Minor Majority’s eighth record is characterized by two major changes; the corona pandemic and a replacement in the band. In the wake of Minor Majority’s Norwegian tour in 2019, guitarist Jon Arild Nupen-Stieng chose to quit. Jon Arild has been with the band since the beginning of 2001 and made seven albums and played hundreds of concerts with the band.
Songwriter Pål Angelskår says:
“When Jon Arild gave up, I had to ask myself if I wanted to continue with the band. For me, his guitar playing has been an essential part our sound. It took a long time to accept that he quit and even longer to realize that, after all, there may be some new opportunities in such a change. With that acceptance came the desire to write songs again.”
However, the pandemic did not allow these songs to be made in the rehearsal room with the rest of the band. Thus, most of the songs were made and arranged in the studio together with producer Roar Nilsen, who also gradually took over Jon Arild’s role as guitarist. At this time Nilsen had just quit playing bass in the Norwegian band The Dogs and was excited to play guitar again. He says:
“There’s always been a part of me looking to play more guitar, after all, that’s why I took out studio loans once upon a time. As a producer, I often contribute to recordings, but I have played in bands since I was a youth and that is an important marker of identity for me. The Dogs escalated from a bi-instrument band to a far more immersive thing, but when the pandemic stopped the progress it also coincided with my desire to pursue other musical directions and projects, and to focus on my main instrument which is guitar. Pål and I have worked together for a long time, both on his solo albums and with Minor Majority, and we have a common ground in the love of a good song. It was therefore an easy choice for me when the opportunity arose to work more closely on the music and with the band, not only as a producer and arranger but also as a permanent member, guitarist and contributor.”
After a trio tour in the summer and autumn of 2020, bassist Henrik Widerøe also became more involved in the arrangement of the new songs. Widerøe says:
“Both the trio concerts during the pandemic and the absence of Jon Arild have meant that I have had to look at my role with new eyes. My backing vocals, for example, have become more important than before. I have wanted to preserve our musical expression while at the same time it has been right and important to find some kind of new starting point. It feels like everyone’s been able to do that.”
The rest of the band was sent songs before recording in the studio. Musical proposals were shared digitally without what we would normally do with joint rehearsals prior to a recording. In this sense, it has become a different process where the record has been created in a digital and unsynchronous interaction that has solved a difficult challenge for an extraordinary year.
“The Universe Would Have to Adjust” consists of nine new songs. In addition to the regular band members, Kristine Marie Asvang (The Secret Sound of Dreamwalkers) and longtime collaborator Karen Jo Fields also contribute vocals on four and two songs respectively. The quartet Oslo Session Strings contributes strings on two songs (“Should Have Been Easy”, “Hey Sister”), Geir Sundstøl plays Pedal Steel on “Julia Jacklin’s Voice”.
Martin Nordahl Andersen – Acoustic guitar – It Doesn’t Matter, It’s Ok
Kristine Marie Asvang: Vocals – It Doesn’t Matter It’s Ok, Should Have Been Easy, Clouds Let Them Come, Rain Let It Fall, Hey Sister
Karen Jo Fields: Vocals – (Looking for) Truth in the Vocal Booth, Julia Jacklin’s Voice
André Orvik : Violin – Should Have Been Easy, Hey Sister
Vegard Johnsen: Violin – Should Have Been Easy, Hey Sister
Jon Wien Sønstebo: Viola – Should Have Been Easy, Hey Sister
Hans Josef Groh: Cello – Should Have Been Easy, Hey Sister
Geir Sundstøl: Pedal Steel – Julia Jacklin’s Voice
Karl-Joakim Wisløff: Organ – Hey Sister
Have a good listen!
With songs such as Dancing in the Backyard, Come Back to Me, (In That) Premature Way, and not least Supergirl, Minor Majority helped define the first musical decade of the new millennial in their native country Norway. With the albums Up for You & I (2004) and Reasons to Hang Around (2006) they also gained international attention, especially in France, Germany and Switzerland. In 2019 the band made an album comeback with Napkin Poetry.
