Wanna feel old? It's 15 years since Röyksopp's Melody AM came out.

Five additional studio albums later and now, of course, everyone knows that Svein Berge and Torbjørn Brundtland have no intention of releasing any more albums (in the traditional long-player sense, at any rate). But that doesn't mean they're not going to make any more music, as most recently exemplified by their superb comeback-of-sorts single with Susanne Sundfør, 'Never Ever'.

Ahead of their forthcoming return to the UK for a DJ set at London's Bankside Vaults, the Norwegian duo allowed The 405 to get nosy and ask them a whole bunch of questions. Here they talk to us about leaving the sadness behind with their latest release, working with the likes of Karin Dreijer and Jonna Lee and the importance of obscure Twin Peaks references.

Mountain View

Happy 15th anniversary, chaps. Much has changed in the music industry since your first record. How have those changes impacted on you as melody-makers over the years?

Svein: This question is a bit of a handful [laughs]. When we released that album as our debut that came from nowhere - we came from Norway which is kind of nowhere, in the international sense.

Torbjørn: At least, it used to be!

Svein: Yes, that's right. It used to be. But, yeah, we were lucky enough to have a following that has allowed us to spend a lot of time on our music. There's a lot of time being spent between releases because we like to take our time and make sure that what we make is something that we are happy with. We feel that we have a loyal fan base that has allowed us to do this since the beginning and also maybe a few added fans along the way over the years. So we are in a really good position in that respect - our followers allow us to spend our time on the music that we're making.

Torbjørn: We certainly don't feel like we've been milking our status. We have chosen deliberately, as Svein has said, to take our time with things and we kind of expected the world to be ok with that. Obviously, we are always at risk of becoming obscure but I guess that we are fine with that because we have confidence in what we do and know that we are capable of putting out things that are interesting enough, so that we don't have to artificially keep that flame alive, so to speak, by milking our status and releasing fillers or anything of that sort. Anything we release is 100% heartfelt, genuine and fits into our own narrative and vision in a way that makes it coherent for us.

Your last album was your final long-player, per se, and people's current listening habits mean that you can release as much or as little as you want when the muse hits you. That must feel very liberating.

Svein: Well, there are many ways to approach this thing. We, as far as the muse hitting us, find that the muse is always there but we are very hard and harsh on ourselves and on the muse - so, we make music all the time but there is only a very small percentage of that which we actually put out, because we feel that it is something we really want to put out. There are several reasons why we departed from the album format after the last album, one of them is that we love the album format and we felt that we had done what we'd set out to do with it in 2001.

Over the years we've been able to do what we wanted and make the albums that we wanted to make - we made the instrumental album with Senior, we made a poppier side of Röyksopp with Junior, we made the really thorough, conceptual thing with The Inevitable End and we stopped there because we felt that we had done what we set out to do. So rather than releasing poor albums we just stopped. But, as you say, there are so many ways to put out music now that the album isn't really needed as a tool. It's for those who have a romantic view on that specific format, which - of course - is fine. There's room for all of these ways of releasing music, as far as we are concerned.

Torbjørn: If you look at what people do for leisure nowadays, it's a lot of online activities and I guess most people don't even really necessarily use headphones, they just listen to audio through their devices. I have this old romantic vision in the old days when people would put on a vinyl album and then mop the living room floor or something like that. I don't think that happens as much anymore. I think it's not as rewarding creating albums nowadays, as artists, because we know that we spend our time differently nowadays. So the album is a little bit indulgent in that respect.

Apologies but this is another question that is a bit of a handful - seeing as we're at an anniversary point, looking back on the past 15 years, can you name a favourite out of your six albums?

Svein: I think that all these albums are a representation of who we were at a given point in our respective lives. I know it sounds pretentious but it is true. I wouldn't want to devalue any of them because I think they are all great, in all honesty. I don't think we have put out any shoddy albums or any lesser albums, so in that respect I don't have any favourites. I remember my life being really good when or just before we released Melody AM. Obviously I was very young and it was a time when Torbjørn and I had just moved to a new city and had a lot of fun making it. I guess that with some of the other albums I was in a different state in my life. So I have fond memories of making Melody AM, not because of the music but because of the time around it. But I am not saying that it is the better album.

