Artist To Artist: Space Dimension Controller & Kornél Kovács
Some say that Europe is more divided than ever. However, how can it be when we have a bloke from Sweden and another from Northern Ireland interviewing each other here at Ransom Note? It's a small world after all.
This month marks the return of the widely acclaimed Space Dimension Controller, a man who has remained relatively under the radar since playing "Ayla" at AVA Festival in Belfast. Yes, you read that correctly, this isn't Wunderground. His new release on R&S Records sees him poised for battle as he offers up two choice tracks with a firm orientation towards the dancefloor. In true fashion he blends elements of cosmic beauty alongside distinctive rhythmic patterns in what is a true return to form.
However, one of the defining features of the EP comes in the form of Kornél Kovács appearance on the release. The Swede steps up to offer a reimagined version of "Exostack". His interpretation is executed with style and ease and is bound to be a significant highlight of the R&S calendar year.
We put the pair together for a little chat. Read their conversation and stream Kornél Kovács exclusive remix below…
Space Dimension Controller to Kornél Kovács
How are you?
I'm alright man! Did a good 18 hours of djing this weekend, in 3 different cities, got home Sunday night and cried in my girlfriend's arms for a bit, then went straight to Gothenburg and the Nacksving studio on Monday morning. Currently going through emails while Matt Karmil makes my next record sound better. I hurt my neck pretty bad at some point over the weekend so I'm suffering from that, still in a pretty good mood though!
You won a grammy! Can I ask what the ceremony was like?
I did, didn't I? To be fair it's a ”Grammis”, a Swedish Grammy. The ceremony was alright I guess – I went with my girlfriend, Studio Barnhus had to pay €300 to get her in, that's how much the tickets cost. As a nominee you get to go for free but you don't get to bring a plus one even, that's a bit cheap I reckon? Anyway, got to see some celebrities like Zara Larson and the (vi)king of Swedish eurodance, E-Type. I figured I had an ok chance of winning my category so I prepared a thank-you note. Thought I would play it cool up there but as soon as they called my name my heart started racing and I got tunnel vision. Don't remember anything from that point until I was back in my seat.
Did you drink a shot out of the Grammy?
No man, it's basically a huge glass dildo made by the famous Swedish designer Efwa Attling. Might be able to turn it into a bong somehow.
Big fan of Studio Barnhus as a label. People always make references that it doesnt take itself seriously but I think most releases are succinct in tone. Can I ask what your a&r policy is?
I had to look up ”succint”, thank you! We are super serious about music and art and I think keeping an open mind and having a bit of fun are really important aspects of those things you know? Our A&R policy is we don't have one. I guess among the three of us we have quite a few old and new friends making music and we try to get involved with them. 8 years after starting the label it's still really down to the moods and tastes of Axel, Petter and myself, which are quite varied and always subject to change. We try to entertain and surprise ourselves with our releases. Also, I always ask myself: Is it conceivable that someone somewhere in the world will consider this to be their favourite record ever?
Axel once told me he is the balls of the project! Is this true?
Definitely. I mean the fact that he would say that sort of makes it a self-fulfilling prophecy, wouldn't you say? Also – if it looks like balls and smells like balls, then it's probably balls, right? Pedrodollar is the heart and I'm the liver.
Kornél Kovács to Space Dimension Controller
How are you – and I do mean how are you? I hope you're good!
Really good! Just about to head to Japan and Australia for a few weeks and have been wrapping up my new live show. Except from that got a couple of kittens and just been filming them running around my house.
What have you been most satisfied with in your life so far, apart from music?
Staying in Belfast was something im super proud of. I love the city and didnt give in to the lure of London. Always satisfied at home and think its been important to build a base.
Who do you look up to in the music biz? Could be a producer, dj or someone behind the scenes, but like a currently active person that you look at and think ”yeah I want to be a bit more like that” (mine's probably Roman Flügel)?
I have to say i've always admired Jackmaster's drive but in terms of artistry iv always respected the way Boards of Canada handle album campaigns and such. Keeping things simple yet entirely complex in ethos and I love the fact they still havent came back for one show whilst we are all running around trying to play each weekend.
Your favourite synth maker asks you to design a special SDC synth for them to build and sell – they have a good budget for it but it needs to be a commercially viable product, something people will actually buy. What kind of synth would it be?
