Armed with pyrotechnics, kaleidoscopic lights, and "fun tunes," Martin Jensen took his infectious melodic house discography and set up shop in Copenhagen's Telia Park.
The performance was part of Jensen's recent "Me, Myself, Online" livestream event, a heartwarming digital concert series that featured Jensen performing full sets in a handful of gorgeous locations around Europe. It was a feat that Jensen had been planning a year before the pandemic, but instead of performing in abandoned locations, the project was meant to feature concert footage instead.
When COVID wiped out live shows, the series took on a different meaning. Jensen and his team pushed forward with the project, seeking to bring the inspired feeling of an EDM show to people's living rooms. But to perform anywhere in Denmark, empty venue or not, now required permission from the Danish military. Luckily, considering how well the country handled COVID's initial outbreak, the process was relatively straight-forward at the time.
He performed right in Telia Park's pitch. Lights aglow, with bursts of flames illuminating the stadium's 50,000 empty seats, the performance emotionally moved the Danish DJ and garnered over 50 million viewers in the process. Jensen saw how starved people were for live music, so he performed two more live sets on the Billund Airport Runway and aboard the Niels Juel Frigat, the oldest working steamboat in the world.
"That was literally a part of my childhood growing up," Jensen said of the latter. "[So] why not throw a party to celebrate the location?"
But well into the new year, with live music still pretty much on hold for the foreseeable future, Jensen has since returned to the studio, curating the hopeful melodic house music that has now become his calling card. Not to mention, he hopped on board the judging panel for X Factor and will not only be the show's youngest judge but first DJ judge.
"I've really enjoyed being a mentor and helping these artists on their path," he said of the experience. "I'm so proud to have the chance to be a part of the next big act of tomorrow."
Martin Jensen in Parken - 100sqm Tekken Series www.youtube.com
It sounds like you've been pretty busy throughout the pandemic. What does it feel like to be the first DJ to ever appear on X Factor?
It feels crazy, but I'm so proud to be the first DJ on the show. My fellow judges, Oh Land and Thomas Blachman, have been in the show previously, so to join them as the new guy is such an honor – I have followed the show before. I mean, it's one of the biggest shows in the world, so to represent the Danes on such a platform is incredible.
What are you most excited for?
Discovering new talent and having fun with my fellow judges. We've already seen some amazing acts throughout the auditions, the five-chair challenge...and there are so many diverse artists across these pop groups.
Tell me a bit about your upbringing in Denmark.
I was born in Silkeborg, Denmark (in the early '90s), which is over on the west, to the North of the country as a whole. My father was a machine trader at Sorring Maskinhandel, so I grew up surrounded by vehicles and engineering, and he always wanted me to go into the family business. When I wanted to follow my passion of DJ'ing, he was pretty reserved. To be honest, he didn't think it was a viable career.
What was it like revisiting iconic locations you grew up idolizing?
We happened to be really lucky in Denmark in the sense that our government handled the whole pandemic a lot better than many other countries, not only across Europe but the globe.
The Telia Parken is our national stadium, so [as a Dane,] to do that in a place that was close to my heart, from the center of the pitch and to bring everyone some fun to their homes, it was an amazing show and is something I'm super proud of.
Every "Me, Myself, Online" set you did seemed to stick to this overlying theme of hope and inspiration. What has kept you personally hopeful throughout this crisis?
I recognize the privilege I have to be able to perform these shows and the lesser-restrictions and easing we've had in Denmark, but I know it's been so difficult for a lot of people personally, professionally, and beyond. I think the only thing we have is hope and to keep trying to continue on as normal as is possible, surrounding ourselves with loved ones and looking after our mental health — I think at a time like this, that is so important.
What do you feel draws people to your music? People seem to really connect with "Solo Dance."
To be honest, I love working in the dance-pop worlds, and "Solo Dance" really seemed to strike a chord with listeners. I think it's all down to the swelling chords and how it grows. Its layers just grab the listener's attention.
Your new single with Georgia Ku seems to be just as emotive.
We made "2019" with the nostalgic view to look back to the pre-pandemic Summer of 2019 when we last were able to dance in festival fields, stay up late, hug, kiss, and meet new people with no thoughts of restrictions or uncertainty. Georgia's a brilliant vocalist and when my label put us in touch, I just loved the topline.
I always enjoy working with a big poppy vocal, so we co-wrote the release with writer James Lewis to really capture what "2019" meant in bringing joy and offering up this light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel vibe. Despite currently being where we are, we wanted to also remind people of the good times that will return soon.
Martin Jensen's next live-stream concert will be on Saturday, February 27th. Click here for more info.