Blondage's "Stoned" is one of the best new pop songs of the year and following up a single like that is difficult, but the Danish duo (Esben Andersen & Pernille Smith-Sivertsen) has pulled it off with "Boss."
Their music is consistently rooted in strong, immediate songwriting and modern production, but it's decorated with strange details and unexpected twists. This distinctive, edgy approach has been a staple in Scandinavian pop music for years now, and Blondage carries on the tradition with an unabashed aim to create music that they can bounce to—and they have great taste in music, so when they like something, chances are others will too.
The duo has been making music together for years—previously under the name Rangleklods—but a new workflow has them energized and creating more, better, and faster than ever before. So far, it's paying off. Listen to "Boss" and read our interview with Blondage below.
You guys make really catchy, accessible music, but there's a bit of a weird edge to it. Where does that left-of-center twist come from?
Esben: Making music in Copenhagen right now is one of the reasons. A lot of people here make great things full of individuality and quirks but combined with that pop sound and feeling. That doesn’t mean you’ll find five bands that sound like us though, because everyone wants to have their own thing going on. We like that. It means things are progressing quickly and we always have to be on point. Also, the two of us have developed sort of our own shared musical language and vision because we continually keep pushing our way of writing and creating sounds. We do everything ourselves: write, record, produce and mix, so the songs really are us 100%, from the first to the last second.
We do everything ourselves: write, record, produce and mix, so the songs really are us 100%, from the first to the last second.
What music did you guys grow up listening to, and what are you listening to now?
Pernille: We’ve always listened to loads of different types of music. We’ve never gone full indie, electronic, or pop. A usual playlist of ours is a mix of the newest most slaying pop tunes, old world music, weirder electronic tracks, banging rap beats, and so on. All of that somehow finds its way into our songs. Right now we’re into people like Kaytranada, Tove Styrke, Kendrick Lamar, Young Thug, Medasin, Lana Del Rey, and Mura Musa. They all have a very personal and groovy thing going on.
There is so much music coming from Scandinavia. What is it about Scandinavia?
Pernille: I think there’s more freedom as an artist to find yourself and your sound here. It doesn’t have to happen overnight. A lot of the people we know personally who are getting attention now worked on it for years and years. And when they were ready, they released it. The sense of urgency, finishing and releasing stuff as quick as possible isn’t that prevailing here. That’s both good and bad. Sometimes we ought to work faster as well—it’s something we’re getting better at now. But the time factor is one of many reasons why the Scandinavian scene often comes up with new sounds and new ways.
What do you want people to feel when they listen to your music?
Esben: Depends on the song. With "Stoned" we wanted people to feel free, ecstatic, and adventurous. "Boss" is about saying enough is enough. Too many have lost sight of what really matters. Money and showing off your boss life is the only truth. And we’re all caught in it to some degree. Go to your Instagram feed and you’ll know exactly what we mean. We need to collectively snap out of it and stop looking at pictures of super wealthy dicks.
Have you performed in America yet? What can people expect from a Blondage show?
Pernille: No, we haven’t played in America yet. We’ve been all over Europe, so America is the next place we want to explore. And it’s something we wanna do badly! Our live show is a big part of what we do and we can’t wait to meet the fans we’ve found in the US. During concerts we play as much live as we can and make the electronics breathe and feel lively. We couldn’t play it the same way night after night, it would be boring after a week. It’s about energy and letting go.
You seem to put a lot of care into the visual elements of Blondage. From the videos—"Stoned" is awesome—to the cover art, you're definitely creating a vibe with the looks of things. How important is that to you?
Esben: Thanks! Yeah, it’s definitely important. Pernille draws and paints whenever she gets a chance to do so, and her eyes can immediately tell whether something is right for Blondage or not. We’re on a tight budget, but that made making the video for "Stoned" more fun. We had to be really creative to get that look and feel, and spent a long time location scouting. But when you reach that consistency between the sound and the image it’s all worth it.
Can you tell us a little about "Boss" and how this song came about?
Esben: It was one of those times where the song basically wrote itself. We had already finished what we thought would be the second single, but I was aimlessly jamming in the studio and came up with most of the instrumental in a couple of hours like three weeks ago. Pernille wrote the melody in 30 minutes, not long after the track was done. We knew immediately it had to be the second single. Getting it released so quickly was a challenge but the right thing to do. The sound, vibe, and lyrics are so close to our hearts. Probably because everything happened so fast. We’ve played it a couple of times live by now and it destroys.
We’re so caught up in the process of making 10 quick sketches, seeing which one makes us bounce the most and then finishing that. It’s the most fun we’ve ever had making music.
What's next for Blondage?
Pernille: We’re releasing singles throughout 2017. So much has happened in the way we write and sound these past months that the only thing that makes sense to us is to work track by track. We’re so caught up in the process of making 10 quick sketches, seeing which one makes us bounce the most and then finishing that. It’s the most fun we’ve ever had making music, and we think it’s the best outcome too. So making a shit load of songs, releasing some of them as singles and playing some late night concerts, that’s basically our plan for the rest of the year.
What else do you want new listeners to know about you?
Esben: We prefer dogs over cats any day. Our taste in music is so alike that we hardly ever argue or compromise when it comes to making music. Pernille is an early riser and Esben gets out of bed pretty late which can cause severe friction planning-wise. When we take a break from the studio we go to the closest basketball court and play horse. Pernille is by far the better player, but 1-on-1 I win simply because I’m bigger, and it annoys her excessively. Oh, and we fucking love plants. Our studio is completely full of cacti, olive trees, and magnolias. It makes it possible to stay in that space 12 or more hours a day.