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Norwegian EDM on the rise

Posted: 06. May, 2014


With a string of strong acts gaining ground abroad, Norwegian electronic music is clearly on the rise these days. Music Norway has talked some of the genre’s key acts including Kygo, Coucheron, Fehrplay and CLMD.

By Gisle G. Stokland

Last month, Music Norway had the pleasure of attending Miami’s Winter Music Conference. The EDM-themed festival, which was founded back in 1985, attracts more than 100 000 visitors to its multitude of major official as well as more intimate unofficial clubs at Miami Beach and downtown.

Nearly 40% of the festival acts originate from countries outside of the US, reportedly representing more than 70 nationalities. It is easy to be led to believe that acts from tiny Norway would be dwarfed by others in the festival commotion. Still, acts such as Kygo, CLMD, Coucheron, Cashmere Cat, Fehrplay and Trippy Turtle were on the lips of many festival goers, with the latter three featured on the official Winter Music Conference roster.

Raw talent

There’s still a way to go until Norwegian EDM reaches the commercial levels of Swedish crossover giants Avicii and Swedish House Mafia. Nevertheless, many signs are now emerging, signalling that Norwegian electronic music could be in for some significant growth on the international stage.

Says Los Angeles-based A&R representative on staff at Warner/Chappell to Music Norway: – Electronic music from Norway is most certainly on the rise in not only America, but all over the world – especially in Europe. Tastemaker festivals, websites and magazines from countries such as Germany, England and France are the drivers of this, in my opinion, and America is just recently finding out about some of the talent on tap in Norway.

Amter finds it challenging to pinpoint the cause as to why so many Norwegian acts are gaining international attention simultaneously: – It’s hard to say why exactly so many talents from Norway are all seemingly getting attention at the same time. It has a lot to do with the raw talent in Norway at the moment, social media spreading the word more than ever, and people’s changing perception that about acts from Norway. 10 years ago, music from Norway may have be seen as a bit strange and not cool or a fluke hit, now, I think it is really becoming second only to Sweden in the “cool” factor from Scandinavia.


What does the Warner/Chappell A&R representative search for when scouting for new talent? – I’m looking for a combination of production talent, songs that will work for our sync department – for placement in films and in TV commercials etc. – and enough of a ‘buzz’ name that helps in the name recognition department -this helps with music supervisors on films and more.

Patience is a virtue

Jonas von der Fehr, aka Fehrplay, has been based out of London for the last three years and debuted with the track ‘Meow’ on Ministry of Sound in 2010. The same year he became the first Norwegian act not affiliated with an artist management to be featured on Pete Tong’s BBC show. Lately, Fehrplay has tied up with Eric Prydz’ Pryda Friends, and has succeeded in building up fanbase that is primarily based outside of his native country’s borders.

Fehrplay states that a move abroad was necessitated to gain industry attention. The Norwegian’s resume includes a string of sold-out shows in the US, UK and Sweden. Over the last three months, Fehrplay has performed in Japan, Australia and France before heading over the Atlantic for appearances in Mexico and the US.

The 2014 Miami Winter Music Conference was Fehrplay’s third in a row: – What’s positive with WMC is that it is so much fun playing the event – everyone’s there, says Fehrplay to Music Norway.

– If you’ve got a fan in Vancouver, there’s a good chance that he/she will jump on a plane to see you play in Miami. Then there’s the conference part which gives you the opportunity to meet music industry reps from the US as well as many other countries. You can easily combine business with performances. One drawback however is the major Ultra Festiva that draws a bit too much focus, leaving some quality shows in the shadow.

Fehrplay agrees to the notion that Norwegian electronic music is going through a major upheaval abroad: – Yeah, you can see clearly now that many acts are gaining ground. Röyksopp has done a lot, not to mention Todd Terje who I feel is one of our most underrated artists. CLMD have also done much to give Norway exposure abroad and are savvy business-wise. I’m also a fan of the underground-style of artists such as Finnebassen – I’m really into his stuff.

In Fehrplay’s view, some Norwegian acts are a bit impatient when they strive for international attention: – In the long run, I think it pays off to be patient and wait until you have a strong repertoire and not run the risk of over-exposing yourself before you really know who you are, before you have a sound of your own and before the end product is good enough.

