The Northern Disco Lights Road Trip to Svalbård

SEPTEMBER 1

After three years in the making, our film Northern Disco Lights covering the birth and rise of Norwegian dance music has been released, well received, competed at film festivals, won an award, been shown on TV and is now streaming on Red Bull TV. We have just had a big show at London’s Village Underground and the promo cycle is pretty much over, except for one final road trip.

Team NDL are headed to the place that is the most northern bit of Northern Norway…with Viking horns on. In fact, it’s the northern most settlement in the world –Svalbård.

Since seeing Carl Christian Lein Størmer, Per and Aggie Martinsen’s brilliant film Ghost Radio Hunter (go seek) it’s been caught in our imaginations and we’ve been trying to get there ever since. There are more polar bears than people (approx. 3000 / 2400), it’s pitch black for 6 months of the year and has a deserted Soviet mining town. It’s as far North from Tromsø as Tromsø is from Oslo and it’s next stop, the North Pole.

After much manoeuvring, Per (Mental Overdrive) managed to arrange a trip to the island for a screening and party with Mental Overdrive live, myself (Flash Atkins) and the mighty Bjørn Torske. Pete Jenkinson (producer) is along for the trip but unfortunately, the third cog in the production team, camera wizz Terje Rafaelsen won’t be as he’s working. He’ll be missed.

It’s hard to know what to expect from the party but the first thing that comes to mind is Gruff Rhys wearing a robot head in the Patagonian outback and playing to a room full of bemused locals in in his excellent film, Separado!  We shall see.

So it’s time to practise my gun skills (everybody carries them in case of bear attacks) and stock up on vitamin D.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 9

An over night stay in Tromsø where we catch up with Terje and nail the duty free. The city used to feel a long way North, not any more. Forecast for Longyearbyen, -1 and 6 metres per second wind that will make it feel like -10. Coats and snow boots are borrowed.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 10

We get on the once daily flight and take off for the Arctic with additional decks, CDJs and flight cases in tow. It’s an hour and forty minutes and a very strange sensation as it gets steadily darker outside. It really does feel like we are flying into the abyss, especially when the wind picks up and things get pretty choppy. As we start to descend, the aircraft is pushed and pulled around and there is still nothing to see outside. Suddenly landing lights appear at eye height and it’s white-knuckle time. Everybody seems to be holding their breath and there’s a collective exhale as we touch the ground.

So here we are in Longyearbyen, the world’s most Northernmost settlement. We are greeted by Jan Martin Berg (our host for the weekend and the man who put it all together) and Per, and we hook up with Bjørn Torske and Nicolas Horne who’s doing the visuals. Then it’s out in to the wilderness. Town is a few kilometres away but we take a diversion to the “Doomsday” Svalbård Global Seed Vault that stores over a million packets of seeds. It is backup for the world’s other 1,750 banks in case of regional or global crises and it certainly seems like we may need it at the moment.

The rough track climbs up in to the mountain and it seems like we are on another planet, dark, barren and cold. The entrance is just a door with some kind of light installation over the top that makes it feel even more sci-fi. You know when they first get to the cave in Prometheus, like that.

Back in the car we bombard Jan-Martin with questions; how cold does it get (-25 degrees), do you really need a gun for polar bears (yes), do they come in to town (occasionally), how long between the 24 hour dark nights and sun (5 weeks, it changes 20 minutes a day), what’s the most difficult season (it depends on who you ask, but the 24 hour daylight sends people crackers). We find out that all the power comes from the last remaining coal-fired power station in Norway and the irony of it being next door to the seed bank is not lost on us.

The majority of the town is heated by water pipes still hot from cooling down the coal furnaces. It seems to be the only power solution as it’s too gusty for turbines, there is no electricity from the mainland and you can’t dig cables in to the permafrost. Everybody has to have a job and if you are ill or too old to care for yourself, you are shipped out. The main industry was mining, most of which have been shut down and the average stay for Norwegians is 6.3 years, but for foreigners (of which there are over 50 nationalities), 4.3. Everything is shipped in and nothing can grow.

