Artist To Artist: Kasper Bjorke & Colder
Danish music-maker Kasper Bjorke is swiftly becoming one of the hottest prospects in the electronic music world. He's just followed up last year's excellent album After Forever with a further LP, filled with remixes of tracks from the 2014 effort, catchily titled After Forever Revisited. This new album features remixes from Colder, following his return to making music after a rather lengthy spell on the sidelines. To celebrate the album's release, we asked the pair to go head to head with the questions to help clear a few things up and open some doors.
If that weren't enough for you, we're also providing you with the first chance to hear Matt Karmil's remix of 'Into Smithereens'. You lucky bleeders. So sit yourself back and read on as Kasper Bjorke and Colder go Artist To Artist;
Colder: So I wanted to ask you first how you came form the DJ world to the production world?
Kasper Bjorke: It was actually the other way around for me. I started to make music before I knew how to DJ. I was producing on an old Atari computer and a Akai 8 second mono sampler. It was not until I got a record deal that I sort of had to get into DJing to somehow promote the music.
Colder: Ok, I see. How long have you been producing music then?
KB: I started in around 1998. I was in a duo where we made quite poppy disco house. We got signed to a big label and got into the whole machine. Then I started making solo releases in 2006 after we both sort of lost interest in that project. What about you? Do you actually DJ sometimes or do you only play live?
Colder: No I've never done DJing – I've always focused my work on playing, recording and producing. I tried it a few times some years ago in some clubs in the US and in Spain but I didn't enjoy it as much as I enjoy gigging – but I'm not saying that I find it boring or such. It's just that it doesn't fit – for now – in the relationship I have with music, I guess.
KB: I understand. They really are two very different experiences. I also played live in the early years with the duo but actually decided that I liked DJing more. These days I see the advantage of playing a live show earlier in the night than playing the 3-5am DJ slot – especially since I became a father!
Colder: Which place do you enjoy most? Studio or DJ booth?
KB: I like both being in the studio but also being able to test out the music that I make to an audience and get the reaction. That's quite rewarding. Anyway – you just remixed a track from my latest album for the remix album that is out now. I think I gave you some choices of songs from the album to chose from and you chose the one called Marbled Blood. Do you remember what made you chose this track in particular ?
Colder: Oh yeah – it was definitely about the vocal part. I love spoken words on very repetitive and linear music and in this particular case I really liked the voice and words of your friend Soho. It also creates a link somehow with another project I'm working on which will be released on Ivan Smagge's label – Les Disques De La Mort – later this year / beginning of next year – called Save! It's also a spoken word project based on lyrics and words form the vocalist/performer Mutado Pintado (Paranoid London) mixed with some instrumentals I recorded a couple of years ago.
KB: Wow that sounds great – and cool name for the project! Cant wait to hear it.
Colder: I wondered if there was a particular story behind your track 'Marbled Blood'?
KB: Yeah, there is. The first time I met Soho she told me about an experience she just had so, months later, I asked her if she would write that down in words and record it for a track for my album.
Colder: Oh great! I really love that song, that approach. I wish you could record a whole album like that!
KB: Thanks – I might just do that! So, you have a new Colder album coming out yourself later this year – can you tell me a bit about the inspiration behind it and why it has taken you so many years to release a new album?
Colder: I stopped for many years, mostly because of the contractual problems I had after the record label Output ceased its activities. It took me something like two years to sort that out and after that I really didn't have too much will to go back to it. But two and a half years ago, a German DJ called Patrice Baumel contacted me and proposed me to do some vocal featurings on some instrumentals he was recording at that time. We never did anything with that really but I remember that it was my first "electronic music" work in years and that I really enjoyed doing it. Following that collaboration, I started thinking more and more about going back to the production and recording work I started before with Colder. And it's how I started working on that new record I'm about to release.
KB: Ah wow, that explains a lot. Legal stuff can definitely be a creative killer. I am psyched to hear your new album – I was a huge fan of the first two. Still am actually. Silicone Sexy is as fresh today as back then. I wanted to ask you: What equipment in your studio are you most fond of?
