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MUSIC

Danish singer claims all-time Spotify record

'Lean On', the downbeat electronic track featuring Odense native MØ and Major Lazer that has quickly become a club favorite, has soared to be the most streamed song ever on Spotify.

Danish singer claims all-time Spotify record
MØ hails from the island of Funen. Photo: PR
'Lean On', released in March, was streamed as of Thursday nearly 528 million times.
 
It edged out 'Thinking Out Loud', the ballad by English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran, which just last month was certified with fanfare as the first song streamed more than 500 million times on Spotify.
 
'Lean On', which features a touch of Indian influence on the hook over a downtempo house beat, was a collaboration between Los Angeles-based electronic group Major Lazer and French producer DJ Snake.
 
Danish singer MØ sings the chorus, which goes, “Blow a kiss, fire a gun / All we need is somebody to lean on.”
 
MØ, whose real name is Karen Marie Ørsted, wrote on Instagram that she was “speechless and so fucking happy” about the feat. In a subsequent post, she blew a kiss to her fans from a boat headed to Mexico, saying “life doesn't get better”.
 
 

A video posted by MØ (@momomoyouth) on Nov 11, 2015 at 10:24am PST

 
Major Lazer thanked fans on Facebook, writing, “We only need you to lean on!”
 
The video for 'Lean On' was shot in India and includes a Bollywood-inspired dance sequence, with Major Lazer member Diplo known for his interest in South Asia.
 
DJ Snake marked the milestone just as he started a tour of India, as he resumed live-sets following a car accident.
 
'Lean On' went to number one on the mainstream US singles chart and has also been an especially strong hit in parts of continental Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
 
Swedish-based Spotify, which says it has 75 million active users, is by far the largest company in the growing industry of streaming, which allows unlimited, on-demand music. As streaming has taken off so recently and rapidly, virtually none of the hits on Spotify's all-time list are more than a few years old.
 
Other songs in the top five are a remix of Jamaican reggae singer OMI's 'Cheerleader', 'Uptown Funk' by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars, and 'Take Me to Church' by Hozier — all released since 2013.
 
English superstar Adele's new song “Hello” has broken records for its initial performance but is still far below all-time performers with just under 126 million streams on Spotify on Thursday.
 
In addition to the Spotify record, the success of 'Lean On' also made MØ the highest-placed Danish artist on the influential Billboard Hot 100 list in over 60 years. 
 
The singer was also featured earlier this year as one of Rolling Stone magazine’s ‘artists you need to know’ and has performed at a string of high-profile international music festivals. She also appeared on Saturday Night Live alongside Iggy Azalea back in October, although that particular performance did not turn out so well
 

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MUSIC

The Danish death metal band that became reality TV stars

The Aarhus band Baest is poised for an international breakthrough thanks to a recent documentary and an injection of taxpayer money.

The Danish death metal band that became reality TV stars
Baest is Sebastian Adildsten, Svend Karlsson, Lasse Revsbech, Mattias Melchiorsen and Simon Olsen. Photo: Nikolaj Bransholm
Death metal is a genre defined by growling vocals, blistering distorted guitars and blast beats. The sound is typically accompanied by dark imagery that borders on the downright evil. In a music world dominated by sugary pop and hip-hop, it’s about as far away from the mainstream one can get. 
 
But a young Danish death metal band is upending all of that. The Aarhus-based Baest found its way into the homes of ordinary Danes nationwide thanks to a documentary series on public television that chronicled their attempt to make music their full-time gig.
 
The series, ‘Den Satans Familie’, follows the young band as they leave Aarhus and embark on their first real European tour. It paints an intimate picture of the five members’ relationships, both with each other and the families they left behind while on the road. Baest only formed in 2015, so the documentary captures how members Sebastian Abildsten (drums), Svend Karlsson (guitar), Mattias Melchiorsen (bass), Simon Olsen (vocals) and Lasse Revsbech (guitar) in some ways still seem to be working out how to co-exist, something that's not always easy when crammed inside a small tour van. 
 
The DR3 series meant that these young, long-haired, heavily-tattooed metal dudes were suddenly reaching a much larger audience, including many who were not necessarily fans of their sound but couldn’t help but be drawn in by their personalities and their raw struggle to make it in the music business. 
 
 
But getting featured in a reality TV show wasn’t the only boost for Baest. The band was named 'best new Danish act' by highly-respected music magazine Gaffa, which also declared their debut album Danse Macabre the best metal or hard rock album of 2018.
 
Baest was also granted 250,000 kroner from the Danish Arts Foundation, a state-run fund for supporting Danish arts abroad. The financial boost is likely to come in handy as the young Aarhusians prepare to hit the road again in support of their upcoming second album, Venenum, which is due on September 13. 
 
Following the band’s standout performance at Copenhell, the annual heavy metal festival in Copenhagen, I caught up with guitarist Lasse Revsbech to talk about the band’s whirlwind success. 
 
First of all, I really enjoyed your performance at Copenhell. What was that like for you? 
 
“We’ve never played a crowd that big before, it was amazing. We’ve been building up over the past few years in Denmark, so to see where it’s gotten to now makes it all worth it. At Copenhell, we shared the stage with some fucking true legends. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. It’s insane.”
 
How do you describe Baest?
 
“Baest is an intense band, with high energy and raw power but with an enormous smile.”
 
How did the reality show come about? 
 
“Our manager was in a dialogue with [public broadcaster] DR and they decided to send a crew to cover one of our gigs at VoxHall in Aarhus. We told them we were on the verge of going on this tour and everyone just thought it would be fun to do it.”
 
The metal world can often seem overly concerned about image and authenticity and in the documentary you come across as this group of really nice, down-to-earth guys. Did you have any concerns about how this might affect your image? 
 
“We were definitely nervous about the metal community’s reaction and how things would be edited and presented but fortunately we really think that DR hit the nail on the head. There’s been such a great response. A lot of true metalheads and touring musicians have told us that it painted such an honest picture of the music industry. A lot of metal bands have a hard time with this concept of selling out but we’ve not been told once – not yet, at least – they were are sell-outs.”
 
You also received a grant from the Danish Arts Foundation. Isn’t it a bit crazy that public money is going to a death metal band? 
 
“Haha, it makes you happy to pay your taxes! It’s so Danish! But really, it’s all about people supporting people and it’s something I think other countries should do.” 
 
What are you hoping to achieve with the release of your new album? 
 
“First and foremost, we’re hoping it allows us to tour more. This autumn, we’ll be heading out for our biggest European tour thus far, as main support for an Entombed AD & Aborted co-headling tour. Entombed are one of the pioneers of death metal, so it’s insane to go on tour with those guys. 
 
“Even if the new album doesn’t make us explode, we hope it will get us one step closer to that. We’re a band that likes to dream big, so we want to play on the biggest stages all around the world. Hopefully, this is a step in the right direction.” 
 
 
Baest’s tour in support of Entombed AD and Aborted kicks off on October 18 in London and will take them to 28 cities throughout Europe, including a November 1 stop at Vega in Copenhagen. Venenum will hit stores and streaming services on September 13 and lead single ‘As Above So Below’ is out now. The four-part documentary on Baest is available to stream here.
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