Norway vs. New York

Oslo’s ‘Øya’ festival (Øyafestivalen) will feature at this year’s SXSW (South by South West), in Austin Texas; generally regarded the world’s most important showcase-event for new bands.

Øyafestivalen 2004 (Foto: Kimm Saatvedt)

Translated by Christian Lysvåg

Øyafestivalen (“The Island festival”, which, coincidentally, no-longer takes place on an island) has, as the only European festival, been invited to serve as curator for a night at the upcoming annual SXSW event in March. The bands to be brought over from Norway are: Lionheart Brothers, New Violators and Datarock.

SXSW takes place from March 14th to 18th this year. The day before the festival opens a special showcase for the Norwegian bands will be set up in New York; promoted and lead by Øyafestivalen’s American partners. The showcase has been named Norway vs. New York and it is meant to be a teaser and kick-off to SXSW.

-This is a unique opportunity to establish new contacts and build international renown for both our festival and for the bands we bring with us, says Øyafestivalen’s chief of promotion Jonas Prangerød in an official statement.


-SXSW is regarded the most important music festival for up-and-coming bands by both the American and European music industries. So obviously we are very proud to be able to present our own event during the festival, Prangerød says.

Øyafestivalen has established close cooperation with Music Export Norway, and has also initiated collaboration with three American entities: Insound, a chain of record stores, the web-site OhMyRockness and the promotional agency Biz3. These partners will provide the right kind of attention around the event and see to that it is professionally executed.

-We aim to use this opportunity to strengthen Øyafestivalens’s international status and at the same time give three promising Norwegian Bands the chance to perform at one of the most important gatherings for the industry and music lovers, the official statement goes on.

The Norwegian bands, as described by Øyafestivalen:

Lionheart Brothers have spent a long time making the sophomore to their debut ’White Angel Black Apple’, but now ‘Dizzy Kiss’ is ready for release on the Norwegian label Racing Junior. All of the band’s current members are, or have been, involved in other successful outfits such as Serena Maneesh, 120 Days and Silence the Foe. And for the recording of the album the line-up was beefed up further with people from Big band, Jaga Jazzist and Cato Salsa Experience. Since their record debut Lionheart Brothers have undertaken four European tours and released a record in Germany.

New Violators have only just begun, but what a glorious start they have had! At last year’s Øya festival Pitchforkmedia pronounced them “best band,” and called them one of the absolute highlights of the musical summer season. New Violators indulge in a dark and stylish kind of new-wave inspired pop music, drawing on greats such as Joy Division and David Bowie. New Violators will use to 2007 to record their debut record and go on tour in both Europe and America.

Datarock have been frequent performers at Øyafestivalen. The band is gaining increasing international attention and British pop-paper NME have taken such a liking to them that it sent the Norwegians on tour with the very vanguard of British rock last fall. 2007 might well prove to be the year when Datarock reaches a truly big audience. The debut ‘Datarock’ (2005) contains electronica, rock, funk and disco, and it is likely to give you “chronic dance syndrome”. The US is just starting to discover this incomparable band, and their gig at SXSW will be decisive for their further progress.


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