Tempted by Kaizers Orchestra and Xploding Plastix’ success last year, 12 Norwegian bands are heading to the EuroSonic festival in Holland this week. The festival has become one of the most important showrooms for up-and-coming bands.
“One gig at Eurosonic gave us invitations to five-six European festivals and partly a record deal in Germany. Yes, it was probably the most important performance Kaizers did last year, Kaizers Orchestra’s manager Eivind Brydøy says.
Kaizers were well prepared. They had gathered lots of people for the gig and the right agents
and festival representatives were there. After the show, “everyone” talked about the Norwegians singing in strange dialects and banging on oil barrels. One year later, Kaizers Orchestra 2002 act is presented as one of the “success stories” at the Eurosonic/Noorderslag’s web site, stating: “[f]or Kaizers Orcherstra was EuroSonic the start of all activities outside Scandinavia. It is extraordinary that a band singing in a local Norwegian dialect can be booked for festivals such as Rock Am Ring (D), Rock Im Park (D), Haldern (D), Lowlands (NL) and so on.”
“Because Xploding Plastix and Kaizers Orchestra did such a great job last year, they have probably opened some doors for other Norwegian bands this year, Brydøy says.
Strong Norwegian roster
No doubt, the Norwegian roster at EuroSonic is impressive: St. Thomas, Richochets, the Wonderfools, Thulsa Doom, Silver, Furia, Ralph Myerz & the Jack Herren Band, Bjørn Torske, Ane Brun, the Real Ones, Jim Stärk, and Cloroform. They are performing 8 – 9 January at different stages (see our calendar).
EuroSonic/Noorderslag is the conference for “european live music industry, management, European radio professionals and online media.” 110 bands will perform this year and 24 of the most interesting band will be chosen for something called The European Talent Exchange Program (ETEP). ETEP is an initiative sponsored by the European Commision to help bring European bands to perform at festivals throughout Europe. A large number of European newspapers and radio stations are also supporting the program. Last year, ETEP brought over 24 European bands to festivals across Europe, with a total of 56 shows.
Who to book or not
“EuroSonic is kind of an exhibit hall for festival bookers. Decisions on who to book for the next festival are made in Groningen, so it is important to be there, ” Vegard Strømsodd says. He is manager at Pilot Management and represents St. Thomas, Ricochets, the Wonderfools, Thulsa Doom, and Silver at the Dutch festival.
“It is quite expensive to send bands down there, but it is an investment we and the bands are willing to take. We want to present our musicians, and hopefully, they will be booked at different European venues. Groningen is a small student city north in Holland, and because of the intimate atmosphere, numerous clubs, and people from all over Europe, this is one of the best festivals I’ve been to. Midem is the place to be if you would like to drink Champaign and talk business. EuroSonic is where people come to see live acts,” Strømsodd says.
The chosen few
However, the selection process is tough. Thousands of bands register every year, most of them do not get the chance to show off. But good results from your home country as well as connections with record companies in the Benelux countries are useful. Strong bands are picked from each country, for example Soundtrack of Our Lives from Sweden.
Pilot manager Strømsodd agrees with his colleague from Kaizers regarding the healthy interest for Norwegian music.
“Norwegian music gains momentum, which opens doors for unknown bands.”
The Norwegian delegation is also represented by Music Export Norway, Bureau Storm, Atomic Agency, Next To Management, Norwegian Broadcasting Association, Radar Booking, and Øyafestivalen.