Text by Portrait: Andrew Amorim
Of all the things that are good in Bergen – hiking, beautiful fjords, raincoats – electronic music has always been one of the less likely. Yet this is the town that produced electro pioneers Röyksopp and Erlend Øye, and where electropop superstar Annie first stood behind a DJ deck.
And it’s a tradition that has kept going, with Bergen clubs throwing out exciting acts from psychedelic-hued band Young Dreams to Kygo, who has given bass-thudding remixes to everyone from Coldplay to Dolly Parton. The latest is Pandreas, the moniker of 21-year-old Andreas Kleven Rasmussen, whose lush ambient electro has been making waves in Norway and beyond.
Rasmussen moved to Bergen to study law, and hadn’t tinkered with electronic music until 2011. “It wasn’t a conscious thing. I was mostly self-taught, using YouTube and just trying things out on my own. There’s an amazing legacy of electronic music in Bergen, and it’s a scene I feel part of now – but I didn’t when I started.”
His breakout track was Rås, released late last year, a glorious soul-infused dance track which was praised by the Guardian (UK) for its “inescapably bittersweet euphoria”. He’s followed that up with more releases this year, including Beluga, a trippy tune inspired by whale song that was accompanied by a mind-bendingly beautiful video from New York artist-director Jonathan Turner (Google it).
Rasmussen says he’s inspired by such British musicians as Four Tet and Gold Panda, as well as acts closer to home like Stavanger producer Lindstrøm and Stockholm’s Axel Willner, aka The Field.
Rasmussen’s plan this year is to create more small releases, and to play bigger gigs, including the Roskilde Festival and Hamburg’s Dockville this summer. “They’ll be the biggest gigs of my life,” he says, “but I’m ready”. DJ sets and gigs are, after all, the only real way to make money these days – and while Rasmussen is working hard at his course, he’d rather be a musician than a lawyer. As he puts it: “You have to be really big to make money from sales – and there’s more than enough Avicii in the world.”