Despite Bergen’s status as a creative hub, it is hard for bands to develop outside of the capital Oslo. It is a situation not unique to Norway; the capital city’s size and potential market are obviously attracting factors, and there are ultimately a much greater number of opportunities to be found in a bustling metropolis. Smalltown Supersound represent one such opportunity, and are responsible for many of the Norwegian bands who are causing a stir overseas at the moment. This independent label was founded by Joakim Haugland, and retains a very personal focus: signings are often based on Haugland’s taste, and he has said of spin-off jazz label Smalltown Superjazz; ‘what feels right I do’. The initial label was set up to deal with electronica, jazz and rock, and it is probably in the former genre that they have achieved greatest success. Almost all of Norway’s premier electronic artists call the label home: celebrated house producer and Bergen-native Bjørn Torske, Lindstrøm, DiskJokke and Mental Overdrive, all of whom have achieved moderate international success, whilst acts like Tussle and Kim Hiorthoy are on the brink of similar acknowledgement. Smalltown Supersound also boasts one of the forerunners of the Scandinavian nu-jazz scene, Jaga Jazzist, whose 2002 album A Livingroom Hush was named jazz album of the year by no less of an authority than the BBC. Perhaps the biggest feathers in the Smalltown cap, however, are two of the most talked about Norwegian albums of the last couple of years: the self-titled debut by kraut/space rockers 120 Days and Dreams, the first effort from Erlend Øye-fronted The Whitest Boy Alive. All in all Smalltown Supersound are probably the foremost purveyors of innovative and internationally recognised new Norwegian music.
Label Profile: Smalltown Supersound