We run down the key players in a DIY scene that is growing more vivid by the day.
The Scandinavian nation of Denmark may not be that well revered for its musical talents, but history has shown that some great music and musicians have emerged from it. In the present, artists such as Lukas Graham and MØ contribute to represent in the mainstream sphere, having their hands in some of pop music’s biggest hits in recent years. Even before them you can count Lars Ulrich, co-founder of the legendary Metallica, as a national gem, for being a pioneer in his field.
Recently, Danish music has reached an interesting place, where an underbelly of talent has quietly gone about its business, laying bricks to create a talented wall around the country. This is perhaps felt the most in the nation’s capital, Copenhagen, where electronic alternative pop music has infiltrated and a number of artists and bands have emerged. It has become a cultural hotbed for talent and creative independence – most acts are fiercely DIY and proud - and grabbed our attention in a big way. Having noticed the sheer number of talent to come from Copenhagen, we have decided to round up the main players of this scene and get you woke on the scene itself.
Though not from Copenhagen, we had to include the exciting, forward thinking boyband, Liss. Forming in 2014 after a chance meeting with each other’s girlfriends, singer Søren Holm, bassist Villads Tyrrestrup, brilliantly-named guitarist Vilhelm Strange, and drummer Tobias Hansen bring soul to their pop tracks. They released their debut EP, First, just last year and it melted our hearts, with Holm’s vocals speaking to lost love and relationships, very much in an identifiable way. At the heart of it, Liss are just best friends making music and growing together, going against the mechanics that consume the pop world and crafting music in their image alone.
Having worked with some of Denmark's biggest names in his short career, and contributed to MØ's new album, GOSS is striking out on his own with precision. His sweet and uncomplicated vocals are completely unadorned, which is a rarity in the game, and is pitched somewhere between R&B and pop. Recent EP, Healthcare, was an exhibition in perfectly crafted songs about love and identity, and the manner in which he rides the rhythms are as refreshing as they are innovative. A virtual newcomer, there is definitely more to come from GOSS.
School of X
This is another band to keep an eye on. Going under the lovely alias, School of X, Rasmus Littauer is a rock star in the Danish pop scene. The drummer released his first EP, Faded Dream, last month, which harkened back to the shoegaze scene of 1980s Britain, but with updates to bring it to 2017. Those updates are Littauer serene vocals and the wall of sound he surrounds himself in, where minimalism is exercised to full effect. Having performed at Rosklide Festival and many more this year, School of X has made a grand entrance.
Having been integral in the growth and introduction as the go-to producer for recent Copenhagen buzz acts Liss, Goss and others, Vera continues to make assured steps as an artist in his own right. Releasing an EP last year, Sketches For Trommer, he collided hip-hop elements with electronic music for a euphoric mixture of the two. 2017 single ‘In and Out of Love’ was a smooth and sultry introduction for those only just waking up, and the late-night slink of recent single ‘Falling,’ featuring Okay Kaya, built on the already built foundation. Vera may be the biggest name in the scene so far, and he is planning his moves, step by step.
Vasco has become something of a dark horse in the Danish scene. Taking some of the most well-known songs to recently emerge from the area and flip them on their heads in a number of remixes, the producer has gained much respect from his peers for his workmanlike approach. Though he doesn’t have much of an online presence, its outside of that realm that Vasco is making the most noise. Check out a compilation of tracks produced by him here.
Almost like the elder statesmen of the Danish scene, having been in the game for a few years, Blondage are every bit as part of it. Esben Andersen and Pernille Smith-Silversten both made music as solo acts, before joining forces to form Blondage in. Both with academic backgrounds, they see themselves mainly as musicians, and their studies have however helped them in defining their new expression. That expression is unadulterated electro-pop. New single ‘Stoned’ is a good introduction and one to get excited about, but Blondage are very much the foundation on which the Danish scene is built.
Bringing fun and unpredictability to the table, TAN are an edgy branch on the big tree that is the Danish pop scene. Comprised of Mathias Riis and Andreas Bengsten, the masked duo’s aesthetic is one of lo-fi, VHS-style, trippy visuals set to mood music for any occasion. Its almost like you are being transported to the New York disco scene of the 1970s in your best clothes, ready for a boogie. They are also travellers having gone round the world to perfect their sound, as they demonstrate in the video for ‘Panorama.’ Very much unlike their peers, TAN provide balance to the already exuberant breeding ground that is Copenhagen.