Air Max ‘97s two stepping their way through the murky bass-spectrum’s of the UK underground as rolling rhythms undulate under growling voices,spreading the poetry of street. This the sound original pirate material, the sound of illicit airwaves being broadcast from rudimentary FM antennas hanging from a council estate building. It’s the sound of UK garage, two step, funky and what would become grime and dubstep in later years and it’s arrived in Oslo. This is the sound of Løkka FM.
The Oslo DJ collective and party set are bringing the sounds of UKG, two step and bass over to Norwegian shores with events, online radio shows, merchandise and now a label. Featuring a Norwegian-British ensemble of producers, DJs and music fanatics, Løkka FM have become the new ambassadors for a UK sound in Oslo and Norway. The 4-piece have consolidated their efforts around events like the regular takeover in Jaeger’s backyard and more recently, a label
Løkka FM 001 hit the shelves this summer, with Club Quarantine (indoors), a track that channeled their vibe in the booth to a record that hits it hard on the nose under our current situation and showcases the UKG’s ability to move from the dance floor to the airwaves across one track. It features two of the four Løkka FM affiliates with a guest appearance from Nora Pagu, but who are the rest of Løkka FM and how exactly did they arrive at their sound? We reached out to Marius Sommerfeldt, (aka DJ Bangerfeldt) to find out more about the emerging collective as we stream their last session from the sauna.
I’ve heard Løkka FM being referred to as a DJ collective, radio show, event and maybe a label. What exactly is Løkka FM?
Løkka FM is a collective, a club night, a label, party central, an Instagram account, a Norwegian-British culture exchange programme, a neverending messenger-chat, a 2hr-mix production company, a T-Shirt manufacturer, a Premier League discussion forum and an ambulatory radio show. Amongst others.
What were the origins of Løkka FM, and who is involved today?
Løkka FM consists of DJ Bangerfeldt, Toshybot, Goodzee and Andreas 565. Goodzee has been DJ’ing in the UK before moving to Norway, Andreas has been doing different UKG-concepts earlier on, at Revolver and Dattera amongst others, Marius and Toshy has been releasing music for DJ’ing for years… and we’ve all been blending UKG-bangers in our different housey sets, even playing together at different occasions. At the same time we saw a potential to have a bigger impact and cultivate the UK sound if we united in a bigger crew with more outlets. The UK scene has been quite small in Oslo, so it just seemed excessive to compete about the same crowd and the same bookings. In addition we wanted the nights to be fun and a bit more rugged, with Goodzee on the mic and some mix-and-blending throughout the night to make it stand out a bit more from the regular house nights we all have played over the years. And people really seem to catch on!
An honourable mention goes to our designer, Kristian Tennebø for delivering such amazing artwork and packaging for us !
You guys have quite varied backgrounds, but yet Løkka FM is grounded in the sound of House, two-step and garage. What brought you all to this particular sound?
We all have different reasons for loving it – old mix CD’s, MJ Cole, Wookie, UK pirate radio, Air Max 97’s, etc but the timing and the state of UKG is probably a big reason for us doing it now. There’s been a big revival of UKG and 2-step in the UK over the past 6-7 years, with a myriad of young, new producers and DJs fronting a new wave of UKG and UK House and none of us felt it impacted the clubs and parties we attended in Oslo. Whenever we went to London or Birmingham we experienced a young and vibrant scene, whereas in Norway – If UKG-tracks got a spin it tended to be the golden oldies and the usual, predictable stuff. When Løkka FM was formed it was important to recognize these new producers and the new sound as well, and not lean too much on the legacy of great, but also overplayed, UKG-anthems. The sound is therefore evolving with a blend of 4×4, 2-step, bass and vocal chops with a taste of speed garage and bassline when it’s called for! The perfect party-blend!
What is your connection to the world of UKG, and why did you decide to bring it to Oslo?
I guess we all have our different connection and different favourite parts of the sound that make up Løkka FM. Goodzee being from the motherland obviously grew up with UKG and has spent a lifetime with the genre. Andreas 565 has been in Birmingham a lot and done club nights with Birmingham DJs in Oslo and played at their bassey nights. Toshy fell in love with UK garage on an Interrail trip back in 98 and has had a deep love for the genre ever since.
