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FLTY BRGR GRL: Challenging The Expectations of Women Musicians

FLTY BRGR GRL is an Oslo based music duo made up of Sarah (backing vocals, guitar) and Beatrix (vocals and bass). Their sound is lo-fi rock inspired by 60s vibes. The duo have diverse ethnic backgrounds; Beatrix's parents are Pakistani whilst Sarah's dad is South African and her mother is Norwegian. Their debut single "Be My Boy" is a dreamy layered tune about liking someone too much - challenging the way people expect female artists to make music.

You have mentioned that you want to represent WOC in indie rock - please elaborate on this. Along with representation, what else resonates with you most about the genre?

We just want to make music together. The realization that we were representing WOC in a music genre that is usually quite white came later, as a result of some people being surprised when they heard what kind of sound we actually had. They were not expecting lo-fi indie rock. We think that music can break barriers and bring people together. Growing up, we loved all kinds of music genres, but we didn’t have many role models that looked like us, especially not within indie rock music. Now that we’re making indie songs ourselves, we hope young girls can feel inspired and know that if they want to, they can do anything they want, like there is room for you here too!

Sarah, Tell us about your mixed heritage and how you view yourself in terms of your identity? Do you feel like you have to pick a side or do you identify with both your mom and your dad's ethnicities?

My father is from Kimberly, (South Africa) and my mother is from the west coast of Norway. They met and fell in love in Vienna. They decided to move to Norway because of apartheid. It wasn’t always easy for my father, because there weren’t many other immigrants in Norway at the time. At home I never felt that I had to pick a side, my parents gave me a connection with both ethnicities. I feel Norwegian since I grew up here, but I also feel a strong bond to South Africa. Growing up in my early teens I would at times feel insecure about my identity, when being questioned about my background. People would daily tell me that I wasn’t really Norwegian. Sometimes I would feel like I was in a loop, because I felt like it was difficult to find a sense of belonging. But now I'm in a place where I feel at home with both ethnicities. I feel lucky to have a diverse background.

And how was living in South Africa and then Norway impacted the way you view yourself in terms of your identity?

I grew up in Oslo, but we lived for a short period near Durban when I was young.

There were a lot of cultural differences from Norway, but I could also see a lot of similarities. I’m lucky that I have been able to travel so often to South Africa as I have, and I try to come and see my relatives every year. I feel very close to them, and love that all of them are as loud as I am, and have big personalities. I feel like I understand myself more when I learn about both my parents background.

How did the themes of "heartbreak" and "crushes" become dominant subjects in your music?

We ask ourselves the same question! We’ve always been into love stories, and just find it fascinating – how falling for someone can so drastically change people. One can get insecure, nervous, obsessive. It’s something beautiful about these crazy strong emotions that we all can have, during a crush or a heartbreak. We couldn’t resist not tapping into that. After all, love is something everyone in the world can somehow relate to.

You have mentioned that you want to challenge the way people expect female musicians to make music: please elaborate on this

People do have certain expectations when it comes to music made by women. Sometimes it feels like everything has to be “pretty”. But the music we’re making isn’t always pretty. Yeah it’s cute, but we’re bringing in disharmonies and creepiness. That’s probably why we dig artists like Blonde Redhead and Deerhof as well, because they’re making challenging music in their own way and with untypical female vocals.

Beatrix, how does living in Norway as a Pakistani impact the way you view yourself in terms of belonging and identity?

My parents came to Norway in the 70s, so I was born and raised in the west coast of Norway. The city that I grew up in wasn’t that diverse at that time, and as a kid I just wanted to be like everyone else. As I grew older I started to feel more proud over my Pakistani heritage, and today I can see the strength in being a third culture kid. It’s a superpower for sure.

Tell us about your debut single "Be My Boy" is there a specific story behind it?

“Be My Boy” is a naive, dreamy and layered song about liking someone to much. It’s inspired by our experiences, but also our fantasies. It’s about capturing feelings we’ve had in the past, and feelings we might have again.

What does feminism mean to you and how do romantic relationships play a role in your perception of feminism?

Feminism plays a big part of our lives, and we believe in intersectionality. Equality in a relationship is important to us. Not to mention self-love and awareness, because love has a tendency to make us forget ourselves in that pink, hazy sky.

Photography: Johnny Vaet Nordskog

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