Todd & Karen – SINGLES (album)

Todd & Karen – SINGLES (album)

Todd & Karen are an indie pop duo consisting of Norwegian musician Øyvind Berge and Irish-Swiss musician Ina Verdi-Ruckstuhl. Based in Kongsberg (Norway) they’ve created pop music together since 2020.

In 2021 their debut single ‘Mr. Beardsley’ was released on their own label. Two more self-released singles followed before they were picked up by Danish indie label Sublime Exile Recordings/SXR Music Group. Together with them they’ve released one EP ‘Approximately Here For A Bit’ and four singles, the latest of which ‘Bougie Suzie’ was released on March 15th.

On April 5th the duo releases their first full-length album ‘SINGLES’. 

“The album title ‘SINGLES’ is pretty self-explanatory. It’s a collection of our seven singles to date and one track from our previously released EP. So there’s no great mystery to it actually. It’s a neat way of dividing the songs up, we feel. In a way we look at this as chapter 1 and we can close that. Now we are freed up to go ahead and think about how we’re going to attack the many other ideas we have. We can’t wait for chapter 2.”

The album is released digitally, but also on CD, marking their first physical release. The album can be presaved and preordered here.

“When we started Todd & Karen, we started writing songs from a made up universe that we called ‘Beardsley Boulevard’. It was great to have that universe as a writing vehicle to write. It gave us freedom to make up some really quirky characters. We’ve strayed somewhat from the universe idea later on, but keen listeners will hear that there are some songs here that could be linked together. For instance, you’ll hear concrete lyrical referencing between track 1 (‘Mr. Beardsley’) and track 8 (‘Bougie Suzie’). Other songs from this universe are ‘Barbara Barbara Barbara’ and ‘Cosmo Crowd’. The others could easily be included but weren’t written specifically with this world in mind. We have other fully fledged songs from ‘Beardsley Boulevard’ that haven’t been recorded yet, so maybe down the line there’ll be a concept album/pop opera coming where they’re all connected. In the meantime, the diehards will just have to connect the dots.”

What’s the most accessible song on the album?

“That’s a quite difficult question to give a specific answer to, it kind of depends on the listener and what mood you’re in. We said before that we want all our new singles to sound distinctly different from the one directly preceding it. We think we’ve managed this and hopefully the listeners will agree when they play the record all the way through. If you like Beatlesque and Britpop, a song like ‘Cosmo Crowd’ will hit the spot. On the other hand, if slightly jazzy, acoustic vibes is your jam, ‘Norwegian Summer’ could be a very immediate song. For the casual lover of current pop music, though, I guess we’d have to say that ‘Juicy Gossip From The Mothership’ is the most modern sounding song and probably the one with the biggest mainstream hit potential. It is a very bouncy song with a mean bass driven beat to it, of which we are immensely proud. Sadly, due to contractual obligations, we cannot disclose who mixed and mastered that tune, but suffice to say he is an absolute legend within the recording industry. He has worked with some proper hotshots like Beyonce, The Script, Toni Braxton and Billy Joel, to name but a few. We call him “the Hotshot”.”

Do you have a favourite song on the album? Which one and why is it your favourite?

Øyvind: “I’d say that my personal favourite is ‘Blackpool Lights’, for several reasons. Firstly, the melody just came out of the blue. In fact, I was watching a football game between England and Germany and out of thin air came this melody that sounded like the love child of The Beatles and The Kinks. It practically wrote itself and I had the all of the music and the arrangement worked out in no time at all…whilst still watching the game and loving that England trashed Germany. Sorry German fans…I am very much an England fan – as long as Norway keeps not qualifying. Secondly, we had a great time recording this in the studio. Sigve Høghaug, our by now longtime producer and partner in crime, really helped us out and captured those Britpop vibes. I got very excited when we managed to put those train announcements and all on it. If there are any train nerds out there, you can hear the stations on the ‘York-Blackpool’ line in the middle 8! Book your tickets to New Pudsey and Hebden Bridge now. Yeah, it was just a thrill making it be so Beatlesque and 60s sounding.” 

Ina: “My favourite song would have to be ‘Bougie Suzie’. It is an unquestionably catchy tune and the lyrics make me chuckle on every listen. The song also makes a nod to one of our first releases, ‘Mr. Beardsley’, which ties our different singles together nicely. Another one that stands out for me is ‘Norwegian Summer’ as we made the final recordings in my baby’s nursery. It turns out, that room had the best acoustics in the house! Releasing a new single goes hand in hand with a mixture of excitement and nervousness. We dabble with some more explicit language in our later singles. Quite a nail-biter for Karen!”

Are you planning any videos for your music? Do you make them yourself?

“We have released music videos for four of our singles now. Our first proper music video was for ‘Blackpool Lights’ and was put together by Lasse de Flon at SXR Music Group. Following on from that we’ve shot three more videos ourselves. ‘Norwegian Summer’ featuring Nicoline Verdi Petersen as the “sun hungry Norwegian”, ‘Juicy Gossip From The Mothership’ which we shot on a sunny autumn day in Kongsberg, and last, but not least, our latest video for our recent single ‘Bougie Suzie’, which we shot just a few weeks ago and released in late March. The last one shows us writing and coming up with ideas at what we call ‘Shabby Road Studios’, which essentially is a home studio setup at Øyvind’s house.”

“It’s great to have videos to go with the music, especially now that most indie music is primarily only released digitally. It adds a bit to the artwork and buzz around the whole thing. At least for us. We’re a bit old school, probably.”

(Cover art by Lasse de Flon, band photo by Nicoline Verdi Petersen)


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