[Cover photo: Fredrik Saroea with BIT20 Ensemble @ Bergen International Festival, credit to Thor Brødreskift]
Best known as the frontman of global Disco-Punk outfit DATAROCK, Norway’s Fredrik Saroea has replaced the bass-heavy dance beats for strings. Teaming up with the award-winning BIT20 Ensemble (with Martin Shultz on violin, Liene Klava on viola, Agnese Rugevica on cello, Johannes Wik on harp with arrangements by Bjørn Morten Christophersen), Saroea has merged his Indie Rock with the sweep of a string quartet. Debut single “Bergheim” b/w “Understatement Lovesong,” was released shortly before the holidays and heralds a full collection of songs in 2022.
Recorded at Grieg Hall during Norway’s 69th annual Bergen International Festival (which took place on May 28, 2021), both “Bergheim” and “Understatement Lovesong”, the songs premiered as a surprise for audiences.
Saroea comments on “Bergheim”:
I realized there were similarities to the feel of Ennio Morricone’s amazing music from Giuseppe Tornatore’s wonderful film Cinema Paradiso, so I named the song after the Cinema Paradiso of my own childhood. As a kid growing up on an island in Norway, we had our own provincial cinema called Bergheim, and that cinema also served as a community house, a gym for indoor soccer practice, a concert venue – and even housed parties and discos. So I guess the song is a wordless sentimental gaze back to an innocent childhood in the eighties.
Saroea’s first solo album, Rona Diaries (released May 28, 2021), was inspired by everything from Post-Rock via classic Hard-Core (Fugazi), Noise-Rock (U.S. Maple), Space-Rock (Flying Saucer Attack) and Art-Rock (Blonde Redhead) to The Smiths’ indie classics, Sun Kil Moon’s lyrical songwriting and Scott Walker’s ballads.
“Bergheim ” was mixed in Los Angeles by the two-time Grammy winner Mark Rankin (Adele, Queens of the Stone Age, Iggy Pop, Weezer, Foster the People, Florence and the Machine, Harry Styles) and mastered by Mike Marsh in the UK. The single’s artwork was created by Magnus Voll Mathiassen who worked on Rihanna’s Unapologetic and 2021’s Oscars.