Under the harsh fluorescent lights in the basement of a suburban DC concert venue, as they picked at a pre-show dinner of salmon and rice—I interrogated Swedish superstar Robyn and her Norwegian collaborators, the electro-pop duo Röyksopp, for details about their upcoming releases. The hugely popular Scandinavian acts are on a joint tour promoting Do It Again, their five-song, 35-minute, "mini-album" released in May.
Robyn got her start back in the '90s as a teen-pop idol, only to leave that image behind in the mid-2000s, ditching her major label and transforming herself into an electro-pop superstar who has pumped out a string of club bangers with the sort of feminist messages seldom heard on the radio. Norwegian duo Svein Berge and Torbjørn Brundtland formed Röyksopp in 1998, and since then have remained at the forefront of a worldwide boom in electronic music.
During our chat, Berge dropped the previously undisclosed title of their upcoming album: The Inevitable End is slated for release in November. "It's fucking amazing!" Robyn chimed in. The duo's last full-length album, 2010's Senior, was a relatively downtempo affair, full of instrumental tracks that lacked the electro-pop dance sensibilities defining the band's previous work. With The Inevitable End, Röyksopp will return to its roots, re-adding vocals, while still holding onto a bit of that introspective tone. "It's got a dark energy," Berge says. "And I think it's very sincere in many ways. Well, all the music we make is hopefully sincere, but it sits with me."
Berge and Brundtland said they might just have to steal Robyn's description of their album: "It's sad, but it's not cold. It's very warm." If Röyksopp keeps its promise to fans, a new version of "Monument," the opening track of their partnership with Robyn, will be on the tracklist.
She's hoping to have the new one out by year's end, co-produced with her longtime collaborator Christian Falk, who died of cancer just a few weeks ago. "I worked with him for the first time on my first album—when I was 16. So I've known him half of my life. We became good friends and we kept working in different ways," she told me. "We're finishing the album without him, which is a really strange experience, but also a really beautiful thing because we get to be around the memory of him and the music a little bit longer."
She's been testing out some of the new material onstage recently. The show I saw this past Thursday included three fresh songs, which blended in seamlessly alongside her old hits.
Once the Röyksopp tour wraps up, she and Markus Jägerstedt, a member of her touring band and key collaborator on her latest songs, plan to head into the studio to put the finishing touches on the album. "I think it's maybe messier than what I usually do, because Christian was messy," she says. "It's a raw energy and it's based on a club world. I think it's going to be fantastic, I'm really happy about it."