Published Jun 04, 2014Scandinavian electronic greats Röyksopp and Robyn released their Mark of Excellence-earning mini-album/EP, Do It Again, just last week. Though press has focused on the fact that this is "more like a band thing" than a collaboration of two separate artistic entities, Röyksopp's Torbjørn Brundtland tells Exclaim! that it's being friends, more than anything, that allowed for the EP's slightly more experimental edge.
"With us being friends and so on, we could allow ourselves to not have a plan, at least at certain stages of this project," he explains via a conference call with bandmate Svein Berge and Robyn. "For instance, the day we started making 'Monument,' it didn't come out of a plan, we just started talking about stuff: time, life and death. We were inspired by our talk, and just started playing with time stretching and stretching sound. Just from that friendly talk, loose shoulders and hanging out, a creative process started. That's something you can do only with friends or, at least, if you trust the people you're with."
Robyn adds, "Out of the fun we had together is where all the ideas came from. It was very rewarding to work that way: nobody knew we were in the studio together, we were just thinking about our own needs or our own thoughts or whatever we wanted to do, and to me, that's what music is about."
Do It Again's fascination with time, Robyn says, was born from aging, reaching a life point at which one has to take stock of the past, present and future.
"I think that maybe getting into this other part of your semi-grown up life between 35 and 40 might be something that makes you think about time and those kinds of things," she says. "When you go through things in life, you're faced with yourself, and you have to make up your mind about things: 'What do I want to make out of this situation that I'm in right now, or confronted with? You have to take a stand, kind of. When those things happen in life, you create a before and after, in a way, and that before and after is very much about time and maybe creating possibilities for the future."
Berge notes the way Do It Again engages with the concept of time musically: "There's definitely an aesthetic vision to how the mini-album is put together. Not necessarily as a narrative, like a book — because then we probably would have written a book instead — but yeah, if you look at it, it's actually got a structure to it. There's the long intro and the long outro, and sort of an energetic peak in the middle."
But while Do It Again was touted as an introduction to a forthcoming Röyksopp full-length, they're tight-lipped about their next steps.
"We never spoke of what we were going to do," says Brundtland, "kind of with the feeling that if you just do it instead, it's more efficient and it happens the right way. We basically don't want to tell you too much about it, if that's okay."
Berge, meanwhile, hints that it will stay "within the same sort of realm [as Do It Again] when it comes to themes. It's about spirituality, satisfaction and fulfillment, and it's about decay and demise, doubt and denial, attractions and compulsions; themes we've dabbled in in the history of Röyksopp. It will be down that route with a darker sentiment; the same kind of darkness you find on this release."
Asked whether she'll play a substantial role on that album, Robyn is coy: "Um, I don't know! We'll see… what happens."
Interjects Brundtland, "I think we'll point back to what we said. We don't want to give too much away."
Do It Again is out now courtesy of Arts & Crafts. Catch the trio's tour — which will feature sets by Robyn, then Röyksopp, then a third, collaborative set — on one of the dates listed below.
06/13 Barcelona, Spain - Sonar Festival
06/14 Aarhus, Denmark - Northside Festival
06/26 Seattle, WA - Marymoor Park
06/28 San Francisco, CA - Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
06/29 Los Angeles, CA - Hollywood Bowl
07/18 Gräfenhainichen, Germany - Melt Festival
07/19 Southwold, UK - Latitude Festival
08/08 Olso, Norway - Øya Festival
08/09 Gothenburg, Sweden - Way Out West Festival
08/15 Hasselt, Belgium - Pukkelpop
08/20 New York, NY - Pier 97
08/21 Washington, DC - Wolftrap
08/22 Boston, MA - HB Pavilion
08/24 Chicago, IL - Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park
08/25 Toronto, ON - Echo Beach