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Less = more in Robyn's world these days

of the Oakland Press

Posted: Friday, June 3, 2011

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After a career-renewing spate of success in 2010, Robyn has decided less will indeed be more for her in the future.

Last year the Swedish singer — best known for her gold Top 10 singles “Do You Know (What It Takes)” in 1996 and “Show Me Love” in 1997 — scored with a series of “Body Talk” EPs rather than full-length albums. Each of the three installments hit No. 1 in her homeland, snaring five Swedish Grammis in the process.

They — along with an album compiling the best of the batch — also brought her back to the charts in the U.S., selling 91,000 copies and earning a Grammy nomination for Best Dance Recording for the single “Dancing On My Own.” So, perhaps not surprisingly, Robyn plans to stay that course in the coming years.

“The plan is to keep going and recording shorter albums so that I can keep my touring and my recording processes equal,” confirms Robyn, né Carlsson, the 31-year-old daughter of Swedish actors who herself has been recording since she sang the theme song the TV show “Lilla Sportspegeln.” “I just want to keep a flow, just stay inspired and keep working, and it feels like it’s possible with this way of working.

“I wasn’t sure in the beginning if people would get it, but they did, which is really cool. I’m touring a lot more than I thought I would, so I’m very happy about how I’ve been able to connect to my audience.”

The creative benefit of this, Robyn adds, is that she’s able to stay fresh and keep generating new material.

“When you end up doing one thing for a very long time, everybody knows it can get boring,” explains the singer, who in addition to her own shows will be playing this year’s Bonnaroo Music Festival and also opening for Katy Perry, although not at The Palace of Auburn Hills later this month.

“I think the amount of songs on an album and the amount of promotion you have to do for that long of an album has kind of gone overboard.

“I think shorter albums with a lot of good songs on them are better. It’s more satisfying for me and for the people that listen to them, and it’s easier for me to stay inspired when it’s music that hasn’t been sitting around for two years waiting to be recorded or released while I’m on tour for three years.”

Robyn says there’s no timetable for her next EP, and that “it’s too early for me to talk about” what direction it might take. She is, meanwhile, still pushing “Body Talk.” Her latest single is “Indestructible” — which she describes as “a love song ... about what you can do in a club” — while she’s hoping that “Hang With Me,” written and produced by her main collaborator Klas Ahlund, will have its moment as a follow-up.

Both songs, Robyn says, were among the first recorded for the “Body Talk” series, but “we saved them for later because I knew they would be singles, or could be singles, and I wanted them to get that chance.”

“Hang With Me,” she notes, went through a significant metamorphosis over time.

“It didn’t have a chorus when we started working on it,” she recalls. “It had a shorter verse and it was a ballad, so I decided if I could make Klas turn it into a more uptempo and bring the BPM up, it could work.

“So we started there and he kept writing the song while we were recording, and it came out great.”

Club life, Robyn adds, provides her with a rich metaphor for her lyrics as well as a target for the musical approach of her songs.

“It’s like a grown-up playground,” she explains, “a place where grown-ups get to, maybe not be kids but maybe be less controlled. I think the club is almost like an event; you go out to connect to other people and feel things and react to things. It’s like a concentrated version of everyday life.

“I like that place. I like it to be close to my emotions. Even if I’m sad, I still like to go out and watch people and hear music.”

And, Robyn acknowledges, more and more often her music is popping up on the playlists of the clubs she’s visiting — which speaks volumes for the impact “Body Talk” has made during the past 12 months.

“I feel like it’s moving forward,” Robyn says. “It’s moving slowly, but it’s moving. As long as I get to make the music that I want to make and I have an audience to perform for and it moves ahead and I feel like I’m getting to do what I want, then I’m happy.”

Robyn, Diamond Rings and Natalie Kills perform Saturday, June 4, at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance, $22 day of show; tickets for the original Feb. 2 concert will be honored. Call 248-399-2980 or visit www.royaloakmusictheatre.com.

Web Site: www.royaloakmusictheatre.com

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