What a crazy summer. You should be having a hard time picking which concerts and festivals you should go to by now; there’re just so many! One of this weekend’s hit events is the Electronica Fest which is to begin tomorrow at 14.00 at Parkorman. We spoke to Kasper Bjørke, Johnwaynes, Crookers and WhoMadeWho from the lineup.
Who were your musical idols and motivations when you were a child & how did they affect your musical career?
I was really into old school hiphop until the mid-nineties. Then I started listening to electronic music. Daft Punk was a major influence in my life. I have also been a big fan of Depeche Mode and The Cure since I was very young. So I have a wide taste and I think that affects the music that I make.
You work with a lot of musicians including FM Belfast, Blake and The Pierces. What was the work you enjoyed most?
Those were all artists that I worked with on my first album from 2007. On my latest album “Fool” that was just released, I worked closely with Jacob Bellens who has written and made vocals for 4 songs on the album. And then I collaborated with Laid Back, on the track “Bohemian Soul” which was like a child dream come true. I think they are amazing! I would say that I have enjoyed all the collaborations in their own way – all of them have turned out great and people are really sweet and easy to work with as long as you give them respect and freedom to do what they can do. I am not a singer myself, so I am very open to what they bring to the table. I rarely ask them to change anything as I feel it’s collaboration and not just me telling them what to do.
What are your future projects? What are you planning for this year?
I’m making an EP with a friend of mine, we call ourselves ‘The Mansisters’. We haven’t decided on a label yet or anything, for now we are just making the music. Then I’m playing a lot of DJ gigs to support my new album ‘Fool’ and other than that I try to find more time to work in the studio, where I’m doing remixes for Rebolledo, Wareika and some other cool acts.
JOHNWAYNES & STEE DOWNES
Can you explain the birth of Johnwayes a little? How did you two met and decide to work together?
We got together about 8 years ago. Jepe was a DJ at a famous Portuguese club and was invited to do a remix for a Portuguese pop band. I was looking for some help and fortunately one day I found Antonio in a digital workshop. I invited him to check my beats and works. He enjoyed them and we started to do some tracks.
Your unique style and energy on the dance floor brought you universal recognition in the electronic music scene. You travel a lot and hit the parties. What was your favorite performance and why?
We like playing together a lot. We try to connect to the floor between the tracks, the live instruments and create a symbiosis between the crowd and us. The crowd must join us. Wherever this happens, magic happens.
What do you think about the present state of acid house and electronic scene around the world?
There are two kinds of stuff like Moodyman says: the good stuff and all the other stuff. And that is the truth. There are dozens of great producers that are not known yet, from house to techno, soul disco to funk. I think the problem here is the way to achieve the masses. Underground is big, and will get bigger. Funk&soul are big ever since the 70s. But unfortunately radios and televisions don’t understand underground & music the way they should. And big companies always look to profits first. But that’s why this is underground right? And the main worldwide festivals are with the best line-ups. House and techno producers and underground artists play everywhere. Then why do we need TV or national radios?
If I’m not mistaken, you both got your start in music by taking guitar and piano lessons. What made you get into synths, turntables and sequencers? How did you fall in love with electronic music?
Yes, I started playing the piano at three, then I was in a punk band at seven, then another band at ten… And Bot started with the guitar at a young age. But if you asked us to play something now, we couldn’t. And I think that works for our kind of music, which is stupid music. Sometimes, if you know how to play an instrument, you can’t make stupid music because you’re trying to put everything you know into a track. But we don’t have that problem [Laughs].
As your debut album ‘Tons of Friends’ suggests, you have quite a broad network in the music scene; you worked with a number of musicians like Róisín Murphy, Kelis, Yelle, Major Lazer and Miike Snow. How did you get in touch with all of them and persuade them to work with you?
We always had a lot of support, so it’s pretty easy at some point to work something out together. Sometimes it was the record company and sometimes it was me. Like with Miike Snow, I just asked him to give me his Skype name, and he sent me tons of beats and bootlegs.
Before you released your debut, we had already heard about Crookers because of the remixes you did, the best known being Kid Cudi’s ‘Day ‘n’ Nite’, which was released in 2008 and became a very big hit. When you look back, what do you think about the popularity of this remix?
It’s pretty strange… We did the remix for free because we thought that the song was dope when we listened to it. And then we just did the song and it went huge everywhere. I don’t know what to say; we’re not the type of producers and people who chase a beat every day. We just do whatever we want, in a way, and it was a good song, a good remix with a lot of rockiness. But it wasn’t on purpose; we didn’t produce the remix in that way because we wanted to do a hit. And the crazy stuff is that we went through thousands of songs for ‘Day ‘n’ Nite’ to add more and more heat to it until it became super rich. We just don’t want to replay it all the time, but we still play ‘Day ‘n’ Nite’ sometimes when there are a lot of girls in the bar because girls love that song.
How has the reactions to your last album, The Brighter, been?
Tomas Hoffding: It’s been very good. Our fan base and audience is bigger than ever. WhoMadeWho a band that’s building up slowly and it’s nice to see everything getting better and better every year. Hope it continues this way for many years!
What have you been listening to lately? Which bands/projects excite you the most?
TH: Gold Panda, Jack White, Mr. Oizo
What should Electronica Fest visitors expect from your performance?
TH: Same as always, the best of rock and the best from electronica. An unusual amount of energy and openness from the stage. A whip in the arse.
You are older than the members of most indie bands we know and you also belong to different musical backgrounds. How does that make you feel?
TH: 5-10 years ago it seemed you needed to be under 23 years of age and from London to make it as a band, luckily this has changed. These days quality and curiosity means more than age and country. Makes me feel good!