With a sound that sit's somewhere between Sohn and Liss, Asbjorn (aka Asbjørn Toftdahl) produces cerebral pop and challenges the conceptions of what it is to be a modern pop artist both in the way he makes his music, but also in the way he portrays himself to the world. In advance of the release of his album Pseudo Visions on Novmber 6th 2015 we wanted to get to know him a little better.
How has your upbringing in a small village in Denmark and now living in a major city like Berlin influenced your music?
The option of constant self-destruction in a city like Berlin is obviously very different from my upbringing. I am generally attracted to the rawness of Berlin and I have the possibility to really live life with all the ugly sides of it. The extremes are necessary to me.
Who are the artist's that influence your musical style the most?
Michael Jackson's History cassette was on my walkman non-stop as a kid. The Writings On The Wall by Destiny's Child was my first CD. Ane Brun opened my world to that happy-sad melancholy, which is very essential in my songwriting.
What is it about your music that you think stands out in today's music scene?
I believe in the intimacy in pop music, both in production and lyrics. I want to make brave pop music. Self-exposing, naked and private. Like a really sad folk song that also makes you move your body.
For your new album Pseudo Visions was there any inspiration in particular that you drew on?
I think all my lyrics are quite specific in their origin. I wanted to make a record while actually living life, instead of locking myself in a studio and sealing myself from the world. That's why I made it one chapter at the time, to tour and make videos and write new songs while facing my audience. That energy was important to translate on to the record, so it didn't become too closed around itself.
You have talked before about the way male sexuality is portrayed in the media and how it is restrictive. Do you feel particularly like you need to be a role model for younger boys who also feel like they don't fit in with the norms of society?
I think every man has a responsibility right now to define themselves and stand up to the ideal that the pop industry has maintained for so many decades. It's already happening in youth culture but pop culture is seriously lacking behind. The women have done this for so long and they have achieved a freedom that men should look up to. If some can relate to me, that's great - but we need more and at some point the mainstream will get it.
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