Do you want to be updated on the most exciting new acts in Norway? In kind cooperation with by:Larm, MIC English will present short descriptions of all the artists performing at by:Larm in Bergen,12 - 15 February, Norway’s largest music conference. Learn more about Asstronaut, Bazooka Boopers, and Don Juan Dracula, among others.
900 bands competed for invitations to by:larm. Here are the ones who made it, in alphabetic order. We are starting with the 30 first, from A Boy Named Sue till Freakshow. A presentation of the Alarm nominated bands will follow soon.
A Boy Named Sue
This is Stig’s new project, the singer/shouter in the rockband Woo. He now focuses on acoustic music, strongly inspired by country rock. Sad music and lyrics. Life ain´t easy for a boy named Sue, but still it’s pretty beautiful.
One way to describe Agnethe Vefring Rognes’ debutalbum “Inspired”, is as a dynamic mix of jazz, soul and R&B in a modern-sounding format. Her aristname is Agnethe VR, and she has recorded and produced this record in London with multi-instrumentalist and sound-engineer Vegard ‘Vanguard’ Vardøen, known from the UK Garage group Y-Tribe, who’s remixed among others Ashanti (Def Jam UK), Mercury Price winner Dizzee Rascal and Gabrielle. The record has recieved fantastic feedback from the press, including 5/6 in major newspapers like VG and HA. Norwegian magazine Puls wrote: “A great debut!” and Bergens Tidende claims the song “Never Know “is “One of the finest Norwegian songs of the year.” Agnethe and her band played a lot of big Norwegian festivals like Kongsberg Jazzfestival, Lost Weekend and Hamar Music Festival, last summer. “When you hear Agnethe Vefring Rogne, you can only stop and listen” (Bergens Tidende)
Andreas Segrov Band
Andreas Segrov writes the songs, and is backed up by a band that was formed in the autumn of 2002. The music is somewhere in the middle of rock and melodic pop, but also draws inspiration from country and folk rocks. The sound combines sharp vocal-arrangments with instruments like Lap Steel, dobro, and standup-bass.
A young up-and-coming woman from Oslo, currently working on what is to become her debut album. Besides her solo-project, she’s also worked with Ulph from Folk og Røvere in their project Flunk, Howard Maple (nominated for Norwegian Grammys in 2001), and the band Soldogg. She was in the spotlight with Soldogg in the autumn of 2000, when they won the big Beatles-competition, presented by EMI, Dagbladet and NRK Petre. Musically Anja is somewhere between pop, jazz and electronica, and similarities may be drawn towards Bjork.
Driving and hardhitting punkrock, the way it should sound in 2004, inspired by its originators of the genre from the late 70’s. This quartet has existed since May 2002, and they’ve already earned themselves a grateful and very enthusiastic audience. They also came in second in the Fight Club-competition, which featured many of the new rock and metal bands coming out of Oslo.
Heavy and melodic hardrock with lots of attitude, somewhere in the musical landscape of Faith No More and A Perfect Circle. With members from bands like Deride, Red Leader, Enslaved and Gorgoroth, they already have a live-experince and unique sound that lots of other bands don’t. They’re currently working on their debut album with the workingtitle “No Hay Banda”.
A tour in a paradoxic soul. The fource behind is Knut Guribye (electronic tricks, noise and happening), who will be accompanied by - Virtouse trio: Geir " the hand", Rege: piano, Tore "Iron hand", drums. Rolf Helge takes care of live surrealism. A psycho-physiological experience of drill’n bass!
A powertrio with the strict intention to mix perfect pop with simple, fresh and energetic rock. Autotune regards themselves as a fully accomplished liveband, and they’ve already earned themselves a lot of fans through their few but mindblowing concerts.
The girls in Bazooka Boppers are one of the few lucky bands that are getting invited back to by:Larm this year, after last years appearance in Trondheim. They are known as Norway’s coolest “girlband”, and they play high-tempo, amped-up boogie rock n roll with tons of attitude. Inspired by bands like Slade, New York Dolls, Rose Tattoo, Suzi Quatro and The Runaways, as well as AC/DC and Girlschool. We can promise you musical fireworks and tons of energy.
The Beautiful People
The Beautiful People was formed in Kristiansund in 2001. They moved to Oslo, where they more easily could play in front of people that knew what it was all about. A horde of disciples started coming out to their shows, and in 2003 they won the highly prestigious Zoom-competition. Their record-collection probably consists of among other bands; Sonic Youth, Velvet Underground, Kraftwerk and The Cure.
