One little country is starting to put itself on the map of electronic music happenings. Here we showcase the eclectic talents that’s emerging out of Norway. More than ever, Norway seems like a hub of exceptional DJs and idiosyncratic dance producers, from pop crossover stars like Röyksopp and Annie to proggy disco acts like Prins Thomas and Lindstrøm.
Recent years, Norway has seen a steady growth in club events and festivals including every genre from psy-trance, disco, deep and tech house to techno. At present, the country is particularly known for acts such as Röyksopp, Todd Terje, Kygo and Cashmere Cat, while Lindstøm and Pandreas uphold the country’s reputation in electronic brilliance. A new documentary, Northern Disco Lights: The Rise and Rise of Norwegian Dance Music, attempts to explain why.
Norway’s dance music history is only as old as the 1970s. However, the oil boom orompted a period of cultural advancement in the 1980s, a musical “catching up” with the rest of Europe. It was in the early 1990s that the first wave of acts like Biosphere and Mental Overdrive started getting international recognition, putting a stake in the ground for Norway’s musical relevance.
Thanks to its persistent groups of hard working and through and through music loving organizers and collectives there has been a wide spread of bigger and smaller events, all characterized by top notch bookings, decorations, and dedication.
Festivals like The Midnight Sun Festival take place in astonishing surroundings. Here cutting-edge electronic music is combined with art and arctic nature and wildlife. The accolade of Norway’s Next Big Things go to Highaskite and Team Me, while electro-pop chanteuse Mr. Little Jeans and singer-songwriters Aurora (Aknses) and Emilie Nicolas represent powerful women in the field of pop music. Sommerøya Electronical Festival in Oslo takes place 17 – 18 August 2018. The annual event started back in 2010 and has grown to be one of Scandinavia’s most relevant in its niche.
In alphabetical order, the acts below prove that what the country may lack in population it makes up in its dense musical experimentations and endeavors.
Alan Olav Walker, formerly known by his stage name DJ Walkzz, is best known for his 2015 single “Faded”, which received platinum certifications in over 10 different countries. He is ranked the 17th in DJMag’s Top 100 DJs list of 2017, 38 positions higher than the previous year.
Describing herself as a “dreamer and a thinker,” Aurora started making music when she was just nine years old. Now 18, she’s dropped a number of wonderfully delicate tracks since 2012.
Awill – who describes himself as a “boom bapper”- is slowly making a name for himself in the scene and has received notable online praise. He has released a series of well-produced videos for the majority of his tracks; check them here.
Oslo-based producer/DJ Bearson has made his mark with a series of remixes fro, among others, Franki Love and SOHN, parallel to playing in bigger and bigger clubs and at festivals at home and abroad. Listen to his Want you, featuring Cal on YouTube.
Formerly known as DJ Broiler, Mikker Buxrud Christiansen and Sime Auke found online success with their dance tunes consisting of commercial elements. Recently they have focused on professional remixing and music production. Listen to Broiler featuring Skløtta – Møndarm on YouTube.
Carl Louis founded highly successful duo CLMD, touring the world performing for crowds of thousands and getting playlisted by the likes of BBC1 and SiriusXM. Multiple singles also went platinum. For 2014, Carl Louis has gone solo, and is set to follow a more organic and transgressive electronica vein with his new output. Listen to his songs on Soundcloud.
Martin Danielle is the co-creator and lead member of the electronic music project CLMD, and he founded and manages record company UPNORTH Recordings. CLMDs first international recognized hit was “The Message” under the artist name Carl Louis & Martin Danielle. In 2017 Martin was asked to be a mentor on the Norwegian version of the hit TV show The Voice, becoming the first nonvocalist mentor ever worldwide. Listen to their song Dust ft Astrid S on You Tube.
Four-piece folk and pop group Comet Kid is creating a sound that is carefree and heartfelt. Describing himself as the “dancing, songwriting, bearded vocalist” front-man Andreas Kjøll started up. Watch their acoustic rendition of “Psychopath” and the official video for the lovely “Diamonds.”
