An overview of Danish acts at ESNS 2018
Music from our small country in the North has been positively blooming these last few years. And while it may well be the spring of Danish music and culture as far as we’re concerned, how come there’s such a huge interest elsewhere in the ‘Sound of Denmark’ right now?
For decades, young, talented musicians have broken out of the Danish scene and crossed borders. They may have been few in number, but acts and musicians like Michael Learns to Rock, Pretty Maids and Lars Ulrich of Metallica had a huge impact on music fans around the world as well as at home. And local ambitions grew massively when The Raveonettes and Mew secured major record deals in the UK and US. Then, following the success of MØ, Lukas Graham and Volbeat, the majority of Danish artists believe that the world is potentially their musical playground.
Ambitions go hand in hand with creativity and artistic freedom, and the lineup for Denmark Blooms at Eurosonic displays a huge variety of genres and styles. All the acts deliver highly professional performances and all could well be the next artist to leave Danish soil and explore the world and its venues.
Kicking in the door with pure pop for the masses we find Phlake and Scarlet Pleasure – both bands have toured extensively and already thrilled tens of thousands of spectators at festivals. Rising stars are The EBBA award-winning Copenhagen trio Off Bloom and the singer Soleima who won the prestigious ‘P3 Talent’ award at ‘P3 Gold’ (Danish Broadcast Corporations, P3). Vera is a talented producer who has worked together with Mø on several projects, and whose ep is on the top list of NME end of the year's list.
If something like a ‘blue Nordic tune’ exists, then it can be found in acts like Goss, who inject melancholy into their pop, and School of X, founded by drummer Rasmus Littauer who tours the world with MØ when he’s not fronting his own band.
The singer Ellis May never leaves a good melody behind in her universe of fragile, dark and doomy songwriting, and IamJJ has toured Germany intensively since a successful performance at Reeperbahn Festival in 2016.
Jenny Rossander aka Lydmor (Mother of Sound) is a one-woman army. For the last five years, she has played everywhere from huge festivals to people’s living rooms across Europe on her never-ending ‘Trust Tour’ where private individuals could book a concert of her emotional pop songs – giving shelter and food as payment. It was a stunning live-studio performance from Maximillian of the song ‘Feelings’ that made things go extremely quickly for the young singer, his rich voice represents the best of R&B, pop and soul.
Meanwhile, and flying under the pop radar, several acts from the underground movement have already had quite an impact in the international scene. Punk act Iceage, with their roaring energy and high intensity are a must-see, and Pardans (Ballroom dancing) is a six-piece living in a vertiginous, self-created universe that has now gotten the attention of BBC Radio 1.
Svin (pig) take noisy jazz and avant-garde rock to the next level with their explosive live performances. Displaying a total dedication to old school death metal. Baest will deliver the ultimate death metal fest when the young Aarhus-band hit the stage, and also from Aarhus come the three young women of Velvet Volume, giving a classy lesson in classic rock from the 60’s and onwards, played LOUD!!!!
On the dreamy and deeply emotional side of life, three artists offer food for thought. Originally a pianist, August Rosenbaum makes sonic landscapes and has established himself as an inventive and original producer on his latest album ‘Vista’ (2017). Amalie Bruun is the artist hiding behind the name Myrkur (‘dark’ in Icelandic). Not only one of the few women in the world of metal, she also gives several alternatives takes on the black metal scene creating great art and controversy at the same time. Myrkur's show at Eurosonic will be a special performance including folk songs (folkesange).
For a more atmospheric and classical touch check out We Like We, take a deep breath and dive into the wonderful and enchanting landscapes of this four-piece combo of strings, percussion, and voice.
Meeting on the dance floor is always the best way to end a long and fun-packed day, and three acts know how to party like there’s no tomorrow. The production collective Av Av Av (Ouch Ouch Ouch) mix electronic tunes and their own style into a massive party, as does Snavs (dirt) who already makes US crowds moved to his unstoppable EDM and is now taking over Europe.
Last but not least – a group who have transformed themselves from garage rock to old school crispy funk and soul, a live band in the true sense of the phrase: D/troit can stir up a party in a toilet with the charming Toke Bo making moves nobody thought was possible!
More information about the Danish acts is available on MXD's website (Music Export Denmark).
Casper Bach Hegstrup (P6 BEAT, DR) and Carsten Holm (Programmer, Digital Radio, DR)
Highlight on Phlake
Danish EBU station P3 presents Phlake
Phlake is vocalist Mads Bo and producer Jonathan Elkær. The duo have proved themselves as an act to rely on, becoming the most played Danish act on national radio, DR P3, two years in a row.
In 2015 their breakthrough single ‘Pregnant’ was picked as ‘P3’s Uundgåelige’ (Song Of The Week) and since then there’s been no looking back for the duo and their self-invented ‘Rhythm‘n’ Balls’ – a perfect description of their bass driven, groovy and catchy mix of hip hop, funk, R’n’B and pop.
Five Danish Music Awards, a performance as the opening act on the Orange Stage at this years’ Roskilde Festival and a bunch of killer hooks later, Phlake recently released their second album, ‘Weird Invitations’, giving the promise that their sexy, sugarcoated pop is still on top of the game.
Mathias Buch Jensen (Music Editor, P3, DR)