Electronic music has often been thin on collaborations of the Aerosmith-Run DMC, Dave Grohl-QOTSA, New Order-John Barnes calibre, but a truly inspiring one arrives next week.
Demonstrating not just dance music’s capacity for depth and sophistication in the face of brain-removing bro-friendly EDM but also the ascendancy of the austere Scandinavian mindset, Röyksopp and Robyn is a hook-up to give heart to anyone who ever loved a beat and a bassline. The meeting of Norwegian chillectro architects Svein Berge and Torbjørn Brundtland and steely Stockholmer Robin Miriam Carlsson – who in the sublime “Dancing On My Own” created electro’s very own “How Soon Is Now?” – adds up to disco art-pop acid heaven.
The mini-album they’ve made together – Do It Again, a nod to the fact that the parties have already collaborated on splendid 2009 single “The Girl And The Robot” – is pleasingly concise and to-the-point. Full of quasi-sexual hunger and irresistible analogue noise, it covers all the dancefloor bases from fearsome techno-drama to stroboscopic sexy synthesisers to a dreamlike finale in a mere six tracks and 35 minutes.
It’s accompanied by a striking look from Swedish fashion designer and designer Patrik Söderstam which casts Robyn as a medieval sci-fi priestess and Röyksopp as her faceless Praetorian guard – Björk meets Game Of Thrones via Alexander McQueen. (”This is actually what we wore in the studio,” deadpans Torbjörn. “It’s hard to see the keyboards with the masks on but we tried our best.”) There will be a joint tour too, of which the UK date will be a headline slot at the Latitude Festival beginning on 17 July. Do It Again is, in short, a bit of an event. Read on for the key points of the Röyksopp-Robyn Electro-Scandi Summit.
1 | They can’t quite remember how they first got together…
SVEIN BERGE: “It’s embarrassing and it may be because of my time spent as a raging alcoholic-slash-rock-and-roller. It makes it sound like Robyn did not make a big impression on us – but she did, she is one of our favourite people. I do remember that we thought, should we meet and greet her at Bergen airport? She’s a star, do we welcome her? Do we bring flowers? We were very nervous. It’s a scary to meet someone brand new to do something that involves exposing yourself to them. Creatively exposing yourself.”
ROBYN: “It was actually very easy to get to know each other. Svein and Torbjørn have known each other since they were kids so they are very fluid and quick to work together. I’d listened to a lot of Röyskopp’s music beforehand because I wanted to see if we could get into that dream state that they create so well. Working with them turned out to be one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.”
2 | They made it up as they went along…
TORBJØRN BRUNDTLAND: “The only plan we had was not to have a plan. Just have no inhibitions, do what you want to do, and there are no such words as pretentious or caution. Don’t cater to anyone but yourself.”
SVEIN: “I like how it goes all the way from highbrow to lowbrow. We love that basic energy of dance music and pop but we also like clever concepts. We try to let it all flow together. It’s the perfect middlebrow.”
ROBYN: “I think it’s unibrow.”
TORBJØRN: “It’s extradimensional brow – because there are so many layers. It’s meta-brow.”
SVEIN: “Meta-brow? Oh my God.”
3 | They’re part of a pan-Scandinavian love-in…
SVEIN: “Torbjørn and I love anything Swedish, and Swedish culture – music, comedy, movies, they’re always very daring. Maybe they overplay their angst card a little with Bergman and so on, but we like the Swedes.”
ROBYN: “For me going to Norway is really special and exciting. It’s a country that’s very close, we almost have the same language but it’s still a different place with a different culture. Sometimes you go around the world to find out something new about your home. I felt I made a very short trip, and got a lot.”
4 | They advise you to visit Bergen, “get wasted and look at the mountains”…
SVEIN: Now is the time to come to Bergen – May or early June. The scenery of west coast Norway is really special. You’ll be amazed. Bergen itself is a tiny town and it can be a little like Newcastle at weekends, a little grimy, a bit savage. You have to approach that with caution. But Norwegians like to drink and most of the time they’re quite friendly in their intoxicated state. So come here, eat lots of seafood, get pissed with the natives and go and gaze at the fjords.
Do It Again is out now. Röyksopp and Robyn play Latitude over the weekend of 17-20 July. Buy the album here