Tonarunur & Private Agenda tell us about their fab collab ‘Suspended In Motion’

Tonarunur

Chris Massey talks to Tonarunur about his brilliant collaboration ‘Suspended in Motion’ with Private Agenda and how the project came together with a tease about future projects I feel, bring it on, Gauti!

With such a distance between all 3 of you, can you let us know how this collaboration came about and a little about the working practice?

I had been following PA’s work for some time. One day I decided to contact them to see if they were willing to provide vocals for one of my tracks. Much to my amusement, they were willing to do so. Not only did they sing, but they also co-wrote the track. The melody and lyrics are entirely theirs.

Did you each bring something individual regards experience or specific studio skills, or was it very much a collaboration all along the way?

I made the instrumental version, and PA took it from there on…The initial version was slightly different, though, way more “fruity”. Fortunately, we did some cut-downs for the track, and as a result, the track has this “minimal, dreamy and floaty” vibe. Or I certainly hope that is the case!

What would you say your influences (if any!) had been when working on Suspended In Motion?

When I started working on the instrumental version I was going for some “Imagination’s Just An Illusion but heard from a distance” vibe…If that makes any sense. The track sounds like it could work well in some form of live set-up & performance, is that something that had/has been considered? That hasn’t been discussed, but who knows…

Is it the first of many collaborations between Tonarunur & Private Agenda?

The same goes for that one. We haven’t talked about it, but since it was a pleasure working with PA, I wouldn’t say no to another collaboration!

Lastly, favourite studio snacks to crunch on whilst working?

I try to avoid snacks whilst working because it tends to distract me from the music. But if I had to choose one it would be some sort of chocolate filled with liquorice.

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Marius Sommerfeldt – UnPlugged

Photo: Thomas Ekström

Marius Sommerfeldt, Norwegian electronic producer, marketer and event promoter, was interviewed last week about what is floating his boat. Thanks, Marius, your EP rocks!

1. You’ve had a few different production aliases, with each one being pretty significantly diverse from the other. From the deeper acid squelch of the De Fantastiske To productions to the Garage-esque sounds of Trudee Nite, where would you say you get your influences from, and where does the Sommerfeldt project differ from previous?

Yeah, it’s been a few over the years. The inspiration comes from my record collection, DJ style, taste in music and my surroundings. The Sommerfeldt alias is 100% my playground as a solo producer, and it’s a bit more straight-up house and atmospheric than the other productions. I figured I needed a name to put out my productions and not hide behind just another weird alias.

2. The new E.P. (for us!) definitely carries what we call that ‘classic Paper sound’, yet it still retains something that is quintessentially Norwegian about it. Where do you see the Norway sound now, and would you say there are any specific characteristics that you personally work into your productions?

Thank you, guys! I’m a huge Paper fan, you know. The Norwegian sound is slowly taking its turn towards a new generation of producers and DJs; their non-existing boundaries of how to do stuff and what is «right» or «not» is refreshing! All the club genres are melting in house, techno, trance, UK-garage, breakbeat and even hardcore & jungle.. everything is allowed!

3. What is your work ethic in the studio? Do you just tend to go with the flow, or do you try to get certain elements done each day/session?

First of all, I always start with the groove, I like to fiddle with the drum machines for an hour or two just to make that perfect drum loop. Then I add the bassline, which I have a tendency to keep pretty groovy and minimal to play in the melodies and atmospheres on top. When it comes to finishing a track I usually swear a lot for the next few hours and probably grab a cold one in the fridge while philosophizing about the meaning of life. Making music has ups and downs, but I always manage to land on both my feet in the end.

4. On this release, you feature both Sigmund Floyd & Nora on some stunning vocal duties. How did those relationships come about, and what was the process of creating the lyrics/vocals? Did you have a specific vibe, or was it very much a ‘do what you want’ scenario?

The tracks were pretty much an instrumental demo when I sent them to Nora and Sigmund. Then a few projects were sent back and forth before we met in the studio for a couple of writing and vocal sessions, and we quickly found the vibe we were looking for, I love them both, they are so professional, creative and fun to work with!

5. Lastly, studio snacks are a necessity for me, and I always like to know what other like-minded music makers munch on when doing a session! Are there any specific Norwegian delicacies you stock up on before hiding away in the studio all day?

Have you tried Norwegian milk chocolate? One cup of coffee, a large plate of Freia milk-chocolate… say no more!

