Northern Disco Lights is the story of how dance music shaped a nation. The previously untold tale follows a group of teenagers living in a remote Arctic city, whose boredom drives them to create their own music scene. Their contribution would go on to change dance music and Norway forever.
Our Managing Director and founder, Debra, said:
‘The Manchester screening of this superbly uplifting film took place at one of my favourite venues; The Refuge, followed by a beautifully informative Q&A hosted by the brilliant Paulette Constable (@djPaulette). Answering the questions were Pete Jenkinson, Producer, Ben Davis Director, and – from Norway – DJ Strangefruit of course. Not knowing quite what to expect, I didn’t realise that the audience were in for such a treat. The film is entirely engaging, watchable, captivating in its story and execution, full of real–life characters that have spent much of their lives in one of the most northern parts of Norway, where the nights are long… Together with an eclectic mix of vintage footage and meaningful interviews, the story keeps a good pace and is fully entertaining on many levels. Norway used to be known for its ‘bland’ pop music. Slowly this new voice of dance music emerged, and the characters in the story bring life to the film in such a way that you really feel as though you know them, like long lost friends. The soundtrack is brilliant – don’t miss it!’
We caught up with Pete Jenkinson, who produced the film and is a big part of the dance music scene in Manchester today.
How did you get involved in the film?
I run a dance record label called Paper Recordings. I’ve been running it since 1994. The company has built up relationships and released a range of Scandinavian, and more specifically Norwegian productions e.g. Ralph Myerz. We wanted to do something different and making a film about the scene in Norway seemed like a natural project for us to get involved with.
Why is this story important?
We found the story inspirational on many levels but most of all its narrative includes passion, obsession, hedonism, bravery and creativity, which are some of the most important aspects of life; also we love the country. It’s a Scandinavian Punk story of creativity!
Do you think this genre of music had an impact on Manchester especially?
Paper Recordings was internationally recognized as one of the foremost deep house label of the Nineties. Our parties and club events projected the Norwegian sound, which was certainly diffused into the Manchester underground sound.
What do you think of the music scene in Manchester today?
I’m excited by venues and parties at some of the old buildings like Brunswick Mill – exciting stuff and I’m glad there’s life in the music scene in Manchester.
Did you experience this scene at the time? What was it like?
I experienced club nights in Norway in Nineties and they were fantastic, much like the film depicts. They are a very international and outward looking country and this is reflected in their cultural outputs.
What else is inspiring you at the moment?
Virtual Reality and the ever-changing landscape of media.
How did you get to where you are in your career?
I studied in Sheffield; played guitar in a band; moved to Manchester; worked at the Hacienda; became a promoter, DJ agent and label entrepreneur; then a Higher Education lecturer and a film producer.
What advice would you give to someone who aspired to be in a similar role as you?Be friendly to all, work harder than anyone else and remember to keep smiling but most importantly keep learning.
See the film on Vimeo on Demand.