Prepare to take a time-traveling trip into the world of Todd & Karen with their latest single, “Juicy Gossip From The Mothership.” This delightfully quirky and retro-infused track effortlessly straddles the line between the old and the new, all while adding a touch of hipster cool to the mix. Initial reactions and streaming figures suggest that this single holds the potential to captivate a broad and diverse audience. With its combination of fun and punch, not to mention a groove-inducing bassline, it’s the kind of song that’ll make you want to hit the dance floor.
Todd & Karen are a one-of-a-kind pop duo consisting of Øyvind Berge, a native of Norway, and Ina Verdi-Ruckstuhl, who hails from Ireland. Their musical style is a unique blend of quirkiness, sardonic wit, and lyrical indie, deeply influenced by the late ’60s Beatlesque psychedelia and the breezy sounds of American West Coast pop. Drawing inspiration from iconic acts like The Beatles, The Kinks, The Byrds, Beach Boys, Oasis, The Divine Comedy, ELO, Simon & Garfunkel, and even the irreverent humor of Monty Python, Todd & Karen craft a sound that’s as captivating as it is distinctive.
The story of Todd & Karen’s musical journey commences in an unexpected setting: a school in Kongsberg, Norway. Both Øyvind and Ina were schoolteachers at an IB primary school, where they serendipitously crossed paths through the school’s social committee. Their connection was immediate, fueled not only by a shared sense of humor but also by their mutual adoration for the same kind of music.
Their musical partnership began with a humorous twist, as they concocted personalized birthday jingles for their colleagues—unique interpretations of classic hits. It didn’t take long for them to realize that they shared more than just a sense of humor; they had a mutual passion for making music. From this realization, the idea was born: “Let’s get serious about creating some hits!”
Initially adopting the moniker “Quirky Haggis,” they soon received a piece of candid advice from a friend: “That’s a bit too much, guys. You’re trying too hard. You might as well call yourselves Todd & Karen.” And just like that, their musical identity was established.
Fast forward to late 2021 and early 2022, Todd & Karen found themselves in a recording studio. Collaborating with producer Sigve Høghaug, they recorded their first three singles: “Mr. Beardsley,” “Barbara Barbara Barbara,” and “Cosmo Crowd,” along with the track “L12.” Their partnership with the Danish indie label Sublime Exile Recordings in Copenhagen was a significant turning point. Subsequently, they released their debut EP, “Approximately Here For A Bit,” alongside the singles “Blackpool Lights,” “Norwegian Summer,” and their most recent offering, “Juicy Gossip From The Mothership.” Notably, this latest track involved an undisclosed but well-known industry figure—referred to as “the Hotshot”—for mixing, a producer with an impressive portfolio working with artists like Beyoncé, Toni Braxton, Billy Joel, and The Script.
Øyvind Berge hails from Telemark, Norway. His musical journey commenced with playing in various makeshift rock bands during his secondary school days. In 2000, he co-founded the Norwegian-language folk-pop band Sugar Plum Fairies, known for their seamless fusion of international pop influences with the sensibilities of Norwegian folk music. In 2005, the band recorded an album titled “Fivrelddans,” a collection of poems set to music. This endeavor earned the band a local culture award and extensive airplay on Norwegian local radio. They were also featured on a compilation album series called “Norwegian Wood Music For China,” dedicated to promoting Norwegian music in China. Following his time with Sugar Plum Fairies, Berge ventured into the realm of lo-fi pop singles under the alias “Sir Øyvind Berge & His Imaginary Orchestra.” Additionally, he collaborated with Norwegian indie artist Paul Bernard on a couple of singles and contributed incidental music for Bernard’s live DVD.
Ina Verdi-Ruckstuhl was born in Switzerland but moved to West Cork, Ireland, at the tender age of four. Her musical journey began early, with classical violin lessons starting at six years old under the guidance of a local teacher. She continued her violin studies at the Cork School of Music, where she played in the school’s symphony orchestra and the city’s youth orchestra. A standout moment came when she performed Gustav Holst’s “Planets” at the National Concert Hall in Dublin. In addition to the violin, she learned classical piano from her father, who operated his own music school in West Cork. During her time in the UK, she became a member of the Corpus Christi String Orchestra. Later, in Berlin, she joined Concentus Alius.
In 2019, the worlds of Øyvind Berge and Ina Verdi-Ruckstuhl converged. Their shared love for music led them to adopt the personas of Todd & Karen, embarking on a musical adventure that weaves humor, quirkiness, and a deep appreciation for vintage-inspired pop. “Juicy Gossip From The Mothership” is the latest testament to their unique sound and magnetic artistry. Todd & Karen’s music transcends boundaries and unites people across cultures and backgrounds, highlighting the enduring power of music.
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