Simplicity can be deceptive. Broken Twin’s music may be largely made up of piano, strings and Majke Voss Romme’s haunting vocals, but the debut album ‘May’ is a work of depth and beauty. Simplicity is key to its name, too. “I was looking for a title that was simple, and not giving too much away, reflecting the songs,” says the Danish auteur. “Also it represents a time of year that seems to fit the songs. Spring is a time when everything is changing. It’s a hopeful season.”
Though compromising just 10 songs, ‘May’ is compiled from more than three years of intensive songwriting and based on over 200 sketches recorded on laptops and phones. “I’m very compulsive when I’m working on songs,” says Majke. “Mostly I begin by improvising on piano or guitar, singing random words. It sounds like English but it’s not. I’m writing and recording all the time at the moment.”
‘May’ is very much one artist’s labour, an intensely personal album that adheres to a singular vision. “I wanted to get back to basics, seeking a sound that was warm and lo-fi; minimal and spacious and focused on the songs,” says Majke. “I’m a new artist – I need to be sure about what I want to do before I can let anybody else in. It’s a very personal record.” In that spirit, it’s an album that refuses to hand the listener everything on a plate. Asked what the theme of her music is, she says “relations” and “emotional patterns”, and refuses to be drawn further. “I want people to find whatever they want in the songs.” Broken Twin songs are intended to live in the mind of the listener.
Now 25, Majke’s first experiences of music were playing with her father, an amateur musician and occasional piano teacher, in northern Jutland. Together they’d play Beatles songs and pop standards at the family piano, something Majke remembers as being “some of my best musical memories”. Having been exposed to music at a young age, Majke harboured secret dreams of being a musician that were suppressed by crushing adolescent shyness. “As a child I was really outgoing, but something happened when I got to being a teenager,” she says. “It was a big change, I was very introverted. I was writing music and singing but people I went to school with didn’t know anything about it.” She also felt that being a musician was beyond the reach of a girl from small town Denmark. “It’s something I always really wanted to do but I didn’t really think it was an opportunity that was available. I was in the real world, people who did music were somewhere else.”