In recent years a plethora of dynamic pop-stars – Astrid S, Dagny and Sigrid to name but a few – have materialised from Norway, and in particular Bergen. One of these figures is Monika Engeseth, otherwise known as Moyka. Since the release of her debut EP ‘Circles’ just over a year ago, she’s performed at Norwegian festivals – by:Larm, Trondheim Calling, Øyafestivalen – as well as in London, at the Great Escape First Fifty Festival and at Ja Ja Ja’s tenth birthday celebrations.
Drawing comparisons to well-established Norwegian artists such as Highasakite and Aurora, Moyka takes a synth-heavy sound and incorporates it into a dense, tangled electronic terrain. There has been the Röyksopp-esque club banger ‘Ride’ and the dreamy pop of ‘Colder’; plenty in Moyka’s early releases that would make Susanne Sundfør proud. With her music pared back, as on her acoustic version of the ‘Circles EP’, the Hallingdal artist shows her talent as a producer as well as a singer.
With her 2020 festival appearances postponed due to the coronavirus crisis, Moyka recently joined a host of well-established names to put in an energetic live performance for the Verftet online music festival. With the title-track from her upcoming sophomore EP ‘Spaces’ released this week, we caught up with Moyka discuss pop witchery and dancing in quarantine.
For those that don’t yet know you, tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am an artist and producer from Norway! I live in Bergen and make mysterious, electronic, dancey, pop music. I’m bad with genres, but I’m really good at saying “no” and “car park” in a New Zealand accent.
You’ve previously described yourself as a ‘Norwegian Pop Witch’. Where did that label come from?
Yes, well, I’m not 100% sure, but I think it happened gradually. Sometimes I laugh like a witch and make a lot of weird noises to express my feelings. I also love to wear my long, black cape-looking jacket and love cats. So it’s probably a combination of everything there.
You’re from Bergen, which is well known for its thriving music scene. What is its secret?
I think people here are really good at supporting each other. And there are so many talented and passionate people working behind the scenes to achieve their goals, which is really inspiring as well. When people are just interested in creating and growing, it becomes a great environment around people like that.
You were due to perform at the Great Escape Festival this summer. Now that live music is on pause for the time being, how will you be spending your time?
That’s right. I am very sad, as many other artists and bands are, that it looks like this summer will be cancelled concert-wise. I was very excited to play at the Great Escape festival. But hopefully there will be other chances when all of this is over – I’m crossing my fingers. In the meantime, I’m taking the time to write some new music.
Speaking of new music, you’re set to release your second EP, ‘Spaces’. What can we expect?
You can expect the urge to dance while listening to it, which is important in these quarantine times. I often have dance-parties alone in my room to get let out the restlessness inside of me. I encourage that. You can expect diving into some sad stories about heartbreak, but also some hopeful wishes to move on from it.
Who are your biggest inspirations and who is your dream collaboration?
That’s a very tough question. I look up to so many people, but I think I would be too nervous to collaborate with some of them. It would be super cool to collaborate with SASSY 009, Yaeji or Kiasmos. I have listened a lot to them lately.
What do you enjoy when music isn’t on the agenda?
I like to hang with my friends. I’m very lucky because I live with my best friend, so it’s perfect for times like these when you can’t meet up with many people. I also catch up on movies and series I haven’t had time to get into. And TikTok of course. I also recently bought myself a Nintendo switch, so when I’ve lost enough times in Mario Bros I’ll probably buy Animal Crossing.
Finally, can you give us any recommendations for emerging Norwegian artists to look out for?
Of course: you should absolutely check out wonderful Vaarin, the super cool Kamara and the funky Hedda Mae.
Spaces by Moyka is released by Made Records