Danish musician Asbjørn moves the German pop industry forward. He invited us to one of his fa-vorite spots, Tempelhof Airport, in Berlin to talk about Boy Pwr, his admiration for pop music, and of course, his musical evolution!
How did Asbjørn start music? What is your source of inspiration? What is your musical history?
I started making choreographies to Destiny’s Child, Britney and Spice Girls and writing songs with my mom on the piano really early. Before I learned playing it myself I just told her it had to be “sad-der” or “happier” and then I wrote melodies and lyrics about how much I wanted a hamster or that my best friend broke up with me. So, nothing has changed in my approach to music, haha, it’s still all about emotions and dancing at the same time.
From your first album “Sunken Ships” to your latest single your music is evolving! While Sunken Ships has more experimental sounds your last latest single “Nothing 2 Lose” is closer to the pop sound. How do you interpret this evolution and where do you want to reach?
I always was a total pop-geek, but I wasn’t good enough at writing it myself before now. So, I guess I saw my first albums as an education where I should freak out and experiment as much as possi-ble. Pop is such a science to me, and I had to learn and develop a whole music language before I knew how to say “how are you” in the right way, if that makes sense, you know?
As a listener who started following you from the first album, even the sound is quite dif-ferent except for the same sincerity of your lyrics. How do you write your lyrics?
I mostly write my lyrics first, then comes melody and at last I produce around that. Lyrically I’ve always tried to be honest but I’ve never been as direct as I am now. My next album is called BOY PWR and it’s all about creating the same personal freedom for guys as female popstars have done for women the last many decades. Masculinity as a term shouldn’t be exclusively connected to a certain type of man. Vulnerability or bravery to break the stereotype should be considered a great masculine characteristic too, if you ask me.
”The music might be aggressive but the people are still chill. I think Berliners relax a lot getting lost in a crowd and becoming this nonverbal organism, just connecting through sound and body.”
What is the story behind “BOY PWR”?
After the release of my video-album Pseudo Visions, my fans started writing me their stories and I started having conversations with them. It seemed like we were all connected by this feeling of being perceived as less masculine or feminine because of sexuality, interests or just our general per-sonality. That made me think about
how much girl power meant to me as a kid, because I didn’t feel mirrored in the masculine pop ideal. It’s time for men to fight to be the kind of man we wanna be instead of what Hollywood tells us. BOY PWR is my way of doing that.
Do you have any idols? Or let’s say do you have any guide in the sense of music?
I absolutely love Charli XCX for pushing the envelope for pop music today. Lorde, Janelle Monae, Rihanna and I was crying like a baby while watching Beyonce’s Coachella show.
Do you think there is some prejudice for pop music? And as a person who lives in Berlin, how do you think pop music feeds the electronic music scene?
I kind of brainwashed all my friends to love it and everybody I work with are absolute pop-freaks, so I rarely feel like an outsider anymore. Of course, Berlin is still more electronically focused, but I work a lot in London for instance with some of the PC Music guys, who are fanatic about pop music the same way I am. We can listen to an old Britney Spears song, freak out and try our best to do something remotely as remarkable as that, which some people might not get. But I guess it’s just kind of our religion.
Why did you choose to live in Berlin?
Every time I toured in Germany I ended up in Berlin and felt intuitively home. I felt how nobody judged me for my appearance, and I guess that made me realize how much I want to spread that in the world. You shouldn’t have to fight every day for the right to be you.
How this city inspires you? What do you think about the freedom of the city? Also, do you think this freedom can be harmful to an individual?
It inspires me a lot that you could f*ck yourself up all the time, if you wanted to. There’s a reptile-brain vs ambition thing going on every day, which I think is super healthy to balance between. And that’s why freedom is dangerous I guess, it’s tempting to just let go completely.
And as tourists, when we travel around the town, people look really calm. But in the night-life, popular nightclubs making really aggressive tunes! Why do you think it’s like that?
The music might be aggressive but the people are still chill. I think Berliners relax a lot getting lost in a crowd and becoming this nonverbal organism, just connecting through sound and body.
Are there any new releases coming up? Any new projects?
I’ll release something new in May and debut my new live show at the SPOT Festival in Denmark which I am SO FREAKING EXCITED about!
Fotoğraf / Photography by OZAN TEZVARAN