Every time Ephemera Records release
an album, they receive nominations from prestigious Norwegian music
They simply can’t help it.
Norway’s most celebrated popband have their own way of winning
musical hearts over.
Inger Lise Størksen (26), Christine Sandtorv
(28) and Jannicke Larsen (27) spend 2003 releasing great music,
and the first part of 2004 receiving the honours to prove it. Hit
single Girls keep secrets in the strangest ways, is awarded Song
of the year 2003 at the influential alternative Alarmprisen; during
the Bylarm festival in Bergen, February 04. Three weeks later the
girls receive Spelemannprisen – the Norwegian equivalent to
Grammy- for Best Pop Group (04),- as their critically acclaimed
album peaks 25 000 sold albums in Norway.
It doesn’t get much better.
But despite their young age, Ephemera have been
around the block a time or two,- before settling on the penthouse
floor. September 2004 the trio celebrate their tenth anniversary
as a band.
The tale of Ephemera starts out sometime during
the fall of ’94. Inger Lise Størksen (17), girlfriends
Christine Sandtorv (18) and Jannicke Larsen assemble in a basement
in hometown Bergen, Norway - to hit a few chords on borrowed guitars.
The girls however, - being equally shy, - barely dare sing out in
each other’s presence. Luckily the shyness soon evaporates
- leaving nothing but Christine and Jannicke’s raw songwriter
talent – and an immensely beautiful blend of voices.
“Not tonight said the ephemera”.
A mediocre joke, which provides the girls with a name for their
everything but mediocre band. The local press and audience in Bergen
soon acknowledge ephemera, and it doesn’t take record company
BMG long to pick up the vibe either. At the ripe old age of 19 and
20, Inger Lise, Jannicke and Christine are ready to enlighten music
lovers nationwide with their debut album Glue (96). Inspired by
bands such as R.E.M, U2, and Mazzy Star, - plus Swedish act Stina
Nordenstam, - Ephemera’s first record is well received. Critics
describe the material as being original and beautiful. A stunned
After four years of touring, songwriting and
studying, Ephemera release their second album Sun (00). This time
they do it on their own terms by starting up their very own label;
Ephemera records. Renowned producer Yngve L. Sæthre becomes
Ephemera’s musical soul mate while recording in Duper Studio,
Bergen, Norway. Sun contains single hits such as Saddest day and
monumental Happy Grateful Aware, along with the melancholic pearls
Find your way and Bad Deal. Ingerlise also makes her debut as a
songwriter with Perfect and Close – revealing indisputable
talent. Critics adore Sun. The album provides Ephemera with their
first nomination for the Norwegian Grammy; Spellemannprisen, in
the category Best Group. The innovative magazine Natt & Dag
names Sun to be the best Norwegian album to come out in the year
2000. Ephemera also hit it off with 13000 Japanese and Korean record
buyers when releasing Sun in Asia, and are picked up by the BBC
England in order to front their TV-show Attachments with Happy grateful…
and Last Thing. In other words; a whole bunch of laurels upon which
to rest for Ephemera. But the girls are in a hurry to make more
That great Ephemera sound is maintained on
Balloons and Champagne (Ephemera records 01) – the band’s
third album. Again the trio provide the people with knock- out singles
like Last Thing and title track Balloons and Champagne, - only to
sooth souls next, with ballads such as Act and If I’m still
your girl. Their efforts are once more widely appreciated. February
2003 Ephemera receive their first Alarm award for making beautiful
music while running their own label - followed by recognition from
the Norwegian Spelemann committee. Balloons and Champagne provides
the girls with their second nomination for Best Pop Group. And this
time – the silverharp comes with, when the girls return to
By now Ephemera are definitely breaking on through
to a wider audience. Their first class ticket to national fame is
called Girls keep secrets in the strangest ways - an instant hit
- written by one of the country’s finest young songwriters;
Christine Sandtorv. And whilst Girls…is getting the job done
promoting the lush and lovely ephemeral sound on radios January
2003, it’s creators and producer Yngve Sætre are working
late finishing Ephemera’s fourth album- again in Duper Studio.
And when capable talent teams up with perfect timing -things simply
can't go wrong. Air (Ephemera records 03) is a wrap a short week
after the Alarm and Spellemann award frenzy, and fans respond immediately.
