Le suédois Harald Bjork vient de sortir son premier et très bon album Bigfield. Alors que son podcast (ici) reçoit de bons retours, cet entretien réalisé en période de fêtes nous permet d’en savoir plus sur ce surdoué de l’électronique sentimentale.
Hello Harald, what is up? Getting ready for xmas?
Hehe, yes more or less. I am not an hardcore christmas celebrater :)
How come? Not really in the mood for it this year or just because you never took it seriously?
Of course it was a big thing when you were a kid. But then it was more about gifts and holidays from school I guess. Nowadays I think xmas is more about stress and consumption, people have high expectations and are a bit nervous.
Yes, thats true. When i was a child this period was so special, now it became common.
Anyways, can you introduce yourself to french people since you aren’t very known there?
Hehe ok. I am a swedish music producer making music that could be placed somewhere in the techno genre, quite poppy but with a clear analog synth based sound scape. I play live and travel around with heavy bags full of synthesizers and drum machines and release a record once in a while.I also run my own label Kranglan Broadcast.
You look very busy man, So you are Swedish, that’s nice! Tell us more about the scene in your country: the djs, the people, the clubs. Is there anything we shouldn’t be missing from that part of the glob?
The scene club is kind of devided. Of course we have this commercial house scene like most countries have, soul less house for fancy people :) And then it is another scene with indie pop and “alternative” music that have been big all over the country for a long time, with all summer festivals etc. We have had a quite big under ground techno scene for a long time. And then recently, some years ago the indie scene in Sweden opened their eyes for electronic music. One thing that has made a big impact is Swedish people living in Berlin and who have got their interest over there.
Yes i know what you mean. We got the likes of Guetta when you got Swedish House Mafia, i don’t know what is best though haha.
Yeah hehe, We are nominated to the same price, Swedish Radio’s price for best dance artist this year :). quite fun
You need to win this. Now let’s focus on your music. I got that you produce on analogue gear, can you tell us more on this? Do you ever use Software such as Ableton live?
Yes I mix quite a lot, old analogue synths and drum machines, new analogue modulating machines and effects. And then I record in either Ableton or Nuendo or some sequencing programs and use some VST synths and effects as well. The sound is not really depending on what equipment you use nowadays I believe. As long as you have a nice and creative work flow and nice speakers that you are used to.During 2011 I will play live without computer for the first time. But that is more to make playing live more fun for me.
Awesome. It will be a real live with full analog then :) You are using pretty much everything you could, switching between analog and digital from what i can see.
Yes, I started out digital (because that was the only thing I could afford) and now I am creating the same workflow physically to get more and funnier live control.
It is basicly the same “ingredients” though.
Yeah i see. It will be more versatile when you play live. Also more sensations i guess.
Let’s talk about your releases so far. I first heard of you thanks to you live version of”Sunset” and i think it’s one of my favorite from you. You also recently released an album on your own label « Kranglan Broadcast. ». Tell us more about it.
Yes, I recently released my album called Bigfield, it will be available in stores outside Sweden during December. As we are talking about it, i just got mail from some French stores :) It is a compilation of songs I have been working on during the year of 2010. Some are a little bit older and I have been playing them live during the years and some are brand new. And I have been working with the final versions of the tracks simultaniously more or less. So it eventually became an album.
I see, i guess doing live gives you a lot of possibilities and have a lot of impact on your production :). I saw you got great support from artists such as Nathan Fake etc.. What do you think of the current scene in electronic music?
It is a nice atmosphere in the part of the electronic music scene where I normally hang out and meet people. I have had contact with the Border Community guys since before they started the label so of course I have a special relation with them. And I really like that at least some of the producers today not just follow what is hot at the moment but do what they like and what they are and feel like. Music that are made to sound like something else is really uninteresting to me. It is good for some DJ’s that have their focus on quantities of new music that sound exactly the same but for a DJ’s and audience that are interested in new inspiring sound experiences, the scene can get really boring some times.
