IN REMEMBRANCE OF DENNIZ POP: “AH, MR. POP!”

Journalist and Author John Seabrook has been very generous and kind and shared with us three vignettes about Denniz Pop. These are condensed bits from Mr Seabrook’s book “The Song Machine: Inside the Hit Factory” – go check the entire exciting read out, here. We are thrilled to share the first of three parts with you!

“Ah, Mr. Pop!”

So Californian-looking he could only be Swedish, Dag Krister Volle—Denniz PoP’s given name; friends called him Dagge—wore his long blond hair with plenty of volumizer, loosely parted in the middle, Jon Bon Jovi–style, a reminder that the New Jersey rocker had started his career as a hair dresser. When it hung down in his eyes, as it usually did, Denniz would blow upward, puffing aside hair strands with wheezy gouts of smoky breath; he always had a Marlboro Menthol going.  Denniz dressed like a teenager, in T-shirts and jeans, or in large green military-style trousers, and hoodies, everything worn loose. Seated in front of his Apple computer—he always had the latest Macs— his cigarette would stick straight up between the fingers of his right hand as he moved the mouse. He had a licentious-looking gap between his two front teeth that showed when he smiled. And he was always smiling.

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

At Ritz, Stockholm’s premier gay club, Denniz was much in demand as a DJ. Unlike his SweMix colleagues, who spun house and acid house at the Bat Club—as Thursday nights at Ritz were called—Denniz loved funk and soul. Parliament-Funkadelic, Cameo. StoneBridge says, “I grew up with Chic and Nile Rodgers, but Denniz was never into disco; he was a bit younger than us.” In 1986, when Stonebridge showed up with a stack of house records he’d gotten from Stax in Chicago, Denniz didn’t like it; it threatened the funk and soul that was his true love. StoneBridge:  “Denniz also hated jazz. It wasn’t simple enough. He liked chords you could play with three fingers. Whenever I would play my complicated jazzy chords, Denniz would make a face. That was the thing that drew him to pop—the simplicity of it.” Denniz much preferred the synth-pop bands coming out of London in the early ’80s—Depeche Mode, Human League, OMD. He also adored Def Leppard, especially the production work by super producer Mutt Lange. As Jan Gradvall notes, “Def Leppard were used as a blueprint when they made their own Swedish pop/R&B-mashups.”

“Gimme Some Mo’ (Bass on Me)” is the first track to have “Denniz PoP” listed as the artist. PoP was a double entendre: an acronym for “Prince of Pick-ups,” which was a reference to his prowess with a stylus  arm, and also a sardonic jibe at his colleagues’ rarefied musical tastes.

“During that time ‘pop’ was almost like a swear word,” he said in a 1998 interview on Swedish Radio. “Everything was hip-hop and break, and you weren’t allowed to say ‘pop.’ It was no fun at all.” And Dagge was all about fun. So “I took ‘Denniz’ from the cartoon character”—Dennis the Menace, whose refusal to do anything that didn’t strike him as fun echoed Dagge’s spirit—“and then I just added Pop to that. And now I’ve had to live with it. Overseas they only call me “Denniz.” But here, ‘Ah, Mr. Pop!’ is what I get when I register at the hotel under that name.”

Denniz loved games almost as much as he loved music. Not just computer games, although he was certainly devoted to those, and would spend hours playing Broken Sword, an adventure game, and Marathon, an early first-person shooter, producing detailed walk throughs for his buddies; gaming would become a big part of Cheiron culture. He also delighted in board games and practical jokes. One time, Denniz turned all the lights in the studio off, wrapped himself in toilet paper like a mummy, and spent three hours waiting for his best friend Anders (“Snake”) to come downstairs so that he could scare him to death.

Each year Denniz would organize an elaborate annual scavenger hunt for colleagues and friends, hiding clues all over Stockholm. E-Type, one of the artists Denniz would eventually produce, remembered in the documentary The Cheiron Saga by Fredrik Eliasson on Swedish Radio, “We’d run around town like clowns, counting the number of wine bottles at the liquor stores, say, and driving cars too fast and ending up with  were boats, and we’d borrow things, and try to mess each other up. And then Dagge would sit there for hours trying to determine the winner.”