Torbjørn: I agree with Svein - that time was a time of a lot of freedom and it fills me with a lot of fond memories as well. I am really proud of Melody AM but I think some of the other albums deserve more of a mention than that album.

Svein: I'm gonna play even louder on this trumpet and say that our level of innovation in terms of electronic music and our being early with bringing certain sounds and bringing other genres into our mix has been, as far as I am concerned, unmatched. That's a bold statement but that's just me. I think that when we did The Understanding, no one had really done anything like we did then before, bringing in elements of progressive rock and so on. We were pretty early with bringing in elements of Italo and disco into the mix and also mixing up the amount of electronic music with traditional instruments to the extent that we did.

I also think that both Senior and Junior as a two-piece was unique in terms of how we approached music. A few other bands saw that and brought that into their worlds a few years later. So I think that we were at the forefront all along the way. We've had recognition of that from a few places but not widely so, simply because people don't know of us. But we did things much before other, bigger artists did them.

I'd agree with that. I was actually listening to 'What Else Is There' a couple of days ago and marvelled at how current and fresh it still sounded and, bearing in mind that it came out 11 years ago, it was well ahead of its time, sound-wise.

Svein: Well, thank you for saying that. I obviously wasn't fishing for that from you specifically but I appreciate you saying so because, for instance, with that track and that video I felt that we did things at the time which hadn't really - at least within the field of electronic music - been done before. And also with Karin's vocals on that track. And we didn't feel like we had received much recognition for that, but it's ok [laughs], I'm not bitter.

Torbjørn: I think that for us, as human beings, we thrive on both aspects. As a creative person you create something and you think "give me praise" but we also, you know, like to be on the obscure side. We like the anonymity and insider-ness of not everyone knowing us and getting us as well as the aspect of getting recognition and praise for our work. So it's a little bit of duality inside us.

Svein: There's also a degree of... not snobbery but at least satisfaction when we use reference points in our production and fans get them. And often our music and our videos are aimed at those "in the know", as it were. It sounds like elitist snobbery but that's not how I mean it.

I guess it's about getting the balance right between making people engage with the music on more than just a basic level and, at the same time, making it accessible.

Svein: Yes and also giving it some longevity so that it is not just the current sound of 2016 or whatever.

My colleague, Lior, asked you about your female collaborators last time The 405 spoke to you, but as you've mentioned Karin Dreijer, with whom you've worked with quite a bit, I thought I'd ask you generally about how you choose your collaborators.

Torbjørn: Well, it's certainly never only been about the voice or the quality of the voice, although that comes up high on the list. It's sort of a bland analogy but here goes... if you're a painter, you need different colours. It's that type of approach. We find that some people have something very interesting with their vocal chords. That's the place where the most interesting vibrations are produced physically and some people just have more interesting vocal chords than others. The people we've worked with all have something in common. They have taken control of their careers and they have really created a universe of their own musically and artistically and that's what we want to invite into our musical universe so that the worlds can collide in a good way.

Svein: We spend a lot of time finding the right sound for the harmonic or rhythmic parts in our music - things that have a certain identity, that do not have the generic sound of whatever is out there. It's the same if you treat vocalists as instruments, or their voices, rather. You want something that has character and that sticks out. I mean, with Karin - I, for one, love the way that Karin articulates certain words with her, obviously, Swedish background and singing in English. You could say, well that's wrong, in terms of the pronunciation, but to me it's right. It's like having a keyboard sound that is slightly de-tuned - it may not be 100% in tune but it's better that way. It's about finding the right instrument for the right sentiment that you want to have in a given track.

If we're making something that has a certain tristesse or drama to it, we're gonna use Karin. If we want something that is very poppy and energetic, let's ask Robyn. That kind of thing. And having a chemistry with those people is high up there as well. If you can laugh at the same things and you share the same cultural references then that's obviously on the plus side.

For your live sets over the last year or so you've collaborated with Jonna Lee. The presumption is that she will be your next vocal collaborator on record as well. True or false?