In 2014, Coucheron was handpicked as a Spotify Spotlight Artist for 2015 and named one of the biggest talents in the music industry. The first single from his Playground EP, “Deep End”, shows just a glimpse of what the listener can expect and is a great collaboration with Eastside and Mayer Hawthorne on vocals. His most recent single, “Honkey Donk”, spread like wildfire, making it to 3rd place in the US Viral Top Ten Charts. Listen to him on Soundcloud.
Didrik Thulin received international success with his single “Dancer” (5.4 million streams on Spotify) in 2013. His childhood friend Kygo made a remix of it, and not long after, he went to the studio with some friends from the Bergen area with a band called WDSTCK. “Flowes” became a radio hit. When the band decided to take a break. Didrik’s solo career began. His first solo single was titled “Fading”.
Emilie started (unintentionally) her career with a cover of Du0mdum Boys “Pstereo”, commissioned by a Norwegian festival as part of their marketing campaign. In 2016 she unfortunately had to cancel several concerts because of illness. On her Instagram account she writes about her recent surgery.
Solo singer-songwriter Kari Jahnsen is from Valdres, Norway. Farao is her musical pseudonym. The multi-instrumentalist is now producing compelling folk-pop music. She is now touring in Norway.
As well as regularly playing at massive Oslo night spots like Jaeger and The Villa, Finnebassen also has regular gigs worldwide.
Five-piece Norwegian indie pop-band Highasakite has received both national and international success – critical and commercial. Their debut album All That Floats Will Rain was released in 2012, followed by two Eps. You can listen to their latest album Alchemy and other albums here.
Eclectic vocalist Jenny Hval writes, sings and produces under her real name as well as under the alias Rockettothesky. Her voice is strange, sensual and stunning. Try out her album Viscera.
This young Norwegian gained widespread attention for his work on tracks by Pharrell, Chromeo, The Fugees and fellow Norwegian electronic producers Lemaitre. His indie dance edit of classic R&B single “Suga Suga” reached Number 1 on Hypem.
Fresh out of high school (where they met), the indie pop band has a penchant for fun, carefree music. From their first official offering “The Mess” (created in just six hours) to their latest song Day in June from the album Home before the Dark, the uplifting sounds of this Norwegian six-piece are filtered through their own adolescent realities.
Kyrre Gørvell-Dahll is internationally known by his stage name Kygo. He garnered international attention with his remix of the track “I See Fire” by Ed Sheeran, which has received over 55 million plays on SoundCloud and 65 million views on YouTube and his single “Firestone” which has over 450 million views on YouTube with an additional 560 million plays on the music streaming service Spotify, as of August 2017.
Since the duo’s inception in summer 2010, Lemaitre has released a number of EPs, including the Relativity Series: Relativity 1, 2, 3and Relativity by Nite; The Friendly Sound, and Singularity. the band is named after Georges Lemaître, a Belgian priest who first proposed the Big Bang Theory and derived the physics concept now referred to as Hubble’s Law. Watch Lemaitre on You Tube here.
One of Norway’s finest musical exports, Lindstrøm, is often hailed as the country’s contemporary disco king. Born in the outskirts of Stavanger, Hans-Peter Lindstrøm is a multi-instrumentalist, DJ and producer who goes by the name of “Lindstrøm”. Lindstøm runs his own label Feedelity Records and has released all his studio albums via the imprint. Check also out some of his releases via iTunes.
Tom Stræte Lagergren is professionally known as Matoma, a Norwegian DJ and record producer. “Free Fallin Tropical Mojito Remix (John Mayer Tribute)” was produced with fellow tropical house producer Nelsaan and was released on Matoma’s 23rd birthday.
Matoma was asked by Universal Germany to make a remix of Marlon Roudette’s “When the Beat Drops” in July 2014 which was released one month later. An official music video was published by The Vamps. As of October 2017 the single had received 286 million Spotify streams. Matoma and The Vamp’s second collaborative single “Staying Up” was released on 1 September 2017. Listen to The Vamps and Matoma on Atomicsoul.
Hailing from Norway’s remote western shores and currently based in Bergen, Andreas Kleven Rasmussen, aka Pandreas, is responsible for creating bright, cultivated electronica rich with organic textures, sparkling synth lines and sweet vocal samples. Listen to one of his latest cuts, Trommer Traumer from the album Full Pupp here.