An artist that’s hard to describe. With her delicate and tender voice, her bittersweet lyrics and acoustic guitar, this girls feet are well planted in the musical tradition of artists like Joni Mitchell and Joan Armatrading. by:Larm has a feeling we’re dealing with a very promising talent in the world of singer/songwriters.
Håkon, Henrik, Julie and Mathias are the youngest artists ever chosen to appear at by:Larm. None of the members in Black Jackets are over the age of 13, they all go to the same school, and they’ve already been a band for 3 years. What might shock you the most is the fact that this is not a cover-band, because this band creates most of the music themselves. Last year Black Jackets appeared in the Eurovision Junior contest, and landed a 3rd place in the Norwegian finals. Since then they’ve recorded several demoes, and musicall they’ve also gotten a lot heavier since then.
Botnledja is also known as Silt from Iceland. They went back to their original name, Botnledja. Their previous four indie-rock albums all won the Icelandic Grammy Award in the categories “best record”, “best live-band” and “best song”. Now they’re nominated for the album “Iceland National Park” (Trust Me Records) that gives you a new look at Botnledja, a more aggressive version indeed. Botnledja has toured with lots of different international artists, they pose nude on their cover, and they’re definitely a volcano compared to a lot of the bands and artist we know from Iceland. The trio will hit by:Larm hard with their harsh guitars. Pixies meets Sonic Youth meets At The Drive In.
Rock that’s all about the sort of kick you get out of a good shot of whisky. Inspired strongly by several American bands that were around before anyone knew descriptions like Grunge or Nu Metal. The band features members from Hades Almighty, M-Eternal and Aeternus, all of which musically are in the heavier region of things. Since 2002, all the members have put all their energy into Bourbon Flame. “A better opening of the festival is hard to imagine. This was top-notch heavy rock, and we could smell the stench of whisky and burnt rubber miles away”, (Panorama Magazine review from the Holy In The Sky Festival).
Since their humble beginning in 1997, Clown has slowly, but in a very determined way, created their own scene within the Norwegian metal-scene. Few bands dare to claim bands like Korn and Slipknot as influences, but Clown is not afraid to do so. After their first visit to by:Larm 2002, they were booked at the Quart Festival, and has since then dedicated a lot of time into recording their last EP “Bloom’s Decay”. The band claims they’ve never seen a band that could match their stage-presence, and they promise to deliver an explosive appearance in their hometown Bergen.
Rocket Queen, Lisa Farfisa, Sugar Cane and Tammy Sticks are described as the ”The Beach Boys meets The Sex Pistols”. A tough and rocking sound with great melodies and good vibes. Influences are very diverse, but they all agree that bands like Ramones, MC5, Blondie, B52’s and The Foo Fighters are important. Cocktail Slippers always dress up when they play, and so far they’ve dressed as housewives, hot stewardesses, farmers and lately; tennis-players. “Then suddenly a gang of girls come along, plugs in, shouts 1,2,3,4, and delievers a No Bullshit record from start to finish. …the best Norwegian rock album so far this year!” (Radio P4 about their debut album).
Cranleigh consists of Eirik Jakobsen, and he uses his computer as his instrument, with the additions of bass and guitar. He describes his sound as a “heavily constructed electronica with bouncy noisebeats and melodic strings”. Inspired by everything from Aphex Twin, Auteche and Trent Reznor, to Post Rock, Lee “Scratch” Perry and King Tubby. Sure sounds like an interesting mixture!
Marianne has been doing music since the 80’s, in bands like Soul Devour etc. In 1993 she left Norway and moved to Portland, Oregon where she wrote tons of songs and played with various bands. After returning to Bergen she experienced with different sorts of music, and in 2002 she got in touch with HP Gundersen and Kato Ådland from New Records, and since then they’ve worked together and completed an album.
Datarock plays...well, Datarock. In the spring of 2002 the norwegian newspaper Dagbladet wrote the following about Datarock’s 8 cm, 4 track, handmade record in 400 copies: “This 4 track thing from the Norwegian trio Datarock offers up some strange and “difficult” music, and I mean difficult, in the way that it’s “pretty harsh to listen to”. Strict and apparent, but possibly I’ve misunderstood Datarock’s whole retro-futuristic concept.” And it was the sentence “possibly I’ve misunderstood” that was later used by Datarock and Telle Records in their acclaimed anti-marketing scheme.
