Exploring The Emerging Pop Scene In Norway

Exploring The Emerging Pop Scene In Norway

Meet four Norwegian pop artists changing the game.

Meet four Norwegian pop artists changing the game.

Text: Ilana Kaplan

For 19 years, Oya has been the summer’s main attraction in Oslo, Norway. You’ll be hard-pressed to find any trash on the ground or any festival that’s more organized. And while Norway may have gotten a reputation for its heavy metal and electronic scenes, it’s becoming quite the hub for pop music. Sweden has long been seen as the holy ground of all things pop (praise Robyn), but it looks like there’s a little bit of competition coming straight from Oslo. Alongside Lana Del Rey and The xx were burgeoning Norwegian artists who aren’t to be overlooked. See how four of them are changing the pop game.

Strange Hellos 

Who: A seven-piece power-pop outfit from Bergen named after TORRES’ song “Strange Hellos”

Sounds Like: The nostalgia of Teenage Fanclub paired with the darkness of The Jesus And Mary Chain

On the Norwegian Pop Scene: “There’s a lot happening in the city where we’re from Bergen [including artists like] AURORA and Sigrid. Some of us are involved in those projects. Strange Hellos was a way for us to do something different, play guitar and be in a big band. We call [our music] “new power pop.” There aren’t a lot of bands like us around today, so we wanted to write songs in the same feel of Big Star and bands with big choruses.”

Track Recommendation: “Monumental”

Hajk

Who: A dreamy five-piece pop band from Oslo

Sounds Like: The soaring vocals of Feist with the erratic percussion of Dirty Projectors

On the Norwegian Pop Scene: “We are really inspired by a lot of Norwegian musicians like Mikhael Paskalev or Billie Van, but we tend to show each other music from the last 10 years and all of the new stuff coming out. We like a transparent 70s sound. The fact that kids can record everything themselves in their sleeping room like the big EDM artists that put us on the map in the past five years. We have the space, the time and the opportunity to [make pop]. It goes in waves. In Norway we have one music scene in a way -- everybody knows everybody. If two bands make it in the states, it makes it easier and more inspiring for bands coming after them. For example, Highasakite: they paved the way for other musicians to go to SXSW.”

Track Recommendation: “Not Anymore” 

Pom Poko

Who: A punk-pop quartet from Trondheim named after a Japanese anime

Sounds Like: The spirit of Paramore and the glittery glam-rock of Yeah Yeah Yeahs

On the Norwegian Pop Scene: “There’s a lot of electronic music, and we wanted to do live, energetic music. I think people are a bit tired of the synthesizers and tracks, and they miss the guitar and live music. Watching someone play is a lot different than watching someone press play. [We look up to] BROEN and Jenny Hval.”

Track Recommendation: “It’s A Trap”

Billie Van

Who: An alt-pop singer-songwriter from Oslo

Sounds Like: The energy of Cyndi Lauper combined with the haunting sounds of Lykke Li

On the Norwegian Pop Scene: “I’ve got something different [to offer] than other people. I still write organic music, but I still fit into what’s going on at the moment. All of these female artists using their first names as their artist name like AURORA and Sigrid are blowing up. I think we’re getting bigger and more out there. Sweden used to be the big hub. I think in a year pop is going to be what [Norway] is known for.”

Track Recommendation: “Bitter”

Credits: COVER IMAGE BY ADRIAN WIGERDAL

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