Agnes Obel, Vesterbro. Sept 2013

(Interview also out in The Copenhagen Post)

Danish pianist and singer Agnes Obel stormed to European popularity a good 3 or so years ago with her debut album, Philharmonics, a coup de maître that garnered gold in The Netherlands and went platinum in Belgium, France and Denmark. With such accentuated success to live up to, Obel is back in 2013 with her follow-up album, Aventine; a more nuanced and experimental work that draws on the dark emotional influences of Roy Orbison, amongst other inspirations. I caught up with her in Vesterbro, ahead of the start of her European tour and this is what she had to say about her music and the new album.


Amk: “Welcome back to Copenhagen Agnes.” “For those who don’t know what you’re music is all about, what’s the philosophy behind your music ?” “What goes into making a song for you ?”

Obel: “Hmm, Well I can explain something about the process or the method.” “When I started working on my own music I didn’t have the chance to record in a big music studio so I had to record everything myself.” “I figured out that recording and writing songs at the same time works really well for me.” “A different moods shines through the song and the performance of it also changes.” “ I feel that this way of working also allows me to get closer to the nerve of the song.”

Amk: “You grew up surrounded by musical instruments as a child. How did the piano become your instrument of choice ? ”

Obel: “That’s a good question.” “I don’t know how I was stupid enough not to learn to play all the other instruments” (laughs). “We had a vibraphone and a double bass; why didn’t I learn to play them as well as I play the piano ?” “There was something about the beauty and resonance of the piano that spoke to my imagination I guess.” “My brother was into drums and guitars and I was always very much into the piano.”

Amk: “Your second album, Aventine, is just about to drop.” “You must be pretty excited about it.” “What is different on this album compared to Philharmonics ?”

Obel : “Aventine was made over a more concentrated period (one and a half years). Philharmonics was also recorded over a concentrated period though some of the songs are from earlier in my life. With Aventine, i’m trying to look into new states of mind that i’ve experienced and been curious about.” “The Cello is a major driving force in some of the songs on the album and i’ve experimented with it, using it in new ways and so on.”

Amk: “You’ve got a few shows coming up to promote the album.” “Is there any show that stands out amongst the bunch for you ?”

Obel : “I’m looking forward to Paradiso in Amsterdam- I’ve played there before on one of the first bigger shows I did on the previous album.” “It’s a beautiful venue.” “I’m also really looking forward to playing at Le Trianon in Paris.”

Amk: “What about inspirations ?” “Who or what do you get inspired by ?”

Obel: “I’m inspired by lots of things all the time and these things change, all the time.” “For the new album, i’m particularly inspired by Roy Orbison and the re-invention his songs have gained through David Lynch movies where one sees this dark under-current developing in them.” “I love the conversation between film and music.”

Amk: “You moved to Berlin a few years ago.” “What is it like living there ?”

Obel: “OhI really like Berlin !” “I grew up in Gentofte and moved to Frederiksberg when I was 12.” “When I went to Berlin for the first time I It felt like a big city and a village all at the same time.” “I didn’t really understand the place to begin with so I was very curious and I came home and told everyone that I’d be moving there.” “It was a leap into the darkness to see if it would work out, which it did and i’m very happy living there now.”

Amk: “What is it like to play in Denmark and Scandinavia in general ?”

Obel: “I’ve heard from other artists that people are a little bit more reserved in Northern Europe, which comes across at concerts, where the audience may be quieter.” “So this means less hecklers (laughs) but maybe it also means that people may not be as open about how they felt.” “I’m not so sure this is especially true of Denmark and I haven’t played that much in the North of Europe as most of my performances have been further south but it’s what i’ve heard.” “As far as Denmark goes, it is always really difficult to play for your family and friends.” “One becomes really self conscious, which is a challenge for me especially in Copenhagen where I know some of the venues really well.”


Charles Bradley, Interview. Stor Vega June 2013

Living proof you can take the last exit to Brooklyn

They used to call him Black Velvet – now it’s simply Mr Bradley
 pic: Allan Kortbæk
The beguiling Charles Bradley is the kind of performer one never forgets. The funk revivalist has enjoyed a fairy-tale success story following the release of his debut album, ‘No Time For Dreaming’, three years ago.

It followed a lifetime of trying to make a living under harsh conditions in the US, moonlighting as Black Velvet as he performed James Brown impersonations alongside his job as a chef.

What’s fascinating is not Bradley’s rise to the limelight at the ripe old age of, per say, but more the perseverance he showed along the way, despite hardship and travails that included him sleeping on New York subway lines as a teen and losing his brother in a shooting.

