TODD & KAREN
|Artwork by @Javel.Hanna|
Todd & Karen is a Norwegian-Irish pop duo consisting of Norwegian Øyvind Berge and Irish Ina Verdi-Ruckstuhl. Under this moniker they create their quirky, ironic and melodious indie, steeped in late 60s-Beatleesque psychedelia and American West Coast pop references. The duo themselves cite The Beatles, The Kinks, The Byrds, Beach Boys, Oasis, The Divine Comedy, ELO, Simon & Garfunkel and Monty Python as some of their main influences.
The duo met at work, both working as schoolteachers at an IB primary school in Kongsberg, Norway, and got to know each other through the social committee. After a period of creating and performing birthday jingles for their colleagues (typically personalized versions of classic hits) they realized that they had a lot of common references when it came to humour, but above all they clicked when it came to the same kind of music. An idea took shape: "Let's stop messing about and start creating some hits!" Initially called "Quirky Haggis", a friend of the band drily remarked: "That's too much, guys. You're trying too hard. You might as well call yourselves Todd & Karen." And from then on, that's been their name.
In late 2021/early 2022, their first recording sessions took place, and together with producer Sigve Høghaug they recorded their first three singles - "Mr. Beardsley", "Barbara Barbara Barbara" and "Cosmo Crowd" - in addition to the track "L12".
Øyvind Berge hails from Telemark, Norway, and started out playing in a string of ad-hoc rock bands (lots of awful Guns'N'Roses-covers) during secondary school. In 2000 he was a founding member of Norwegian-language folk-pop band Sugar Plum Fairies, a band straddling international pop references and Norwegian folk music sensibilities. In 2005 he recorded an album entitled "Fivrelddans", a collection of poems set to music, to which the band won a local culture award, got considerable airplay on Norwegian local radio and was featured on a compilation album series called "Norwegian Wood Music For China", a project aiming at promoting Norwegian music to a Chinese audience. After leaving Sugar Plum Fairies, Berge released lo-fi pop singles under the moniker Sir Øyvind Berge & His Imaginary Orchestra and worked with Norwegian indie artist Paul Bernard on a couple of singles and incidental music for the latter's live-DVD.
Ina Verdi-Ruckstuhl was born in Switzerland but moved to West Cork, Ireland, when she was 4 years old. She started learning classical violin at age 6 from a local teacher before continuing at the Cork School of Music. Here she also played in the school's symphony orchestra as well as the city's youth orchestra. Highlights include playing Gustav Holst's "Planets" at the National Concert Hall in Dublin. She also learned classical piano from her father who ran his own music school in West Cork. Whilst studying in the UK, she was a member of the Corpus Christi String Orchestra and later for Concentus Alius in Berlin.
In 2019, Berge & Verdi-Ruckstuhl's world's intersected...they eventually adopted the personas of Todd & Karen and the rest is history?
A playlist featuring melodious and infectious indie pop from around the world. Submission via Twitter: @toddkarenmusic
All songs produced & mixed by Sigve Høghaug and mastered by Magnus Gulbransen at Jeløv Sound Mastering. Artworx by Brian Bufkin (Cosmo Crowd), Eleanor Corbisier-Berge (Mr. Beardsley), and Viktoriia Morozova (Barbara Barbara Barbara)