Definite is the Norwegian champion of improvised, freestyle rap. He recently released his highly anticipated solo debut; the “Inkasso EP”. After many years in the 7 man outfit Alarmclock Connection, he is now ready. Known mostly for his skills as a great freestyle battle-rapper, he has become a very distinct profile in the Norwegian Hip Hop scene. Definite also does a lot of work producing, and has worked with bands like Tungtvann, Apollo, URO, Gatas Parlament, Don Martin, and Jester. And the list is growing almost day by day. Through appearances with both Norwegian and foreign acts all around Norway, we will all need to keep an eye out for this guy.
Ex Euroboys guitarist Ole Øvstedal fronts Dharma, a band that has toured like crazy in and outside of Norway the last year. The single “The Conqueror/Fly Away”, has been heavily played on radio, and the debut album “Dreamland, Baby” is now on it’s way out. This will take the band out on the road even more, and that’s not bad for a band that’s only existed for a year or so. Their music can be described as “dreaming and enthusiastic”, somewhere in the musical landscape of bands like Led Zeppelin, Jane Birkin, Hawkwind and Blonde Redhead.
Don Juan Dracula
Don Juan Dracula thinks that most bands exaggerate a bit when they call themselves the best liveband in Norway. Surely they havent been to a DJD gig. Don Juan Dracula plays eccentric but catchy pop music that will hit you right in the face if you’re not paying attention. These guys are filled to the rim with energy, and love to perform their music infront of people and give them a great show for their money.
This sevenpiece band by the name El Corazôn, operates totally free of prejudice, where cellos meet pedal-steel guitars, where the banjo sets the groove along with bass and drums. Jazz meets Beatles, with horn-sections and everything. Even before they had really figured out what they were really going to play, their song “Karma” was playlisted on NRK Petre. Their debutalbum is now being recorded, and is supposed to be out shortly.
ELEKTROFANT The members of Elektrofant are into Chick Corea, Camel, Mr. Oizo, Sigur Ros and Beethoven, which shines through on their EP “Flipstick”, released in 2003 on Beatservice Records. With a love for analogue synthesizers, Klaus Skrudland and Trond Anfinnsen provide some exciting music.
Somwhere in the middle of electronica and jazz, this band has only been around a year or so. They’ve won awards like Jazzen I Sikte 2002, followed by a gig at Nattjazz. The band also appeared on the HappyFewRec-compilation “Bergen Allstars vol 1”, with the song “Vivid”, which got a lot of airplay on UK underground radio. Clubjazz, collective improvisation, loops and electronica. They’ve also been talking to several good labels, so the future looks bright for Elektro Ompaniet.
”Punk in the way Pixies was punk, heavy the way Mott The Hoople was heavy. But first and foremost it’s pop, and why mention The Beatles when they most of all remind me of Stockhaus’ older brothers?” (Bergens Tidende). This band out of Oslo has released the EP’s “Girls Like Us” and “A Nice Girl Called Bitch”.
Evil Tordivel is the man behind “A Fine Young Man”, one of the best records from Ellet Records last autumn. Composed mostly in the mans bedroom with cassettes, by an artist that’s really a psychologist, is one of many stories that sums up Evil Tordivel. Nice poptunes based on many decades worth of music. ”A Fine Young Man” is already a Norwegian pop-classic!” (Musiq.no on “A Fine Young Man”)
Saxophone-player, singer, songwriter and arranger. Helen Eriksen released her debut record “Standards” back in 1997, on the legendary label Blue Note. Eriksen won the Norwegian Grammys for this record, and has since then also collaborated with hip-hop producer Tommy Tee. She’s played most of the bigger festivals in Norway, and a new album is on it’s way, and should be out in February.
Four Tet (UK)
According to NME, Uncut, The Times, Jockey Slut, Q, X-Ray, The Wire and Sleaze Nation, Four Tet’s “Rounds” album was one of the best records of 2003. “Rounds” is one of the most applauded electronic albums as of late. With their genius mix of jazz, folk, hip-hop and elextronica, Four Tet aka Kieran Hebden has created a genre all for himself. He’s also done lots of remixes, and his list includes Radiohead, Super Furry Animals, Beth Orton, and our very own Lars Horntveth (Jaga Jazzist). Four Tet is connected to the UK label Domino, where you will also find artists like The Kills, Bonnie Prince Billy, Stephen Malkmus and Jim O`Rourke etc.
Colorful and innovative hip-hop from motherfuckin’ Bergen. Known for experimenting with soul, drum’n’bass, house and rock. Mowgli turns the knobs and control the decks – accompanied by a 4-headed troll that’s bitchin’ and yo’in all over the place. They claim to act as apes on stage, and they’ve been aping around Norway for the last couple of years, as well as releasing a very promising double 12’’. This will take off.
The biographies are written by by:Larm, who has kindly allowed us to present them to our readers.