Interviews

Stylistberlin Interview: Kasper Bjørke (hfn)

1 Comment 16 November 2012

 

Stylistberlin Interview: Kasper Bjørke (hfn music)

* All pictures from the official Kasper Bjørke FB page

By Y. Cho

 

 

Kasper Bjørke is one of the artists that visit Berlin from time to time and help to keep the musical scene diverse. His ability to produce a good track after another, along remixes for loads of different and reknown musician has built him a huge fanbase in the capital of Germany. If you ask about Kasper, you hear statements like “Oh, I have known him for many years now, he is a very lovely person,” “I worked with him, love that guy,” or “Of course I know Kasper Bjørke, he makes amazing music!” – enough said.

 

As I listened every now and then to his releases and so many friends of mine were fans of his music, I kept an eye on him and was very, very delighted when his label hfn music sent me over his releases.

(For the full review of the album, which is a must have in your collection, click here.)

 

The interviews he did so far were always witty and honest, so I thought it was about time to finally realize the interview with Berlin’s expat darling representing Denmark, Kasper Bjørke.

 

This is stylistberlin presenting Kasper Bjørke, about Berlin, his hometown, music business and life – and a very special present at the end!

 

 

Kasper Bjørke about his album release 2012

 

 

just nominated for a Danish Music Award for the first single „Lose Yourself to Jenny“

 

Stylistberlin: It has been a good year for you. Your third album came out, and it was very well received. Half a year later, what is your resumée about it?

Kasper Bjørke: I am pleased with the feedback so far. We are still only at the release of my third single from the album, Bohemian Soul, the track I did together with Laid Back (White Horse, Bakerman etc) so I’m really excited to see how that is going to be received.  There is also a great video for the track, so you should look out for that, it will premiere the same week as the release (now!)

I was just nominated for a Danish Music Award for the first single „Lose Yourself to Jenny“ so that’s another good thing. Overall, I’m happy about the way things have gone but of course I’m already thinking about the next album project which I will start around January 2013.

 

I’m already thinking about the next album project which I will start around January 2013.

 

Stylistberlin: How was your record release party at Kater Holzig earlier this year?

Kasper Bjørke: That was fun. I had my friend Sexy Lazer (from the band HumanWoman) DJ along with me – it was a blast. Ist a nice Berlin venue and was fun to play there.

 

Stylistberlin: Do you have a favourite place in Berlin?

Kasper Bjørke: So many. Kater Holzig is one of them – but there is also a certain vibe in Panorama Bar that you cannot find anywhere else in the world. That’s truly unique.

 

a certain vibe in Panorama Bar that you cannot find anywhere else in the world. That’s truly unique.

 

 

 

Kasper Bjørke about Managing Work and Music

 

Stylistberlin: You manage both Trentemøller and now also Reptile Youth. How do find time for your own music?

Kasper Bjørke: Managing two acts is probably the limit to what I can do, besides making my own music. I’m also doing a weekly radio show on national radio DR P6 Beat, the show is called 4/4, which takes up some time, so I definitely don’t have as much time in the studio as I would like to.

 

I’m also doing a weekly radio show on national radio DR P6 Beat, the show is called 4/4

 

On the other hand, I really like to not be locked up in there for too many days in a row. I am much more into doing specific projects, an EP or an album, then go into studio focused on that for some hours a day, and then leave the studio to work on something other than myself. I like the diversity and think I would be bored if I was only doing music in the studio all day long every day. I guess that makes me different from many other producers who just want to do music and that’s it. But I like the business side of things – it makes me in control of every aspect, and I’m a huge control freak, haha.

 

I like the business side of things – it makes me in control of every aspect, and I’m a huge control freak, haha.

 

Stylistberlin: Does the work with other artists influence your own style? Where do you get your inspirations for your music from?

 

I am inspired by a lot of things – movies, art, exhibitions, travels

 

Kasper Bjørke: I am inspired by a lot of things – movies, art, exhibitions, travels etc. Also listening to old music often inspires me much more than new music. I also love to hear what the artists that I manage are up to in the studio – but they are doing something completely different than me, and I also like to separate the two sides of my career actually.

 

when I’m a manager, I’m just a manager. When I do music, I’m just myself and find my own inspirations.