His is a life replete with drama and difficulties that would derail most, yet somehow the Brooklyn star is still here, telling us his story through shrieks, tears and the passion of a man half his age.

The Copenhagen Post caught up with Bradley before his third performance on Danish soil at Lille Vega last week, backed by his seven-piece band, The Extraordinaires.

The Copenhagen Post: Welcome back to Copenhagen, Charles. This is your third visit to Denmark, I do believe. You go on stage in about half an hour. How are you feeling today?

Charles Bradley: I’ve got a bit of a problem with my eye – it’s running a bit. Must be some kind of allergy, but there ain’t nothing that’s going to stop me from doing a great show. I’m going to do my best to keep people entertained and make them happy.

CP: Your latest album ‘Victim of Love’ has just hit the shelves. Could you tell us a bit about it? What’s the inspiration behind it?

CB: ‘Victim of Love’, that’s  me – it’s about my life. Music is what I have left to tell my story. During my working life I couldn’t express myself you know, cos you want to speak up and say something about the injustices you go through, but you can’t cos that’s the way it is. My music gives me the chance to do this today. I’m grateful to God for giving me the opportunity to be able to share my story.

CP: You’ve definitely “Made it in America”, to quote one of your songs [‘Why is it so hard?’]. Some may forget that many of America’s issues remain hidden by the success of your music. What is the reality of life in America today living in Brooklyn?

CB: Everyone talks about America being the land of milk and honey, but it ain’t. You can get milk and honey, but you gotta work hard to do it and it’s never easy. You’ve got to fight, you’ve got to be strong and keep going even when it seems like there is nothing to live for.  I took the long road to get here.

CP: Many of your songs, such as ‘No Time for Dreaming’, relate to sensitive moments of your life, but they also have a wider application in the state of America and the world today. What is your message to everyone out there who is struggling to cope and struggling to make it?

CB: Go back to the golden rule. If you’ve got a gift that God gave you, use it. Don’t let nobody tell you nothing about it. It doesn’t matter how many millions somebody offers you. You can be rich, you can make it financially, but if you don’t have inner peace, dignity, you won’t have anything. You got to keep your dignity because that’s worth more than anything.

CP: Where do you go from here, Charles. What’s next in this musical journey for you? Can we expect you back in Denmark anytime soon?

CB: I’ve got to put up a show. It’s part of the job, so I’ve got to perform and give people a good time. I don’t know where I’ll be tomorrow; I don’t know where I’ll be in a few years. Only God has the answer to that.

Penny Police Interview, Vega April 2013

Original written for The Copenhagen Post

Penny Police is a act that caused quite a few ripples across the Danish music scene when she first surfaced a few years ago. Those ripples have been spreading ever since, and bear the potential of developing into storm waves, if Penny’s ascendancy in the hallmarks of Danish music continues.

The Copenhagen Post caught up with Marie Fjelsted before her performance at Vega’s Ideal Bar last week, for a quick chat about her music, new E.P and where she is headed in 2013.

Amk: “What’s your music about, for all those who don’t know ?” “Why make music in the first place ?”

Penny: “I make music because i’ve got a lot going on inside of me. My music is an outlet for all the many thoughts and stuff that are sailing around my head”

Amk: “A way of sharing your thoughts perhaps ?”

Penny: “Sort of, it’s not as if I think, now I MUST tell everyone what’s going on – it’s more something that happens and my feelings are translated through music in a natural way.”

Amk: “Penny Police is an interesting stage name.” “Where does it come from and what does it mean ?”

Penny: “Penny is the pleasant aspect of the two P’s and Police is the harder, rougher dimension.” “It’s a duality that reflects who I am and what my music is all about”

Amk: What about your inspiration, where does that come from ?

Penny: “It’s all thoughts- thoughts that I have about different things; life for instance.” “It’s about what’s right for oneself.” “It’s so easy to say, “I should have done this or that or the other” so it’s important for me to constantly think about what it is that’s important for me.” “It is about finding ones balance, which of course is a never-ending process.” “Musically, there is lots of stuff that inspires me-the Norwegian Ane Brune is really cool, The Beatles- George Harrison, Paul McArtney and all of that lot as well- they’ve got some amazing melodies !”

Amk: “Your new E.P sink or sail has recently dropped. Tell us a bit about it”

Penny: “All the songs on it are about the lives of inner feelings.” “Whereas my previous productions were way more outgoing, sink or sail is a lot more melancholic.” “The songs emanate from thoughts that came out of situations where I couldn’t do anything else other than bury myself in a sofa in sadness.” “It’s about what springs to mind in such situations, about getting knocked down and getting up again.”

“Musically, it’s very ambient and there’s no autoharp on it.” “Some would say it’s art-pop, whereas my album from last year is more within the singer-songwriter niche and has more folk elements.”

I noticed that you grew up in Ribe, Denmark’s oldest city and culturally a place where lots happens. What was it like for you growing up there ?

Penny: “Ribe is a great town to grow up in !” “There’s lots of music, which affected me a lot.” “I attended a musical academy there and exploited all the opportunities I could such as performing in Ribe’s church and so on.” “It’s a small town with a big town feel because of all the cultural happenings that take place there , many of which I was happy to be a part of.”

Amk: “And how does Copenhagen live up to that ?”

Penny : “I’m happy to live in Copenhagen.” “It’s also a nice city.” “I couldn’t imagine myself living in Ribe in my youth, right now that is.”

Amk “So with your E.P on the shelves and several concerts on the calendar, what’s next for you this year ? “

Penny : “I’m writing songs for a new album. Some of them have already been written, some are still pending. It’s scheduled for a release in 2014.” “ I’m also talking to people in England and Germany about future musical projects.” “I’m also working closely with Barbara Moleko and we’ll be writing songs together for her new album.”

Modeseletor Interview, Copenhagen Feb 2013

Original article written for The Copenhagen Post

Sebastien Szary and Gernot Bronsert got together in the early 1990s when Germany had just been shaken by the collapse of the Berlin Wall. The duo found gigs playing a fusion of acid house, techno and hip-hop to hordes of anarchic Berliners in a now-united city. Since then, they have gone on to produce music alongside the likes of the city’s ‘first lady of electronic music’ Ellen Allien and Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, who is a fan of their ecclectic electronic sound. The Copenhagen Post caught up with Modeselektor’s Sebastien Szary for a short interview before their massive show at Store Vega a few weeks ago:


Modeselektor’s Sebastien Szary before the show at Vega. Photo: Jason Moisio

Here is what Szary had to say about Copenhagen, Musical inspirations, and working with Thom Yorke.

Amk: So, Szary is this your first time in Copenhagen ?

Szary: Well Gernot is the one who is really good at counting the years. I think we started in 2005 and we’ve been back every year since then. This is the 8th or the 10th time. We’ve played in Århus, Copenhagen and even on Bornholm in the pre-Modeselektor era (laughs)

Amk What was it like at Roskilde ?

Szary: Roskilde was amazing, it’s a really nice festival. We’ve played there twice- last year and two years ago with Moderat, the side-project we have together with Apparat. You can feel that it’s a festival with a lot of history.

Amk what was it like playing back in the early 90’s after the wall came down in Berlin ?

Szary: The whole situation after the wall came down was comparable to the wild West. The wall coming down was like a revolution- all the different influences – Communism from the East, and Capitalism- consumption and so on from the West all came together. It was a very exciting time musically as well. A lot of different styles from all the radios from different sectors came together.

Amk: What’s on your Ipod right now ? What are you inspired by ?

Szary: I have a problem with my Ipod, I hate software updates so I stopped updating my Ipod a couple of years ago. Right now i’m listening to the new My Bloody Valentine album quite a bit. Modeselektor are quite diverse, we do our slalom thing. We came from the hip hop of the 80’s then went straight to Acid House back to hip hop (Public Enemy and so on) and then into techno, Sonic Youth rock, you name it. There are lots of undiscovered sound samples and non-western oriented styles of music from the 20’s and 40’s that inspire us when we compose, well I don’t want to call it composing, it’s more like jamming. It helps if you have a knowledge of music and I have to admit that Gernot and I don’t have proper musical knowledge. I don’t play the piano for instance, so the way we use our instruments is more intuitive than anything else.

Amk: Now a question about Thom Yorke

Szary (laughing) : Ah Thom Yorke, The T Question, it comes up often

Amk: Indeed. What is it like to work with him, you guys are quite close, right ?

Szary: Yeah, we’ve been friends for about ten years. The partnership started with remixes initially then we teamed up with Radiohead and it’s going pretty well. It’s more than just about music, we are good friends with Thom. He’s a nice guy.

What’s your favourite city to perform in ?

Szary: There are quite a few actually. We like cities that aren’t in the focus that much. Glasgow can be pretty fun, also in the rain. I like the people there, it’s a bit rough and similar to the rough feel of East Germany. San Francisco and New York are fun too as is Guadalajara, Mexico.

Lastly, What’s next for Modeselektor ? What are you working on at the moment ?

Szary: Right now we’re working on the next Moderat album (teaming up with Apparat). It should be out in August. It’s time to continue our partnership with Apparat so that’s taking up almost all of our time. Aside from this we have our own private lives to keep us occupied as well.



Modeselektor raised the rafters at Store Vega last month. Photos: Jason Moisio

If you haven’t listened to Modeselektor’s music yet, here’s a couple of tunes :

Lena Andressen, Le Panum (October 2012)

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to interview one of the most endearing singer / songwriters around on a cold October morning. Lena Andressen is a Canadian – Faroese musician with four studio albums out, including her latest, “Letters From The Faroes.”

The recently dropped album has been selected as the album of the year in The Faroe islands, and Lena is currently on tour promoting it.  “Letters from The Faroes” is as inventive and as intimate an album as you’ll ever find.

Here’s most of my brief morning interview with lena:

Your latest album letters From The Faroes, which was released in Denmark yesterday am I right ? It seems like a really interesting album, could you tell us a bit about it ? What’s the inspiration behind it ?
Yes it came out yesterday and it’s inspired by the feeling of being uprooted, the constant longing for elsewhere that I sometimes tend to feel. I’ve grown up in Cananda and on The Faroe islands so i’ve always tended to long for one thing or another and this sense of longing, of uprootedness is reflected in Letters From The Faroes.
The cover design is pretty unique too., as a letter with stamps and love hearts on it Was this your own idea ?
Well it was mine and Niclas, the guy I write most of my stuff with. The idea was to bring back a bit of feeling as far as the art of letters being something that is dying or certainly something that is less common. The CD case feels and looks like a letter, which brings back the idea of feeling being involved in music. Letters from the Faroes, the album title refers to the songs on the CD, which for me are like different letters that capture the state of mind that i’m in at the time I write them.
You’re playing quite a few gigs around Denmark to promote the album over the next few weeks. What is like to play here ?
It’s always nice to play in Denmark. I think my music is appreciated here. Of course it’s different from one venue to another. Some places are really loud, really noisy whilst others can be quiet and cosy and everyone listens to you. Generally it’s always a pleasure to play here.
Most Danes don’t know much about the Faroe Islands, For me they’re this picturesque magical place- that’s the image that springs to my mind when I think of them. What are the islands actually like ?
(smiling) It’s sad that many Danes don’t know much about them- they are a part of Denmark too. Well The Faroes are 18 small islands in the middle of the Atlantic. The weather can be pretty bad – there’s a lot of wind and sometimes it feels like there are four seasons in one day, so if you’re into weather extremes this is the place to be. There are actually a lot of people from the Faroe islands who play music, and I think this has to do with the fact that they’re quite an isolated place, so we’re always looking to express ourselves somehow.
Do you also sing in Faroese ?
I haven’t recorded any songs in Faroese, no and this is mainly because English is my native language which makes it a lot easier for me in the songwriting process. I speak and write Faroese but for my music it’s much easier to do things in English.
What inspires you in the process of writing your music ?
When I write songs I try to convey a state of mind that i’m in at the time so it’s very spontaneous. Sometimes I feel happy, or sad, or if I feel like dying or whatever emotion it is that’s going through me. Sunsets and sunrises and other natural phenomena are all background inspirations but not part of the main process as such. My songs are sometimes a way for me to overcome certain emotions, they have a bit of a therapeutic effect whilst at the same time telling some story or other.
What music do you listen to when you’re not playing your own songs ?
Well anything really. I’m really inspired by songs that trigger an emotion in me, songs that make me do something or want to do something. Of course these songs can be anything really, The Beatles, you name it.
Photo: NJ Photo /

Tako Lako, Le Panum (Sept 2012)

Identified by MTV as one to watch, and with a new album under their belt, the band are keen to explore the international market in 2013

Balkan beat is a rowdy, raunchy concoction of a music genre, popularised by the efforts of acts like Goran Bregovic, Fanfare Ciocarlia and the well-known New-York based band Balkan Beat Box. Here in Denmark, it remains something of a stranger to the mainstream despite its increasing popularity in underground music circuits.
This may well change though, thanks to the efforts of a band cited as one of the greatest up-and-coming acts in Denmark by MTV, the critically-acclaimed Danish/Serbian outfit Tako Lako, who in their own words are “more than just another Balkan Beat band”.
The Copenhagen Post caught up with three of the band’s members – harmonicist Andreas Broby Jensen, bassist Philip Zubin Hormozi Køppen and multi-instrumentalist Malene Brask – for a quick chit-chat following the recent release of their eagerly awaited debut album, Through the Mud.
First and foremost, for all the people who don’t know you guys, who are Tako Lako?

Jensen: Tako Lako is a band that plays psychedelic gypsy beat; that’s what we choose to call what we do. It’s a pretty mashed-up type of music. We combine heavy beats with a psychedelic acoustic vibe.
Køppen: So far we’ve been known mainly for our live shows, up until releasing our debut album, Through the Mud.
How did Tako Lako come to be, how did you form ?
Køppen:  (grins): Well Andreas was on a inter-rail trip, maybe you’d like to elaborate on that?
Jensen: It all started on an Inter-rail trip many years ago. Our lead singer Ognjen and I went through Europe- Serbia and Monte Negro especially. On the tour we bought some instruments- a drum and a small keyboard thing; a melodica is that what you call it ? It was very chilled, very relaxed – we just jammed on the long train trips- we sat in the coupe and jammed
Køppen : Which must have been really annoying for the other passengers
Jensen (laughs) : For some yeah, some did think it was cool to have a private concert. We weren’t really a bad it was just for fun. When we came home to Denmark we thought it would be fun to go further with our music,; we started bringing people together. In the beginning Oggie wasn’t singing- he wanted to be a percussionist. We got a better percussionist who was trained- even though Oggie insisted on trying the percussion.In the end we got ourselves a pretty good lead singer (laughs)
Køppen: Personally I got into the band since I was really drawn to the complexity of the music. I’d played a lot of rock before that and I wanted to try something new
Did you know any of the guys before ? 
Køppen: I went to high school with Andreas, the classic story
What about you Malene, how did you get involved ? 
I went to school with Phillip (Køppen). He invited me to a concert which I remember really well- I was drawn by a bunch of gypsy balkan dudes who were playing really well and I though that I’d really like to be a part of this.
Tako Lako, the name; where does it come from?

Jensen: (grins) I think it’s a bit of a coincidence. Tako Lako means ‘so easy’ in Serbian. We started out brainstorming with names. [Vocalist] Ognjen [Curcic] came up with it – it looks good written and maybe people can remember it. It also reflects our music. Our music is kind of complex, but we wanted to turn it into something that is comprehensible.
Køppen: It’s a name you cannot categorise, much like our band – it’s completely movable contextually, which reflects us as a band. Tako Lako has changed a lot. I mean Tako Lako can be everything.
Many people would call you a Balkan beat group, for the sake of classification at least. What are some of your main influences, if any, within Balkan Beat?
Jensen: Of course, at the beginning, we were very influenced by the Balkan wave, by Balkan beat. Bands like Go Gol Bordello, Balkan Beat Box, Shantel and so on. In time, however, we changed – particularly over the last two years. We found our inspiration from bands who are not related to the gypsy genre as such.
Køppen: The thing with Balkan is, we all adore it, but it’s not necessarily full of substance and meaning, especially lyrically. So we feel that we’ve added an extra element of meaning to the genre through Ognjen’s lyrics.
So what does Ognjen sing about typically?
Brask:  There are some themes on our CD, particularly family traditions and coming from Serbia. Ognjen’s family comes from Serbia. He knows how it was in the war. He also knows what it means to be left out.
Køppen: It’s also about the past and the clash that one’s past represents for the future.
A bit like discovering one’s own identity perhaps?
Køppen: Exactly. In a way it’s about our own story as well. The battle that we’ve been through. We’ve been compared to other Balkan beat bands, but we’re trying to find our own place.
Your album Through the Mud has just dropped. Gaffa has given it five out of six stars. You must be pretty happy with it. You’ve been performing since 2008. What took you so long to make an album?
Jensen: Two years ago when we made our EP, we decided we’d wait a while before making an album.  If you listen to the EP, you can tell that something is happening, but it’s not finished yet. It just took us a while to find a sound that we can all agree on.
Køppen: The thing is that we’re really busy as a live band. We’ve had a lot of gigs over the last few years and have been really busy despite us not having any recorded material (laughs).
Brask: At the start we almost only worked on our live performances because we just love being on stage. We really love it! We wanted to see how far it could take us, so that’s where our focus was, but we also had to find a bit more substance in our music. We needed time to become more of a unit.
I’m sure you’ve had many good gigs in the history of Tako Lako. Is there a jewel in the crown of all your many gigs ? 
Jensen: Roskilde 09 for sure. It was very emotional for all of us. One of the things you say as a band is “We want to play at Roskilde Festival” We did it, with over 5000 people packed in an arena that was meant for 2000.
Køppen: It was manic ! Mind blowing ! The security dudes almost had to close down the stage because there were so many people.
Denmark has been a pop-reliant nation for a long time now. What has it been like for you to face this barrier  a Balkan outfit ? Has it been difficult to get people to latch on to Balkan beat? 
Køppen: Definitely yeah. That’s why our album is titled Through The Mud – we’ve really fought for this. Getting our music out to the important people has been really difficult- we’ve been told there’s no market for Balkan music. We’ve really fought for what we believe in though and we haven’t given up. It is a pat on the shoulder when we get to perform at a Pop festival like Skanderborg and we can get the crowd to sit down and jump start.
Jensen: Signing for a label like Sony is also a huge pat on the shoulder-  It tells the music industry something about us.
Brask: A couple of years ago we actually thought about being a bit more mainstream just to fit into the Danish market. It went wrong though- our heart wasn’t in the music, so we stopped and went back to our original style. The market has to accept our songs and work with us so we can the music out to people.
Where do you see yourselves in, say three years from now ? 
Jensen: We definitely want to expand out of Denmark. A dream would be to become the GoGol Bordello’s of Europe.
What are you up to now then?
Køppen: We’ve got a busy schedule this autumn. The plan is to focus on the Danish market to see how far we can take Tako Lako, promoting the new album and so on. Next year we’ll head south, into the German market and of course the UK.

Kasia StanGrecka, Copenhagen (Jan 2012)

From film-directing to generative art. Creative expression is all around ! The Papaya caught up with Polish generative artist Kasia Stangrecka and found out what her work is all about

 Original article: Roskilde University, Papaya Magazine Jan 2012 Issue: 

 Hi Kasia ! What inspires you as an artist ?

I’m not an artist. I am a builder? A creator? Everyday shapes inspire me ! Last time I looked at a lettuce I couldn’t help noticing how much like fractals the leaves looked like.

What exactly is it that you do and how long have you done it for ? 

My video works are generated through coding, Eisenscript to be specific. I first imagine a shape and then express it with letters and numbers in code. I started doing this a year ago. Creating the code takes me all night and then I render the image.Now that I have a new computer and it takes about 10 minutes to render an image and around a week for a movie. It took 10 times longer on my previous computer !

What’s the most difficult thing about what you do ?

Getting what’s in my head into a language understood by the computer. My communicational tools are purely letters in numbers in a code sequence. Controlling how shapes in my head get digitalised on the computer is probably the hardest thing about what I do

Any exciting plans for the future ?

Well I’d like to develop my skills further. Currently I do short films about life, expressed in generative form. I would like to do a whole series of them and in so doing, illustrate how coding can create a small, independent digital life form


Kristian Håskjold, Riccos Coffee Bar Pisserenden (Dec 2011)

Inspiration From Behind the Camera Lens, Seven quick questions with up and coming film director, Kristian Håskjold.

Original article: Roskilde University, Papaya Magazine Jan 2012 Issue: 

It’s a dark, dank, decadent December day. I find myself staggering around the streets in Pisserenden, clinging onto my jacket for dear life and wondering why the heck i’m battling the elements to catch up with Kristian Håskjold in Riccos for a chit-chat about his latest project and his work in general. A few minutes later i’m sat face to face with Kristian, a warm cup of cocoa and cheap plastic pen-in hand.

Kristian Håskjold is one of Denmark’s up and coming movie producers who recently founded Flying Films, a company that’s slowly getting into gear and coming up with rather intriguing short films, adverts and other work, including the Gaffa video of the year music video nominee, Sebastien Lind’s “Never Let Go”


So Kristian… Flying films What are you guys all about ?

We’re a film company. I started the company in February this year, that’s when I turned it into a real company, got a CVR number, got registered. I own the company and I have some people attached to it freelancing -an art director, a producer and a composer and an animator.

“We do lots of different things.” “The way to best describe what we do is, well…we do storytelling, this is what’s most important for us.” “It doesn’t really matter that much if we do a commercial or fiction or even animation.” “For us there needs to be a beginning and a development and so on; we don’t just show a product “ Look at this cool shoe and buy it !, no We just want to be creative in the way we do it, that’s important for us.

So we’ve done some work for an insurance company called Codan and for a guy called Sebastien Lind…

Yeah, that’s right for which you’ve been nominated for The Gaffa video of the year prize. How was it working with Sebastien Lind ?

It was awesome, he’s a great kid, very down to earth ! It was lots of fun, we started with a pre-video to the actual music video which got incorporated into the final video. We started filming in a dark appartment where we shot various sequences that were going to be included in the video, lots of shadow a bit of animation, lots of different things and then we went about combing them so they seemed alike.

I read that Sebastien Lind’s “Never Let Go Video” was made with no budget whatsoever. How did you guys stay motivated during the creative process ?

Well it was kind of tough and before making the video I’d decided not to do free work anymore. I’d reached a point where I needed to take a leap-take my work to the next level. A guy called Jonas Woof, Sebastien’s manager sent me the song and I was amazed. I felt that this was the best work Sebastien had ever done

Did you know Sebastien before all this ?

Yeah, I worked on a small music production with him 8 months ago and other small projects including a clothing project with Marianne Gerda about half a year or so ago.

Nice one. I saw this video on your webpage of a guy getting chased through the streets of New York by a pink umbrella which I thought was quite cool. What’s the story or the metaphor if you like, behind it all ?

There are two stories involved here. Writing the script for it, I wanted to convey the idea that everyone has some sort of “umbrella” which we all have to accept at a certain point. When we accept them, the result is a sort of synergy effect, access to another level of life through self-acceptance. The second story is the more down-to-earth one. I had an experience similar to that of the guy in the video when living in London and working as a fundraiser on the streets. One of the conditions of having this job was that we had to bring our umbrellas with us to work, in case it started to rain. So I picked out this really ugly pink umbrella from the pile and used it out on the streets and hated it quite a lot. So one day this French Canadian girl and I swopped umbrellas; she got my ugly pink one and I got her blue one and when we came back to the office someone had stolen all the other umbrellas. They were replaced the next day though, with a new bunch of pink ones !
That’s an interesting story ! Lots of artists struggle to stay motivated in the creative process. How do you maintain your inspiration?

Hmmm…That’s a good question, I guess i’ve always been very ambitious with my work and at some point, well the simple thought of moving forward, the feeling of building something up keeps me going. I’d really like Flying Films to become something big and i’d like a lot more people to get involved with it. This is the more entrepreneurial side of things.

Which is important too, a lot of artists forget this

Yeah, so true. The more creative side of keeping my inspiration comes from my love of being part of creative projects and being around interesting people. I enjoy this a lot.

Are there any particular movie directors you look up to for inspiration ?

Yeah there’s a guy called Steven Sotherberg; there are some of his films I really love. He did a film called the informant, with Matt Damon. It’s a really quirky film about a stupid man who tries to become a detective. I’d say the film is underplayed and very…. European in some way. I like the way he makes a commercial movie to get people’s attention so that the next movie he makes can be all about his own thing, where he does whatever he wants to. It’s quite similar to the way I see the world as I feel there needs to be balance in movie making, as we talked about before; the need for entrepreneurship and creativity at the same time. Some artists are purely artists and there’s no entrepreneurship, so most of the time they never get anywhere because they don’t get into their work and then there are the entrepreneurs who create lots of things but it’s purely about the money. So there needs to be a balance and Steven Sotherberg seems to have this.

And what are you up to at the moment ?

I’m writing a script for a film called “Reception” and i’ve just applied for funding for it through the Danish Film Institute. We’ll know in late December if we get the funding. One other project i’m working on is a documentary film about a guy called Troy Davis, who was falsely accussed of murdering a policeman in Georgia 20 years ago. So we’ll be going to the states to shoot next year if we get the funding in February.

Interview: Tim Andresen, Culture Box ( January 2012)

House is feeling, not a music genre: Papaya Exclusive with Tim Andresen (original article: Roskilde University, Papaya Magazine, January 2012 edition: 

When mention of House music comes up in everyday parlance most people will instantly think of the likes of David Guetta or The Swedish House Mafia, artists who have skyrocketed to global fame over the last couple of years or so, cutting through the echelons of mainstream music like a hot knife through butter.

Truth be told, the pop-induced “House” wave that’s dominating airplay on most teenager’s mobiles today could not be further from the definition of true house music, a genre that kicked off in Chicago in the early 80’s before becoming a worldwide phenomenon through it’s popularisation as Acid House in the U.K at the end of the 80’s.

This viral metamorphosis counterweighted the economic hardships and disillusions of a nation bored beyond tolerance by the conservative Thatcher politics of the time and as such, the second summer of love, Woodstock’s successor was born. House music was, at the time, an instrumental-rich form of electronic music that borrowed from the disco culture of the late seventies / early eighties, the result being a more minimalistic series of drum machine produced beats accompanied by everything from poignant synth stabs to Motown-esque vocals.

