It must have been a late, light summer night in 2003 that I first found myself standing, mesmerised, in my older brother’s bedroom, listening to some of the most exotic and beautiful music I had ever heard. Its origins were still a mystery, all I knew at that point was that as someone who had grown up on bands like a-ha, Röyksopp, Air, and Bent, this sounded like the perfect amalgam.
A sort of best of- compilation. The soundscape was full of pristine contrasts: familiar but fresh, languid yet energetic. The melodies were contagious, delivered through lush, dreamy vocals and layered over a perfectly blended soundscape of vintage synths and drum machines. It was my new favourite band, and the best part was nearly no one knew about it. I was 16 years old, and here I was, holding the key to the next great chapter in music history.
It turned out to be a three-track demo that my brother had been given by his friend, Wenche (thank you, Wenche!). She knew a guy called Jonas who was living in Liverpool at the time, trying to make his band dibidim happen. When Wenche told Jonas that she had shared the tracks with her friend, he panicked and demanded we delete it all right away. My brother and I laughed when we heard this. Although we promised we would, we both knew that was never going to happen.
A few days later, my brother was able to surreptitiously snag the rest of the tracks from Wenche’s laptop, using the bluetooth function on his Sony Ericsson mobile from under the table. I was thrilled – convinced this would be the next big thing to come out of the Norwegian music scene. With rumours circulating that the band was in the process of being signed by a big international label, I swore my friend Snorri to secrecy before sharing the treasure with him.
Then we waited..
For months, I hit refresh on dibidim’s rudimentary website several times a day, but no news arrived. Discogs was still in its embryonic days, so I was prepared this would be a word-of-mouth operation. But the demos were ultimately only released, piecemeal, on some very limited 12 and 7 inches, while the debut album Riders only existed as an undistributed, self – released CD.
It was a decidedly underwhelming climax to a discovery that had felt so groundbreaking.
Many years later, Snorri and I started Snorkel Records. From the beginning, dibidim has been one of the acts at the very centre of our shared musical journey.
We had never planned to be a reissue label, but this was an easy decision.
Giving Riders its due audience feels like coming full circle.