With by:Larm 2020 only a couple of weeks away, the Nordic music industry is getting ready for what has become one of the most important spots and festivals of the year. According to Erik Egenes, head of press at by:Larm, the conscious focus on diversity at this year’s festival is something that allows for a broader variety of stories and sounds. We had a chat with Egenes about what to expect from the program and and how to get the most out of the festival.
“What is your role at by:Larm?”
“I’m the spokesperson and head of press at by:Larm. I also oversee by:Larm’s international programme, where by:Larm in cooperation with Music Norway and the Norwegian embassies this year have invited nearly 150 international journalists and music industry professionals to by:Larm. Over the years, this has brought a lot of attention to Norwegian music abroad and paved the way for Norwegian acts making a name for themselves beyond our borders.”
“What can people expect from this year’s by:Larm?”
“It sounds silly to say, but it’s true: this year will present the best conference programme and the best artist programme ever in by:Larm’s 23 year history. And there’s one primary reason for that: the extra focus on diversity this year, where we have a 50:50 gender balance on both the artist and conference programmes, has given the festival a broader palette of sounds, expressions and stories than ever before.”
“There is an increasing focus on emerging markets in the industry, will there be any focus on this in this year’s festival?”
“We’re expanding the horizon beyond the Western countries every year at by:Larm, and 2020 is no different. This year, by:Larm and Music Norway are bringing over delegates from India, China, Brazil and Mexico who are the leading music professionals in their countries. They’ll be in panels, speed meetings and of course attending the rest of the conference and concerts, so I recommend saying hi and getting to know them and their markets better.
I think we more than ever need to connect internationally in these times where bigotry and fascism is on the rise. Music is a positive force that connects people like nothing else. We need to embrace that and bring Norwegian music out into the world, and vice versa – receive what other parts of world has to offer with an open mind.”
“Which panels and artists cannot be missed?”
“The interview with Hildur Guðnadóttir (Joker, Chernobyl) by The Guardian’s Jude Rogers is an absolute must. Some other essential visits are Liz Pelly’s opening keynote, as well as the Q&As with Bruce Pavitt of Sub Pop, the O.G. Oslo punk vocalist Katja Benneche Osvold, Rammstein booker Scumeck Sabottka and Pitchfork’s editor-in-chief Puja Patel. With all this, you’ll get a good idea of both the past, the present and the future of the music industry.
Also, our panel series titled ‘State Of’ gathers the best in the business in several fields of the music industry and will undoubtedly shed some light on the trends and challenges facing music in 2020.”
“Do you have any advice to get the most out of by:Larm 2020?”
“Don’t miss out on sessions and shows you wish you were at once the festival’s over. In other words, read up on the sessions beforehand while playing the tunes from the by:Larm artists – for example in our playlists.”
“What is your best by:Larm memory?”
“Hitting the André Bratten dance floor at one of Oslo’s best venues, Kafé Hærverk, in total euphoric ecstasy with all my hometown friends, on the same night as Fjellparkfestivalen won the Festival of the Year award at by:Larm 2019. That was my last year with Fjellparkfestivalen, the festival where I had volunteered since I was 12 years old, and my last year as a regular by:Larm delegate. If I can help creating by:Larm moments like that for other people, there’s nothing I’d rather do.”