Interview: Asbjørn

Asbjørn (by Sander Baks)
Asbjørn (by Sander Baks)

Last year, 22-year-old Berlin-based singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Asbjørn released eight singles, each one with its respective video, under the heading Pseudo Visions. The Danish “sucker for intimacy and honesty in music” also toured Denmark, Germany and the UK, before ending his live activities for 2014 at the renowned Electronic Beats Festival in Leipzig, late November. All these events contributed for an incredible and remarkably busy year in Asbjorn’s early career, and it seems like 2015 will be no less. With a kick off at the showcase festival Eurosonic in January, a new single released and a string of gigs already planned, it seems like the young singer is in for another eventful and successful year.

Ants danced up his pants after Swedish indie pop singer and songwriter, Lykke Li, named his song Brotherhood one of her current favourites. “It was the weirdest day when I found out”, he tells LSD.

Asbjørn positions himself as the male counterpart to Nordic pop colleagues such as Lykke Li and Robyn with his newest single Scandinavian Love, released on February 16th. Presenting himself as a “Scandinavian kid making out with the mirror”, he cheekily declares that “none of them made you cry like I will, none of them broke your heart like I will”.

The recording of this new single  was also Asbjørn’s first time as his own sole producer. “I wrote and produced Scandinavian Love in my living room in Berlin. Every time I got stuck I cranked up the stereo and danced my way to the production”, Asbjørn says.

LSD caught up with the Scandinavian kid and here’s what he told us:

LSD: Hi ‘Kiddo’!

Hello!

LSD: How would you describe your work?

I’ve always been completely crazy about pop, but also a sucker for intimacy and honesty in music. So I am something in between a folk troubadour telling his stories, and a total pop diva shaking her booty.

LSD: You are currently based in Berlin. What made you choose Germany’s capital as home?

Germany has always been utterly welcoming to my music, and I have been collaborating with several people living in Berlin from the start of my career. I was also ready to make a change, and to feel a bit less safe in life. I wanted to experience loneliness and see what kind of things that would stir up in me. I like being surrounded by totally wacky people, and self-destruction. I like that there’s no grey zone for me in Berlin. It’s such a clear distinction here, like… I am either focused or I am not, there’s no in-between.  I like that because I know this city is well capable of destroying me if I don’t take control.

LSD: Can you tell us about the idea behind Pseudo Visions?

When I finished recording my first album Sunken Ships I realized that I’d been in a total ‘existential bubble’ and my music had become an outlet for melancholia instead of energy. Pseudo Visions allowed me to be outgoing and interact with my audience, together with making videos and touring – it just makes so much sense both personally and musically.

LSD:  Your new song, Scandinavian Love… What is it about?

I think one of the main driving forces for humans is looking for that next potential huge heartbreak, and most teenagers really dare to go for it. Scandinavian Love is about being a teenager and experiencing all these love and sex related things for the very first time. And how fucking important it is to keep that curiosity when you grow up.

LSD: In this new single you are presenting yourself as a ‘Scandinavian kid making out with the mirror’. Perhaps you can explain the idea behind the statement?

Didn’t we all prepare for the real thing by kissing with the mirror? I know I did! It’s one of those things that you did all alone and told nobody about, which is a huge part of the excitement of being a teenager.

LSD: What inspires you the most?

Great pop song, dancing to slow and sexy hip-hop, and intense conversations. Fresh air is also very important. Haha

LSD: Who are your icons, not necessarily only in the music industry?

Patti Smith, not so much musically, but lyrically, plus her life story and values are also very inspiring. David Bowie, for his important role as a male icon in pop culture. Beyoncé, Lykke Li, Max Martin, and so many more. Sometimes I also think of my music as the soundtrack for Beverly Hills/90210, which was totally essential throughout my childhood.

LSD: Speaking of which, Lykke Li said your song Brotherhood is one of her current favourite songs. How do you feel about this?

It was the weirdest day when I found out. I have so much respect for that woman and the fact that she even knows who I am makes me bounce off the walls.

LSD: And what effect do you think these comments of appreciation can have on your career? 

It’s amazing. However I am shit at making the most out of that stuff. I respect her too much to take advantage of it professionally. To me it’s a big deal if I can repay her just a little for her art with my own.

LSD: How do you see collaboration projects? Perhaps a collaboration with Lykke Li soon?

She’s so out of my league!!! But I love ‘collabs’. I have actually been doing some recently. With La Boum Fatale, for instance. We made a very sexy song together for their next record. And also with the British Andrew Bayer, for a song called Super Human, which will be the first single from his forthcoming album.

LSD:  What’s in your sleeve for this year so far? What can you tell us about what we’re to expect from you?

Pseudo Visions will be released in Scandinavia in March but the international release is still unknown – it’s totally dependent on what kind of label situation we end up in. Right now I am writing new material and figuring out where I am going next musically. But soon I will start touring and I cannot wait. That’s my drug!

//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

On April 23rd Asbjorn will be back in the club circuit in Denmark with a brand new live set-up. Including the showcase festival SPOT on May 1st, the tour will continue into the summer covering Denmark and Germany. Keep your eyes and ears opened.

Written By
More from Joao Cidade

NEW VIDEO: BJÖRK – BLACK LAKE (TRAILER – MoMA)

From March 8th to June 7th, the New York’s Museum of Modern...
Read More