 

Photo: Thomas Ekström

How Paper Recordings and Norwegian Disco Lights led Pete Jenkinson into the scary world of Academic Research

I’ve generally had an awkward relationship with higher education throughout my life, preferring the ‘getting your hands dirty’ or, as they’d say in academia, the kinaesthetic approach to learning. As a conscientious pupil, I took Maths and English a year early to squeeze in an extra ‘O’ level in Statistics, Applied Maths and English literature. I even took the A/O level General Studies by going to classes during my lunch.

New Order's seminal electro dance tune Blue Monday

I’d always been into music, listening to Luxembourg under the covers, going to gigs underage. During the summer holidays of ’86, my interest was piqued by Mann Parrish in ’82 (cassette album FFS) and then Blue Monday in ’83, but these new beats from the US were just the bomb. I became immersed in all these new sounds coming from the east coast of America on Tommy Boy or Sugarhill, ordering imported vinyl from artists like Afrika Bambaataa, Grandmaster Flash and the Jonzun Crew. We created cassette ‘pause button’ mixes on cassette and set about becoming a wannabe ‘Beat Boy’ with my fellow ‘beat boys’. We pumped our new sounds on a Hitachi TRK ‘Ghettoblaster’ while dreaming of being Radio Raheem from Spike Lee’s seminal film of the era titled Do the Right Thing. We fantasised about being members of the Rock Steady Crew from the Bronx in NYC, wandering around our small (and safe) housing estate with a roll of lino, attempting to moonwalk like Jeffery Daniel while wearing a glorious nylon and leather mash-up of Tacchini, Farah and Adidas Sambas. I chose the path of discovery and enlightenment.

Radio Raheem's Boombox

To cut a long story short, I scraped a couple of A levels after resits, which resulted in getting a place on an HND in Business Studies at Sheffield Polytechnic. Looking back, it’s almost as if my forays into higher education have been used as a stepping stone as I have zig-zagged along my journey, meeting people and creating positive situations. The coherent thread running through my life has always been music, whether singing and playing guitar in a band at Poly, working behind (or on it) at the Hacienda or trying my hand as a DJ agent for Miles Elliot and even becoming a bona fide club promoter. The Hard Times and Robodisco parties allowed me to work with talented DJs such as DJ Harvey, Terry Farley, Derrick Carter, Josh Wink, Andrew Weatherall, Roger Sanchez, Frankie Knuckles, and the Masters at Work.
From this world of DJs, clubs, journalists and travel came the next part of the journey on life’s disco bus.

e at Robodisco-Planet-K-circa-2000

There were six of us working at the Haҫ and Hard Times, a perfect moment to start a record label. The concept behind Paper Recordings evolved during early evening drinks at a tiny bar on Whitworth St. called Alaska in February 1993. It has been life-defining, creating the social and business thread running through my thirties and forties; it even facilitated my meeting my wife in Amsterdam. Music has taken me on a whirlwind trip for the last 27 years, a complete blast. But, of course, the business got a bit choppy in the mid to late noughties when a seismic shift in media consumption fuelled by the internet and its mischievous offspring, file sharing and Napster, its main cheerleader. In simple terms, the arse fell out of the vinyl market, and with Paper’s turnover comprising 85% vinyl sales and 15% merchandise, we hit the skids. Paper went into a business version of an ICU unit, and the rest of the gang fractured down different career pathways. Elliot continued to DJ and run his World Famous Quiz Nights; Miles is a Cloud Computing Engineer, Andy a 3D Modeller, and Stephen now owns an Event Tech Company. Ben and I decided to work Paper out of the pickle. Each time I realise that Paper has commercially released over 2000 recordings, working with over 500 artists, producers, and remixers in over 50 countries, it makes all the graft worthwhile.

Paper Tees drying on the line

Writing this made me realise that turning to academia when the shit hits the fan appears to be my solution, and so it was again. Martin Moscrop, a member of the seminal Factory Records band A Certain Ratio, was also the head of music at City College Manchester. And even luckier, a fan of Paper Recordings. He invited me in to talk to his students; I loved it. That led me to take a teacher training qualification, more hours for Martin and then, over time, several colleges, teaching kids how to generate income streams from music and performance (I’m still trying to be fair!). It was around 2009 when I did some lectures that turned into a module lead role at Manchester media school ‘Futureworks‘. Working in the School of Sound & Music Production, I was lecturing across the entire three years of the Music Production degree; on the Career Focus modules. The only issue that became a bit of a monkey on my back was that I only possessed an HND qualification and not a degree; the level I was currently teaching.