 

So when I’m a manager, I’m just a manager. When I do music, I’m just myself and find my own inspirations. But working in the studio with other artists like f.ex. Laid Back, who I have just released a single with – was very inspiring. These two guys have a great approach to jamming, which I sometimes forget. I really enjoyed that.

 

Stylistberlin: How do you balance work/life? What do you do when you got a free minute?

Kasper Bjørke: I don’t really have a balance. I work most of the time, also weekends and nights. But I sometimes choose to have some time off, which I often use together with my girlfriend. We often go to the family summerhouse, its by the ocean and so nice and quiet. Another way I relax is to watch movies. It’s almost like meditation for me. Shuts my brain down. Or I work out. I recently started again in a gym and it really is true what they say: Exercise gives you a lot of energy.

 

Exercise gives you a lot of energy.

 

Stylistberlin: You are officially signed for the promotion of the HUGO fall/winter collection 2012, where you also have your own micro blog.

Kasper Bjørke: Hugo (sublabel of Hugo Boss) “signed me” until the end of this year to write on their blog, play some of their fashion events around Europe, do photosessions – and also produce a part of the runway show music for the fashion show in Berlin this summer. This year they picked me and Nina Kraviz to work with them. Next year they pick someone else (last year was Little Dragon and Miami Horrors).

 

Stylistberlin: You stated you “hate people who run blogs about themselves”, and yet you write for HUGO and do exactly that – it is a kind of blog showing what you ate or where you went to. Slightly ironic. Is it less bad because it is run on a not/daily basis?

Kasper Bjørke: Haha. I guess I asked for that question somehow. First of all: I’m not a blogger. I was signed to Hugo this spring, just in time for my album release, so for me it was a great way of promoting the album to a much broader audience. That was the main point for me to begin with. But Hugo has a line of clothing for men that suits me very well. If I hadn’t liked the clothes I would never had said yes to work with them. I didn’t ask to do blog posts, they asked me to do it, as part of the collaboration. So, of course I said yes, since it’s it’s only for a short period of time and since I am able to decide what to post. Mostly it’s about music that I like or related to my music or the collaboration that we have made.

It’s been an all good experience and I feel proud that they asked me to begin with.

Generally, I think it would have been very stupid to say no to work with a worldwide and established fashion brand such as Hugo. That’s a one in a lifetime opportunity. Another thing is, that this is the way things work these days. Artists and brands work hand in hand all the time. Music and fashion is united that way. Also I have had some really fun times in Paris, London and Berlin with the team from Hugo, doing photosessions, djing etc. It’s been an all good experience and I feel proud that they asked me to begin with.

 

Kasper Bjørke about music

 

Stylistberlin: What do you prefer: producing music or playing in front of people?

Kasper Bjørke: It depends. If the club is great, the sound is great, the floor is burning and everything comes together – then nothing can beat that. But sitting in my studio all day working on a track can also be a great experience. Time flies like nowhere else when I’m having a good studio session. I often forget to eat or drink water simply because I’m so much into the vibe.

 

Stylistberlin: When do you feel the most comfortable playing music? Do you have a favourite location or occasion? Do you still sometimes play just for fun for your friends other than playing records for yourself at home?

Kasper Bjørke: I mostly love to play in intimate clubs with maxium 600 people. Without a high stage, but preferably standing on the floor so you are very close or in direct contact with the crowd. Once in a while I play a DJ set just for fun. This summer I did a back to back Dj set with Lulu Rouge at a festival in Bornholm, just because I was there anyway and we were having fun.

 

Stylistberlin: Who was the most memorable fan of you?

Kasper Bjørke: I guess I was pretty happy when I found out that Nicolas Jaar liked my music and wanted to remix my Rolling Stones cover of their track “Heaven”. Maybe he wasn’t “a fan” as such, but he digged my music and I found that a compliment, given the fact that I see him as a brilliant producer.

 

Most memorable fan: Nicolas Jaar – “brilliant producer”

 

Stylistberlin: Has anything changed from the point you were starting and now regarding your attitude towards the music business?

Kasper Bjørke: I am much more sceptical for sure. There are a lot of not so honest people in the business – and a lot of people who don’t know what they are doing. So I prefer to work with people that I know and trust, so I don’t get disappointed.

