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"Norton Ladybug"

It's been so long since Norton were kind enough to send me a copy of their promo CD 'Two weeks of feast Two weeks of famine' that I'm almost embarrassed to be reviewing it now. I'm sorry it's taken so long fellas but the upside of having been too busy to get around to this before now is that I've listened to it regularly whilst doing whatever else and it's become something of a close friend. Ladybug is the one that really does it for me, to the point where I've got copies of it all over the place. It went straight onto my mp3 player and is therefore one of only a handful of tracks which can claim the dubious honour of having been played regularly in our smallest room.

Norton are a pop band in the best tradition of the word and Ladybug is an excellent example of the best that pop has to offer. I can't really explain it but it instantly brought to mind Gomez' Tijuana Lady. It's in no way derivative so I guess it must be something to do with the structure. Oh, yeah...and the use of instantaneous transition from soaking wet reverb to total dryness. This is a great tool for splitting a song into compartments and is used to such good effect here.

A simple haunted fairground keyboard melody leads to a reggae bass over a steady groove of a beat. Very evocative and the perfect stage setter for Ross Banford's superb vocal preamble. The first sign that this is not 'chill' after all is the stabbing guitar bridge which is kicked into the chorus by the classic tom tom surge. Now, I know I go on and on about being a chorus nut but this is a great chorus. Power without's just such a brilliant spread of elements. Hard but not heavy guitar (spot on use of slide), an umbrella of vocal backing and a souring main vocal. As solid a bass as you could hope for and a drummer whose held back the big guns till they're needed. It's a real teller when the whole ensemble drops to virtual non-existence and you get the 'now I can relax' feeling that you only get from a great song. Needless to say, this is just an interlude and you can gleefully expect the tension to grip you again. The anticipation says it would be very difficult not to want more.

I think I've actually got to the point where I listen to more music from unsigned bands than from the mainstream and it's bands like Norton who've brought this about...I LOVE this song.

- Seags for

""Two Weeks of Feast, Two Weeks of Famine" Album Review"

I don’t like to make comparisons but if I had to categorise Norton then I would put this band in the same stadium as Coldplay two years ago. I have to say that Ross Banfords vocal talent is far superior to Chris Martins own independent style, but in my opinion lyrically at least, these two bands carry similar sentiments to a certain extent.

This 5 track EP is a musical work of art brought to us by Ross Banford (vocals/keyboards), Thorbjorn Wulff (bass/mellotron), Stephan Ullerup (rhythm and lead guitars/piano/keyboards & backing vocals), Ben Swann (lead & rhythm guitars), and Adam Hayto (drums/keyboards) with producer credit going to Matthew Ollivier who has also worked with the likes of the Manic Street Preachers, the Doves, and Idlewild.

The first track on this CD is “Alligator”, a cool and sparingly upbeat number with a haunting opening that grabs your attention immediately. The second song “Ladybug” was my personal favourite and is a catchy track that captures my favourite word of the 90’s, the zeitgeist, making this one the sort of music to cruise to. Track three “Envy” offers a change in tempo yet compliments the other tracks as it doesn’t stray too far from the bands unique rock/indie style. Track four “Set the World Ablaze” has all the elements of a great first single offering and would capture the eardrums of a vast audience, one who appreciates a good song when they hear it. And finally, “It’s Understood” rounded my Norton experience off nicely, leaving me feeling as though the last 20 minutes of my life was well spent!

This is classy music with lots to offer and I enjoyed my time with Norton. Criminal Records has released this EP entitled “Two Weeks of Feast, Two Weeks of Famine” so you can get your copy online NOW at

By Samantha Somerset
- Taranis Production

"Norton interview"


interview by Tammy Amaral
photos by Emma Scott
publication date: September 1, 2006
interview date: June 2006

In the ever-growing landscape of indie music, we are constantly bombarded with over-achieving, pseudo hipsters desperately trying to convince their audience that they’re ‘real.’ I was fortunate enough to talk to five guys who make music, pure and simple. Norton isn’t your typical UK rock band—they’ve got Vikings.

Tammy: You guys are comprised of 3 Brits and 2 Danes, how did that come about?

Ross Banford: Um, long fucking story but here we go. It all started in ‘98 when Stephan [Ullerup Petersen] and a gentlemen called Martin came to London with their band to see if they could get a bit more of a push over here. At the time, they were kind of looking for a front man so I went to see them play at the Barfly Monarch in Camden and my usual self got absolutely ratted. I ended up kinda tottling up to them after the gig with a CD from my band, the Whopping Chester, and was like, I want to join the band.

So, we kind of met up about three days later and had an audition for me ‘round at their house and I was absolute shite. We kind of got along and they gave me another chance and it all kind of escalated from there on in. Then Martin, bless him, decided the band life wasn’t for him and we ended up getting Ben on board, who’s our guitarist and an absolute fucking genius. Dave started with us fairly recently, actually when our original drummer backed out, and he’s an absolute whiz kid on the drums.

So a welcomed recent addition?

Ross: Yeah.