But none of these statistics get over how weird it is. It really does feel like we are at the end of the world and that humans shouldn’t be here. If the power went down, things would go south very quickly.

At the hotel we dump our bags and head straight into town, which is basically one main street with a few shops, bars, diners and a small supermarket. Longyearbyen runs up the middle of a massive valley with mountains on either side. It’s cold and we’re hungry and the café we go to ticks all the stereotypical boxes; wall to wall pine, arctic photos and dead animals everywhere. We then have a look around the shops, most notably one that specialises in every hide imaginable including seal, badger, wolf, reindeer (which now looks great on my bed), brown and polar bears, which come from the Canadian Inuits who are allowed to hunt the bears. But it still seems pretty wrong. I ask if they have any under the counter dodos, they don’t…. or so they say. The polar bears could well be on the endangered list because they have all been killed and stuffed, virtually every building we go in has one, some wearing boxing gloves.

We pop in for a brew with Per’s mother-in-law, Eva Grøndal who is one of the few people to have been born here as her mother hid the pregnancy until it was too late to leave for the mainland (you’re not allowed to give birth on Svalbård). She and Per told us about how her house was destroyed in an avalanche the previous year as a result of global warming in the Arctic, due to above average snowfall.

Once evening came it felt a bit more normal to be in the dark, so we go for a dinner of reindeer (what else?) with the Tromsø KOFOR / RYK crowd and talk about how we can promote Norway in the UK on the back of the film. Then it’s on to the Svalbård Brewery bar on an industrial estate that is jumping with plenty of young beardy, outdoorsy types. When that shuts down we’re off to the Karlsberger Pub which is the local’s drinking hole. It’s going full bore and no surprises considering there are at least 350 bottle of spirits on display and a ceiling that touches your head. We promise ourselves we will go home early to save our energy for tomorrow when suddenly its 2am and last orders are called….whoops.

SATURDAY, 11 NOVEMBER

We wake late in the dark and go for breakfast in the dark, ready for a day in the dark. It constantly feels like 6pm and I can only equate it to having jetlag. There’s a trip out of town to see some huskies and with the horizontal wind rocking the car, you realize just how hostile the environment is.

Off to the sound check at the Kulturhuset and the room is a big hall with brilliant facilities. Its a bit ‘dry’ which will be great for the film, less so for the party. After all the excitement there’s time for a disco nap then over to Eva Grøndal’s gallery, just out of town. I ask Aggie if it’s safe to walk and she isn’t 100% sure as there’s a stretch of road where there are no houses to run in to if there’s a bear. Crikey. The other danger is getting knocked over by vehicles in the dark so everybody is high-vized up to the max. We cadge a lift.

Eva’s mother and father took over 14,000 photos, mainly on Svalbård. She is curating them and they are amazing, like a lost treasure trove from a by-gone era. I look forward to them get the appreciation and audience they deserve.

At dinner (seal carpaccio is on the menu…Pete steps up) we find out that something has gone wrong with the bar in the venue so we’ll have to find somewhere else. It all gets exciting for everybody except Jan-Martin who has his head in his hands as we talk cafés, rooms and sound systems. Truth be known, we are slightly disappointed when the issue gets resolved after 40 minutes and we are back in the Kulturhuset.

At the screening, it’s pretty quiet as it seems word hasn’t really got out. The film kicks off and those that are there, enjoy it. Afterwards Mental Overdrive starts things cooking with a live modular setup that drifts from ambient noodlings in to sublime techno with plenty of cuts from his new album, “Epilogue” on Prins Thomas’ Rett I Fletta label. More people have turned up and we’ve got a party on our hands as Per proceeds to rock it. He is without question one of the great un-sung heroes of Norwegian dance music.