Northern Disco Lights

I suffered from ‘imposter syndrome’ during my teaching career until after we’d started a film company called Paper Vision Films and produced our first feature film. Paper became a trusted conduit for Norwegian house introduction into the UK and US underground music markets. It was a 74-minute music documentary called ‘Northern Disco Lights’, exploring the story behind these Nordic electronic musicians. Since its premiere at Bergen International Film festival in September 2016, it has screened at over fifty international film festivals in cities around the world, including Tromsø, Oslo, Bergen, Kyiv, Berlin, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Tbilisi, Baku, Melbourne, London, New York, Jakarta, Budapest and Prague. To say this has been beyond exciting would not be an understatement. Could an academic investigation into house music development in northern Norway’s Arctic reaches be repackaged as a Master’s level bit of research? Well, I plucked up some courage, temporarily squashed the imposter syndrome and applied for a Masters by Research degree at MMU. I was accepted and given a place, starting October 2019, submitting my 30k word thesis on New Years Eve 2021 (NYE FFS) and awarded the qualification on June 22. Reflecting on the Northern Disco Lights film and the Masters, I feel it raises the question of what comes first, the professional project or the research into the process? It has made me realise that they are always interchangeable and it’s just dependent on who is at the wheel. The common denominator is and will always be motivation, resilience and hard work.

So, for now, my relationship with academia can take a back seat.

Pete x

PS: you can have a read of the research thesis by clicking the image below.

Boom

Calder Del Sol Sessions

Flash Atkins is running a new monthly on the Barbary’s terrace throughout the summer in the hills of West Yorkshire.

July 22 is an all African special, Léna C hits the decks on August 19 and the closing party lands on September 23. Expect friendly Northern folk, craft ale and the best music from all corners of the globe.

Memoirs from Norway’s underground dance pioneers: Joakim Haugland #9

Travelling around Norway in the Spring is a fantastic experience. During my trip in 2013, we hooked up with the key movers and shakers involved in forming the country’s house and disco scenes. I was lucky enough to touch down in Oslo, Bergen and Tromsø, and many weird and beautiful places in the surrounding areas. I travelled with Ben Davis, who was directing the film we were working on, formed from interviews with the key people from the dance scene plus Paper Recording’s label artists such as Those Norwegians. We were also curious about the country, geography, and people and how they influenced each other’s creative passions. This film had a working title of ‘Northern Disco Lights – The Rise and Rise of Norwegian House Music’. During our visit, we spoke to as many of the DJs, producers, promoters and radio stations as we could and decided to publish these best bits that sum up the trip, the film and our findings.

Joakim Haugland is the owner and has been the driving force behind the Smalltown Supersound label for over 20 years. He grew up in the small town of Flekkefjord in Norway’s south; hence his record label’s name: Smalltown Supersound. It has released music from internationally recognised artists such as Kim Hiorthøy, Jaga Jazzist, Neneh Cherry, Bruce Russell, Brian Reitzell, Kelly Lee Owens, DJ Harvey, Mats Gustafsson, Sonic Youth, Lindstrøm, Prins Thomas, Bjørn Torske and Todd Terje.

Joakim Haugland -Smalltown Supersound

© 2014 Paper Vision Films: Joakim Haugland, Founder of Smalltown Supersound label based in Oslo, Norway.

Were you aware of when dance culture started taking off in Norway?
No, not at all. I would say because I came from indie-rock and punk, I guess. So for me, it was like SST Records, Dinosaur Jr and Sonic Youth, and of course bands like Cabaret Voltaire and Einstürzende Neubauten. When I was younger, I was listening to what was happening in England with Underworld and Orbital. I was kind of like this indie kid. I started working at the distributor Voices of Wonder in Norway and worked in their distribution warehouse for nine months. That was, I think, in the summer of 97 or 98. It was kind of like when the whole house thing blew up with Atlantic Jaxx, Glasgow underground, Paper [Recordings], Nuphonic, NRK, Soma and all these other labels. So I was kind of like putting all these records in parcels! At the warehouse, all the other guys were older than me, and they were always listening to this music. It got into my head at one point, and I brought some of the records with me at home, and I liked it. But I didn’t understand it because I was coming from this guitar world.