Minor Majority debuted in 2001 with the album Walking Home from Nicole’s and has released seven critically acclaimed albums. In 2006, they won the norwegian Grammy “spellemannprisen” in the pop category for the album “Reasons to Hang Around”. The band has played over 700 concerts and toured all over Europe.
Pål Angelskår: vocals, acoustic guitar
Henrik Harr Widerøe: Bass, vocals, banjo, flute
Roar Nilsen: Acoustic and electric guitars
Harald Sommerstad: Keyboards
Halvor Høgh Winsnes : Drums and Percussion
Artist Biography by K. Ross Hoffman
Norway’s Minor Majority plays gentle, polished acoustic folk-pop with a sophisticated, sometimes country-tinged vibe. Like their similarly hushed countrymen Kings of Convenience, Sweden’s Nicolai Dunger (circa Tranquil Isolation), and Iceland’s Funerals, they manage to assimilate a distinctly American strain of rootsy melancholia into a style that only subtly hints at their Scandinavian origin. Formed in 2000 as a studio project of Pål Angelskår and Andreas Berczelly, the group has steadily gained members, acclaim, and commercial success over the course of several albums released throughout the 2000s. Singer/songwriter Karen Jo Field contributed vocals (but did not join the duo) for their 2001 debut, Walking Home from Nicole’s, and guitarist Jon Arild Stieng joined the group that fall, enabling them to tour for the first time, in spring of 2002. Berczelly left the band before If I Told You, You Were Beautiful was recorded at Stieng’s house in Oslo — but he stuck around as a producer for that and each of the band’s subsequent releases. 2003 saw the addition of keyboardist Harald Sommerstad, drummer Halvor Høgh Winsnes, and bassist Henrik Widerøe — solidifying the five-member lineup that would record their third album. Up for You and I, recorded at Sommerstad’s cabin and released in January 2004, spent 24 weeks on the Norwegian album charts, peaking at number four, going gold and garnering nominations for best Norwegian pop album that year. Reasons to Hang Around (recorded in Berczelly’s studio throughout 2005, released in January 2006) was similarly successful, reaching number two on the chart and spawning two Top 20 singles in “Come Back to Me” and “Supergirl.” The retrospective Candy Store, a two-disc set including a greatest-hits compilation and a second disc of unreleased material from throughout their career, debuted at number three in August 2007.
Minor Majority’s sixth Album, Either Way I think You Know was released in 2009 and was followed by extensive touring.
After a 6 years break, Minor Majority released a new song, “I´ve Been Here Before”. A continuation of the sound they had when they paused their professional career as Minor Majority in 2010. Four singles later, the 7th studio album “Napkin Poetry” is released January 2019.
The Norwegian pop/rock/folk band Minor Majority has from the beginning in 2001 developed from a small indie-act to become one of the bestselling artists in Norway, playing in sold-out venues all over the country. The band is a critically acclaimed live- and album artist also in France, Switzerland and Germany and has toured extensively in these territories.
With more than 12 songs listed on national radio, Minor Majority received a gold album for “Candy Store”, Reasons to hang around” and “Up for you and I”.
Minor Majority has been nominated for Norwegian Grammy “Spellemannsprisen” twice and the independent labels award “Alarm” and won “best pop group” at Spellemannsprisen 2007 for Reasons To Hang Around.
“I´ve Been Here Before” is produced by the “Grammy Award winning producer” Roar Nilsen. Mixed by Georg Tanderø (A-ha, Bjørn Eidsvåg, Jarle Bernhoft, Satyricon, Donkeyboy, Katzenjammer) and mastered by Grammy and Pensado award winning mastering engineer Brad Blackwood (Maroon 5, Lamb of God, Korn, Alison Krauss & Union Station, the Black Eyed Peas, Sara Bareilles, Sick Puppies, Thursday, Saving Abel, the North Mississippi Allstars, Sister Hazel)
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