By Sebastian Mackay
Nico and Vinz have made quite the storm - even still I'd never heard of them but that says more about me than it does them - and if the hype is to be believed they're going to be dominating the charts of every country across the world (literally speaking. They've triumphed over the United States, which let's be honest pretty much is the world, and they've trampled over pop everywhere from Denmark to the UK). But there's one thing about this duo that stands out more than everything else: when he has to Nico can talk a million words a minute, bloody good for me because we were only given 10.
His background is in rap and while he can do that in three languages, switching from one to the other completely seamlessly, we stuck to English (because I'm white and uneducated and can only handle the one... and that one just barely).
"Me and Vinz have been doing this for five or six years," Nico says in his Norwegian English which is completely, and strangely, without all signs of an accent. "Before we wrote the song [the break through hit 'Am I Wrong'] we'd gone through a lot and there had been ups and downs and we'd been neglected and ignored."
When Nico talks there's less room for pause than there is for thought (maybe he was practicing in front of a mirror all morning, who knows) and it's clear he's not about to kick his beginnings to the curb in a Kanye West style of reinvention.
"We'd been neglected and ignored," he continues, not with bitterness but with an "it is what it is" attitude, "and then we were talking about that and we wrote Am I Wrong because we have bigger dreams than what's happened. We have dreams that involve the whole world. Am I Wrong was rebellious in the sense that we were trying to break out of the Norwegian way of thinking, which can be quite narrow minded."
Indeed, where we have Tall Poppy Syndrome the Norwegians seem to have "Shut Up and Stand In Line" Syndrome. Go to school, go to Uni, get a job, breed, die. That kind've thing.
"People didn't believe in us," Nico says, dodging the opportunity to sound like a whiner with a fat wallet, "or they said: ‘why are you special?', ‘why are you the next ones?', ‘it hasn't happened since A-Ha.' Ironically, Am I Wrong was the song that opened up all of these doors for us."
The song, which at it's core is an anthem asking if we're really wrong for wanting more out of life that what we're dealt, may have served to bust down a few doors but in the same way people think Frank Turner just happened to get famous, Nico and Vinz, like Frank, didn't just turn up work one day.
Nico, though, well, he's not a pop princess.
"You've got to make sure that you have a passion and that no matter what you're gonna do it. Times were hard but you have to believe in yourself and believe you can do it. You can spend a lot of time at the bottom of the valley and you have to keep working to get yourself up. And when you're up there you don't stop working so you can stay there. Work hard and be humble."
Cheesy as hell or seriously inspirational?
Either way, it's said earnestly. And while the cynics amongst us will proudly note that Nico's saying that from the point of view of someone who's made it, it's something he's always clung to, even at the bottom of those valleys.
"We have this philosophy that not everything is equal and fair in the world and that not everyone is where they should be." And as doom and gloom as that sounds, Nico and Vinz have managed to spin it around, "If you can be happy in yourself then you can be confident and then you might pass that onto someone who passes it onto someone else and it has this domino effect. You can't save all of the world at once, but you can start working on yourself."
And with those wise words the lovely British accent of the woman that had connected our call puts it to a quiet death. But it's clear that this is only the beginning for Nico and Vinz and their brand of uplifting and positive pop still has a lot to say.
Nico And Vinz latest album 'Black Star Elephant' is out now!