 

There are a lot of not so honest people in the business – and a lot of people who don’t know what they are doing.

 

Stylistberlin: You work with a lot of „names“ like AQUA, Trentemøller, Human Woman, Reptile Youth… The artists in Berlin stay more underground but I got the feeling you are very much open to a broader scene. (Any specific reason other than „money“?)

Kasper Bjørke: HA! Seriously, it’s not about money for me. If it was, then I would propably be producing dance music for rappers or pop artists in LA, or something like that. All the names you mention are my personal friends. Aqua did a new album a year ago and asked me to co-write/co-produce one song, I’m friends with the two producers in the band, and I did it because I thought it would be fun and different to what I normally do. I just like to do different things and think it’s so boring just to stay on one path just to be “credible” in a few Berlin DJs eyes. Never mind about that. Music to me is about having fun and broadening my own horizon.

 

Music to me is about having fun and broadening my own horizon.

 

Stylistberlin: Do you know all the artists personally that do remixes for you or you do remixes for? Criteria for chosing whom to work with? i.e. Who are the guys from TAMBIEN? Do you dig the music of remixers or artists you do remixes for before you decide you want them to work with you or does the label all the filtering?

Kasper Bjørke: I pick 95% of all the remixers myself. It’s producers that I admire for their work. I get in touch with them and ask them – and sometimes we arrange to do a swap, where we remix each other. This is a great way of “exchanging releases” and it benefits all of us. Tambien is a project that I got to know by coincidence, when I received a bootleg vinyl 12”, which they released – which I totally freaked out over, as it was so good. A friend of mine is a friend of them, and so I got in touch with them.

 

 

Kasper Bjørke about the future music scene

 

 

Stylistberlin: You are making music for over a decade now. What is the most important lesson you have learned? What is your key to success?

Kasper Bjørke: I guess it’s very important to search for your own sound and keep evolving it. Don’t grow into a specific sound, keep exploring, while never try to sound like anyone else. Also, never be satisfied with where I have been in my career. And to be polite towards everyone. And try to collaborate with other artists where you feel there is a good chance of a positive experience – it can give you so much inspiration and you learn a lot more than sitting alone in your studio all day long.

 

Key to success: It’s very important to search for your own sound and keep evolving it. Don’t grow into a specific sound, keep exploring, while never try to sound like anyone else. Also, never be satisfied with where I have been in my career. And to be polite towards everyone. And try to collaborate with other artists where you feel there is a good chance of a positive experience – it can give you so much inspiration and you learn a lot more than sitting alone in your studio all day long.

 

Stylistberlin: Have you ever watched Boiler Room? What do you think of the concept?

Kasper Bjørke: I saw Carl Craigs live-performance and really liked it. Only it’s a bit weird that some of the people in the background are not dancing but just standing around.

 

Stylistberlin: In the time of electronic reproduction of music, where is this all leading to? Where do you see the future of music?

 

Future of music: “There is a chance that it will be even harder to be an artist without doing something else on the side to make ends meet”

 

Kasper Bjørke: I have no clue. But definitely there is a chance that it will be even harder to be an artist without doing something else on the side to make ends meet. Like collaborations with brands or music for commercials or movies. We will get to that later.

 

Stylistberlin: An advice you would give to anyone that is starting to produce music now?

Kasper Bjørke: Be adventurous. Don’t stick to the preset sounds and plugins of your software – and don’t be afraid to not be underground or cool. Who gives a f… if 15 Djs in Berlin think you are the shit if you have to deliver newspapers every day.

 

Be adventurous. Don’t stick to the preset sounds and plugins of your software – and don’t be afraid to not be underground or cool. Who gives a f… if 15 Djs in Berlin think you are the shit if you have to deliver newspapers every day.

 

Stylistberlin: Artists to keep an eye on?

Kasper Bjørke: So many. Danish Kenton Slash Demon has a bright future, for sure. Also the new Danish industrial-electronic band Broke. I could name some of the artists that Pitchfork is also hyping – but why even bother, right?

 

Artists to watch: Kenton Slash Demon, Broke

 

 

 

Kasper Bjørke about meeting the Dalai Lama and Life

 

Stylistberlin: How much has your work as a musician influenced your private life? Do you still have „normal“ childhood friends?

