OSLO - Filipino-Norwegian rap duo, N-Jin and Denial released their self-produced debut album online at various music sites on the internet recently.
The duo composed of brothers Alex (26) and Daniel Gerardo Ytterdahl (25) told ABS-CBN Europe their album, "Let Me In" was a product of years of music collaboration and was produced at their home studio in Loerenskog, 10 kilometers away from Oslo.
The album which they said deals mostly on the intricacies of relationships, featured songs such as "Crazy Together"," "Blinded by the Light", "Nightmares", "Lovely Day", "She Came", "Trip to Kholia", "Don't need you anymore", "Let Me In", " Sorry" and "Midnight City Life."
The release, which went straight to music internet sites such as Spotify, Wimp, SoundCloud, Amazon and iTunes, gained for the duo some media mileage in various local newspapers in Norway including Drammens Tidende and Lierposten.
In an interview, they told Lierposten that they decided to release their album online because the "(internet) is where things are happening now, and it is where more and more boys like us are making a career from their bedrooms."
While a musical career might not be the most lucrative undertaking for the Ytterdahl brothers at the moment, they know exactly how to make a go at their chosen career.
They manage their own band under Copula Music which they themselves formed to manage other artists who want to break into the music scene.
Older brother Alex who manages Copula Music had a degree in Visual Arts and Design at Telemark College and took a course in Sound Engineering at the Norwegian Institute for Scene and Studio (NISS). His brother, Daniel works in marketing and promotion and has a linguistics degree from the University of Oslo.
They have also recently released a self-produced promotional video of their album featuring the catchy tune, "Crazy Together", that they uploaded on the videosharing site, YouTube.
They have also created an application (app) that can be downloaded for free, a feature that makes their music more accessible to the public with internet connection and a smartphone.
While they have always been drawn to music, the thought of making a career out of it came very much later.
Music as a hobby
“We had been into music since our years in high school. I was 14 years old when I discovered a computer software EJAY online which lets one put together different "beats" and that's how I found out that it was easy to make music,” Alex told ABS-CBN Europe in an interview.
"My brother and I used the music I made as beat and he would "rap" to this music," he added.
As teenagers, they were drawn to the music of "Outkast", a famous black American ghetto rap group.
"At first it was a hobby for us, and we were making music at our bedroom and we were doing it to be different from what all the other Norwegian boys," Alex pointed out.
Identity in music
As the only youth in the neighborhood with an immigrant (Filipino) background (their mother Edna Gerardo hails from Villareal, Samar), the boys realized early on that they "needed to find something of (their) own, create (their) own identity."
They found it in rap, and in basketball which they found to blend so well together.
As for Daniel, he started with music because he said he always follows in his older brother's footsteps.
“What he does, I want to do the same,” he shyly revealed, looking at his brother.
He found out later that he is good with rapping and they ended up working closely together to make music with him doing the vocals for the his brother's musical beats.
What they churned out from their bedroom studio were original as they have always been inspired by their dad to come with their own music.
"We were keen on making original music rather than "steal" beats from others because unlike in the Philippines where most don't care about "getting" beats from other musicians, we in Norway, of only 4 million people, people do notice when you copied from someone else, and copyright laws are very strict here," Alex explained.
"Our obsession with originality in music, we got from our dad who inspired us with his music. As children (babies, they added, laughing), we were made to listen to dad's music of all kinds, funk, soul, blues and a lot of Prince (big smiles!). Oh yeah, we listened to a lot of Prince music. Isn't he original?" they added.
Move to Oslo
Two years ago, the brothers who has just completed their studies, decided to move in together in Oslo, setting off an explosion of musical collaboration between them.
"It was like we were suddenly so into making music together, inspired by what each of us can give to our music and started writing songs," Alex recalled.
For Alex, the move to Oslo was calculated on this part knowing that if he is to make a career out of music, the capital is the place to get to know the business more and establish networks in the industry.
Daniel, who had studied in Oslo, was already active in the music scene, doing the vocals in another band called "Tocksick Dandruff."
Musical career in PH?
While there is no plan to move to the Philippines at the moment and make a career in their mom's home country, the boys said "we are definitely thinking of going there and playing music there as well."
Daniel visited the Philippines in 2010 and played at various gigs in the country including the 150th Anniversary of Dr. Jose Rizal in Calamba, Laguna, a gig which he thought was "awesome."
But right now, they set their sights on making their name known to everyone who would listen.
"We plan to get more people to listen to our music! This means, playing at concerts and other musical events, spreading the news on media sites like Facebook", they revealed.
While another music album is not in the works this year, they said that they continue to make music at their home studio even as they go out to different venues to promote their album.
N-Jin and Denial will be performing at the upcoming Filippinsk Kulturaften, an annual Filipinocultural show in the city of Drammen on September 16.