I’m not going to lie I know nothing about the music scene of Norway! In fact I know nothing about Norway in general bar Leeds midfield legend Eirik Bakke and that a pint’s bloody expensive (though well equated for by the excellent living standards and very high minimum wage, Scandi-nomics fans).
Famously of course it’s the home of black metal. Which has produced a lot more interesting stories than it has interesting music. Take the life of Varg Vikernes, the man behind Burzum. He was a prolific maker of death metal records in the early 90’s, then he got into burning down churches! He always denied being a satanist, instead claiming he did it as revenge for the treatment of vikings by christians in Lindesfarm on the 6th of June 973. You can’t deny his historical knowledge, though perhaps the relevance of his action nearly 1000 years later are more questionable. He and the Norwegian black metal scene were demonised, probably quite rightly too! He later went onto kill his one time musical collaborator Euronymous, stabbing him twenty three times. His defence for his actions was spectacularly graphic, Vikernes claimed he was acting in self-defence as Euronymous had plotted to “stun him with an electroshock weapon, tie him up and torture him to death while videotaping the event” When he was arrested by the police they found 150kg of explosives and 3,000 rounds of ammunition. Believe it or not he’s now out of prison, and has three children, he still appears to remain rather confused where he stands on many issues, for example he claims to be a “racist who doesn’t hate anyone” and whilst once being a neo-nazi he now no longer relates to naziism. I think it’s fair to say he’s more than a touch confused but he’s very passionate about the things he’s confused about. He’s also still making music, and whilst I wouldn’t normally write something off without listening to it, in this case I’m going to make an exception.
So there you have a story about Norwegian music. Though I think it’s fair to say this weeks NTM-NTY band have very little but a nationality in common with Varg Vikernes.
(This is another example where they’re actually just new to you I’m afraid, I had the pleasure of meeting all of Making Marks a couple of years back when my old band did a gig with them. I don’t think it can count as favouritism when you leave it this long)
Making Marks are Nina Bø, Ola Innset, Marie Sneve, and Jørgen Nordby. They formed from the ashes of My Little Pony, a truly awful name for a band!
They’re a self-confessed indie-pop band, and you don’t get many of those. Instruments wise they’re a pretty classic set up. Guitar, bass, keys and drums. If memory serves and photos on the internet are correct anyway. Though on record there’s definitely some very lovely brass, and more than likely some strings too.
As you might have guessed, they’re from Norway. That’s right they’re two guys and two girls from Scandinavia, but no they’re not Abba, they’re Swedish you dummies.
Well according to their own website they’ve been “Norwegian Indie Pop since 2007” but they released their debut single “Ticket Machine” on Fika Recording in October 2012, followed it up with another single “Barcodes” in August last year, and have a debut album “A Thousand Half-Truths” coming out on the 3rd of February, again on Fika.
Well for starters you could be learning Norwegian. Their most recent single “Uten en tråd” is in Norwegian, though your vocabulary might be a touch limited as it’s the only song they’ve ever released in Norwegian. The English tracks are rather lovely too though, indie pop in the best sense of the word. The influence of Belle & Sebastien is there of course, but perhaps what sets them apart from the crowd is the country element to their style, as Fika put it on their website, what you’re left with is “quietly confident, melancholy country songs as played by an bubbly indiepop band”. It’s very lovely, plus they also reference Shakira in album title track “A Thousand Half-Truths” and who doesn’t love Shakira?
Indie-pop is always divisive, and some may well find this a touch saccharine. Some people have no heart after all! Plus you might hate foreigners because Nick Griffin told you to, if that’s you please stop reading my blog immediately, thanks!