Industry Talk: Propeller Recording’s Frithjof Hungnes

With new albums from Team Me and Katzenjammer coming up, Norway’s Propeller Recordings brace themselves for a busy winter and spring. We’ve talked to Propeller’s Frithjof Hungnes on the vital company’s plans for 2015, personal musical favorites and new exciting releases in the pipeline.

Skrevet av Rebeca 16.01.2015

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One of Norway’s leading independents, Propeller Recordings is the home of successful acts Highasakite, Katzenjammer, Team Me, Moddi and Hanne Hukkelberg.

This winter, the record label and artist management is heading into a hectic period with the international release of Team Me’s domestically celebrated outing ‘Blind As Night’ as well as the much-anticipated new Katzenjammer album coming up.

Earlier this week, we caught up with a busy Frithjof Hungnes of Propeller who is hard at work planning January’s international release of ‘Blind As Night’ alongside a slew of other exciting projects. Read on to learn more on what’s on one of Norway’s leading music exporters’ agenda this winter and spring.

Sights set on Europe

How has the international launch of ‘Blind As Night’ been planned? What companies have been brought aboard to push the release beyond Norway’s borders?

– We have fairly large teams involved in all of our releases. We’ve got people working on radio, print media, digital, marketing and distribution in all major territories. On this very release we’re working closely with companies such as Bandwagon, Bleached, Mallot Media, Band2Market, Autonomy (UK), V2 (Benelux) and Community Promotions (DE).

What are the primary territories for the ‘Blind As Night’ release campaign?

– We’re currently in the process of establishing our London office, with the aim being to run Propeller’s European operations from there. Our main geographical focus will therefore initially be on the UK, GSA and Benelux in addition to Japan where the album has already been launched. In the near past, Team Me have proven their worth on the US market, but time and resource constraints have necessitated an approach where we group the release into geographically defined phases.

F is for Faker

How’s your gut feeling for this one? How has the album been received by the involved international companies working on the release?

The gut feeling is definitely a good one! The album’s first single ‘F is for Faker’ has been playlisted on lots of European radio stations in Northern-Europe and the UK, and the next single, ‘Kick & Curse’, which is being released these days, has also been met with overwhelmingly positive feedback. Interest from fans and media alike is massive, proving that Team Me have built up a solid foundation, which they can continue to build upon.

Team Me is heading out on a pretty extensive tour of the UK, Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and the Czech Republic in February and March. What are your own expectations for the ‘Blind As Night’ tour? Has the band managed to establish a fan-base out there through their previous tours?

Naturally, we’re hoping that more people would get to experience what a fantastic live act Team Me is. From the outset, the band toured abroad extensively, building up a solid fanbase in many territories. It’s been a while since they’ve been on the road now – I think we’re in for a mutual, warm and very welcomed meeting between the band and the fans.

Are there any territories that have proven to be particularly receptive to Team Me?

Team Me have bonded really well with the audiences in all territories they have operated in so far, but if I’m to highlight a country in which they’ve really made a mark for themselves it has to be Japan.

New Katzenjammer album

Other major projects on the agenda this winter that sits high on the Propeller agenda?

The obvious highlight these days is the new Katzenjammer album which is due this January. The band has really grown its fan base abroad, with the first albums shifting more than 300 000 units. We have not lowered our ambitions for the new albums. We also have another two exciting releases coming up this winter; Ine Hoem’s debut album and the debut EP of our newest signing, Anne Lise Frøkedal. We’re also set to release the debut album of The Fjords on our sub-label Impeller, an outing that we have high expectations for. We also might see some new releases coming out of the Highasakite camp this spring. We’ve also taken on international management for Rytmeklubben through our London office – they have some really exciting outings coming up this year.

A Golden Age for Norwegian music

What do you listen to yourself these days? Any Norwegian acts popping up on your own playlists?

I spend a lot of time listening to demos, works in progress and new mixes of Propeller’s own artists, leaving little time to listen to new music. I do find time to listen a bit to radio and long flights are spent listening to new stuff, so I manage to keep up with what’s happening. It’s really fun and inspiring to be part of the Norwegian music industry these days. With so much strong and original talent popping up all over the place, I’m convinced we’re well on our way into a Golden Age for Norwegian music. Some acts that spring to mind as standout acts for 2015 are Emilie Nicolas, Ida Jenshus and Aurora Aksnes, in addition to up-and-coming acts such as Slutface, Lugn which will definitely make a mark later this year.

Any concerts with Norwegian acts coming up this winter that you just have to see?

I travel a lot and therefore miss out on a lot of good concerts, but I do really look forward to by:Larm in March – I’ve pinned down a couple of gigs among the multitude of confirmed acts. It’s bound to be a fine week…

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