Knife Magazine

Video premiere : Atusji, It's Bigger than Me

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Words by: Simon Lund Pedersen

Atusji is the newest project by Copenhagen-based musician Terkel Atsushi Røjle, known from bands like Virgin Suicide and his former solo-project Girls Night Out.

Atusji could be described as a modern approach to the nostalgic singer/songwriter tradition. A project rooted in honesty, which touches upon daily life subjects such as feeling restless or the lack of future plans.

The lyrical themes are perfectly accompanied in his musical universe where acoustic guitars clash with auto-tuned vocals and trap hi-hats. What Atusji does on this EP is somewhat schizophrenic but at the same time, extremely thought-through. There's room for all the instruments and the details shine through on every track, which makes Soapbox Vol 1. an exciting and extremely interesting listen. Especially if you're into big emotions. Imagine Broder Daniel making a collab with Lil' Peep and you're kind of there.

It's Bigger Than Me tells the story of being small to the world. A trippy beat chills slowly and mixes the manipulated vocal with cold synths patterns as the catchy chorus goes “It ́s bigger than me, it ́s out of my hands”. These vulnerable themes are ideally portrayed in the minimalistic music video, that consists of small elusive clips seen through a dusty camera lens. The dark video-settings are reflecting the inadequate feelings, you fear when you realize how small you are to the world. As Atusji puts it, ”the good old desire to be in a symbiosis with nature”.

Enjoy our Q&A with Terkel Atsushi Røjle aka. Atusji.

Knife Can you try to put some words on your musical development under this moniker, and how it differs from your previous project, Girls Night Out?

Terkel I’m really trying my best not to see Atusji as a project because Atusji is my name and I really don't like to see myself as an entrepreneur. What I’m trying to say, is that I’m trying my best to be myself. I found that a bit hard under the name, Girls’ Night Out.

Knife You are mentioning topics like emo-rap, singer/songwriting and the alternative charts from the 00s in your press release. Musically speaking, are these the genres your new EP is inspired by? If so, can you try to elaborate on why you launched a certain preference for these tendencies in the first place?

Terkel I think placing yourself in genre boxes is really hard - hard to see yourself in them. But I have some positive associations with the singer/songwriter-genre. Maybe it’s because of my love for old western movies, but I see this lonely ranger singing before my eyes when I hear ‘singer-songwriter’. Besides, I'm a singer and a songwriter - obviously.

Basically I just really like the idea and concept of being yourself without putting on a show - to tell other people your story and share your experiences. In regards to the term ‘emo’, I'm pretty literal in that sense: I’m pretty emotional ... and I mostly listen to hip‑hop.

Knife You recently released the first single from the EP. It has the whimsical title “Mother Complex”, and it seems like you are not afraid to personalize your lyrical content and give the listener a deep insight into your vulnerable part as a musician. Can you try to point out some reasons, that made you work more introverted with these songs?

Terkel Yeah, I guess it is a bit whimsical, haha. I tried a couple of other titles for that song, and Oliver and Lui, who co-wrote the song me aren't into the final title. But I like it. It struck me in a ‘call a spade a spade’-manner one day.

It’s hard for me to pinpoint what incident or experience that made these songs so introverted, but in general, I think you do what you need to do at a certain point.

A good friend of mine, told me a few years ago that he didn't feel like he had any close friends. It might sound a bit cynical, but it sounded more like an academic curiosity of wanting to experience how it is to have a really good friend - because he was doing really fine. So I guess the reason why he didn't have any close friends, was that he hadn’t been in a situation where he really needed one. I know for a fact that there will be a long line of people standing in a queue the day he needs that friend - including me. My really good friends became my really good friends because I needed them - or they needed me. So my million dollar answer is, that I probably wrote these songs because I needed to write them.

Another reason might be that I wanted another take on music. There are thousands of reasons - good and bad - to make music and art in general, and previously my drive was sort of scientific. Or maybe even academic. I wanted to discover new ways of how music could sound, and how you could communicate through sound - at least in my own world and to my own ears. I still want that, of course, because if I stopped doing that I would probably turn into stone. But lately, it has started to become more urgent for me to share experiences in a more concrete way. I sensed a strong need from the bottom of my heart to share these songs.

Maybe it is a bit childish and I can’t argue that these songs, by their purpose, nature, and origin, are important only to me. I really hope and believe that they may find a place and resonate with something or someone out there.

Knife You are realizing your ever first EP under the moniker Atusji today. Besides that, how does the future look like?

Terkel Soapbox Vol. 2 will be out in the fall of 2019. I’ve already written a handful of songs for that one and I think it’s gonna be more social realism-ish. Maybe.

Knife Your new video to the track, It's Bigger Than Me consists of small volatile sequences, seen through a dusty camera lens. How important is the visual part for you, and how do you normally work with the synergy between audio and videos?

Terkel The video reflects the title of the song - to feel infinitely small to a big world. A good old desire to be in a symbiosis with nature, the dark forest and whatever else you might fear in a primordial sense. There's a synergy of sorts there. But the visual part is really important to me, but also out of my area of expertise, so it’s big a challenge for me. Usually, when you’ve made a piece of music you can imagine the cover of the song and a potential video for it - if not then at least picture how it’s NOT gonna look.

Luckily my good friends Sebastian Zieler, Stephanie Stål and Søren Brydesen have made things really easy for me by making my covers and music videos so far and doing an amazing job. The video for ‘It’s Bigger Than Me’ was made by Søren Brydesen, Anna Eline, and Hanna Marie Biørnstad.

Soapbox Vol. 1
Music: Terkel Atsushi Røjle
Production: Terkel Atsushi Røjle and Oliver Nehammer
Mix and Master: Jacob Brøndlund
Artwork: Sebastian Zieler

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