Carl Louis & Martin Danielle, aka CLMD, virtually shot to stardom overnight with their hit ‘Black Eyes And Blue’, feat Ingrid Håvik of Highasakite fame, via Sony/Toothfairy in 2012. The two followed up with concerts in NYC, London, Miami, Berlin, Rio de Janeiro and Ibiza as well as support slots for Swedish House Mafia, Avicii, Madonna, Tïesto and David Guetta.

2014 has seen the duo scoring a new radio-hit with their ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ feat. Fröder, parallel to pleasing more hardcore EDM-fans with their underground single ‘Drifting’ via Armin van Buuren’s label Trice/Armada.

At the 2013 WMC, CLMD played no less than seven gigs. Carl Lehne (Carl Louis) is witnessing a Norwegian EDM-scene going through a rapid growth: – We see a constant flow of new emerging talent that is gaining traction abroad, parallel to long-standing underground acts that are now finally getting well-deserved recognition. I feel that now, more than ever before, it’s hip to be Norwegian. Still, we have a way to go in terms of collaboration and sharing of experience and know-how within the various genres, says Lehne to Music Norway.

That new sound

Already by the ripe age of 17, Sebastian Kornelius-Gautier Teigen aka Coucheron, had achieved the double feat of having two tracks released on US label Big Beat via Warner as well as having Justin Bieber’s mentor Usher personally selecting the young Norwegian’s tracks in a major remix-contest.


Today, the producer has reached the age of 19 and has inked a global deal with Warner, which is set to release his official debut single ‘Deep End’, a track described as EDM fused with urban pop. In addition to his Warner deal, Coucheron is represented by Norwegian independent label and management Toothfairy, fronted by its founder Martin Schilde.

In Coucheron’s view, the surge in international attention for Norwegian electronic music comes as a result of a number of factors: – There’s nothing holding Norwegian acts back – with the appeal and momentum that EDM carries there’s no reason why our acts shouldn’t gain international attention. Still, the acts that have succeeded so far have been those with a totally new and clearly defined sound; Lemaitre, Cashmere Cat, CLMD, Todd Terje, Kygo etc. Thinking ahead, I believe that acts such as Kasket Club and Baardsen can do some interesting stuff.

Watch out for Norway

This week sees Kyrre Gørvell-Dahl aka Kygo, within the Top 10 of the Billboard Uncharted list, a listing of the top new and developing artists who have yet to appear on a major Billboard chart, regardless of country of origin. Ranking is based on a formula incorporating streamed plays, page views and fans. Kygo has been a fixture on the list for the past 22 weeks, a listing undoubtedly generated by the massive traffic on his Soundcloud page – his remixes have seen more than 30 million plays to date.

After Diplo gave the 22-year old economy student a guest-DJ slot at his BBC Radio programme, Coldplay got hold of his contact info via Pete Tong, eventually leading to Kygo now remixing their new song ‘Midnight’. Despite his short DJ-resume, Kygo is a sought-after DJ on the international stage. Next month sees him heading out on a tour featuring appearances in nine US cities, while august sees Kygo supporting his role model Avicii during Oslo’s Feelings Festival.

Kygo feels that the international music industry have ample reasons for following the genre’s Norwegian players: – Definitely. Over the last couple of years, there’s been a steady flow of really good electronic music coming out of Norway with artists such as Lemaitre, Finnebassen, Todd Terje and Lindstrøm. Adding to those acts, we’ve also got several strong producers with great potential that haven’t yet been given the attention they deserve. Jerry Folk and Bearson are good examples of producers that international music industry reps ought to check out, says Kygo to Music Norway.

When you eventually sign to a label, you’re likely to be in a position where you can choose between many suitors. What will be important for you in this respect? – What’s important for me is that I can be assured that the record label has faith in me and my music and that it represents resources and means to help me taking that next step, says Kygo. – Financial terms do matter, but it is equally important that the label has a strong network with access to good vocalists, musicians, directors and other professional that can help me getting my music out to a wider audience.

Kygo’s official debut single is expected in the near future. According to Associated Press, the Norwegian producer/DJ is now on Spot No#4 in the US and No#7 in the UK on the ‘most viral songs’ list.


Other sought-after Norwegian electronic music artists

Trippy Turtle
‘Mystic’ act Trippy Turtle has worked closely with Cashmere Cat. This winter has seen him playing the Eurosonic Noorderslag and during the Winter Music Conference he performed at the A-Trak club night at the Grand Central in downtown Miami – keeping a tight grip on hundreds of Mad Decent-fans. June sees the label releasing his debut single.