John Seabrook

More from the archive

THE WINNERS OF DENNIZ POP AWARDS 2018

 

The winners of Denniz Pop Awards 2018 ‍ Ellen Krauss – Rookie Artist/Band Ellen Krauss, 18, has been awarded the prize for her unique voice and fantastic songwriting talent. After having performed her own music at a school concert, the self-taught musician understood from the cheering audience that artistry could be something for her. Ellen…

Carly Rae Jepsen New Member of DPA Jury

 

Carly Rae Jepsen New Member of Denniz Pop Awards Jury Max Martin, Tove Lo, and the rest of the gang from the Denniz Pop Awards jury will now be joined by grammy nominated, multi platinum recording artist, singer songwriter, Carly Rae Jepsen. Together, they will handpick the winners of 2018’s prizes which will be awarded…

THE CHEIRON ALL-STARS

 

Sharing with you another vignette about Denniz Pop – an excerpt from Journalist and Author John Seabrook’s book “The Song Machine: Inside the Hit Factory”. Find the first part, “Ah, Mr Pop”, here. The Cheiron All-Stars By 1995 Denniz had recruited a number of young Swedish writers and producers to the Cheiron hit-making team. They included Kristian “Krille” Lundin, who…

DENNIZ POP AWARDS BACKSTAGE 2017 AT SPOTIFY

 

The purpose of the Denniz Pop Awards is to allow opportunities, help and strengthen as many new music talents as possible in order for Sweden’s international pop music heritage to go on – the legacy Denniz Pop once started. One way we do this is by arranging speed dating sessions between new promising talent and the music…

IN REMEMBRANCE OF DENNIZ POP: “AH, MR. POP!”

 

Journalist and Author John Seabrook has been very generous and kind and shared with us three vignettes about Denniz Pop. These are condensed bits from Mr Seabrook’s book “The Song Machine: Inside the Hit Factory” – go check the entire exciting read out, here. We are thrilled to share the first of three parts with you! “Ah, Mr. Pop!”…

“CHIMES OF LIGHT” BY NUDE ATELJÉ – IN HONOUR OF DENNIZ POP

 

We are so grateful and proud to tell the story about “Chimes of Light”. It is nothing less than a masterpiece – a custom designed light piece created in honour of Denniz Pop. When asked about the making of “Chimes of Light”, Swedish renowned high end Architect and Designer Eva-Lotta Axelsson/Nude Ateljé says: “I visualized a…

THE WINNERS OF DENNIZ POP AWARDS 2017

 

The winners of Denniz Pop Awards 2017 ‍ Flat Earth Society – Rookie Artist/Band   Agrin Rahmani – Rookie Songwriter/Producer   ‍ SHY Martin & SHY Nodi – The Grand Prize   ‍ Björn Engelmann – The MVP Photo credit: Rodrigo Paras

THE LEGACY OF DENNIZ POP – DOCUMENTARY

 

In this short video documentary Denniz Pop’s son, Daniel Volle seeks his roots to find out what his dad has meant to people who worked with him as well as what his legacy has meant to young Swedish music makers of today. Featuring Max Martin, Martin ”E-type” Eriksson, Kayo, Daniel Volle and Jacob Schulze. Also…

ENTRY PHASE 2017 IS NOW CLOSED

 

(Julia Karlsson and Anton Rundberg the winners of Denniz Pop Awards rookie songwriter/producer 2015). ‍ (Smith and Thell the winners of Denniz Pop Awards rookie artist/band 2015). ‍ (Emanuel Abrahamsson, Iman Conta Hulten and Linnea Södahl the winners of Denniz Pop Awards rookie songwriter/producer 2016). (Alessandra Günthardt the winner of Denniz Pop Awards rookie artist/band).…

DENNIZ POP AWARDS BACKSTAGE WITH SKAP – THE 2016 MUSIC SPEED DATING

 

In June 2016 the Denniz Pop Awards arranged a speed dating session in collaboration with SKAP – “Denniz Pop Awards Backstage”. New promising music talent where given the chance to network and play their stuff to some of the industry’s most influential profiles, giving feedback and tips. Some 70 selected young talented songwriters, producers and artists got to…

CHEIRON STUDIOS STORIES #1 – JÖRGEN ELOFSSON

 

Denniz Pop and the Cheiron Studios was the start of what has now become an ever ongoing success story, as music made in Sweden top charts worldwide on a regular basis. Hear Denniz Pop’s former colleague at Cheiron, and Denniz Pop Awards jury member, Jörgen Elofsson remembering the big moment when his song “Sometimes” became…

WHEN AND WHY THE HITS STARTED TO COME FROM SWEDEN

 

This is a guest post written by our dear friend and Swedish music industry Superhero Eric Hasselqvist. He is a Managing Director Publishing Company TEN, and was awarded MVP of the year at Denniz Pop Awards 2013. This is Eric’s take on ‘When and why the hits started to come from Sweden’ and a very…

THE ART OF THE “ENCAPSULATED SOUND”

 

Paul Sundvik is a high-end artist known for his beautiful sculptures and photographs. He was given the mission of designing and creating the prize statuettes to be handed to all the receivers of an award, at Denniz Pop Awards. Since the first Denniz Pop Awards ceremony the winners have been given these beautiful glass sculptures. They…

Denniz Pop Awards
Winners 2018

Denniz Pop Awards
Gallery 2018

Carly Rae Jepsen
New Jury member

Winners and nominees
2013 – 2017

Inside the Hit Factory
The Cheiron All-Stars

Denniz Pop Awards 2017
The winners

The Legacy of Denniz Pop
Video Documentary