After a while, I started promoting Voices of Wonder [VOW] and became label manager for labels like Warp. I got really into that because going from Sonic Youth to Warp is not such a big step. From there, I went gradually more into electronic music and jazz with bands like Jaga Jazzist. All these things led me to Per Martinsen of Mental Overdrive. Via him, I met Lindstrøm when VOW was promoting the Lindstrøm and Prins Thomas album for Eskimo Recordings because we were distributing that for Norway, so I ended up managing interviews for him. We hooked up to grab a coffee, and then we started to work together. I understood that he had the same approach to his music that I had because I had never been this twelve-inch buying DJ myself. He wasn’t that much into indie music; he was more into west coast US psychedelic music from the 70s and Kraut-y stuff. But he was not from what I would call the 12” inch music from London if you know what I mean. So I think that we are more album people, you know what I mean, and I’m still that. I believe that he grew up with that art of the album himself. So I think that that was how we met musically. If you look at his discography, you can see that there are more albums than 12”s, so he is not a twelve-inch kind of guy. I would also say that my goal starting to work with him was to have him promoted into the world of Uncut, Mojo and Wire magazines. And not only take him out of the Mixmag and the DJ magazines because he is very marginal. And it stops at one point. I heard all these influences from psychedelic music, west coast, Kraut and folk music in his music. So I think there is no difference between him and Robert Wyatt. Why should they write about Robert Wyatt and not Lindstrom? They have the same kind of influences, or I feel there is the same kind of feel in the music to say something like Robert Wyatt. He’s not just playing in festivals where people are dancing on the beach and partying and stuff like that. He’s playing at music festivals together with folk and metal and hardcore, and that’s kind of where I think his music should be.

Do you see Smalltown Supersound as a label representing Norwegian dance music?
In a way, the disco and electronic scene is excellent, and the jazz scene and black metal. But outside of that, I don’t find it that interesting. In the beginning, I was kind of trying almost to hide the fact that Smalltown Supersound was a Norwegian label when I was a kid because I started the label when I was 16; it was just tape! There seemed to be an advantage coming from Norway because all the labels are from New York and London. So it was good to be from the outside. I never wanted the label to be just a dance label or only for electronic music. My ideal label would be, and this is nerdy, but like Rough Trade between 1979 and 1981, when there was Cabaret Voltaire, Robert Wyatt and stuff like Arthur Russell.
All these styles mashed up. I don’t want my label to be one sound or genre. If you are just a sound and the sound dies out, the label will die as well. That’s what we saw with labels such as Mo-Wax; when trip-hop was over, the label was over. I’m trying to have this diverse label, but I guess many people see it as a disco label, and I’ve also heard that it’s a jazz label and an indie label. It depends on what’s coming out at the time, and sometimes it’s like a lot of disco music coming out, sometimes a lot of jazz. I want there to be a real [musical] thread within the label holding it together. That’s probably the unique thing with dance music in Norway. Take a guy like Lindstrøm; he’s never listened to much dance music. He’s more into Crosby, Stills and Nash, Fleetwood Mac, psychedelic music or west coast music from the seventies. The same with Prins Thomas, who comes from a punk-rock background. I think that Smalltown Supersound reflects that. I’m from an indie background, and I release dance music, but I also release indie music and jazz.

Northern Disco Lights, Family Tree poster

Do you feel Todd Terje, Lindstrom and Prins Thomas are inspired by pioneers such as Bjørn Torske and thought, “if they can do it, we can’t we do it”?
I think everybody is looking at Bjørn Torske. That’s what I have learned throughout the years; it’s like Bjørn Torske is The Godfather in a way. He was the first. What’s unique is that he lives in his ‘own’ world, so he doesn’t get influenced by trends. I’ve been record shopping with him in Chicago, and he knows exactly what he wants, totally independent of what’s happening on the scene. He’s just in a bubble. I think that’s why his music production is so unique. I don’t think there is anybody around that makes music like him. I would say that he is the pioneer. The sad thing is that he is not the most popular [internationally], but that I guess that’s the way of the world when you are a true pioneer.

Do you think that the landscape and geography influence electronic dance music in northern Norway?
It’s easier to see that from the outside, maybe, but I would say that there’s melancholy in the music. I can see that in Icelandic music, and I can see that in Swedish, and I’m Norwegian. I think it’s in all kinds of Norwegian music. I don’t believe that this style of electronic dance music could be produced in Los Angeles, where the sun is up all the time. We learn to appreciate the sun more in Norway because we don’t see the sun very often. So I think that that’s an essential element. There is a lot of rain, snow and dark season nights and days, which I believe can be found in the mood of the music.

How do you think Norwegian electronic dance music is perceived abroad?
Norwegian dance music is perceived as leftfield. I struggle to understand that because some of the music released on Smalltown Supersound is very commercial. Even when I talk to ‘club heads’ from England, they think that Lindstrøm’s ‘Way You Go’ album is too leftfield and radical. I don’t find that album radical at all; I think it’s a commercial album; however, it does have a 30-minute long track, but it’s beautiful floating music. I don’t see any leftfield elements in it at all, but maybe that’s to our advantage that we don’t know the avant-garde, leftfield style ourselves. Perhaps that’s what makes Norwegian dance music stick out from everything else?