Trippy Turtle is represented by René Symonds of TAO, who relates to Music Norway that the DJ/producer is scheduled to commute between US and European festivals this summer, before ending the season with the Mad Decent Block Party Tour and Boat Party, a journey from Miami to the Caribbean. – A turtle’s natural environment!

– I’m really looking forward to all of the gigs scheduled ahead, in particular the Mad Decent tour and cruise, Tomorrowland, Bestival and Hard Festival, not to mention my the release of my debut single, says Trippy Turtle to Music Norway who lists a sold-out headlining show in Philadelphia and his Diplo-mix as career highlights.

Broiler is comprised of Mikkel Christiansen (22) and Simen Auke (23). The duo has racked up more than 60m streams on Spotify and WiMP in Norway – earning them the distinction of being Norway’s most frequently streamed act. 2013 saw them being bestowed with a Spellemannspris, the Norwegian equivalent of the Grammy, in the Innovator of the Year category as well as being named Artist of the Year at the NRJ Awards. Late 2013, saw them releasing their first album, ‘Episode 1’, which featured English-language repertoire. The Norwegian duo has gained considerable ground in Sweden this year, and are set to play major festivals this summer. Their new single ‘Get Drunk’, feat. US guest artists Dirt Nasty and Andy Milionakis, is out now.

The 25-year old Oslo resident is perhaps best known for his downtempo/deep house tracks and gained international recognition with his song ‘Touching Me’ which has racked up more than 6m Youtube-views.

Finnebassen is represented by The Underground owner Kal Jhugroo.

Cashmere Cat
Magnus August aka Cashmere Cat, has transitioned from being turntablist DJ FINAL to becoming an international EDM rising star with gigs across the globe. His resume includes two critically acclaimed EPs and he has now teamed up with Dr. Luke-partner Benny Blanco (Briney, Ke$ha, Katy Perry).
Ludacris recently released his ‘Party Girls’ single which credits the young Norwegian as co-producer. DJ Mustard, who last week was featured with no less than 8 songs on the Billboard Hot 100, cites Cashmere Cat as one of his new favourites.

Cashmere Cat is represented by Echo Location and The Windish Agency (booking), Mark Music & Media Law (attorney) and Up Front Artists (management and booking).

Ketil Jansen and Ulrik Denizou Lind began scoring tracks together at the age of 19 in summer 2010. They debuted the same year with their EP ‘The Friendly Sound’ followed by the EP trilogy ‘Relativity’ which received heavy domestic airplay. Last autumn saw them playing London’s Fabric, followed by an Australian tour with Stereo Sonic as well as support slots for David Guetta and Calvin Harris in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Adelaide and Brisbane.

Lemaitre is represented by Creative Artists Agency (booking), Tornado (booking) and Made (management).

Ørjan Nilsen
Ørjan Nilsen is signed to Armin van Buuren’s Armada Music and has currently more than 200 000 likes on Facebook. The 31-year old producer/DJ debuted with ‘Arctic Globe/Prison Break’ in 2006, which reached No#1 on the official Dutch Dance Charts. In later years, Nilsen has established himself as one of global trance’s leading trance DJs. His single ‘The Late Anthem’ gained No#4 on Beatpor in its initial week.

Ørjan Nilsen is represented by David Lewis Productions (booking), and Phillip Alpha (management).

Nils Noa
Veteran DJ Nils Olav Lausund aka Nils Noa, first gained recognition as a member of collective Bermuda Triangle, before establishing himself as DJ/Producer under the Nils Noa moniker in 2005. He became the first Norwegian DJ to be featured with an ‘Essential Mix’ at Pete Tong’s legendary BBC radio show. After having performed tirelessly at home and abroad, Nils Noa has released two singles through Universal with guest vocalists Vinni and Highasakite’s Ingrid, in addition to gaining online traction on Beatport for his new track ‘The Jaguar’.

Nils Noa is represented by Toothfairy.

Todd Terje
Terje Olsen aka Todd Terje (a nod to house veteran Todd Terry) has enjoyed a status as an icon for Norwegian as well as international electronic music acts. Todd Terje’s international status was bolstered through the release of his 2012 outing ‘It’s the Arps’ and its hit-single ‘Inspector Norse’. His debut album, the aptly titled ‘It’s Album Time’, saw its release in 2014 to critical acclaim at home and abroad. Todd Terje has also remixed Hot Chip, Franz Ferdinand and Bryan Ferry.
Todd Terje is represented by Backroom Entertainment and The Pool (booking) and Olsen Records.