Pulse favourite Kasper Bjorke chatted with Morgan Richards over the phone recently, with the multi-talented Dane filling him in on his new album, Fool, his favourite film soundtracks and what else has been keeping the great dane busy musically.
Pulse: You released your second album, Fool, on April Fool's Day. Tell us about the concept behind this album. Kasper Bjorke: My original idea for the album art was to have it as a mirror print. That way, when you looked at the album you saw your own face . And underneath your face it said "Fool". (Laughs.) It's a self-ironic thing. I think you have to lose control and be a fool sometimes. Especially when you make music. Being in the DJ business, travelling the world and all that... there's this idea that you always have to be cool and serious.
I've been making music for almost 15 years now. I don't have a "day job" outside of music. I’m maybe 20% in the studio and 80% doing office work, stuff relating to the music business side of things. So it's important for me to keep in mind having fun. I definitely try to find my inner foolish side on this album, and not be so controlled. I am quite a control freak when it comes to many other things in my life, like the business side. So I wanted to let myself go a bit on this album.
The album is divided into two sides, each with very different moods. What prompted this decision? It turned out that I was still doing these poppy songs with Jacob Bellens [frontman of Danish bands Murder and I Got You On Tape] that were more suited to radio, and I had the idea that I also wanted to do some more experimental songs that represented the other side of me. So I decided to simply split it into two halves. I like the old saying, "Stay foolish, stay hungry", so that's what I called them. The Foolish side, is the more experimental, mostly instrumental side, and the Hungry side is vocal-based and quite poppy. It made the saying even more relevant - I needed both sides.
It gives the album a bit of an old LP feel. Are you much of a record-head yourself? Do you DJ with vinyl? I used to, but turned to CDJs a few years ago. It became too much of a hassle to drag around vinyl. This way, I don't have to check in any luggage and it doesn't get lost. I just have a carry-on with my CDs in it. I still play vinyl at home and still have quite a lot of my collection, about 1000 records. I really strive to buy important releases on vinyl when I can.
What was the first record you bought? It was the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack. I was mostly into soundtracks when I was in my early teens. Then I started listening to hip-hop a bit later. I don't know what all this was about. But I thought it was great to listen to beats and soundtracks. I even now have the idea that one day I would do a movie score. It's just a matter of finding the right project. It's not something I’m really aiming for, but I can see myself one day with grey hair, sitting there in my countryside studio and doing some Giogio Moroder-inspired soundtrack. You know, the guy who did soundtracks for Cat People, Scarface, Midnight Express.
If you could team up with any director to do movie score, who would it be? Michael Mann. I think he's making great movies. Maybe not the last couple so much, but I really liked Heat. Or it could be Nicolas Winding Refn [Danish director who made Drive]. He's great too. I think there's a tendency to use the classic producers for movie scores. But there's a lot of electronic music that really fits movies! It would be nice to see synthesisers and computers back in soundtracks -- like it was in the 80s, y'know? (Laughs.)
As well as Trentemøller, you're also managing Reptile Youth. They're pretty much blowing up right now -- does it get stressful with all the hype? Yeah, there is stress in the sense that there is work 24 hours a day. But the good thing about it is that Reptile Youth are signed to the same label that me and Trentemøller and I are signed to [Hamburg label Hfn Music]. So we're talking to the same people and that makes it a lot easier. Talking to people from three different labels would be a lot more stressful.
How did you guys hook up? I discovered them about two years ago. My friend had just started as their manager, and he told me to come see the show. This is when they were just starting up, basically doing everything on a laptop and adding some keyboard and bass, with singing over the top. I was totally freaking out about the energy of the lead singer and the energy of their songs. Then it was just a matter of finding the right setup of producers for the album. Now they've finally finished it, and it's coming out in September. It's been great to follow a band from the very beginning. And now, seeing them deliver a live show... there are now four of them on stage and it's even more amazing.
Are they also based in Copenhagen? They are actually from Aarhus but they are based here now, which is great.
How about you, did you grow up in Copenhagen? I grew up in a very small town nearby, which was, how do you say... a shitkicker town. When I was seventeen I travelled around the world, and when I got back, I couldn't stay there. So I went to live in Copenhagen.
What's the music scene like there? It's pretty healthy. There's Who Made Who, Trentemøller, Kenton Slash Demon... there are more and more acts getting signed to international labels. There's also a lot of great disco parties. I think there's great potential here. It's not yet peaking but it's going in the right direction. I think it's similar to what's been going on in Sweden for the past few years.
Apart from touring Fool and attending to the business side of things, what have you got planned for the rest of 2012? I'm going to dj a lot over the summer so I'll be taking a break from my weekly show on national radio. I'll be back on that in September. Then I'll hopefully tour Australia and Japan later in the year. I’m also making an EP with a friend of mine, from the band Human Woman. It's gonna be a busy year. I say that every year, but it's true!
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