Beatservice Records’ Prima Norsk series was an underground dance music staple in Norway in the early 2000’s. The compilations, which numbered three in total gave people an opportunity to sample the very best in Norwegian electronica through artists like Bjørn Torske, Prins Thomas and Todd Terje – household names today in Norway and further afield. “When we released the CDs back in 2000 to 2005 there were a lot of things that were released on small labels on 12” which was hard to get hold of”, says Vidar Hanssen, the man behind Beatservice Records. “The inspiration with Prima Norsk was to make these tracks available to everybody.” During that period, the Prima Norsk series had a hand in much of the newfound interest in Norwegian electronic music and introduced many people to the sound of dance music from the region like no other media before it. “Prima Norsk introduced me to the local scene as a little kid,” says Marius Sommerfeldt of De Fantastiske To, who is helping Vidar re-launch the series. “I remember buying the CDs in my local record store in the suburbs of Oslo. The loopy, dubby, kind of DIY approach to making House music differed a lot from the more international big-room counterparts like Defected, Subliminal and Ministry of Sound.” Representing a new generation of artists in Norway, Marius and De Fantastiske To also stand as a testament to the influence of the series on a younger generation at the time. “I guess you can hear the influences in both my DJ sets and with Ravi in our De Fantastiske To productions. We try to recapture the organic, yet ‘deeper’ side of things.”
It was an endearing series, one which came to an end all too soon, and we’re happy to hear, will be making a return in 2016, although with a slightly different take on the original. “There’s a lot of stuff going on from various artists, but the main difference from then is that everything is available in the digital format”, explains Vidar about his reasons for re-launching the Prima Norsk series. “I hadn’t thought of making a compilation where I collect tracks that are already released, so I talked to Marius and we came to the conclusion to release a compilation with only exclusive tracks.” And as such the Prima Norsk 4 is finally with us and we get an exclusive stream of Vinny Villbass and Ando’s “Moneymaker” from the new compilation. The track embodies the spirit of the compilation, in which Prima Norsk 4 is a little bit of the original series mixed in with the new, featuring artists like Vinny Vilbass and Kohib – artists that featured on some of the first compilations – alongside up and coming artists like De Fantastiske To and Ando. They’ve all contributed new and exclusive releases to this latest chapter in the compilation. But why only now, Vidar? “Between 2005 and now, there have been releases, mostly centred around the Full Pupp label, so to do a compilation with half the artists from the Full Pupp label would have been pointless. But now there are a lot of things going on with many new artists releasing stuff on different labels, so I find the situation a bit similar to the early 2000’s.”
It’s not just about new artists however, but relevant artists participating in the underground – some of which who have always been there, happy to toe the line in the marginal aspects of electronic dance music. “I didn’t want to include artists like Lindstrøm and Prins Thomas this time around, because they are artists that have already found success”, explains Vidar of his selections. Instead he hopes to bring a renewed interest to new Norwegian underground music and the artists that established the scene, in the hope of shining a “spotlight on the scene”, in Norway and abroad, like it did during its first run. It’s contemporaneous with a renewed interest in underground House music from within Norway, one which has seen a healthy increase in club music and -culture and many new artists coming to the fore. “There is so much raw talent coming out from Norway these days and we wanted to showcase that in the ‘Prima Norsk’ way”, says Marius. “There aren’t that many labels focusing on underground club-music in Norway at the moment, so we wanted to build a platform for the artists, which we hopefully could build for the future.” A kickstarter campaign is under way to raise the funds for the physical releases, and both Marius and Vidar see the potential for more Prima Norsk compilations in the future. For the moment however their main focus is Prima Norsk 4 and they’ve been kind enough to give us a taste of what we can expect, before its eventual release.