Kasper Bjørke: Yes, I do. I have three close friends from childhood/teenage life. They mean a lot to me – and I honestly think they would say that I haven’t changed a bit since I started working with music. I am the same nerd with glasses I always was. And I’m happy about that.

 

Stylistberlin: Tell me more about your experience of „strawberry picking and crying.“ What is the story behind that?

Kasper Bjørke: Haha, is that something I said in an interview? I guess that is about the time I was a child, working in the strawberry fields in the countryside where I grew up. I hated picking strawberries, so I only worked there for one day. It was too much for me. I’ve never been a fan of physical work, my stepdad would sometimes call me lazy, hehe.

 

Stylistberlin: Do you have time to read and if so, what is your favourite book of all times?

Kasper Bjørke: I love to read by rarely have time. Still I buy books quite often. I guess I’m saving them up for when I get old. Chris Cleave: The Other Hand is one of many favorites…

 

Favorite book: Chris Cleave – The Other Hand

 

Stylistberlin: You really met the Dalai Lama? When and how come?

Kasper Bjørke: Yes. At a Tibetan congress in Copenhagen, where HHDL was making a speech. He was so kind and calm. He is probably the most remarkable person I have ever encountered.

 

The Dalai Lama: “probably the most remarkable person I have ever encountered”

 

Stylistberlin: What would you ask yourself if you would meet you for the first time?

Kasper Bjørke: I would just stare at myself.

 

Stylistberlin: Please define happiness.

Kasper Bjørke: To live from doing what you love – surrounded by people you trust and love and feel that you get the same in return.

 

Happiness: “To live from doing what you love – surrounded by people you trust and love and feel that you get the same in return.”

 

Stylistberlin: Are you happy at the moment?

Kasper Bjørke: Yes, I am fairly happy I would say. I am also a bit stressed and even slightly worried about the many projects for the future, that I want to realize to 100% perfection. But I think it will always be like that for me. I don’t think I will ever be just content and happy with everything – I will always stride for other goals and things I want to do. To advance; to become better than I already am.

 

I will always stride for other goals and things I want to do. To advance; to become better than I already am.

 

Stylistberlin: Where do you see yourself in ten years from now?

Kasper Bjørke: Working on many different projects in the studio and working with music management and other projects related to music. And DJing – I will still be playing, but a lot less than I am now. Over the past year or two I have cut down Djing by 40-50%. I used to play min. two times a week. Now, I think two times a month is better.

 

Stylistberlin: Have you ever considered living somewhere else than in Denmark for a longer period of time recently? If so, where would that be?

Kasper Bjørke: I have considered that, yes – and have been about to do it a few times but in the end it never worked out. I would love to have the possibility to have an apartment in New York and maybe a small hut in Iceland. I really like to be where there is quiet – in total solitude. At the same time I love the energy and inspiration I get from a big city like NYC. That’s why those two places really appeal to me, I guess.

 

Stylistberlin: You wanted to become an illustrator when younger. Could you please make a quick drawing for stylistberlin with „one last word for stylistberlin readers“?

Kasper Bjørke: Thanks for the interview, enjoyed your questions – hope the readers will enjoy my answers too :)

I am quite rusty when it comes to drawing these days… as it’s hard to find inspiration because I’m so busy, I just started drawing what I was listening to on youtube – I was looking for a family guy clip and started listening to the classic and quite annoying surf track by The Trashmen “Surfin Bird” from 1963. So I started on a sketch with a bird holding a surfboard – it turned out that it looks more like it’s holding a gigantic dick haha – and then the pen ran out of ink. Quite symbolic, I guess. Haha!

I just started drawing what I was listening to on youtube 

 

 

 “EVERYBODY HAS HEARD ABOUT THE BIRD” by KASPER BJORKE for stylistberlin (Pen on paper, 2012)

We are in love with Kasper Bjørke, and you?

 

 

For more info: 

Official Website: http://www.kasperbjorke.com

On wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kasper_Bj%C3%B8rke

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/kasperbjorke

FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/kasperbjorke

HUGO Blog: http://www.hugoboss.com/de/de/blog/author/kasper-bjorke

hfn music: http://www.hfn-music.com/blog

 

 

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