You prefer people doing their own stuff without thinking of others opinion, just because they like what they do. Don’t believe the hype i would say.
Yeah people who just focus on sounding like someone else or to fit on a certain label often miss the important part of music I believe.
Then it might be better to ask your favourite artists where they get their inspiration from. And try to get inspired of the same things, if yyou don’t have you own sources. But I mean music for me is to express what i feel so there is not point in copying someone else except selling records. And then you can get another job that is far more easier and earn better cash anyways.
Yes, i exactly know what you mean. On another note, tell us your favorite artists at the moment. Favorite labels and songs also ?
Swedish band « The Radio Dept » has been one of my favourite bands for a while. « Britta Persson » is another Swedish artist I listen to, she has a unique and nice sound I like.
If we speak about electronic music I really like what the Swedish label and my good friends at Studio Barnhus are releasing. It is a really mix of music but I really like the vibe. Shakarchi & Stranéus from Gothenbourgh is putting out a fantastic release their and Axel Boman’s upcomming material is really lovely. The whole catalogue is great. Caribou is also a band I like, they played at a small festival in Stockholm a couple of years ago. At home I listen more to pop and postpunk oriented music. I think that this kind of music has got a unique nerve that I admire. When I DJ I like to play music from labels like Ghostly International, Areal, Kompakt, Border Community and of course Studio Barnhus as I mentioned above. And try out own unreleased material and songs I get from friends.
Yeah you got same taste as me when we talk about pure electronica music! (eventhough Boman’s stuff is more deephousy.) Nice variety, i will check your Swedish artists :)
Do you prefer Djing or doing live? I saw you recently played at « Insomnie Musique »@Lyon. How was it?
I prefer playing live, but DJ:ing also nice and a bit more relaxed. I guess I am more focused before a Live performance.
And yes I played at DV1 recently, it was nice, a small but nice place with a really nice audience who recognized the songs and really seemed to enjoy the live performance. The sound was the only letdown, it is really important to have a good sound system when you play live, because the music is more dynamic and less fitted to sound good on small sound systems.
But the trip was good and I met a lot of old friends!
Ok ok. So you enjoyed your time in France? :)
Yes, it is always nice to go to France.
Ahaha cool :) Any artist from France you really like?
Laurent Garnier for sure,
Easy choice :D (we recently interviewed him, check our blog :) )
There are more, let me think. But Laurent Garniers track « Flash Back » made a big impact on me. One of the tracks that got me interested in electronic music. I still play it once in a while. I have been listening a lot to Phoenix as well. There first albums were really great,
That’s more popy stuff :)
Yep I like pop and postpunk hehe. And french artists make great pop
French people created what is indie pop today.
Not sure if they invented it but yeah :)
French legends like Serge Gainsbourg and Jean Michael Jarre have always been so unique compared to other countries big stars.Real originals.
I like what the label Infiné does. Roné and Clara Moto are really nice artists. Clara is almost becoming French now when living in Lyon :). Agoria of course, he has made lots of good music. I play live with a band that is releasing on Kitsuné now. They also have some nice poppy releases. Miss Kittin one of my heroes aswell (was a great honour when she played my music.)
Hehe, you know quite a lot of stuff. Infine is really great indeed, so is Agoria :) (also we did an interview in french on the blog with Sebastien :)
We talked quite a lot now, a bit of everything,..
Yes :) I just would like to add that i’ll be releasing a remix cd in January of the Swedish band Piroth with remixes by Nathan Fake, Pop Noname, Studio Barnhus, Clara Moto, DisRelatedKin (Erik from Wildatheart on Kitsuné) and me. It is a split release between my label Kranglan Broadcast and Swedish folk pop label Oma Gusti.
Good to know, i wont miss it for sure. Any last words?
Hope to see you in France soon! I just got distribution for my label there so I guess I see you soon :) Santé!
Thanks for the interview! All the best!