I’d make the EKO ComputeRhythm but a modern version with an almost Ableton Push design but obviously bigger. A really incredible but portable drum machine for live and studio work. It's such a fascinating rare piece of equipment thats never been championed by electronic artists and I think Torsten from RBMA has one hidden away.
What's the most frustrating aspect of being Space Dimension Controller?
I overthink the over arcing narrative too much and it becomes like this obsessive thing that I cant see passed. Its so frustrating setting yourself on a course that can seem never ending I guess.
Space Dimension Controller to Kornél Kovács
You play out a lot and I love to see you guys play as Studio Barnhus. Can i ask how different it is from when you play solo?
When the three of us play, it's one track each the whole set and I'm sort of more confident in trying out new tracks I don't know so well yet when we play this way. Probably because if I create a mess, I know either Axel or Petter is standing by ready to clean it up. When I play solo it's more focused and also more of a direct link between dj and crowd. With ”trio” gigs I play as much for my best friends in the booth as for the crowd, of course this hopefully results into something good for everyone involved.
The remix you did for my record is great, did you have anything in mind whilst making it? As you really brought a different feel to the track.
Thanks, it feels really great being involved. I laid out the basics of the remix during a long nocturnal session at Studio Barnhus. I actually rarely make music there these days but this night I was there and alone in the studio, cold winter outside. It was a vibe!
Whats your favorite album to listen to whilst cooking?
Classic good-timey rap albums for cooking usually, Slick Rick maybe? Works well because the steady beats will keep you focused during intense moments in cooking and then you can zone in on the lyrics while waiting for stuff to happen. Plus it's good music for having friends over, opening up a few bottles…
Thats incredible about the Grammy's. Congrats and I cant imagine doing an acceptance speech. Did you meet any famous Swedish rockstars or just celebrities in general. So I got a selfie with E-Type, do you know about this man? Think his musical works and heroic stylings might tick a few of your boxes. Zara Larsson was probably the most famous person in the house. I was sitting behind Kent, Sweden's biggest rock band that just called it quits last year. They're cool, very good melodies.
What’s your favourite Swedish cuisine?
You can get good fish here. Just a fresh little buddy straight out the sea, prepared in a simple way, some potatoes, some type of dill thing… We also have a crazy berry called hjortron up north that I'm fond of. Very unique flavour and just bursting with Vitamin C.
Any plans for the label this year and can you send me some music for Tokyo heh.
For sure, big zip coming up! It's crazy fun to work with the label right now, we've got many records coming out from some usual suspects and new friends too. Each its own micro-cosmos of sounds, dreams, art and e-mail threads.
Kornél Kovács to Space Dimension Controller
You've been switching back and forth between releasing on R&S and Royal Oak these last years – do you usually have a label in mind while you write tracks or is that a later decision? I find thinking about labels while working on tracks can be both inspiring and obstructive, do you have any thoughts on this?
Clone have always allowed me to do what I want but the focus for the correlation series was definitely more dj friendly and that fits with the label. The album stuff is completely in it's own "world" so the label doesn't really matter. The narrative of the album stuff really is the most important thing.
How often and in what way do you practice playing live? Does that process differ from producing for you and if so how?
The new live show has taken a longtime and Iv been practising a lot for the upcoming tour. Iv been playing line a lot more recently so practice makes perfect. I try to make the edits tracks more impactful for the bigger shows and that can help producing tracks for playing out I guess.
What do you cook when you really want to impress? And when you're alone, hungry and tired? Please, paint me a picture.
Impress will always be seafood linguine with simple cream sauce and alone is always cheese on toast with a touch of Lea & Perrins
What are your top three favourite dj booths to sleep in?
Fabric room 2, output NYC and shine in Belfast.
What is your favourite Mel Gibson movie other than Braveheart and why?
Mad Max 2 is just an incredible piece of cinema and really strong visually! Also the plot twist is still the best.
The new EP is available to Pre Order HERE.
Kornel Kovacs will appear at Farr Festival this year alongside Axel Boman and many more. See HERE.
Space Dimension Controller -‘Exostack’ EP Launch @ Rye Wax. (Tue, 28 Mar 2017 – Thur, 30 Mar 2017). Purchase tickets from RA HERE.