Marius dips into the garage scene came mostly from reading mixmag about the new sound and listening to The Streets, Wookie, MJ Cole and rewinding Nice N´ Ripe bangers too many times, in the late nineties.
We’ve also been embraced by different DJs, radio stations and promoters in the UK from the get go – they seem to find it fascinating that we’re carrying the torch over here as well. We’ve even had legends like Matt Jam Lamont and Zed Bias over which was great fun, obviously! The main reason for doing it might just be that UKG is such a versatile form for club music that people seem to fall in love with, even though they don’t have a clue about Garage or UKG. Even though people don’t know they love it, they tend to after a UKG night regardless. After every party there’s someone approaching us saying “I have no idea what you guys were playing, but it’s great. Where can I find more?”. It kind of spurred us on to not only playing it, but also being more up front about the genre and branding it a bit more.
The “FM” aspect is not something you can ignore, and it evokes something of that nineties/early 2000’s pirate radio spirit. What is the significance of the radio associations to Løkka FM?
When Goodzee is chatting trash on the mic over a bassey 2-step blend it’s hard not to think of pirate radio to be honest. One of the most engaging parts of UKG, and also one of the aspects that sets it apart from more traditional house music is the communication between the DJs and the MCs, and the MCs and the crowd. It has rarely happened in parties in Oslo before Løkka FM, but we love it and we want to emphasize it and develop it even more. When we’ve brought other MCs with us as well the response from the crowd has been great, especially when people get used to the dynamics. Besides, “FM” looks really cool on a shirt, don’t you think?
I don’t suppose you’ve rigged up an antenna on Markveien just yet, but is that something you will be adding to the Løkka FM franchise eventually?
We have been doing different monthly radio shows – AAJA in Deptford, De3p Radio Network and others, but it would be fun to go back to the roots and do an actual FM-set, for sure! Do people still have their old FM-radios though? LØKKA DAB doesn’t sound as sexy, tbh.
You’ve had a few successful nights at Jaeger recently. How do these takeovers consolidate what you’re doing with the rest of the concept?
Jaeger is a great place we’ve all been partying at and we’ve discussed on multiple occasions that the backyard would be a perfect spot for a proper UKG-party, so it was fun making it happen! For us it’s a great way of showcasing a house and garage blend for a crowd that knows club music and is used to the dynamics of a club set, while also throwing in 2-step and bassey tracks to keep it interesting. So far – so good! Hopefully we can grow even more and get some of our current favourites to join us, as soon as the UK lockdown is over as well!
It’s certainly distinctive and there seems to be a shared, dedicated objective to Løkka FM with that accent on a UK sound. How have the Norwegian audiences taken to it from your perspective?
As we mentioned earlier – people really seem to catch on. From the get go we attracted a lot of british expats that were really into UKG and baffled that they finally found a club night in Oslo, but the more nights we do the more people tend to come back. We thought the scene was marginal in Oslo, but we might have underestimated UKG a bit – every night there’s a couple of die hard 2-step fans we’ve never met before approaching us and after the set there’s always at least a couple of people left wanting to talk about what we’ve played. All in all it’s more than enough people buying in to keep us motivated to bring new tracks and new sets… now we’re just dreaming of a post-Covid dance floor going crazy to a shuffled hi-hat!
I’ve heard mention of a label. When can we expect some music, and how much will it reflect what you’re doing in the booth?
Our label seemed like a nice extension to the community, and our first release is already out! Club Quarantine, which is a quirky 2-step banger about staying indoors (Covid-19 style) involves Marius & Tosh as Trudee Nite , Goodzee on the mic, the great Nora Pagu doing backing vocals and 565 finishing a pretty banging remix as we speak (coming soon) Andreas 565 has already been producing some banging UK Garage as 565 – they have a couple of releases on Smashing Trax Records and Pogo House Records as well as different remixes that is worth checking out.
Will the label also be a collective pursuit, or will you be looking to induct artists from outside Løkka FM?
Apart from the local crew, Trudee Nite and 565 doing tracks and remixes, we will be followed by some (hopefully) national and international friends of the UKG community in the future.
What else should we know about Løkka FM ahead of your next night at Jaeger?
Not much to say on this one, except: Keep it locked, keep it safe, keep it Løkka!
For more information visit: