Brundtland and Berge were schoolmates in their hometown of Tromsø, experimenting with electronic instruments in the early 1990's, being a part of the Tromsø techno scene. They were members of various electro acts in their youth, such as Aedena Cycle, Alanïa and Drum Island. Their childhood in Tromsø and the spectacular northern Norwegian scenery have often been mentioned as one of their most important inspirations. However, the duo did not appear as Röyksopp until years later when they met again in Bergen. The city had now overtaken Tromsø's position as the most vital scene for underground electronic music in Norway, and Röyksopp worked with other Norwegian musicians such as Frost, Kings of Convenience’s guitarist/singer Erlend Øye and Bjørn Torske in what was called the Bergen Wave.
The word Röyksopp is a stylized version of the Norwegian word for the puffball mushroom, "røyksopp" or literally, "smoke mushroom".
Röyksopp's first singles were released by local independent label Tellé, and their album Melody A.M. on British label Wall of Sound. It spawned the single "Eple", one of the group's most known tracks, along with "Poor Leno", "Remind Me" and "Sparks". Eple (IPA: [ˈɛplə]) means "apple" in Norwegian. Their single "Eple" was used by Apple Inc. as the music for the startup video for Mac OS X 10.3.
The popularity of the duo’s music was boosted by several graphically experimental music videos. One of them, an infographic-styled video by French company H5 for the track "Remind Me", won the 2002 MTV Europe Music Award for best music video. In this same event the duo was nominated in three more categories: "Best Nordic Act", "Best New Artist" and "Best Dance Act", but only won the award for best video. The duo performed the song "Poor Leno" at the event. One year later the duo received a nomination to Brit Awards, the most prestigious British music award in the category "Best Group", though without winning it.
Röyksopp's second studio album The Understanding was released in 12 July 2005, preceded by the single “Only This Moment” in 27 June, 2005. The video “Only This Moment” is closely based on the events of the Paris 1968 riots and elements of propaganda are found throughout the video clip. The album's second single, “49 Percent”, was released on 26 September, 2005. A third single, "What Else Is There?", reached #1 on the British Dance Chart.
In 2006, Röyksopp released a nine-track live album, called Röyksopp's Night Out. The album contains a new dance version of their single “Sparks” and a reinterpretation of the song “Go with the Flow”, originally by Queens of the Stone Age.
In 2007, Röyksopp compiled their favourite tracks by other artists for the Back to Mine series. The album was released in the US on March 5 2007 and in the UK on April 27 2007. The album also includes their own track “Meatball”, released under the pseudonym “Emmanuel Splice”, which is actually a remix version of Mike Oldfield's “North Star/Platinum Finale” from the album Platinum. This year Svein Berge also contributed as a board member for the celebration of the Grieg year, as Norway celebrated their famous composer Edvard Grieg.
Röyksopp's website was changed to coincide with their 10th birthday. They released a new track “Happy Birthday” for free on 15 December 2008 to celebrate this event, in both MP3 and WAV formats.
On March 23, 2009, Röyksopp's third studio album Junior was released, which features the single "Happy Up Here". The song debuted on BBC Radio 1's Pete Tong show on 9 Jan 2009. It was officially released digitally on January 18, 2009 and was released physically on 9 March 2009. The music video features elements from the arcade game Space Invaders. Both the single and the video were met with positive reactions from the press and fans. Junior will be followed by an album Senior, a counterpart to Junior, which is quiet, "withdrawn and introspective" and "create an atmosphere and an ambience". The album will be released at the beginning of 2010.
"The Girl and the Robot", the second single from the album Junior including vocals from Swedish singer Robyn, was released on June 15 2009 in Europe, June 16 in America and on June 29 in the UK, with remixes from Kris Menace, Chateau Marmont and Spencer & Hill. "This Must Be It" is the third single from the album, including vocals from Swedish singer Karin Dreijer Andersson of The Knife and Fever Ray. The single also featuring remixes by Thin White Duke, LehtMoJoe, Rex the Dog and Apparat, among others. The band has also released "Tricky Tricky" stems as part of the remix competition. The winning entries were released on October 27, 2009.
The tracks "What Else Is There?" and "Eple" were chosen among the top 500 tracks of the decade by Pitchfork Media. They were placed in respectively 375th and 336th place . Another track written by Röyksopp, Annie's "Heartbeat" was placed 17th on the same list . On November 24th 2009, Melody A.M. was named the best Norwegian album of the decade by Norways largest newspaper, VG. The Understanding came 5th on the same list. The song "Eple" was placed 3rd in the selection of the top 10 Norwegian tracks of the decade. "What Else Is There?" came 6th.