Norway duo Smerz playing NYC before Mount Kimbie tour; new EP on XL out now
Smerz, aka Catharina Stoltenberg and Henriette Motzfeldt, are a Norwegian electronic duo who are quickly gaining traction. It's not hard to see why -- they've got an appealing sound, a big label (XL Recordings), and it seems like they won't be small for very long. They sang in choirs and studied classical violin and theater growing up, and they more recently picked up electronic music, citing such influences as DJ Rashad, Jessy Lanza, and Jamie xx's Gil Scott-Heron remixes, and also praising Yves Tumor, Babyfather and fellow Norwegian pop experimenters Sassy 009, as well as big names like Kendrick and Rihanna. They also make use of field recordings; as Motzfeldt tells FACT, "There are some limitations to our producing because we’re not that good at all the production tools, like we don’t use hardware and stuff. Field recordings are like a intuitive way of working for us."
You can hear Smerz's influences coming through in their work, but the duo turn those influences into something that's distinctly their own sound. The beats pull from the underground footwork and techno that Smerz are into, but they also have a delightfully weird pop side. The latest example of this is their new Have Fun EP on XL, which follows their 2016 debut EP Okey and some singles dating back to 2015. Two of the songs on the EP -- "Half life" and "Oh my my" -- have videos with an eccentric, minimalist vibe that pairs well with Smerz's sound. You can watch those two videos and stream Have Fun in full, below.
Smerz are opening the West Coast leg of Mount Kimbie's tour (the East Coast leg is with Wiki), and right before that, they'll stop in Brooklyn for a headlining show on May 11 at National Sawdust (tickets). They're also playing Moogfest. All dates are listed below.
Smerz - 2018 Tour Dates
MAY 11 National Sawdust Brooklyn, NY
MAY 12 Echoplex Los Angeles, CA*
MAY 13 The Chapel San Francisco, CA*
MAY 14 The Chapel San Francisco, CA
MAY 15 Star Theater Portland, OR*
MAY 16 Neumos Seattle, WA*
MAY 17 The Imperial North Vancouver, Canada*
MAY 26 Eastville Park Frenchay, United Kingdom
JUL 13 Ferropolis Leipzig, Germany
* - w/ Mount Kimbie