We love finding fellow fans of anything Nordic, and we were absolutely delighted to discover a new music event called Nordic Nights. The first event in May focuses on music talent and emerging artists from Norway, and the organisers hope to repeat the event regularly with different bands from all over the Nordic region.
We contacted the event organiser, Andy, to find out how he fell in love with all things Nordic and why he started this evening celebration of music talent, which we will be attending and highly recommend those with an evening free in London to come and join us!
Nordic Watchlist: Andy, when did your love for all things Nordic begin?
Andy: It sort of began by accident when I started writing for The Line of Best Fit in 2012. One of the first album reviews I did was for Team Me’s To The Treetops! (fun fact, still working with Anders from the band in his new project Kyss pa Halsen), and that led me into a world of Scandinavian pop at a time when it was the buzziest thing: Air France, Korallreven, Radio Dept, Robyn, Sigrid, Aurora etc were all starting to break through around then and there was a lot to write about, so I sort of became the unofficial new Nordic music guy.
I think I might have been the first writer to cover Sigrid in the UK (maybe!). And from visits to many showcases (I think in less than ten years I’ve been to Norway around fifteen times haha) I built up a lot of good friendships and contacts, so when it came to the change to PR, it made sense to use those contacts. And basically, I still love Nordic pop music so I’m lucky to work with plenty of amazing artists.
But even before then, in my early 20s I took solo holidays to both Stockholm and Oslo and just had the best time, at a time when I really needed a change of scenery. Norway’s a second home. I truly love it.
Nordic Watchlist: What is Nordic Nights and what lead you to create it?
Andy: Nordic Nights is a showcase evening at Colours Hoxton in London, focusing on the best new music from Scandinavia, in partnership with a festival that curate the artists appearing. The idea actually came from one of our collaborators, Matt Hanner of Runway, a booking agency based in London.
We, to keep the theme going, met at Trondheim Calling many years ago and always see each other at similar events. So at Bergen’s Vill Vill Vest in 2022 he hit upon the idea of Nordic Nights as something that might work given that the much loved Ja Ja Ja evening at The Lexington in London no longer takes place.
What we’ve added though, through our experiences and contacts at Bright Dead Things (which I run with my partner Jess Partridge and is split into BDT Sounds, the PR side of things, and Sounds & Strategy, which is more export, community and talent development) and Runway is an element of export to make sure the artists take full advantage of their time in London.
So we’re setting up meetings with people from the industry they’d like to meet – be it labels, publishing, sync, bookers, promoters, producers – the day before the show, and then all these industry people should come along the next night to see some amazing music, and maybe even get a little trip to this year’s Vill Vill Vest. The Norwegian embassy in London is kindly throwing a lot of support behind Nordic Nights and Music Norway have provided the artists with some funding too.
Oh, and Floating Studio has produced some gorgeous artwork for us!
Nordic Watchlist: Tell us about the artists you have lined up for Nordic Nights?
Andy: So we’re bringing three of the most exciting artists in Norway right now, who will all be playing VVV later this year, all of whom we feel are ready to hit the UK with their various, disparate genres of music.
Noah Johansen’s music as Whammyboy is influenced by the likes of MGMT and Empire of the Sun, but adds thumping beats and a stunning light show. He calls his music “space pop” and I can’t really argue with that. He shows up, he brings the party!
Niilas, a composer and electronic music artist works within the framework of club music but weaves deep bass, ambient music and techno into his compositions, which all have a thread back to his indigenous Sami background. Having won the Spelleman (the Norwegian version of the Grammys) for Best Electronic Album in 2020,, we feel the time is right to introduce him to a UK audience.
Ævestaden are a trio of multi-instrumentalists who combine the early and modern, both in their instruments and in the music they play, which takes from traditional Nordic folk songs and places them within a modern setting. Playing with form and arrangements, the Norwegian/Swedish collective make incredibly atmospheric music that needs to be heard up close and live.
Nordic Watchlist: Are there more events planned with featured artists from other Nordic regions?
Andy: This is our plan, yes! We’d like to make Nordic Nights a regular event, maybe quarterly as monthly is just a little too ambitious right now. We’d like to work with showcase festivals from Denmark (hi, SPOT festival!), Sweden and Finland…with one eye on Iceland, Greenland and Faroe Islands too in the future. There’s so much great music from the region and we’d love to introduce more artists to a UK audience.
Nordic Watchlist: Which Nordic TV series, film, and album would be high on your recommendation list?
Andy: I don’t know how recent you’d like this to be but I enjoyed Okkupert despite the absurdity of the plot….although is it now less absurd given what Russia is up to these days? I demand a season 4 haha.
In terms of films, I’m yet to get round to watching Triangle of Sadness, so maybe 22 July would be a choice. It’s really moving, and haunting, and captures the horror of what Anders Breivik did that day. I’d also recommend Åsne Seierstad’s book One Of Us about him, it’s terrific.
In terms of albums, if I could recommend one by an artist I work with, it would be døssi. Her love, let go and love again album is truly beautiful. Another true classic would be Susanne Sundfør’s Ten Love Songs and Efterklang’s Piramida album.
We are so excited to go to Nordic Nights in a couple of weeks! Join us there at Colours Hoxton, 2-4 Hoxton Square London N1 6NU on Wednesday 3rd May, starting at 7.30pm.
Tickets are £10 and you can get more info and tickets at http://www.nordicnights.co.uk