Lying low in a hammock in the shade, out of the glare of the high Summer sun is a relatively new, cosily small and very chilled indie record label. Going under the name No Forevers, it was set up in the Norwegian music hub of Trondheim in November 2014 by the not so small, but very VERY chilled, Jonny Hanger Humstad. A dude of eclectic taste, with a penchant for ‘fine alcohol’, Sami music and baseball caps, Humstad is to the Norwegian music industry as rain is to Ireland. There can’t be many folks working in the business who don’t already know Jonny, or, at least if they don’t know him, haven’t heard his name.
Sometime musician, DJ, singer (uses term loosely), venue manager, band manager, label boss and lumberjack, Humstad has a keen ear and well honed antennae for picking up raw talent on his NF radar.
His No Forevers roster is made up of a close knit coterie of very diverse but exceptionally talented musicians from alt-jazz artist Kari Harneshaug (undoubtedly the Queen of TC2016) to the more pop ‘fluenced quartet Østfrost whose magical harmonium/viola combo and powerful live performances set them apart from the many others who tag themselves with the indie label. It is more like a familial community than an industry standard ‘sign on the dotted line’ label, and that’s the way both he and his artists like it.
This year, KlubbØya – the customary club night opener for Øyafestivalen (Norway’s answer to Glastonbury) and vehicle for showcasing indigenous emerging talent – will feature no less than four acts from that tightknit No Forevers family – Antler, nrwy, High Tone Low & Sgrow.
Antler are a relatively new young band who recorded and co-produced their first album back in 2015 with the folks at Greener Studios. ‘Bon Bons’ was debuted to much acclaim in April of this year, you can read my review here, and since its release, the band has been gigging furiously across the Norwegian circuit. They have also been working on some new sounds … so watch this ” ” for some new tuunnes. Antler ‘live’, have to be seen to be believed – they are incredibly, stupendously & stupidly good. I saw them when they played Rockheim during TC’16 and the packed-to-capacity audience was more than a little in awe. Antler play Kampen Bistro 10pm (22.00) – be there, or miss out, BIG TIME.
Multifaceted nrwy are a serious ‘old skool’ rock outfit in the mould of Metallica and Black Sabbath with a hint of Manics and a nod to Queens of the Stone Age. Propulsive drum beats smashing against guitar chords akin to rolling thunder with controlled, forceful vocals at the helm, bear all the hallmarks of ‘classic rock’ in the true and original sense of the term. Their single, ‘When All Else Fails’, which I reviewed and which was released last December, was followed up with the album, ‘Not Now’ which you can find on Spotify, Tidal and Amazon etc. Be prepared to have your ears burnt and your nerve endings shot to shit. Or, bring a pair of ear muffs. Either way, they play Uhørt 9pm (21.00) … your call!
I was on holiday when the latest single from High Tone Low was released – so I missed all the fun, meh! ‘101’ is a psychedelic trip down a very rocky highway of fraught, zipping guitars, dreamy acid-trip vocal clouds – with some growls thrown in ad hoc for good measure – and seriously compulsive beats. The band are currently working on new sounds – we’re all ears guys. Anyone with a tendency towards multi-coloured, adventurous instrumental rock with a 70’s vibe, will need to get down with these dudes. They rock the mic at SubScene 11pm (23.00) – I’m game!
Which just leaves us with these guys – experimental electronic duo, Sgrow. With a new single due out this week – the 5th in fact – ahead of their set at MIR next Tuesday, these guys have a lot to be excited about. Sgrow’s deliciously dark music came weaving its hypnotic spell on our world with the 2015 release of their debut album, ‘Terrors and Ecstasies’. Part electro fantasy, part techno, Sgrow’s sound is as lush and rich as treacle. Peppered with zipping bullets of electro-pulses that bring it to life it is topped with an ever-evolving vocal that scales from stringent iciness to whipped airy delicateness in sufficient spades to counter the dense electronic undergrowth. Be prepared to be mesmerised at 9pm (21.00) in MIR! Smelling salts may be required!
For more information on the No Forevers label, jump aboard their Facebook page, here. Full details of the festival programme and all participating artists as well as the festival environmental mission statement can be found on the Øyafestivalen website, http://oyafestivalen.no/ (click UK flag for English version).