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Norwegian electronic-dance group Datarock are known for their dynamic performances, infectious melodies, and visual imagery featuring the band wearing matching tracksuits. During the latter half of the 2000s, their songs were ubiquitously licensed across major television ads for Apple and Coca-Cola as well as many popular video games. On albums like 2009's Red and 2015's ambitious The Musical, the band's unpredictable dance-punk sound is tightly crafted, often tongue-in-cheek, and filled with energy. Datarock has continued to produce reliably engaging music into the 2020s, returning in 2023 with their fifth album, Media Consumption Pyramid. Originating from the same Bergen scene as Röyksopp and the Kings of Convenience, Datarock formed in 2000 around the talents of its core duo, Fredrik Saroea (vocals, guitars, drums, keyboards) and Ketil Mosnes (bass, programming, keyboards, backing vocals). Taking inspiration from acts like Devo, Talking Heads, and Happy Mondays, the band -- which in its early days also included Tom Mæland (keyboards) and Kevin O'Brien (vocals) -- issued a handful of small releases, including a 2002 limited-edition EP titled Demo/Greatest Hits on Kaptein Kaliber Records. Now working as a duo, Saroea and Mosnes formed their own label, Young Aspiring Professionals, and issued their debut full-length, Datarock Datarock, in 2005. They landed an Australian radio hit with the Revenge of the Nerds-inspired track "Computer Camp Love," and the following year, the album was reissued in the U.K., France, and Australia. Datarock's upbeat indie dance grooves made them a shoo-in for prominent sync placements, and another song from their debut, "Fa-Fa-Fa," was soon heard around the world on ads for Coca-Cola and Apple's iPod. In early 2007, Datarock inked a deal with Nettwerk, which released their 2009 follow-up, Red. A partnership between Nettwerk One and gaming colossus EA helped insert Datarock songs into numerous high-profile games from Fifa Street and Madden NFL to Need for Speed and Sims 2 and 3. While much of their focus during this period remained in the U.S. market, Datarock continued to tour heavily, hitting festivals all around the world. Mosnes departed in 2010, and newcomer Thomas Larssen (bass) joined the existing lineup that also included saxophonist Kjetil Møster and drummer Adrian Meehan. They produced a pair of 2011 EPs, See What I Care and California, and arranged an ambitious Datarock musical that also yielded a 2015 soundtrack, The Musical, which they released on their Young Aspiring Professionals label. Another lineup shift saw Mosnes return to the band, which now consisted of himself, Saroea, keyboardist Stig Narve Brunstad, and drummer Øyvind Solheim. They also changed their visual aesthetic from red tracksuits to black. Datarock's lighthearted fourth album, 2018's Face the Brutality, was something of a return to form after the maximalism of The Musical. Its '80s-driven synth pop was upbeat in both tone and theme, and they followed it a year later with A Fool at Forty Is a Fool Indeed, an EP containing four new songs and several remixes. Datarock's output over the next few years consisted mainly of stand-alone singles like 2020's "Tick Tock" and 2021's "Video Store." In 2023, Saroea and Mosnes gathered seven members of their core Datarock collective for a series of festival concerts. Featuring members from different eras of the group, this united Datarock took to the studio to record the band's fifth album, Media Consumption Pyramid.
© Timothy Monger & Kenyon Hopkin /TiVo


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