Royksopp need little introduction, the Norwegian duo have established themselves as one of the most popular electronic acts in Europe, if not the world thanks to their high work ethic and excellent releases. With their new album, ‘The Inevitable End’ out right now we spoke to them before their DJ set at Plastic People last week…
So it came as a surprise to us that you guys DJ as well?
Svein: With our obvious handicaps.
Yeah, well being Norwegian, we figured it must be tough!
Svein: Exactly yeah! [laughs] No we have been DJing over the years, not a lot but we have. It’s one of those things that we just enjoy doing because it’s not as precious as making music is to us and I’m not trying to slag off those who only DJ but that’s our take on it. It’s a fun thing for us to do and it’s very much a spur of the moment thing, we don’t plan ahead, we experiment.
I went to an open mic hip-hop night last night and I spoke to one of the audiences members afterwards about how much I respect people who perform; singers, dancers, rappers… I DJ too, but I don’t feel as vulnerable as I expect I would if I was performing.
Svein: To me it’s not as if one is above the other though…
No, not at all. I just mean that those who play instruments, dance, sing or perform in any of those more personal ways, invest a little bit more than a DJ does.
Svein: I don’t consider myself to be a DJ on that higher level, excelling. I’m not one of the top three DJs in the world, not on a technical level or in terms of reading a crowd. I just play a bit for myself and for those who seem to enjoy what I’m doing. Without having seen you DJ, I’m pretty sure you’re better than I am! People are good at different things.
I always think DJing, at its very foundation, is about having fun anyway. You can push it up to the most professional level and be technical wizard who can read crowds like a psychic, or you can be at home with one turntable, playing your favourite jams to your friends. No matter that level you’re at, it’s still ultimately about having fun and entertaining yourself and others.
Svein: I totally agree, there are so many different schools of thought within DJing, as well. Some people are very dogmatic and decide, ‘I can only play deep house and only from 89 to 91’, tight mixes, long mixes etc… but we’re from the school of having fun, not being show-offs and picking out tracks on the fly like, ‘Oh, I haven’t heard this in a while, let’s play it!’ We come from a very small scene in Norway, 10 people really, and only a few of us have been making music and some of this group have been leaning more towards the DJ side of things. There hasn’t been a ‘need’ for us to be that skilled when it comes to DJing… I’m playing myself down a bit here! As I said, I’m less precious about it. I don’t care if I fuck up a mix but, if I listen to a track I did a few years ago and heard a mistake in it, I’d be very upset.
You’d be crying yourself to sleep.
What’s your general set up? Vinyl, CDs?
Svein: CDJs. We did vinyl way back to try to be ‘real’ but I like CDJs. We don’t have a particular style, it’s all down to the mood, the crowd and the actual venue.
Plastic People is rated by many as one of the best small clubs in London. The sound system is so good.
Svein: That’s what we like because we sometimes like to play old and dodgy music which requires a good PA or sound system. One of the worst things that can happen to us is when we want to play some obscure eighties italo disco and the sound system isn’t up to scratch. As soon as you know that’s in place, it’s good for me at least, then I can play my shabby records!