Asbjørn and Brimheim: Denmark’s Alt-Pop & Queer Sensations Unveil New Single “New Moon, Same Old Me” Today

Credit: Sebastian Thorsted

The intense heat of their relationship and a warm summer night weigh heavily on this dark duet, as two soulmates struggle to hold on while drifting apart. Asbjørn and Brimheim have been following each other from the sidelines since their encounter as students at the Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus in 2012. Ten years later, they graced the cover of the queer edition of Denmark’s GAFFA music magazine together, marking the beginning of a close friendship. Read our interview with Asbjørn below.

“We have both carved out our own space in the pop industry and given the middle finger to a lot of conventions. That can be a lonely position and we found a much-needed mirror in each other,” says Asbjørn about the collaboration, with Brimheim adding: “We wrote and recorded my part at my home in Malmö, where Asbjørn regularly comes on weekends. It felt like being teenagers, staying up late while having deep conversations, doing crazy creative projects, and friend-crushing.”

@asbjornmusic @brimheim
asbjorn.lnk.to/sound

Cover photo & concept by @sebastiantthorsted
photo assistant @magnushar
stylist @matijamaxvidovic
hmu @andreabrondsted
creative direction @iovermorgen

Credit: Sebastian Thorsted

“New Moon, Same Old Me” is the third single from Asbjørn’s upcoming album, set to be released in November. The album is produced by Asbjørn in close collaboration with Steffen Lundtoft of Lowly, mixed by Rangleklods, and will be released through Asbjørn’s label, Body of Work.

Spotify has recognized Asbjørn as one of the most promising international independent artists, featuring his first two singles on its key “Fresh Finds” playlists. Asbjørn has also garnered praise from international blogs including EQ Magazine, KALTBLUT Magazine, and Queerty. Meanwhile, Brimheim is currently on a European tour with her award-winning album “RATKING,” celebrated by international media such as KEXP and Clash Magazine.

The DNA of Danish pop rebel Asbjørn is unconventional; an indie darling with a wildcard for the pop mainstream. “Friction is freedom,” he says. “As a kid, my parents would play classical, folk, and world music in the morning, and when I came home from school, I’d choreograph to Destiny’s Child, Britney, and Michael Jackson.” Beneath the surface of his beautifully crafted melodies lies a tension that erupts in a flurry of polyrhythms and playful unpredictability, leading music journalists to describe him as “a modern critic’s wet dream,” “an ode to all who do not belong,” and “desperately needed CPR for a genre at risk of losing its edge.”

In conversation with Asbjørn

“New Moon, Same Old Me” is finally out! What was the inspiration behind this duet with Brimheim?

Thanks for celebrating with me, guys!
Ok, picture this; it’s a really hot summer night, and your boy is butt-naked in the moonlight with a guitar and a choir of cicadas singing along with me. I’d been listening a lot to Prince that summer. He has this signature in his songwriting where he reuses the same melody in verses and choruses, like in ‘Most Beautiful Girl In The World’, which subconsciously appeared as I was writing. It was an extremely sensory writing experience and I tried to translate that into the production; the humidity of the air, the intense chirping everywhere around me and this round thing in the sky.

“New Moon…” is about sticking together through asynchronicity. In relations, whether it’s friendship or romance, we can’t always evolve while holding hands. Though we strive to stay connected, some leaps we have to take on our own. That can create distance between us. Out of love, one tries to support the other but ends up holding them back. But maybe that love is also infused with a fear that things will change and that we won’t find one another on the other side of the leap.

Can you describe the creative process you and Brimheim went through while working on this song?

When I wrote the first draft the story was one-sided. I found myself wondering how the situation actually looked from the other person’s POV and I realized that the relational dynamics had to be brought to life. Helena (Brimheim) and I had established a friendship after being cover girls together on the queer issue of the Danish GAFFA Magazine and I began spending weekends with her and her wife Lorri in Malmø. While mutually friend-crushing and fangirling with each other, we re-wrote the song and recorded everything during the evening while drinking wine, smoking cigarettes and talking about relations.

Helena’s pen is of a particular poetry. She writes with no filter and is unafraid to tap into her own darkness, while I tend to turn on the light as fast as I can. This makes us a kind of odd couple, both as friends and collaborators and I think that comes across in the song. We have so much to learn from each other.

How does “New Moon, Same Old Me” fit into the narrative of your upcoming album?

The album is written in a total state of liminality in my life and ‘New Moon…’ also deals with that as an interpersonal situation. Being in this undefined in-between identity-nomansland is a challenging and scary place for me to find myself. I’m the boss in my label, I love having control and the creative freedom it brings. At the same time, control is my biggest enemy in my creative process. To trick myself out of it, I actively used control-loss as my artistic approach on this album; instead of producing songs I could dance to, I danced first and translated the movement to sound. Dancing is pure intuition to me and has always been my vessel to feel freedom, turn my brain off and be present.

You’ve mentioned the intensity of your relationship with Brimheim. How does this personal connection influence your music?

Well, I think we found a much-needed mirror in each other. We navigate the music industry quite similarly, in the sense that none of us are willing to conform. We work hard and with a lot of heart and resilience. To see her grow her career with such integrity is so beautiful and inspiring to me and I hope we’ll remind each other of those values forever.

You’ve been recognized as a promising international artist by Spotify. How does this recognition affect your work and your future projects?

This album is made without any commercial awareness or pressure. I actually told myself “ASBJØRN, YOU’RE NOT GONNA MAKE A POP ALBUM DAMMIT” and I just made songs without thinking about “what’s a single?!” etc… I want to show the complexities of this music and involve my audience in all my experiments, so my release plan is also very intuitive and not too concerned with which of the songs have the biggest potential commercially.

Spotify’s support so far reaffirms me that I should never conform or make music to please trends and it’s a valuable push for an independent artist like me. I’m just really excited that pop music has become such a wide term that the rules of it have kind of blurred, so nobody knows what works. That’s freedom!

What can fans expect from your upcoming album set to release in November?

Hehe, I hope it will confuse you to a point where you stop trying to figure it out and just feel, dance and experience it. It’s cacophonic, fragmented, wild and vulnerable but it still feels like a pop-album. It also makes you dance in new ways.

You recently gave a highly acclaimed performance at the SPOT Festival. How did it feel to receive such positive feedback?

Oh jeez, yes. So, I got a pretty serious knee injury a couple of months ago, which means I have to work within some limitations to not injure myself further. The concert at SPOT was my first one after the accident. I re-found my body on that stage and felt strong, vulnerable, present and closer to my audience than ever. It felt so healing. The reviews and the doors the concert has opened for me are obviously amazing and I’m just really happy to be recognized as a live performer. Creating that unity between all of us is what I live for!

With festival season in full swing, which upcoming performances are you most excited about?

Roskilde Festival on July 5, no doubt! This is a milestone that took me 12 years to achieve and I’m just so fucking ready. There will also be an international tour and I’m so freakishly excited to see my German audience again. I’ll let you know soon <3