Idjut Boys in Oslo

© 2014 Paper Vision Films: The Idjut Boys DJing in Oslo circa 1998

What are your memories of the Bergen Wave phenomenon?
Mikal Telle has been a friend for many years, and his label, ‘Telle Records,’ was an inspiration. I started Smalltown Supersound before him, but his Telle took off quickly. Smalltown Supersound started growing when I began releasing cassette tapes at a very young age and just learning about the business gradually as the label developed. Smalltown Supersound is a big part of my personality, and it reflects my taste in music. I was inspired by what was happening to Mikal. I don’t envy him that much that it happened so fast, but he has the best taste and is by far the best A&R manager in Norway. Telle Records is a beautiful part of Norwegian musical dance music history.

How did you find out about music, fashion and culture in Norway?
I remember reading a Norwegian magazine when I was a kid and there was an interview with Geir Jenssen [Biosphere] and Per Martinsen [Mental Overdrive]. It was inspiring for me because I lived in a tiny town without the internet. It was impossible to get movies and music, so I travelled to Oslo to buy music and cultural stuff. I began releasing music on cassette tapes and seven-inch vinyl, not knowing what a record company was! So, I read this interview with Geir and Per saying that the only thing you needed to connect with the rest of the world was a fax machine. That sounds strange now, but that’s what they were doing. They were sitting at home in Tromsø, the north of Norway, making music, sending faxes and DAT tapes to R&S Records in Brussels, Belgium. They finally got their music released on R&S Records and distributed to the world. They had international careers, and that was incredibly inspiring to me.

How do you think the producers absorbed the musical and cultural influences?
I think that Geir and Per were inspired by what was happening in the whole world. They took influences from what was happening at R&S Records in Brussels, from London and brought it all home. They absorbed it into their way of producing music, mixing it with Norwegian influences. When you listen to Bjorn Torske, there’s a lot of dub and reggae influences. I don’t know where he got it from exactly, but I think it was the record shopping trips to London and bringing the new music back into the Norwegian scene that makes the sound.

Why does Norway have such a solid connection to the disco genre?
For me, the disco connection links DJ Harvey to Idjut Boys to Bjørn Torske and Erot. If there are any connections between Erot and Bjorn Torske and DJ Harvey, there is a strong connection between the Idjut Boys and Bjørn Torske and Erot. I feel that Harvey and the Idjut Boys are from the same musical subculture that the Norwegians; they are big heroes of Bjørn Torske, Erot and the Norwegian electronic dance music scene. I don’t think there is anything already within Norwegian culture that seems ‘disco-ish. As I see it, the foundation of everything disco is Bjørn Torske and Erot, who think they were the ones who started it. Per and Geir were more into the genre of techno and ambient. Bjørn started making more techno style production, but it changed when Erot and Bjørn started making more house and disco music.

© 2010 Smalltown Supersound: Bjørn Torske, “Kokning”

How did the album with the Idjut Boys come about on Smalltown Supersound?
I felt that they were the inspiration for a lot of the artists on my label. It started when Rune Lindbæk told me about this album with the two of them, ‘Desire Lines’ by Meanderthals. It’s still one of my favourite albums in my catalogue, and it’s timeless. The Idjut Boys behave like Norwegians and have the same mood and attitude, and Dan is even married to a Norwegian. So there were all these connections to Norway, so it felt obvious to release that album. I was delighted to be working with those guys.

Why do you think that there is so much collaboration within the Norwegian electronic dance music community?
Because it’s so tiny, you’re socialising in and around clubs. In the beginning, you had Skansen, and then you had Jazid and then you had Blå. People meet at these places, and then they help and work with each other with the business aspects, the remixes or production. It is so much more significant in London, and I wouldn’t know where to meet these kinds of people, here it’s straightforward. I think it’s also part of the scene’s success because everybody is collaborating, helping and inspiring each other. They are doing it together and sticking together.

Is there competition between the artists in the electronic dance music community?
There is healthy competition as everybody is passionate about being as good as their friends and fellow producers and DJs to become as good as their neighbour. So if you see, some of these people have studios very close to each other and stuff, but I think it’s healthy. I don’t believe that the producers and DJs are wealthy but have been DJs the whole time during their production careers; I guess that’s the business of DJing; it’s the same the world over. But, of course, Norway is an excellent country to live in, and it might have influenced the ability of these guys to produce and buy new music and how they consumed the culture around them.

