which shouldn’t be too far off as she’s born and raised in Tromsø in northern Norway. She grew up surrounded by music, and according to Dagny her earliest memories include falling asleep to the sounds of mom and dad practicing jazz and Brazilian music just down the hall. “I slept better with music than I did without it,” she affirms. Now based in London, Dagny made headlines in Norway after she released her single Backbeat, an energetic, entrancing, and enigmatic single. In a week the single was played nearly half a million times on Spotify, which gave room for Dagny at Spotify’s Global Viral list, with a higher rating than both Ellie Goulding’s On My Mind and Sia’s Alive. “When people listen to my music, I just want them to feel energized, empowered, and good,” says Dagny. See for yourself if you do:
Oslo based ARY, which did her first concert in London at Ja Ja Ja in April, returns to the UK and The Great Escape with high expectations from the crowd. Much hyped and much loved, ARY is one of the hottest names in Norway, and her debut single Higher is A-listed on one of Norway’s leading radio stations, NRK P3. The 22-year-old artist claims her own space among the vast landscapes of sound, vibe and shape. With an alluring voice, booming beats and gripping synths, ARY’s unique live performances has so far left every crowd spellbound.
Norwegian via London songsmith EERA, or Anna Lena Bruland which is her full name, produces dark pop grunge that will stick with you. Between tales of doomed relationships such as on White Water, there is a beautiful moment where she takes on the voice of her grandmother, speaking to her late grandfather as they approached 60 years of marriage (Marry Me). Her bare-bones approach to song writing is paired with an emotional honesty many would find intimidating, but EERA taps into her bravery and lyrical honesty, establishing a sound that truly represent her lyrics.
6. Anna of the North
Anna of the North made her debut last June with the single Sway. Three months earlier, she had no intention of pursuing music but while studying in Melbourne, the Oslo native met her producer, Little Dreamer, and Anna of the North was born. Her music has been described as “scandipop” but Anna herself says in an interview with Wonderland Magazine that she prefers not to stick to a label. “We don’t want to confine ourselves to one genre, we’d prefer to stay open minded.“
The young Copenhagen-based Norwegian producer duo creates a melodic and captivating sound, letting feminine vocals meet heavy productions. With their masterful, deconstructive pop with a soft techno feel, Smerz charmed their way into the hearts of i-D, releasing their second single Because on the magazine’s website earlier this year. “Now if you don’t love this song then we’re not quite sure what to say,” i-D declared. “Because opens up a world of soft techno, replete with tidy, fleeting, vocals that give the track that kind of Tirzah and Mikachu vibe that we’re totally in love with.”
Known for his great talent for combining intricate electronics, wispy vocals and pulsating beats, Norwegian artist Gundelach is one to notice. Gundelach has been a fixture on Oslo’s club scene since he was 16. Spending night after night observing the DJs, time that would eventually pay off in an opportunity to spin records himself. While doing this, Gunderlach also embraced a new aspect of music – writing and singing songs of his own. His second single Spiders effortlessly ties the line between pop and electronica, with delicate vocals and throbbing electronic beats.
The Great Escape festival takes place in Brighton from 19 May to 21 May 2016.