Dag Krister Volle, better known as Denniz Pop, started out as a DJ at age 15, becoming one of the most successful and influential DJs in Sweden of his time. Before his sudden and tragic death in 1998, Denniz had not only become an accomplished producer and songwriter in his own right but, equally as important, he’d helped launch the careers of fellow producers whose impact on popular music can still be felt today.
It all started in 1986, when Denniz teamed up with five other DJs in Stockholm to form SweMix Productions. The idea was simple: Create remixes of the latest chart hits catered to the nightclub scene. SweMix Records, a strictly dance-oriented label, was born. Denniz’ first commercial hit came in 1989 with Dr. Alban’s “Hello Afrika.” It was a huge success in Europe and a breakthrough for Denniz and Dr. Alban alike. “It’s My Life,” the first single from Dr. Alban’s second album, was Denniz’ first European No.1. Around the same time, Denniz received a demo from an unknown band from Gothenburg, Sweden. The demo got jammed in the cassette player of his car so he was forced to listen to it repeatedly. One song got stuck in his head so he decided to produce it. The song was “All That She Wants” by Ace of Base. “All That She Wants” turned out to be the band’s breakthrough single in Europe, and later went on to become a huge success in the US. With Ace Of Base’s follow-up single “The Sign,” Denniz got his first US No.1.
On many occasions Denniz was asked what his greatest success was, and his reply was always,“To know that millions of feet are dancing to my music on a Friday night.”
In 1993, Denniz and Tom Talomaa started a production company called Cheiron with the goal of broadening their musical horizons and working with other musical styles besides dance. Shortly after producing “The Sign” Denniz teamed up with Max Martin who he’d met while making a remix of a song recorded by Max’s heavy metal band It’s Alive. The remix was never released, but Denniz was very impressed with Max’s musical skills and saw a lot of potential in him. Over the coming years the duo would produce songs for artists like the Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, 3T, Rednex, Robyn, 5ive, and many, many more. One of Denniz’s dreams was to work with Michael Jackson, a dream he fulfilled with 3T’s song “I Need You,” where Mr. Jackson did the featuring vocals. Shortly before his death in 1998, Denniz and Max Martin received a “Special Honor Award” at the Swedish Grammis for their outstanding contribution to Swedish popular music.
During the Cheiron era, Denniz also worked with and mentored fellow Cheiron producers Kristian Lundin (on songs with Dr. Alban, Jessica Folcker, and others) and Jake Schulze (on songs with 5ive). Additionally, Cheiron was instrumental in launching the careers of world renowned producers and songwriters Rami Yacoub, Andreas Carlsson, David Kreuger, Per Magnusson, and Jörgen Elofsson. Everyone who worked with Denniz at Cherion would go on to embrace his generous way of nurturing new producers and songwriters and providing opportunities to work internationally. A legacy which would pave the way for little Sweden to become what is today, one of the largest music export nations in the world.
On August 30,1998, Denniz Pop tragically passed away after a short battle with cancer. The following Friday a silent minute was held in his honor by DJs all around Sweden. He was on the front page of every Swedish newspaper and mentioned in most newscasts around Europe. Crying fans gathered outside Cheiron Studios, leaving flowers, letters, pictures, and burning candles. He was missed by a whole world of music lovers, and always will be.
In loving memory.