Do you think the different cities and locations can have different sounds?
I don’t know. There are not so many people in Bergen except for Bjørn and Röyksopp doing this kind of music. They became superstars in that kind of music and went on to make other music. I don’t feel like they are part of this scene at all if it is a scene. I think that Bjørn is in his creative world. He’s kind of in this bubble. I believe that Oslo is the principal city for dance music at the moment. Some of the most recognised producers like Röyksopp, Geir Jenssen and Bjørn Torske came from Tromsø but don’t live there nowadays apart from Per Martinsen!

Do you think the landscape in Tromsø has had an effect on the music from there?
For Biosphere, obviously, it had, because of this kind of cold, ambient thing. I’d also say it for the cold techno music. So it’s pretty weird that they are making warm house and disco music because it has nothing to do with the ice-cold and nature you see in Tromsø. So maybe the answer to your question is that all these people moved from Tromsø to Bergen.

How did you hook up with Todd Terje?
He works in a neighbouring studio of Lindstrom and Prins Thomas, and I knew him through friends. Since the start, he’s been part of the scene, and everyone knows everybody as it’s so tiny! I was surprised by the success of Todd’s ‘Inspector Norse’ in many ways because it was a beautiful thing that happened without us spending a lot of money to make it happen. It became massive with just word of mouth. Just the way we wanted it. It was just Terje, and I am doing all the work on our own. I’ve never experienced anything like it before. It was making such a global impact without a budget and just the two of us doing the promotion. It is an EP, it’s not an album, and EPs are harder to promote because you don’t get all the reviews that you usually get in the big broadsheets and music magazines. It was a long process, but because it is such a great track, people started to talk about it, and then it happened, blew up. It is a lovely process to witness. Todd Terje is from the dance world, so I don’t think that albums inspire him in the same way that Lindstrøm has been. As a DJ, he knows what works on the dancefloor and makes dancers feet move. I guess this is similar to Prins Thomas, as he comes from a punk-rock background.

© 2015/2001 Smalltown Supersound/Tellé: Bjørn Torske, “Trøbbel”

Do you think the success of these artists (Röyksopp, Todd Terje, Lindstrøm) has now made it easier for Norwegian artists to be successful internationally?
I would hope that Bjørn Torske and Mungolian Jetset [Pål “Strangefruit” Nyhus and Knut Sævik] could be famous as well, but it’s those three who get the headlines. I would say that Bjørn Torske is out on his own, and that’s what makes him so unique.

What do you see as the future of Norwegian dance music?
Some younger producers make this kind of music, but I feel you need life experience and an extensive record collection to produce the sound they create because it’s an advanced, complex style of music. It’s light-years away from what I would call ‘head banger’ kind of music. There’s no fuss and turning the volume up to 11. The music is not just about dropping ecstasy and dancing. I think that this scene is accidental. Behind it are many years of DJing, playing in bands, and developing an extensive record collection! To use a football analogy, the goalkeeper always get better the older they get, between 30 to 36 years old. It’s a peculiar thing. The rest of the team is peaking, maybe 24 or 25, so the disco scene is more like the goalkeepers; they are getting better the older they become. So I think there is a bright future for these guys like Todd Terje, Hans Peter Lindstrøm, and Prins Thomas because I don’t think age will influence their music production careers. You can see with the Idjut Boys and DJ Harvey; they get better and better. So I don’t think it’s true that you are too old to play or produce this dance music. On the contrary, I believe that the older you are, the better you become!

Do you feel supported by the Norwegian media?
It’s an underground scene, but I would say as the journalists are really supportive, the artists get good reviews and press coverage. When I started to promote Lindstrøm’s album at VOW, we told the most influential press and media that he was remixing Madonna to encourage them to write about him; it worked! I had to use a little trick to get the press to write about the album. It seems easier nowadays because Norway is perceived as an ‘underdog’ type of country punching above its weight. Our population is only 5 million, so every time a Norwegian does anything ‘good’, even in chess or in football, you get a lot of attention. Even more so with music. So if you get attention abroad, you will get attention at home. That’s how it works.

What is your favourite Norwegian record?
Biosphere’s ‘Patashnik’ album meant a lot to me when I was young. It was produced early in Norway’s dance music history; he was Norwegian, and it had a Norwegian sound. It sounded like he was part of the same world as Aphex Twin, The Orb, Orbital and Underworld. If I had to choose a single track, it would be ‘I Feel Space’ by Hans Peter Lindstrøm because the tune has been so influential. It’s like a classical composition.

