These are the best places for dancing on your own
This week, Robyn takes over the site as guest editor. Here, she curates a list of the best places to party in Stockholm and Oslo.
Over the past decade, the Top 40 has been peppered with artists that hail from Scandinavia – many of its pop titans, Robyn included, having been shaped by its radically inclusive dance culture. Throughout her long career, she has pushed pop in new directions, and other Scandinavian pop artists are following in her wake (Sigrid, Lykke Li and Zara Larsson – to name a few). She’s known for radically combining the melancholic subject matter of heartbreak with pummelling synth beats and vibrant melodies that wouldn’t sound out of place in the club – her new single “Honey” perfectly captures this merging of pop and eclectic, underground music.
To celebrate the forthcoming release of her long awaited new album (also titled Honey), Robyn has revealed to us her favourite after-hour hotspots in her home of Stockholm, and one in Oslo – helmed by major figures in the Scandinavian underground scene. We took a look at what these nights had to offer.
SKY CITY, STOCKHOLM
Sky City is a music and art platform founded by director, dancer, and choreographer Jac Carlsson, who directed and choreographed the music video for Robyn’s song “Say It”. Sky City’s nights take place at Off Opera, a part of Stockholm’s iconic nightclub Café Opera. Talking to Red Bull, Carlesson described Off Opera (the new venture at Café Opera) “a real nightclub for dancing to the music of the times”. The night itself mixes “the punk vibe of dance music with the luxurious feel at Café Opera”. As a result, the night has the best of both worlds.
Swedish producer Baba Stiltz told us that his music is “about really simple things most of the time. Like being sad that someone did something, or that you did something – being happy, being drunk, being high. There’s not too much happening, it’s fairly straight to the point.”
CIA, the club night founded by Stiltz, is a natural extension of his straight-to-the-point attitude. The night has a clear-cut agenda, advertising that it plays “dancehall, house, rap, dub, disco and techno party-music only.” This is a night for music obsessives, pure and simple.
OFF OPERA, STOCKHOLM
Like Sky City, Off Opera takes place within the opulent four walls of Café Opera. With chandeliers hanging overhead and neon lights flickering from all directions, it’s a unique experience that provides a special showcase for a different DJ each time. Past nights have seen sets from Axel Boman and Kim Ann Foxman. Off Opera was founded by Payman Dehdezi, who has recenty teamed up with Sky City's founder to hold a night celebrating the new EP from Robyn's good friend, Mr. Tophat.
LISTENING PARTIES, STOCKHOLM
If you look at the website of Hotel At Six, you'll see a very austere-looking building, standing in Stockholm's version of Shoreditch – the trendy Norrmalm area. In keeping with Norrmalm's brutalist architecture, the hotel's interior has a lot of slick lines and a brutal grey colour scheme. The website also likes to point out that this modernist style is complemented by an impressive collection of modern art.
Looking past the hotel’s sophistication, there's a suprise that awaits any admirer of underground music. The hotel has a unique music room that they call “Hosoi”, run by the Music Curator, Victor Sanchez. The place has a retro-futuristic aesthetic – the lights are dim and the walls are lined with heavily varnished shelves full of records. It's an intimate space that often plays host to familiar names in the dance scene (Phuong-Dan and Nabihah Iqbal), who not only show off their own work but play the music that inspires them.
If house music isn’t your thing, than Indieseksuell may be more up your street. It was founded in September 2010 by Øyvind Rones. Bored of the clichéd LGBTQ club scene in Oslo, Rones created a transgressive evening that’s less about dance music and more about ”off skew and windswept pop”. Scandinavian night owls rejoice: this night gives you the choice to lose yourself in either syrupy guitar music or techno beats that veer onto the “guilty pleasure” end of the spectrum. Past artists that have performed and DJ-ed here have included the Norweign artist Hanne Kolstø and London-based indie pop band, Superorganism.