Fast-forward two decades or so and House has branched off into commercial pop-heavy Electro house a La Guetta, whilst retaining its former dignity through its identity as deep and tech house.


I caught up with Culture Box resident and co-booker Tim Andresen for a quick chat about the state of the current house scene and his work as a Deejay one rainy day in the post New Year’s eve state quietude that the streets tend to blossom with in early January.

From humble Beginnings to global success

Tim Andresen started spinning vinyl way back in 1986 (that’s before I was even born ! ) Part of a mobile disco group of newly-made friends, Tim started as most Deejays do, learning the tricks of the trade by saving up for his own pair of decks and honing his skills on them in his free time.

Back then, he had not yet been bitten by the house bug, and as such, commercial music du jour and a fair bit of old school Hip Hop was what he spun albeit commercial music fused with choice, hard-to-come-by 12 inch imports from record shops such as Fredgård and the legendary Street Dance Records.

The switch to House came in 1997, when Tim played a gig with a friend of his and got hooked by it. Since then he slowly built a name for himself, specialising in playing a witty blend of “good quality House music with an uplifting edge to it”.

House music in those days was nowhere near as well-known in Denmark as it is today and as such, a lot of work went into promoting and hosting gigs, as no specific venues existed to serve the needs of the electronic music market niche.

Further along the line, the jump from Deejay to producer saw Tim venture into making his own productions in 2002 with literally no professional music training whatsoever.

Since then, his releases have been featured on the likes of Fatboy Slim’s label “Southern Fried,” Mark Knight’s “Toolroom ” imprint and on the mighty “Azuli,” The UK’s longest running House label.

His forays into the world of music production elevated Tim to the highest level of Deejaying, as he backed his studio creations with hectic tour schedules that saw him play in over 40 countries, headlining for brands such as theMinistry Of Sound Tour, Godskitchen and Azuli and playing some of the finest clubs on the planet such as Space, Pacha and Privelegé Ibiza, Fabric, Ministry of Sound, the impeccable Turnmills in and dozens of others.

Tim also founded his “What Happens” label a good 5 years ago, and has enjoyed a fair deal of success through it, with upcoming names such as “Tiva” and “Dennis Horvat” using it as a base for their productions

Fast-forward and press play

Tim’s decorated past in the annals of house music folklore lives on today through his label What Happens and his residency at Copenhagen’s Culture Box who he also co-books for. He jets around a lot less than he used to but he’s certainly not any less busier as a result.

In fact, Tim’s dedication to the scene means that he’s in his own words “listening to music for up to 12 hours a day” and as such, if he listens to anything else, it’s usually Chillout music, to unwind and kick back from the hectic everyday life of a producer.

The scene today

The music industry in one that is in constant flux. Despite being a vinyl lover, Tim admits that Deejaying with vinyl is an artform that’s history. He doesn’t miss carrying around a bag full of 12 inch records and he appreciates the mod cons of mixing using CD’s.

Like many other players in the music industry, Tim also believes that the influx of new artists on the scene due to technological advancements that have made making and producing music something that can be done in a bedroom as opposed to a studio has made it more difficult for one to find good electronic music.

He maintains that creativity needs to stand out, and a sense of imperfection and even difference in music production has to exist in the process of making electronic music. As such, an otherwise optimistic Tim feels that focus on already established artists and labels has created a sort of music hegemony that locks out many newcomers to the scene who aren’t part of the most favourited and highest rated charts that electronic music sites such as Beatport popularise.

So With so much to do all the time, where’s the fun in it all ?

Despite the strains of producing, running a label, Deejaying, promoting and co-booking Tim still enjoys his everyday life and is content with being able to get paid to practice his hobby on a full-time basis.

His new single, the aptly named “New Era” has rocketed to number 37 on the listings and with the likes of Trentemøller, Nic Fianciuli and James Blake all booked to play at the venue, things are definitely looking up in 2012. The house scene in Denmark is continuing to grow and Tim feels that there’s a lot of passion and indeed a lot of love and open-mindedness within it that is heartening to take note of.

Interview: Yann Tiersen, Rust (May 2011)

My mate Edoardo and I  stumbled on the opportunity to interview the French composer and multi-instrumentalist Yann Tiersen back in May after his concert at Rust, Copenhagen.  The interview was shot immediately after an epic, sweaty and packed-to-capacity performance that showcased snippets off his forthcoming album “Skyline.” The interview was published in the last issue of Roskilde University’s “Papaya magazine,” which you’re more than welcome to check out at