Air crashes into the Norwegian charts (VG-lista Topp 40) as number
2 and stays for 15 weeks. A year later the record has sold an impressive
25 000 copies- just in Norway. Critics are more aware of the girls
than ever- and more ecstatic too,- complimenting the girls on songwriting
skills as well as the maintenance of the ephemeral signature sound.
Even though February leaves 2003 with yet another ten months to
go before calling it a wrap,- Girls…is proclaimed Song of
the year by Norwegian music press. Countrysong, Blown and William
Hut- duet Diamonds in the sand, also excite both critics and fans.
Ephemera have always written their own material.
Air is no exception. They also play their own instruments and do
their own vocal arrangements. When they’re not busy running
their own record label that is…As if these activities shouldn’t
cause for a packed schedule, graphic designer Christine also provides
Ephemera with their pastel profile. Covers, posters, flyers and
web – everything is signed csdesign…
Behind the scenes, however, we find a few good men, who –
each in their own way – contribute to create that distinct
Ephemera sound. Yngve L. Sætre is producing Air, as did he
Sun and Balloons and Champagne. Simen Mæhlum (Number Seven
Deli og Jim Stärk) and Ole Ludvig Krüger handles the percussion
while as Per Amund Solberg (Number Seven Deli) flaunts it on the
bass…Alanis Morrisette’s current favourite artist Magnet
also contributes on steel guitar.
After releasing Air, Ephemera definitely make
a move from being local heroines in Bergen to becoming Norway’s
favourite girlfriends. When IL, CS and JL leave for Japan and a
mini tour there,- they bring new members of the extended Ephmera
family; drummer Roger Urhaug, bass player Thomas Dahl and roadtec
Andrè Trebbi,- as well as Norway’s biggest newspaper
VG. The Norwegian delegation is welcomed by polite but excited Japanese
among whom hmhmhmh proves the most dedidated fan. She runs her own
Ephemera web page, and is thrilled to meet up with the girls live.
Album sales prove that the Japanese are still in love with the bittersweet
sound of Ephemera. By early 2004,- 50 000 copies are out there making
lives lighter for musiclovers in Asia.
Back home in Bergen Ephemera and the boys pack
their bags, guitars, pianos and frogs in order to hit the road for
a grand Norwegian tour. By the end of 2003 the band has completed
more than 100 gigs throughout the country,- including prestigious
festivals such as Quart and Øya .
Ephemera enjoy getting out there sharing their music with fans –
no matter how old the fans may prove to be. In January 2004 concert
halls, pubs and cafes are exchanged with high school classrooms.
Sponsored by the Norwegian organization Rikskonsertene the girls
are able to supply teenagers in the outskirts of Norway with their
first concert-experience ever – an assignment they all thouroughly
Inger Lise Christine and jannicke make it back to Bergen just in
time for the award bonanza to strike.
In many ways this is typical of Ephemera. One
minute they have rolls and coffee with the cleaning lady during
breaks at a remote high school in Trøndelag. The next they
receive the two most prestigious music awards in Norway. Always
friendly, somewhat timid and seemingly unaware of their own immense
2003 has been a blast for Ephemera. Also, 2004
has gotten off to a great start. Neither Norway’s most successful
label – if counting by the numbers of records released,- nor
the band itself- have any intentions of slowing down any time soon.
Several of Ephemera’s singles – including Saddest Day,
Last Thing and Happy Greatful Aware have been utilized on popular
American TV- shows such as Felicity, and Meet my Folks. This coming
spring an album including these hits will be released in the US.
Ephemera are also preparing record number 5- intending for a release
sometime during the fall of 2004. New material has already been
exposed to fans during concerts, and songs like City Lights, End
and On The Surface carry within them the promise of more golden
moments to come from Duper Studio.
During their ten years in the business, Ephemera
have been linked to the socalled Bergensbølgen- a phenomenon
describing the immense success of the musical scene in Norway’s
second largest city. The girls have also cooperated with different
prominent Norwegian singers songwriters and bands such as Ralph
Myerz, Popium, Jan Eggum, Anne Grete Preus, Rotoscope and Corvine.
Also in the future Ingerlise, Christine and jannicke will continue
sharing their talent with colleagues- either as a band or as individual
Girls keep secrets in the strangest ways.
But this cat’s out of the bag.
Ephemera is here to stay.