Who is your favourite Norwegian producer?
Bjørn Torske has been there from the very beginning, and Lindstrøm because he keeps on producing new music and is evolving the whole time. He always takes it to the next step so that none of his production ever sound the same. So I think that in 10, 15, 20 years, you will be able to look back and see a coherent thread through his music but with a good dose of diversity.

Your favourite Norwegian club?
That’s easy, Blå from 1999 to 2005. It was primarily a jazz club. Sunkissed DJs (Geir Aspenes and Olanskii), Prins Thomas, Pål “Strangefruit”, and Todd Terje had their club nights there. It was the most happening place after, first you had Skansen, then you had Jazid. I went to both Skansen and Jazid a few times. But I was mostly hanging out here in this venue when it was called ‘So What’. When this club shut down in 1999 or 2000, I moved over to Blå. From 99 to 2005, when they changed owners was magic years where it was a mixture of jazz, avant-garde music, indie-rock and club music. I think that that’s also the core of the scene because, at this club, you could have a free jazz concert on a Friday night from 9 to 11, and then you could have like a Prins Thomas club night right after. So you could go from Arthur Doyle free jazz, crazy set, right over to a Prins Thomas set. And to be honest, there’s a lot of similarities between Arthur Doyle and Prins Thomas. But it seemed crazy on the paper, but when you were there, it was all mixing beautifully. And that is why Blå is such a special place because it was not a pure dance place like Skansen, Jazid, as you can hear in name, it was more like a jazzy electronic place. Skansen was a dance place. But Blå was this mixture of genres, but mostly a jazz and dance club space where you could also have noise, hardcore, and all kinds of underground sounds. And everybody met there, a lot of music, musicians and producers mixed at Blå from 98 to 2005 when they had their best years. Blå was very influential for both my artists and label for both the jazz and electronic side. Again, it was about tearing down the walls between genres.

 

© 2014 – Paper Vision Ltd (Pete Jenkinson/Ben Davis)

Recorded on a Zoom H2.

Transcribed by Fingertips, Louie Callegari and Tongue Tied.

Memoirs from Norway’s underground dance pioneers: Geir Jenssen #8

This video was unearthed on our travels during 2016, the tape was actually found in a skip after a studio clearance, was rescued and digitised. Some of it makes the cut!

Director/interviewer: Casper Evensen

Commissioned & Produced: R&S Records

Location: Lysverket Studios, Tromsø, Norway.

Date: circa 1994/95

 

Casper Evensen (CE): Is isolation something that forms your music, makes it extraordinary?

Geir Jenssen – Biosphere (GR): Yes, I think so, in a way we’re isolated from what’s happening in England and Europe. And that makes it easier to have a certain style and do something others don’t.

(CE): but with this new technology, will you make remix after remix and sample some here and there, will that make it (the music) simpler in a way?

(GR): No. The better equipment you have, the bigger goal you set yourself, to make something brand new, that no one has ever made before. It’s actually harder.

(CE): Where is Geir Jensen (Biosphere) heading after ‘the’ Levi’s commercial (Novelty Waves was placed in an ad by Levis)?

(GR): I am working on my next double CD. The first CD I made in the dark period of the year; you hear that in the music. Now that the sun is back, I will make the second CD, another version of the CD I made in the dark period, with more sun in the music.

(CE): Film music Geir, your genre and your way of working should be perfect for this, have you given it any thoughts?

(GR): Yeah, I have made music for a couple of short films and I’m pretty sure a film will happen in near future.

(CE): Is this something that interests you?

(GR): Yes, I would very much like to do that.

(CE): Why is Tromsø happening right now for this type of music?

(GR): First of all, it’s a lot of very talented people here. But I also think that if you compare Tromsø and Oslo. Oslo has more to offer, theatre, cinema, concerts, raves, house parties etc.

Here pretty much nothing is happening outside, so you’re almost forced to sit inside and make music.

(CE): The technology and distribution are simpler, has this changed the music industry?

(GR): Yes. Before a band got signed to a record label with big budgets, and you had to go to a studio and spend a lot of money to record the album. I can sit here and send a fax when I finish a track. And a freight company come and pick up a DAT, this little cassette I have here. That cassette is in Europe the next day and can be released a couple of days after that. Things move very fast now.

(CE): Can the record industry keep up with this?

(GR): The label I am on, a small label that specialises in techno music, are just interested in this genre. They have a complete understanding of what is going on. But I believe bigger labels can’t work that fast, because we’re talking big budgets, promotions etc. Everything must be planned ahead.

(CE): The Internet is the new music channel, almost like MTV, is this something you use?