Torbjørn: That's a very good question. We are working with Jonna Lee first and foremost in a live context but, at the same time... who knows? We are all creative people and... yeah - we've made some stuff for our live shows that might see the light of day as a release. Time will tell.

One of the songs that I was particularly wondering about in this context is 'Mysteries of Love', a Julee Cruise cover which you performed with Jonna in Oslo a few months ago. It's quite an obscure song, unless you're a Twin Peaks fan...

Svein: I love that this is being brought up! Choosing that song had to do with where we were playing and at what time of the year... We have a huge databank of the pop culture phenomena and, obviously, Twin Peaks is one of those things. It just felt like the right amount of drama and, of course, the song itself is wonderful. We wanted to have that sentiment in the live set that we were doing that specific night in Oslo.

That track felt perfect for us to build the tension that we wanted. And then, obviously, whenever we bring in a reference in our music it's always done with love and this is something we enjoy. When I dress up as a glam-rocker in our latest music video it's because I like certain elements of glam rock. I'm not saying I think it's shit, I'm doing it out of love. And it's the same thing with this cover version. We love Twin Peaks, we love David Lynch, we love Angelo Badalamenti and, obviously, Julee Cruise. And that whole universe. I mean, it's so unique. It's an homage to that.

Torbjørn: But we haven't released that track with Jonna so I don't know if there's any recording of it out there?

Immediately after the show there was an online upload of a fan recording. But it's no longer out there.

Torbjørn: Oh, right.

Earlier you mentioned the word 'tristesse' and I think that's a good word for characterising your last album - it was sombre and serious at times, whereas the new single, 'Never Ever', is much more of a joyous affair. Was that change a conscious decision?

Svein: Yes, is the short answer. The Do It Again EP and The Inevitable End album were made simultaneously and had the same sentiment and a representation of where we were at our collective lives, at that point. They were sombre and personal, particularly The Inevitable End.

I'm not trying to slag off other people but I have a feeling that quite a lot of artists these days jump on this thing whereby they have to have a flaw, a diagnosis of "there's something wrong with me, I'm suffering" and, I mean, if you are this fabricated, ex-Walt Disney child star that is being pushed by a major, I don't buy it all the time with all these people, you know - about their suffering. I think it's so omnipresent, this whole vibe. So we wanted to contrast that. I mean, we had done that vibe ourselves but we had done it in a sincere fashion.

I feel that how a lot of artists present themselves in this day and age is quite boring with trying to be hard, sexy, cool and photo-shopped - a bit gangster, a bit intelligent. All of these things just scrambled into this one mash which doesn't really make sense. And that's why we wanted to make this record and video a bit chirpy and funny - the record and video go together as this package in the way we present ourselves in a bit of an unflattering fashion, which is meant to make you smile a little bit at how shabby it is. Making yourself look good is easy - even just by using your phone with apps. So we opted for quite the opposite.

It's a very immediate track.

Svein: Yeah, it's a fun way to come back. But with the word 'immediate'... I hope it's not as immediate and manipulative as 'Crazy Frog'.

No, no. It's immediate but not disposable.

Svein: Oh good, thank you!

You're coming back to London for a DJ set in November. You've not toured here for a while, though. What about a live show in the UK anytime soon?

Svein: Why not! Well, we have placed ourselves in a bit of an awkward position by being quite eclectic in our music - we have, to use broad brushstrokes, the immediate poppy thing and we also have the more instrumental, dreamy ambient stuff, which I wouldn't say divides the fans but it is certainly a dichotomy. And there are those, particularly in the UK, who are die-hard fans of Melody AM and only Melody AM [laughs], so it's always a bit tricky to know what to play when you come to the UK, because - for us - to just play Melody AM would be boring and, of course, there are always people who might only want us to play the instrumental stuff or just the hits and up-tempo club bits, which we tend to do when we play live. So in the UK it is always a bit of a puzzle and I am not sure how to get around that. But, yeah, it would be nice to play in the UK again soon!

Never Ever is out now. Röyksopp play a DJ set at London's Bankside Vaults on 25 November.