Next, I am going B2B with Bjørn Torske, in my opinion one of the world’s best DJs and most original producers, so I’m super chuffed. The system is immense and those records that sound like they’ve got a bit of grunt at home are suddenly bloody massive. We soon get in to a groove as house gets mixed in to disco and back again: Ulfus’ Guts! – (Funky Gibbons Dub), Dele Sosimi Afrobeat Orchetra – Too Much Information (Laolu Remix Edit), Solid State – Philly Live (Rack’em Edit), DJ Click – Lila Club and finishing off with Brassroots – Good Life. High sweat manoeuvres achieved.

Party over, it’s back to the hotel bar to see the night out and we bombard the locals with questions they must have asked a hundred times before. There’s also talk of how to get back for another party so watch this space.

SUNDAY, 12 NOVEMBER

We start on the two-day trip back to Blighty feeling a bit shell shocked by the experience. It is without question one of the strangest places I have ever been. The proximity to nature and elements, climate and geography and just the isolation makes for a something very weird and wonderful.

Ben Davis

 

Hear two tracks from Mental Overdrive’s live set.

 

Flash Atkins – Death By Misadventure

Flash Atkins was last seen staggering up to Gaddins Dam in Calderdal a number of weeks ago. The police are conducting enquiries, if he had any friends or family they would be worried. In the meantime he left an EP of damn fine house music that we are releasing to help fund the search.
Pray for him.
#wheresflash

Bill Brewster – Dark Night is the best track here. V good.

DJ Rocca – First track is a monster!

Fingerman – Flash Atkins – Phat! Dark Night is ace!

Anthony Mansfield – There yah go!

Sean Johnston (ALFOS) – Lovely work as always!

Severino Panzetta (Horse Meat Disco) – VERY GOOD All of them

James Rod – BIG SUPPORT!!!!

Nutritious – You can’t nap here.

Robot 84 – Killer Jamm ‘dark night of the soul’ can’t wait to play it out, sounds so good…

Pathaan – Superb release ! Expect nothing less…

Daco – Rhea EP

Paper favourite, Captain Daco has been busy in his Spanish tax haven twiddling knobs and busting beats and what twiddles and beats they are!

The Uprise is another take on the arp of I Feel Love but it’s never been done so well. The familiar bass provides the backbone before it comes in at a gallop of swirling synths, rock solid kick and a call for nothing less than revolution. It’s been crushing Paper dancefloors and always achieves total mayhem.

The Galáctica Mix has all the same ingredients but takes a deeper disco route with drops and an arrangement that keeps the floor chomping at the bit.

Faith takes a different direction and it’s super deep house that is trippy and soulful in equal measures. Mikey Raphael provides the vocal and it’s hairs on the back of your neck time.

Sean Johnston (ALFOS) – “Most satisfactory!”

Fingerman – “Devastating”

Anthony Mansfield – “There yah go! Proper head twisting disco glory!”

Pablo Contraband – “Love this will play Galactica mix”

Severino Panzetta (Horse Meat Disco) – “Yes great very Moroder”

Tronik Youth – “Nice re-interpretation”

James Rod – “Cream”

Pammin – “Very cool EP! Thanks”

Pathaan – “Superb ! Love the Donner Summer vibes…”

Aldrin Zouk – “The Uprise should be handy for my Disco/House sets.

Nutritious – “This is some damn fine disco.”

Benoit C – “Cooooooool EP”

Jerry Bouthier – “The I Feel Love re-rub works in both versions thx supportin”

Robot 84 – “Lovin the disco vibes, cool tune!!!”

Sunday Papers – Volume 3

It’s time for the Sunday Paper compilation, featuring some of the more horizontal and forgotten corners of the catalogue.  There are two exclusives with Bergen’s Keyboy making a return to the label and the wondrous GladLaks i Galaxen plus Leftside Wobbles’s unreleased space dub of Leon Sweet’s Sunny Bigler. Add in artists new and old like Jamie L, Crazy P, Maxx Mortimer, Steve Cobby, Flash Atkins, De Fantastiske To, Kahuun plus many more and it’s sunshine all the way.

So crack a tinny / roll a fat one / stick the kettle on / crank the BBQ and dive in.

