Todd & Karen are a Norwegian-Irish pop duo consisting of Norwegian Øyvind Berge and Irish Ina Verdi-Ruckstuhl. Under this moniker they create their quirky, ironic and melodious indie, steeped in late 60s-Beatlesque psychedelia and American West Coast pop references. The duo themselves cite The Beatles, The Kinks, The Byrds, Beach Boys, Oasis, The Divine Comedy, ELO, Simon & Garfunkel and Monty Python as some of their main influences.
Todd & Karen met at work, both working as schoolteachers at an IB primary school in Kongsberg (Norway) and got to know each other through the social committee. After a period of creating and performing birthday jingles for their colleagues, typically personalized versions of classic hits, they realized that they had a lot of common references when it came to humour, but above all they clicked when it came to the same kind of music. An idea took shape: “Let’s stop messing about and start creating some hits!” Initially called Quirky Haggis, a friend of the band drily remarked: “That’s too much, guys. You’re trying too hard. You might as well call yourselves Todd & Karen.” And from then on, that’s been their name.
In late 2021/early 2022, their first recording sessions took place, and together with producer Sigve Høghaug they recorded their first three singles. In the summer of 2022 they signed a deal with the Danish indie label Sublime Exile Recordings and released their debut EP ‘Approximately Here For A Bit’ and their latest single ‘Blackpool Lights’ through them. Their new single ‘Norwegian Summer’ is out 9th June. A pre-save link is available here.
“The song is about the extremely fleeting concept of a Norwegian summer. The lyrics are an attempt at trivializing the depressingly short Norwegian summer. We’re two perpetual pessimists who wrote a song about the seemingly endless winter up north. When summer arrives in Norway, it’s usually on a Thursday morning in early August. And it lasts about five hours before it leaves again. In our own quirky way, we’ve hopefully captured this very Scandinavian feeling. The summer and the song’s success are fleeting, thus far.”
“To be honest, it was a special moment where we kind of just tuned into the ether and they were just there readymade as we made the melody. Our creative juices were flowing, as the snow was melting. It was one of those special moments.”
“It’s a special song for us in that it is a bit of a diversion musically and stylistically. It’s a song that has more of an acoustic, jazzy vibe than most of our previous hits. We’re going out on a limb with this one. It’s a midtempo, acoustic ditty with some intricate jazz chords and some slightly sinister progressions that will take the listeners out of their comfort zones. It ensnares you, lulls you into a false sense of security. It’s a bit like a mini-Nordic noir. Everything seems idyllic and safe on the surface, but underneath lurks the darkness. Listen to the outro, and you’ll get what we’re saying.”
“If you go back to our other songs, you’ll find they are quite reminiscent of late 60s psychedelia and Beatle-esquetunes. Todd’s been on lead vocals up until now, but on this one Karen steps up and takes center stage. You’ll also find that this is the most sparse and acoustic sounding number we’ve done.”
“We wrote this song whilst doing string overdubs on our most successful song to date, ‘Cosmo Crowd’, which was in March 2022, if memory serves. It just arrived and we just followed it to the finishing line. It’s almost as if we didn’t write it. The fact that this is song more or less came out of the blue whilst we were putting the finishing touches to what has proved to be our most popular song to date made it kind of magic! We’re taking it as a good sign that there’s something special about this tune as well.”
“The song was mostly recorded with our producer Sigve Høghaug – aka “George Martin of the North” – at his studio in Gran, Hadeland (Norway). It’s this lovely small room with a lot of atmosphere to it. Some additional takes were done at “Shabby Road”, our mobile home studio setup. Sigve mixed it also, and we must give a shout out to Magnus at Jelöy Sound Mastering who’ve been mastering all our tracks so far. So good!”
“There is a video on the way! It was shot on the Vestfold coast of Norway on a little hideaway beach. Don’t be fooled by the beautifully picturesque backdrop: the freezing cold water will make you jump right back into your wool socks. The video was shot on a spontaneous Saturday afternoon, with our very willing and very Norwegian model, Nicoline Verdi Petersen.”
Written by: leancool20
Approximately Here For A Bit Blackpool Lights Ina Verdi-Ruckstuhl Jelöy Sound Mastering Nicoline Verdi Petersen Norway Norwegian Summer Øyvind Berge Sigve Høghaug Simon & Garfunkel Todd and Karen Vestfold coast
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