By Damian Jones
Moody electro-duo Röyksopp are back with a new album flanked by a crack team of guest artists. They talk about working with Scandinavia's finest, boozy fairytales and chomping on rotten apples.
Röyksopp have made their return with bleepy new single Happy Up Here
When Röyksopp first came bouncing across the airwaves in 2001, it was virtually impossible to escape their bleepy hit single Eple.
Indeed it went on to become the unlikely chill out hit of the summer, invading late night bars, TV ads and front rooms at 3 in the morning.
Now eight years on, the Norwegian electro-duo have gone and done it again, marking their moody return with synth stabbing comeback single Happy Up Here.
"We deliberately came back with that song," argues Svein Berge as he finishes chomping on an apple.
"We only resurface every three or four years so we had to have a track which made people go, 'Oh it's those guys again'. We also felt it was a nice way to say, 'Hello. Here we are again.'"
Yet while Happy Up Here may come on like Eple's sweeter younger sister, Röyksopp's new album Junior is something of a departure for the predominately instrumental duo.
With guest spots from Scandinavian chanteuses Robyn and Lykke Li alongside Norwegian singer Anneli Drecker and The Knife's Karin Dreijer Andersson, Junior is very much a female affair.
"We invited them all on board because their voices are all very distinct and unique in their own right," he explains.
"It helped bring diversity to the album by having such a variety of different voices to choose from.
"With Robyn for instance she has that great distinct pop voice which just cuts through everything. The track The Girl And The Robot, for example, is quite harsh and hectic but somehow her clear and crisp voice cuts through all that.
"Karin on the other hand represents the darker side of Röyksopp and it always sounds like she's breathing her dying breath when she sings. That adds a certain dark mysterious energy."
Berge originally teamed up with his key punching sidekick Tobjørn Brundtland in Bergen in 1998.
When their debut Melody AM dropped three years later it racked up more than a million album sales.
Four years later their second album The Understanding was greeted with a somewhat muted response before Junior brought them back to the forefront.
"To us Melody AM was about creating atmospheres," Bergen offers.
"With The Understanding we tried to move more into an area of song writing in a more traditional sense.
"So I feel that these two worlds have collided in a positive way on Junior."
And if that wasn't enough, the pair are currently tweaking its elder follow up, Senior.
"Senior is more introspective and withdrawn with a greater emphasis on creating atmosphere as opposed to Junior which is more about immediate, direct energy," Berge explains.
Svein Berge and Tobjørn Brundtland formed Röyksopp in 1998
"You could say Junior has a spring feel to it and Senior has a more autumn mood to it."
Of the tracks set to feature on the next record, The Alcoholic, in particular stands out for Berge.
"With that track we had this romantic, nostalgic idea based on this hobo who hitchhikes on trains and travels from place to place," he adds before confirming his apple has now turned brown.
"He's not an alcoholic in that sad way one would think of an alcoholic. He is much more of a drifter and dreamer."
Junior is released on 23 March.