January 23, 2013

Unlike its meatball-loving neighbor, Norway hasn’t had much luck exporting its music scene stateside. Beyond a few names like Sondre Lerche and Röyksopp, Norwegian musicians have resigned themselves to spreading their sounds across Scandinavia and the rest of Europe. Enter Young Dreams, a collective of Bergen-based musicians who revolve around the core group of Matias Tellez, his brother Pablo, Rune Vanderskog, Marius Erster Bergesen, Njål Strøm Paulsberg, and  Chris Holm. Think of them as Norway’s answer to Broken Social Scene, with each member deeply involved in various side projects, and with a revolving door of other musicians joining forces with the core band. Now, courtesy of Modular, Young Dreams are releasing their debut album, Between Places, an airy composite that feels like a time warp: from ’60s dream pop, to ’90s trance to modern-day indie rock and back again.

We caught up with them waaaay back last summer, backstage at Oslo’s Oya music festival, and asked them a few questions, but to really get a sense of who these boys are, we’re happy to premiere the mini-documentary A Portrait of Young Dreams, directed by frequent collaborator Kristoffer Borgli. The ten minute doc, shot in their hometown of Bergen, features a live performance of the band’s new single “First Days of Something,” and should get you properly psyched for their US debut at SXSW in March. United States, meet Young Dreams.

Tell me about the history of your band.
We’ve talked about this a bit in interviews. Bergen is a really small music city and scene, so it’s easy to get a foot in there and kind of touch and feel and maybe talk to a lot of people. It’s not divided up into sub genres, so everyone interacts with each other.

How does Bergen compare to Oslo in terms of music community?
Oslo is a bigger city so obviously the punks have got their own thing, the metal kids have their own thing, and so onThey play genres instead of trying to mix stuff up. That wouldn’t happen in Bergen. It’d be too obvious.

What are some of the bands right now in America that you really like?
Like present? We don’t listen to much present music. But Girls and Best Coast are good. We like the Grizzly Bear guys, also. They always do good things. But Best Coast just played a terrible show. Sorry if you know her. That was terrible. We listen to a lot of older stuff. us or for anyone else.

Is the album finished?
Yeah. The master. It’s been for a while. It takes time, you know, record labels, printing.

What’s considered a success in Norway in terms of record sales?
We don’t know anymore. It’s always changing. We don’t think the record industry likes to go out with numbers anymore.

It’s not a measure of success anymore, I guess.
It’s all about streaming now, and vinyls for the fans, but physical copies? We have no idea. And CDs are almost dead.

American audiences are going to read this interview. What’s one song you would tell them to check out that encapsulates what Young Dreams is?
Out of the ones that are released? It’s tough to say. “Fog of War,” probably.  They should check that out to kind of get the feel of the album.

How would you describe your band if you had to?
It’s just a bit more mixed up. Like usually, when people ask what the music is like we usually tell them that it’s symphonic pop mixed with how trance music would be if it were made in the ‘60s. I call it something similar like symphonic trance pop psychidelia. From one part it has an Italian vibe, like Ennio Morricone, to suddenly a romantic or classic vibe. And then suddenly to the west coast ‘60s. And then right back to a trance hall. That’s a pretty cool genre name. Our genre is trance hall. It’s a good Freudian slip.

Photography by Andrew Amorin

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