Heroes: Robyn

Nominated by Charli XCX.

This article appears in the pages of V124: Generation V, available for purchase now at shop.vmagazine.com.

Charli XCX I’ll never forget when we were on tour in Australia together years ago…You came over to me at some party where I was feeling really nervous and you said, “Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks of you. We’ll have fun together, being ourselves.” It was a really simple gesture, but one that has stuck with me forever. Is there any advice that you wish someone had given you when you were starting out?

Robyn Caring about people is so much nicer than caring about what [they] think—I wish I’d known that earlier! I also wish [I’d known] the difference between things [you] can fix versus those you can’t—[whether regarding] relationships, songs, or work. I don’t know if I’ve figured that one out yet; I was raised in an environment [where one] had to fix things [themselves]. Sometimes I’m sad [about] that. I hope to free myself of the fixing—to have more fun and to roll with the punches.

XCX You’ve been a huge proponent of electronic music informing the landscape of pop. What about the club is so important to creating amazing pop music?

R The “club” came way before pop music; I’m thinking rhythm and trance-like states. Not to over-romanticize [the idea of music] being “natural” to human beings, but I think that’s part of why [music] has been part of our world [for so long]. Not all club music is healing, but some is, and what gets me [is] the danceability and repetition. And the pop music I’m into [shares those qualities]. Although the melody is important as well. Groove is not comparable to melody. To me, they don’t compete in the same category.

XCX What are some of your favorite clubs in the world?

R Great question! I’ve talked about my favorite clubs over the years, but I want to encourage more engagement. If you want to be part of those communities, give them some of your time [by researching them]. They need the support.

XCX So many times I’ve been in the studio when people say, “Let’s make a crying on-the-dance floor kind of song—like Robyn!” It’s almost like you own that genre of emotional rave music. Do you have to be in your sadness to write a sad song?

R I don’t know if my best work [has come from] when I’ve been the saddest. I think I always write from my own experience but [there has to be] some distance between me and whatever happened [to make me feel something]. It’s easier to tell a good story when I’m not tied to my feelings about a certain situation.

XCX I feel like your Body Talk project in 2010 started a trend of flipping the major release structure on its head. How did you decide on that structure?

R Thank you! I don’t know if I started a trend or if I was just bored. I wanted to have new songs to perform on tour throughout the year, and not feel so claustrophobic. I wanted to feel closer to, and more fluid in, my writing and performing. It was time for me to stretch the idea of how you are supposed to release music as a pop artist.


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