Mr. Little Jeans
Monica Birkenes used to sing in church choirs, retirement homes, malls and bars. Her alter ego name is taken from a character in Wes Anderson’s Rushmore. The track “Rescue Song” has been used in a HP commercial and her cover of Arcade Fire’s “The Suburbs” has garnered over four million YouTube views.
Indian-born Norwegian singer Samsaya is all about love. she got her breakthrough as an actress in the Norwegian movies, Folk flest bor i Kina, the horror movie Villmark and Hawaii Oslo. Fusing contemporary pop with traditional Indian sounds, her music fills clubs in Los Angeles as well as in Oslo. Her Bombay calling is just a genre-busting set of songs drawing from pop, dance, hip hop, funk, soul and Bollywood.
Electro-pop chanteuse Sandra Kolstad is big in her homeland Norway and rightly so. She’s been releasing a steady flow of music since 2011, touring extensively and is responsible for some wonderfully weird and vibrant videos – “Run Away (Where are We?)” was officially selected for the SXSW Film Festival.
Named after Beck’s 2002 studio album, Sea Change combines vocal harmonies with loop-based sounds and icy electronics. Behind the moniker is A. W. Sundes. Her ambient pop impresses with the space and mystery between its beats, as exemplified in her track “Bridges.” Check out her SoundCloud for more.
Seeb, or sometimes stylized as SEEB is a record production trio made up of Simen Eriksrud, Espen Berg and Niklas Strandbråten. “Cruel World”, a collaboration with Skip Marley, was released on November 10, 2017. On March 28, 2018 the trio announced the release of their debut EP “Nice To Meet You”, dropping on April 20, 2018. The lead single of their EP was released last Friday. Listen to their recording Breathe, featuring Neev on YouTube.
Norwegian producer Snasen is crafting a world that is dark and ominous, one in which impending danger looms. Robin Snasen Rengård is also a graphic designer and used to be in a punk band called Amulet. Listen to Snasen remixes on Soundcloud.
The Norwegian producer and DJ Sonny Alven has been building his reputation through a steady outlet of highly sophisticated originals and remixes over the last years. The diversity of his musical tastes are remarkable, one moment remixing acoustic originals by the likes of Angus & Julia Stone and Australian folk darlings Little May, the next releasing official remixes of Swedish EDM prodigies Nause and dance icon Alesso… always with class and avery distinct touch of his own. Listen to Our Youth, featuring Emmi on YouTube.
Team Me captures the listener with their exuberant energy and expansive sound. Their debut, To the Treetops! – recorded over a hectic five-week period – was dubbed one of the best debuts from a Norwegian band ever. Their official site as well as their album To The Treetops! are worth checking out.
The sound of Truls bursts with electro-pop hooks and his unbelievably high falsetto. Just listen to his “Out Of Yourself” on You Tube.
Tungevaag & Raaban
Tungevaag & Raaban is a dance music producer duo consisting of the Norwegian DJ Martin Tungevaag from Stadlandet in Norway, and the Swedish DJ and producer Robbin Söderlund (better known by his artistic name Raaban) from Borås in Sweden. Sharing a common interest for the EDM genre, they have both collaborated and separately produced music within the genre for many years. Listen to their song Samsara on YouTube.
Yoguttene is tap-Norway-s masked super heroes. Listen to songs and albums from the trio Yoguttene, including “Sånn vi Levar”, “Hasj Og Høykultur”, “$Leme Damer Me $Nile Fje$” and many more on iTunes.
Despite hailing from rainy Bergen, pop collective Young Dreams’ sound evokes a tropical, summery feel. Their teenage dreams make up the lyrics; the band’s youthful energy resonates throughout. Released on Modular People (Robyn, Tame Impala), their debut album Between Places can be heard in full via their SoundCloud. On 12 January, Young Dreams released their new album, Waves 2 You.
Musical Electro Waves From Norway Conquer the World, compiled by Tor Kjolberg
Feature image (on top): Midnight Sun Festival. Photo: Pierre Ekman