Northern Disco Lights Hits London

What were clubs playing before they got switched on to dance music?”
“Mostly shit music”

The untold story of a group of teenagers from the remote cities of Bergen and Tromsø set off a chain of events that transform their country.

We are truly excited to announce the screening of the incredible documentary, Northern Disco Lights. In a country where the ripples of disco were never able to reach, it takes an entire new generation to discover the unstoppable force of dance music.

The first half of this evening will feature the Northern Disco Lights screening, beginning at 8pm sharp and with just 200 tickets available. Followed by a Q+A with the film’s creators and Lindstrom and Bjorn Torske who feature in the film.

After the screening, we’ll be throwing a party til the early hours. With Norwegian space-disco wizard, Lindstrom, performing live along with fellow Norwegian cosmic disco star Bjorn Torske. North London duo Idjut Boys, Bill Brewster and resident Dorado. To complete this cosmic lineup is Flash Atkins, director of the Northern Lights film.

Film Trailer – https://goo.gl/ZL4C2L

Entry from 7pm
Film Screening + Party – £30 (limited 200 tickets)

Entry from 10pm
Party 1st release – £15
Party 2nd release – £17.50
Party 3rd release – £20

Programme:
19:00 – 20:00​ – Flash Atkins opening Dj Set​
20:00 – 21:15​ -​​ Film​ Screening ​ ​
21:15 – 21:45​ – Q&A​
21:45 – 06:00​ – Amazing music

Soundersons – Can’t Get Enough inc. DJ Spinna Remix

Paper Recording are back on vinyl with a fantastic debut 12” from Italian duo Soundersons, from the underground house scene of Bologna.

Can’t Get Enough is a deep electro-funk slice of nu disco with Diana G on vocals. It’s got 80s synths and squelches, vocal hooks a plenty, clonking percussion, Rhodes and that Metro Area / Tom Tom Club vibe. Parts I and II are split in to vocal and instrumental over one side of continuous play for maximum dance floor action.

On the flip, the mighty DJ Spinna brings his A game with a deep NYC take that is house music at it’s best. He uses synths, arps and the vocal to build the mix to hit it’s peak at the end.

Finally Education finished things off with a raw disco cut up that hits the floor running and keeps going full pelt. One for the dancers.

Alexander Barck (Jazzanova) – Will play this for sure.

Mark Farina – Dig it!

Tensnake – Education is funky.

Severino Panzetta (Horse Meat Disco) – DOPE DOPE!

Bottin – Super! Reminds me of some of my favourite music

Munk – Very cool. love the vibe in the original and Spinna can’t fail anyway!

Jimpster – Lovely vibe on the original. Like this a lot.

Herbert – Yes sounding great…

Neil Diablo – Good ep! can’t get enough is my pick of the bunch

Belabouche – Cant’t Get Enough is superb.

Stuart Knight – Loving Education.

Nutritious – Nicely done! Spinna mix is crisp!

De Fantastiske To – So good.

Somerville & Wilson – Loving the groovy spacey vibes of Education.

Fingerman – Great stuff.

Sleazy McQueen – Spinna is SICK. Classic Spinna house vibes, top shelf and amazing. I WILL be playing this.

James Rod – BIG SUPPORT!!!

 

2 Billion Beats – Remix EP feat. Leon Sweet, Richard Seaborne & Magnus International

Tom and Col have dusted off their high tops and asked the Paper Allstars to give their favourite album track a rub-down.

Richard Seaborne went for Papa and has kept some 80s flava while stripping things back to the raw groove as only he can. There’s a boogie house bass, a rock sold kick, shaky hats and GizMo adding some warped vocals. Oh, and did I mention the acid?

Leon Sweet returns to the fold and it’s good to have him back on Slow Down. Clipped tech-house drums and hypnotic synths burble along, all held down by a kick that carries some serious weight. Using the chiming and vocals from the original, the track builds to a crescendo that will melt dance floors.

Finally Norway’s finest, Magnus International goes breakbeat with a nod to the glory days of rave as he uses plenty of the original track to weave it’s weave it’s 5am magic.