Colder: Right now, the elektron octatrack. I do almost everything with it these days, it's like a hub, connected to all my synths and other hardware and, as it's been more than 2 years that I've played with it, it really feels like an instrument right now in the sense that I don't have to think when I'm using it. When I'm looking for a particular sound, it comes almost naturally.
KB: Just checked it out – looks great!
Colder: I love elektron hardware – they are the closest thing to my all time favourite sampler I had in the past, an Ensoniq ASR 10. And you?
KB: At the moment I'm really happy about my old synthesizer, Roland D-50. It has these really tacky pads and steel drum sounds. It has a very Vangelis sort of vibe.
Colder: I'd like to try one of those! I've been hearing about it for so many years – I have a lot of friends who own/owned one and were absolutely crazy about it. Never played one though!
KB: I found it super cheap online, maybe 400 euro! It's cool, it has a very special sound, but it's super heavy to carry around, I wouldn’t bring it anywhere for a session.
Colder: I guess that you consider yourself as an electronic music producer but do you have some desire to produce different or other kinds of music – more electric or acoustic things for instance?
KB: I really want to try to do more ambient stuff actually. I've been speaking to Throne of Blood Records in New York who are making the Moon Rock compilations, to make a track for one of their next instalments.
Colder: They are friends of mine, Max and James 😉 Great guys!
KB: Yes, great guys indeed! Can you tell me a bit more about what happened during the years for you creatively after the the whole Output contract mess?
Colder: I set up a small recording studio where I was living in Spain and spent two or three years recording acoustic/electric projects of people I met there. Mostly jazz or experimental/improvised music and such – there was always a bit of electronic involved but very little. But now, for some reason, I'm really into pure or 100% electronic music work. I record with the octatrack, with a modular as well and a few other keyboards, vintage ones, and I try to focus most of the work on getting different "colours" out of them and I really enjoy it – I know I'll eventually get to a point where I will like to change that setup, but for the moment I feel I need to dig more and work more with it to get that sound I'm looking for.
KB: That makes sense. I also believe in a small, strong setup, I'm not one of those collecting tons of gear and buying a huge amount of software. I still use Logic 9 and have just a few synthesizers and a small Doepfer modular. I do want to buy myself a Moog Voyager one day though…
Colder: Yeah you're right. Having too many toys at home can affect your productivity in a bad way!
KB: Indeed. So will you be touring with a full band later this year when the album is coming out? Or just you and the machines?
Colder: Just with a drummer actually – a drummer playing mostly on pads – and me with the octatrack it's a very simple setup, but so far it works great! And very light and easy to set up, play…
KB: Coo! I love drummers on pads. I hope to catch your show one day.
Colder: And this drummer is great too. He's probably one of the best drummers in Barcelona, he comes from a very heavy jazz background but has a great sensitivity to electronic music too and likes repetitive stuff, loops etc, which is not so common with jazz profiles.
KB: So he isn't doing jazz fills all over the place?
Colder: Luckily not! And you? What are your plans for 2016?
Kasper Bjorke: I have some gigs this fall, going to NYC, Miami and I always have gigs around Europe… I should be getting back to working on a new album soon, since I seem to release a new album every second year… But its been a big change getting a baby, so this time it might take a bit longer… I would also like to maybe do some of that ambient stuff and see where it takes me… And then I am planning a couple of EP projects with some great people, but lets not reveal anything about that yet. I just finished producing a whole album for the Danish artist Jacob Bellens – that will come out around March next year. So plenty in the pipeline…
Colder: Fantastic! Can't wait to hear to that new production! And yeah – hopefully – we'll have more chances to speak about these "secret" collaborations next year! 😉
KB: Hehe – yes, lets talk more about that soon… Woops, gotta run, diaper alert! Have a great day man, cool talking to you.
Colder: Great talking to you too!
Colder's new album Many Colours is out on 6th November via Not Available/Bataille.
Kasper Bjorke's After Forever Revisited is out now on HFN Music.