If you love trance and dance-pop music from the ‘80s, ‘90s and early noughties, keep reading. Courtesy has just released the third single from her upcoming album, titled fra eufori, set to release September 12th. As we wait for the record, the Danish-born, Berlin-based DJ and producer is feeding us with her reinterpretations of chart-topping hits including Lasgo’s Something (out today), Olive’s You’re Not Alone, and Chicane’s Saltwater.
“A lot of the songs I cover are originally dance music, but, here, turned into something between ambient and pop,” Courtesy tells us in this interview. “It is very deliberately produced without drums, which results in a more calm mood compared to my DJ sets,” she continues. Unlike her explosive DJ sets, which I’ve been lucky enough to dance to in festivals like Sónar Barcelona, Courtesy is exploring another side of her craft, one that is calmer, more serene, and even more intellectual. “After releasing two EPs, I developed this particular research interest in covering songs, finding that this process helped me to understand these classics of dance music better,” she explains.

Being more influenced by Berlin’s contemporary art scene than clubbing, Courtesy has been working tirelessly on her research-based practice, inviting other producers, singers, and musicians to help her cover eight iconic songs from decades past. From Erika de Casier to Lyra Pramuk, to August Rosenbaum and Francesca Burattelli, Courtesy has invited several collaborators to re-create some of her favourite songs, including the three mentioned above but also Madonna’s What It Feels Like for a Girl and Enya's Orinoco Flow. Today, we speak with the multifaceted artist about putting this record together, how she approaches producing vs DJing, and what else we can expect from her in the coming months.
Hi Courtesy, thank you for taking the time to speak with us. These past months you’ve been working on your debut album as well as touring as a DJ. How are you feeling now?
I actually finished the album fra eufori a few months ago and started working on my next projects. It is important for me not to wait until a record is out before starting a new one to keep the ball rolling. But to answer your question, I’m excited to be back in the studio, working on a record with drums.
I mainly know you as a DJ, but your creative output spans composition, performance, photography, and video. Were you always a creative kid? What are some of your earliest memories as an artsy child?
I had pretty morbid ideas about what it meant to be an artist as a child, but it was always something I aspired to be. When I was five years old, I told adults that I wanted to be an artist but also a teacher since artists only got famous after they were dead. Similarly to now, I was working with different mediums and materials – I was doing oil painting by eight years old and would collect natural clay on beaches in Denmark to make sculptures.
Originally from Denmark, I guess you moved to Berlin to pursue your career in music as it’s a city that fosters DJs and electronic music. How would you say the German capital’s creative scene has contributed to your sound and approach to music-making?
I think my practice as a musician and artist working with sound has been more affected by the contemporary art scene in Berlin than its electronic music. I have felt a lot of opposition to what I was doing in the so-called German techno underground, I think because I have been so unapologetic about my interests in trance music and pop, which are considered ‘sellout’ in a lot of club music circles here. Adopting a research-based music practice, similar to artists who work conceptually, has freed me from whatever limitations I felt were holding me back in the rules of ‘club culture.’
Congratulations on your debut album, fra eufori, set to release in September. You’ve been in the music industry for a while now. What about this moment in time felt right to release your first album?
Producing music felt like a natural addition to my practice. When I started being interested in it a few years ago, I wanted to do it right and did the foundational work for it: taking piano lessons and digging deeper into music theory. After releasing two EPs, I developed this particular research interest in covering songs, finding that this process helped me to understand these classics of dance music better. The result of this research, eight cohesive pieces of music, were a fitting body of work for an album, so it was quite a natural decision to release them together as fra eufori.
I guess DJing is very different from producing your own music, especially creating a cohesive album. How was the creative process behind fra eufori?
There are a lot of similarities between DJing and producing an album: selecting songs to include, deciding on energy and structure. For me, the biggest challenge was working with so many different musicians and singers. One could say fra eufori marked my first time being a producer in the classical sense of the word, which I now know is an art in itself. Creatively fra eufori was really a research project on these pop songs. By covering them I learned how they were written and produced originally.
The songs in fra eufori are your own re-recordings and adaptations of iconic classics like Madonna’s What It Feels Like for a Girl, Guru Josh’s Infinity, and Enya’s Orinoco Flow. How did you decide on the eight songs that make up the album?
I have this folder in my iTunes library called Songs I want to cover. As a touring DJ, one gets a good sense of what kind of music people react to, but obviously the songs featured on fra eufori also mean a lot to me personally. I worked on many more, but in the end these eight were the ones that manifested into finished productions.
My first memory of seeing you is at Sónar festival in Barcelona back in 2017, when you did a b2b with Avalon Emerson. It was wild! But this album, I’d say isn’t very club- or festival-oriented. Did you want to set this record apart from your DJ sets and more party-oriented music?
A lot of the songs I cover are originally dance music, but, here, turned into something between ambient and pop. It is very deliberately produced without drums, which results in a more calm mood compared to my DJ sets. This is my last ambient release for now, going forward you can expect music much more related to my dance floor-oriented practice.
I know how you turn it up when you play at festivals or clubs. I wonder what ideas do you have to perform fra eufori live?
To me, fra eufori really is a research project manifesting in a studio album. Thus, I won’t be touring it live.
In this album, you’ve worked as a music producer in the traditional sense, meaning you’ve directed, produced, commissioned, and collaborated with different artists to put the record together. How did you take on this new role? What are some of the most important learnings you take from this experience?
I learned that there are actually many social aspects to consider about this kind of studio work. For example, how important the environment and timeline are for the musicians I collaborate with and myself. I am very happy about the decision of not coating my studio’s walls and windows in soundproofing. Instead, I have created this bright space full of art made by close friends, which is one of my favourite places in the world to spend time in and which hopefully feels welcoming for my collaborators as well.
Collaboration is one of the main pillars of fra eufori: Lyra Pramuk, Erika de Casier, August Rosenbaum, Sophie Joe, and Merely are some of the people who’ve joined you in this adventure. What are some of the reasons behind these choices? How do you think they’ve complemented and added to your sound, production, and ideas?
That’s another list I keep – mentally. There are so many musicians I have the deepest, most heartfelt respect for. Some of the artists I worked with for fra eufori I’ve known for years and some of them I really reached out to for the first time as I felt they were the perfect fit for one of the productions I was working on. What all of them have in common is that the exchange with them –working with these talented people on this album– was enriching not only for the music but also for me as a person and artist.
As a curiosity, what’s been the most challenging part of putting the album together?
Two very banal things. Firstly, considering the album done when there are so many more tracks and artists that I would love to work with in a similar manner, and then secondly, waiting to release the finished album. I hosted a listening session in Berlin a while ago, where many of my friends heard the pieces for the first time, which was really emotional for me. I can’t wait to have fra eufori available for everyone when the record is finally out in September.