Derek Robertson

Editor-In-Chief @ Drowned In Sound. Freelance journalist and music writer: Guardian, Independent, Timeout, The Quietus, Clash, Loud & Quiet, The Skinny, Gigwise.


Land Of The Midnight Sun: DiS Does Secret Solstice 2018

Stepping out of the rugged, custom-built MAN truck is like stepping onto another planet. It’s 2° Celsius, visibility is about four metres, and a frozen wind blasts across the desolate, icy landscape into our faces. We’re near the top of Iceland’s second largest glacier, Langjökull – a journey that’s taken us nearly four hours from Reykjavik – for a very special event; what’s billed as the world’s only rave inside a glacier.

Welcome To: Malmö

Over the last ten years, Sweden’s third largest city, long the ugly duckling to Stockholm’s elegant swan, has grown to become a hip destination in its own right, one where the old sits comfortably next to the new. With the redevelopment of the waterfront area complete – now Europe’s first carbon-neutral district – the city of Malmö has added a modern, cosmopolitan edge to its traditional squares and pretty neighbourhoods, with a food culture and nightlife to match.

A Bright Start: DiS Does Sharpe Festival

The last few years have seen a proliferation in the number of European showcase festivals, and to the likes of MENT, Spring Break, Vil Vil Vest, Eurosonic, and Tallinn Music Week we can now add Sharpe, a brand new event aimed at providing promising new artists a platform to break borders and gain wider recognition. We sent Derek Robertson and Dom Gourlay to Bratislava to dive into the local scene and find out who’s worth discovering.
Time Out Amsterdam

Timeout's 21 Best Things To Do In Amsterdam

With tourist numbers continuing to go through the roof, it seems Amsterdam is as popular as ever with the city break crowd – and, even for residents, the city’s ever-changing nature means there’s loads to explore. In fact – while the Dutch capital’s hedonistic reputation still attracts hordes of stag and hen dos, and those wanting to lose themselves in debauchery – there’s so much more to this elegant, compact city than sex’n’drugs.cru
Loud And Quiet

Tanukichan 'Sundays' Review

If there was any doubt about Hannah Van Loon’s musical change of direction since leaving indie poppers Trails And Waves, it’s washed away with the first thirty seconds of her debut album as Tanukichan. The overload of fuzzed-out guitar coupled with the power riffs that crop up throughout ‘Lazy Love’ sets ‘Sundays’ down a path that it rarely veers from; heavy on the reverb, treacle-thick rhythms – songs that have the weight of a humid, late-summer afternoon.

Too Clever For Their Own Good? On Arctic Monkeys, Art, & Critical Kickings

There was a time when Arctic Monkeys could do no wrong. Alex Turner’s wry, savvy social commentary marked him out, at a mere 19 years of age, as a Poet Laureate for millennials, his lyrical dexterity earning comparisons to John Cooper Clark and Jarvis Cocker. The scorching, clever guitar anthems of their debut led to chart-topping singles, the Mercury Music Prize, and a rumoured million pound record deal; the last great superstar band, destined for greatness, headliners of the future.
Loud And Quiet

Parquet Courts 'Wide Awake' Review

What now for slacker rock? I’ve always had the feeling that Parquet Courts were late to the party. Had they appeared a few years earlier, they might have enjoyed the cultural cache and critical acclaim heaped on fellow New Yorkers The Strokes and Interpol. Then again, perhaps they’d have endured the same struggle to break free from that scene’s gravity. As it is, they’ve defiantly followed their own outsider instincts, pairing literate, savvy rock with skittish punk and fizzing guitars.

Coming In From The Cold: Iceage Interviewed

An audience with Elias Bender Rønnenfelt is not supposed to be an easy ride. He’s “rock’s most difficult frontman”, a scowling, sullen presence who wields paperback novels by cult writers like a shield. He’s the tempestuous frontman given to falling around on stage and howling at the heavens. He’s the dark and mysterious post-punk poet for Millenials, a modern-day Byron revelling in excess. And, above all, he has a well-documented dislike for music journalists and the endless rounds of promotion required for an album launch.
The Independent

Tallinn Music Week Review

It’s not every festival that opens with a heartfelt address by the actual President, but then Tallinn Music Week is a festival like no other. “I’m so proud to see how this has developed into a creative hub, combining the freshest thinking about music, the future of our cities, and facing environmental challenges,” says Kersti Kaljulaid in a keynote speech that also touches on love, our shared humanity, and what Martin Luther King can still teach us 50 years after his assassination.

The Bold & The Brave: DiS Does Tallinn Music Week

It’s late. Very late. Someone’s passing round shots. Barely two feet in front of us Lynch, a Slovenian punk band, are pulverizing their instruments into oblivion as they near the end of their set, a sweaty, raucous half-hour complete with strobes, feedback, and moshing. A guitar is thrust into a colleague’s hand, and he’s implored to join in; he duly complies. His playing is best described as “loose”, but no-one cares; we’re all too lost in the madness, band included.
Loud And Quiet

Sunflower Bean 'Twentytwo In Blue' Review

It wasn't that long ago that Sunflower Bean were being talked up as NYC'€™s coolest young band. Given the musical delights that forever pour out of that city, it was quite the accolade. Sure, they were never going to win any awards for originality, but there was a certain frisson to the songs that made up their debut album, ‘Human Ceremony’, even if it sounded a little one-paced for a group allegedly in thrall to Pink Floyd, Led Zepplin, and The Velvet Underground.

We Love EU: The EBBA Awards

Of all the things I expect to encounter at The European Border Breaker Awards, Jools Holland bounding out onto the stage like an enthusiastic Labrador puppy isn’t one of them. But here he is, joshing with the warm-up man and explaining precisely how the night is going to work and when to applaud in that deliberate, stilting delivery of his. “Are you ready Groningen?” he asks. “I said, Are you ready Groningen?” Everyone whoops and hollers, and settles in for the show.
Load More Articles