Vinny Villbass and the Skauern EP

Vinny Villbass is one of the Norwegian artists emerging from the shadows of the Oslo house scene. He co-runs and plays at the seminal Sunkissed, has had releases on Beatservice and Eskimo and is the mustachioed man about town . This is his debut for Paper and we are very pleased to welcome him in to the label’s Nordic family.

En Liten Pose Selvtillit is deep house at it’s finest and harks back to the early Tromsø techno scene pioneered by Biosphere and Mental Overdrive. Crisp production, clipped swinging beats and percussion plus an incessant bass make this one for the summer, before the track builds to a synth break that wobbles it’s way in to the world of the weird.

Kahytten (Full Fest Versjon) has a pulse and drive that will get any club rocking. Loose congas, synth riff, locked in bottom end and a wandering synth hypnotise in to a full blooded dancefloor destroyer. The studio trickery ramps up and we’ve got a fight on our hands.

Kahytten takes the template in a slightly different direction with more pads and if you try hard enough you can hear the sound of the Oslo fjord in the background.

LISTEN on JUNO

De Fantastiske To – When I Want To EP

Norwegian young guns De Fantastiske To are back with two tracks that lift their game to the heavyweight division.

When I Want To is a stripped back vocal bomb. Machine drums and a nagging stab bring the swing before Della’s understated vocals set the soul. Equally at home in big rooms or sweaty basements from London to Sydney, this packs a massive underground punch.

Next up, Skumring keeps things subterranean but drops the BPMS to the chug setting. Clanking percussion, sub and an acid line draw you in to hypnosis before the break introduces a balearic pad and synth line. Then the drums are back and it’s a trip to the end.

Harri (Sub Club) – “Lovely warm up material”

Anthony Mansfield – “Strong release!”

Pete Herbert – “Excellent”

Tronik Youth – “Love Skumring”

Billy Scurry – “Yep, feeling these, very much!! Top work!”

Gold Boy (Midnight Riot) – “Nice work fellas”

Vinny Villbass – “Great tracks. heavy rotation.”

Aldrin Zouk – “Fab slo-slung builder on Skumming! Thanks!!”

Nick Holder (DNH) – “FIRE!”

Francisco Azpiri – “Hard to choose ¡¡¡, both mixes are excellent ¡¡¡ looking forward to spin them in Mexico clubs ¡¡¡”

James Rod -“BIG SUPPORT”

Somerville & Wilson – “Fantastic release from De Fantastiske!! Love both tracks. Especially When I Want To for the Dancefloor”

Richard Seaborne – “Ace…Norway meets Lil Louis”

Project Fear: Vol. 1

Project Fear is a brand new compilation series to showcase the freshest jams from all over the world with the Paper stamp of quality. There’s deep house, dub disco, lounge beats, analogue tech, naggers, nu brit and every other genre you want to shake a rave stick at.

Dancefloor warriors like Tal M. Klein, Anthony Mansfield, Ralph Myerz, Nutritious, Doc L Junior and DJ Rocca nuzzle up to Paper favourites De Fantastiske To, Richard Seaborne, Kimo and Chris Massey plus we welcome Mordisco, Replete, Wilder, Solune, Anthony Mansfield, Sofa Talk and Replete to the fold.

We live in strange times and it is our pleasure and privilege to have friends and artists featured from the USA, Mexico, Italy, Spain, New Zealand, Indonesia, France, Norway and of course the United Kingdom of Blighty.

Love in. Hate Out.

Chris Coco: “Great collection, some cool stuff!”

DJ Rocca: “Great collection of killerfloors! Weedyman is a proper banger tech disco!”

Sean Johnston (ALFOS): “A few right cheeky little nudgers in there! Good work lads”

Severino : “Lots of great gems here”

Will Tramp! :”Another belter from Paper!”

Neil Diablo : “Ooh lovely stuff! some hot jams on here”

Ed Mahon: “Excellent dancefloor tackle!”