What’s the scene like for indie act’s over there in the UK?

Stephan: It’s a very flooded market I’d say, alot of indie bands and bands using keyboards and piano in the vein of Coldplay and Keane. It’s really about standing out as much as you can, it sounds cliche but it’s about making music that you yourself believe in. It can be hard but we feel we’re getting somewhere now and we feel like we are standing out a bit and that’s been helped by the people we’re working with, who have helped shape our sound a little bit.

Do you think it’s easier to break into the North American market as opposed to the European market?

Stephan: I would say definitely that the key thing for us is to make it in the UK first and really get that going for us. When we played NXNE in Canada, it just sort came up as an opportunity so we thought we’d take it. It would be good if we could get back to Canada and make more of a dent but at the moment, we’re not releasing anything there.

I see. So, when you guys we’re down here, what did you think of the Canadian fans?

Ross: It was fantastic, you know, NXNE. We were only confirmed to go over about a month, month and a half before NXNE actually took place and it was kind of a whirlwind, oh my God here we go. Once we got over that, we really got an idea of what Canada was going to be like even when we were checking in to come over. We were queuing up with people going to Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, etc., and everyone was sort of interested in what we were doing over there. With the Canadian bands that we met over there--I don’t know what it is, but in Canada there’s a sort of big family vibe there, everyone’s in the same kind of boat. It can happen in London where there’s some tension with some of the bands over here and I can say that there was none of that in Canada, it was all about having a good laugh and playing good music.

Awesome, okay so switching gears here, talk about working with Greg Haver, I understand he worked on a couple of songs with you guys.

Stephan: It was a great experience. First of all, he’s done stuff with the Manic Street Preachers, of whom I’m a big fan. We recorded in a little studio in Cardiff and it was a big learning experience for us, he pushed us really hard and questioned us about the things we were doing, so we had to turn a bit more pro, so to speak.

Ross: We grew a little bit on that session, so that was quite cool.

Cool! Alright, your two new singles, "Job In The City" and "Push Away," what made you guys decide to release those now? Because, when I met with Michael (Petersen) and he handed me the CD, I was really impressed by those two songs.

Stephan: Well, we had been working on quite a few songs and alot of the songs we were playing live and they didn’t really seem to work. But when we played those two songs, they gave us lots of energy from the crowd and so on. Also, the producers were really liking the songs as well. I think those songs were the ones we felt more strongly about and it seems like the people around us felt the same so hopefully it’ll work out.


Two Weeks of Feast, Two Weeks of Famine [2006]

visit for MP3 and show info

Are all of you guys involved in the writing process?

Ross: We kind of went through this a few years ago and if - MOTE Magazine


Two weeks of feast, Two weeks of famine E.P release on Criminal Records - 2005



Releases/Sales : First E.P. “Two Weeks of Feast, Two Weeks of Famine” released by Criminal Records in 2005 sold 1,178 copies. Second release to follow in September 2006

Promotion : (With 5,000 views, 7,900 plays, 2,350 friends and 200 comments as of July 2006)

‘Vocal talent far superior than Chris Martin’s (Coldplay)
independent style’ - Taranis online music

‘Ladybug is amongst the best work I have ever done!’ – Andy Whitmore, producer Elton John and Pet Shop Boys

‘Norton rocked! They almost tore down the entire stage insisting on being great, greater and greatest! The beginning was beautiful – The end was god damn fantastic!’ – Music Talent (Event ´Rock is Alive´)

`Norton is a pop band in the best tradition of the word and Ladybug is an excellent example of the best pop has to offer - Seags, UK

- Biography –

The Norton Invasion has begun!! - 2 Vikings and 3 Brits have settled in London. Old England would not be left behind plundered as in the past. This time they stayed as a rock band! Andy Whitmore (Elton John and Pet Shop Boys) got so excited of Norton’s songs he went on to produce their first single ‘Ladybug’. Matt Ollivier, producer of Manic Street Preachers and The Doves did Norton’s EP and Greg Haver (Manics, Super Furry Animals, Tom Jones) has just recorded the latest single : Job in the City and follow up : Push Away.

So who is Norton?

Norton power out their life stories of everyday frustration and struggle. Norton is characterised by Ross Banford’s enormous voice, which has such a force it blows you back to the rear end of the room where hopefully the bar is situated. Normally you would just stay there having a few pints, tapping along to the melodic indie rock tunes that you probably would recall as Manics crossed with Coldplay and Foo Fighters. But somehow your whole body slightly moves forward towards the front just to hear Stephan playing his guitar spikily and Ben’s soothing technical guitar skills. The bassist Thor’s original ideas together with his boy band look makes sure that up front is also where you find all the girls. The drummer Dave loves caving by hobby so you always see him tucked away in the dark. Luckily he does come out with his technical fills, when you really crave for one.

Norton’s fans love the way Norton rocks with amplitude and reason. Instead of asking Norton what a melodic car crash sounds like, ask who fancies mechanical talking parrots? I’d like to know!

Norton is available on Itunes.