A consistently inventive outfit, WhoMadeWho use their pedigrees in rock, jazz, experimental music, and dance to keep their music fresh. When the Danish trio emerged in the mid-2000s, their fusion of punk, funk, and disco on releases like 2005's WhoMadeWho was in line with the indie-meets-dance trends of the time. As the years passed, however, their drive to innovate set them apart from many of the groups from that era. On 2009's The Plot, they added prog and surf rock to their eclectic array of influences, while the companion albums Knee Deep (2011) and Brighter (2012) showcased the breadth of their emotional range. Later in the 2010s, the band balanced albums of song-oriented pop such as 2014's Dreams with mix albums for esteemed dance labels like Get Physical. By the time of 2020's Synchronicity, WhoMadeWho had created a space between the club and indie scenes that was entirely their own.
WhoMadeWho formed in Copenhagen in 2003, combining each member's unique musical perspective. Bassist/vocalist Tomas H?ffding had roots in the Scandinavian garage-rock scene, while guitarist Jeppe Kjellberg's recordings with the Lounge Lizards' David Tronzo were among his exploits in New York's experimental rock and jazz communities, and drummer Tomas Barfod produced releases for dance labels including Kitsune and Get Physical. Jam sessions paved the way for a demo, and Munich-based label Gomma soon signed the trio. In 2004, WhoMadeWho debuted with the Two Covers for Your Party single, which featured their versions of Benny Benassi's "Satisfaction" and Mr. Oizo's "Flat Beat." That year also saw the arrival of the "Happy Girl" 12-inch, and several other singles preceded the October 2005 release of their self-titled debut album. WhoMadeWho earned praise for its mix of disco, folk, psych-rock, and more, and made a fan out of Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme, who covered the song "Space for Rent" with his side project the Fifif Teeners. Along with remixes of the album's singles, in 2006 WhoMadeWho also issued Green Versions, a mini-album of acoustic renditions of their debut LP's tracks, while the inclusion of their song "Hello, Empty Room" on Cut Copy's Fabriclive 29 mix reaffirmed they were on the rise.
WhoMadeWho spent the next few years touring the world -- including a headlining date at 2007's Benic?ssim festival -- and experimenting with their sound. Their second album, 2009's The Plot, reflected the band's growing horizons as they dipped into surf, funk, and prog as well as their dance and rock foundations. The Plot's singles featured remixes by artists such as Discodeine, Hot Chip, Noze, and DJ Koze that were collected in Gomma's digital release The Remixes Collection that August. The Plot tour saw WhoMadeWho share the stage with LCD Soundsystem, Daft Punk, and Franz Ferdinand, and once again the band worked on new music while on the road. This time, they worked on two releases at once. The first, April 2011's Knee Deep, was their debut for Kompakt Records. Produced by Michael Mayer, it showcased a darker side to the group's music, as well as their fondness for vocal arrangements inspired by '60s psychedelia. The Tales of Us remix of the album's "Every Minute Alone" became an Ibiza hit, and WhoMadeWho's performance at that year's Roskilde Festival introduced their hybrid live setup, which mixed live and electronic instrumentation with DJ sets. In February 2012, WhoMadeWho issued Brighter, the livelier counterpart to Knee Deep. That December, the band collaborated with the Mark Lanegan Band on a split single that saw WhoMadeWho cover Lanegan's "Deep Black Vanishing Train" and Lanegan and company interpret Brighter's "Below the Cherry Moon."
Arriving in 2014, WhoMadeWho's fifth album, Dreams, offered a more straightforward and guitar-focused version of their music. On the following year's Ember EP, they returned to the eclectic, jam-based approach of their early days. Also in 2015, they teamed up with Oliver Schories on an installment of SonneMondSterne's mix series. On their own, WhoMadeWho issued Body Language, Vol. 17 for Get Physical in 2016. They returned with Through the Walls, an eclectic collection of songs balancing synth pop and dance that Embassy of Sound released in January 2018. The mix album Watergate 26 appeared the following year and featured their cover of Bj?rk's "Violently Happy" as well as cuts by Otto B., Ruede Hagelstein, and Mathias Schober. WhoMadeWho continued the mix's collaborative feel on their next album, November 2020's ambitious yet intimate Synchronicity. Their first album for Kompakt in eight years, it included contributions from Mayer, Echonomist, Robag Wruhme, and Rebolledo among others. ~ Heather Phares