(GR): No, I am thinking about getting internet, but I think it’s mostly a waste of time, to be honest.

(CE): How long time do you spend on developing an album, for instance, the record you are working on now?

(GR): I have been working a year and a half just to finish the first of the two CDs (on the double album). But I hope I will finish the second CD faster. So in a way, it’s not that fast to produce my music.

WATCH the INTERVIEW HERE.

Martin Wold – Reisen EP

Another slice of the nu disco deep stuff from Martin Wold who brings some serious Norwegian heat to late nights and sunny days.

Havet has drums that swing, a sweet sample, locked in bottom end and synths that hypnotise. There’s a touch of early Paper about it and it’s brilliantly playable at any time of night.

Seilet hits a similar vibe but with a slightly techier edge. A square bass, stabs, ringing snare, keys and arped shimmering synths create deep music for positive people.

Le Visiteur: “Really nice release, Havet for me!”

Duncan Grey: “Loving both of these…yes definitely a touch of early paper here”

Get Down Edits: “Excellent!”

Billy Scurry: “Lovin the shimmer on Havet, just floats.. The that bottom end swing on Seilet!”

 

Bandcamp      Juno      Beatport      Traxsource

Oddio Factory – It’s A Factory

Sounds of a Parisian style are the flavour on this release from the duo known as Oddio Factory. If house music with a touch if the cinematic is your thing, then this one delivers in spades.

The Prophet boasts full on throbbing low-end action alongside some serious John Carpenter style Arp work and pads in the breakdown. Sci-fi house and disco with a stop off at Baldelli’s Cosmic Club is where it’s at.

U Slip is a more stripped back and sparse offering that keeps things cosmic but goes heavy on the hypnotic. Swinging drums, mutant synth stabs, analogue pads and twisted vocal samples take it early doors or late night.

Got Bolts (Keito Sano on the Shore Remix) goes right to the dance floor for a late night, hazy deep disco workout with a one note bass driving the sparkling percussion and synths. It’s a mix that cuts through genres from techno and house to Balearic and soulful.

The original Got Bolts is a heavier affair with broken house beats and a two note bass holding down the psychedelics delays and synths.

Sean Johnston: “Keita mix for the win!”

Dicky Trisco: “Feeling original of Got Blots here. Deadly!”

Anthony Mansfield – Sometimes yah gotta listen twice. GET SOME!

Bill Brewster: “Keito Sano mix is nice!”

Get Down Edits – Excellent stuff from Paper Recordings, ive been playing Paper Records since 96 & still feature stuff in my sets today.

Fingerman – The remix is right up my street :)

Thrillhammer: “That Got Bolts, Keita Sano remix, is really gorgeous!”

 

Bandcamp     Spotify     Juno     Beatport     Traxsource

Oddio Factory – The Prophet Video

Sounds of a Parisian style are the flavour on this release from the duo known as Oddio Factory. If house music with a touch if the cinematic is your thing, then this one delivers in spades. The Prophet boasts full on throbbing low-end action alongside some serious John Carpenter style Arp work and pads in the breakdown. Sci-fi house and disco with a stop off at Baldelli’s Cosmic Club is where it’s at.

 

                                                                                  BANDCAMP

2 Billion Beats – Meanders EP

As Phil Lynott once sang, ‘The Boys Are Back In Town’ and indeed they are, as 2 Billion Beats jump back in the Paper saddle.

Three brand new cuts of analogue electronic brilliance make up the Meanders EP and its a true return to form.

Beats of No Nation puts Fela through the disco machine for a lazy chug number. It has a tribal build that gives way to an acid B-line alongside a distorted vocal and big chord stabs to make this a solid ALFOS box ticker.

Empty Boulevard has plenty of cosmic arp action and synth stabs to lift it into peak E time tackle before lush piano chords mellow things out. And don’t forget the disco strings.

Down The Docks is the dance floor weapon on this package. Heavy bass jumps around with raspy lead lines and clattering percussion to give it a proper low slung flavour…and the drop detonates!

Pete Herbert: “Excellent as usual!”

Daco: “Loving the disco theme running throughout this release. ‘Beats of No Nation’ is the stand-out track with ‘Empty Boulevard’s euphoric vibes coming in a close 2nd. Superb!”

Robot 84: “Great release , all three tracks really strong, Beats Of No Nation is killer love it…”

Pathaan: “Loving all 3 tracks ! Empty Boulevard hits the spot today, no doubt the other will another day”

 

SPOTIFY                   JUNO                 BEATPORT                   TRAXSOURCE