Photo Credit: Dennis Morton

Interview with Kasper Bjørke

Kasper Bjørke is a multidisciplinary creative, based in Copenhagen. He is a prolific music producer, Dj, remixer and artist manager. He has produced a lot of music since 1999 in various projects and under his own name. He is undoubtedly one of the most renowned and versatile Danish producers on the international electronic music scene. Since 2023 Kasper is focusing on establishing his new imprint Sensitive Records. We caught up with Kasper to talk about creativity, the inspiration behind his work and living and working in the city.

Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

I work in the music industry - as a producer, DJ and artist manager. I have produced a lot of music since 1999 in various projects and under my own name that you can read all about HERE. As a manager I represent two Danish artists and one producer in my company 86-A.

What initially inspired you to pursue a career in music?

I have been a music lover and vinyl collector from my early teenage years and started following electronic music in the mid 90ies, especially once Daft Punk emerged and the sound of the french house music scene and also the New York house scene. 

I teamed up with a friend of mine in the late 90ies to try to make our own music - and we quickly got a record deal and got signed on to a bigger label that invested a lot of energy and money into our project. So it was a playground where we were able to live from music and I never looked back since...

How would you describe your music style?

I have two very different creative outputs: My main output under my own name is anchored in disco, italo and house music - and then the other one is somewhere between ambient and neo classical, this is a highly collaborative project called Kasper Bjørke Quartet.

What is your creative process?

What is your creative process?

I rarely sit down in the studio without some kind of idea for a bass line or simple melody on my mind. Maybe a chord progression or maybe just a particular snare or percussion sound can spark an idea. And then I build it from the bottom up, sort of like a layer cake or a puzzle I want to solve. But this can happen in endless ways, it can be effortless and quick or it can drag out for a long time... and quite often it comes out very differently from what I had in mind when I first started...

How much does your city and surroundings affect your creative output?

My studio is in our apartment in a busy area of Frederiksberg, close to downtown Copenhagen. I guess that affects my output by giving me both inspiration and distractions...

What do you struggle with the most in terms of working and living in a city like Copenhagen?

The noise from the city and also neighbors in our building, it can be quite stressful and distracting for me at times… and also the fact that there is only a few seconds walk to the street where I meet my friends for coffee daily… so yeah, distractions, both the good and the bad ones...

The responsibility of the council in every city is to provide a solid foundation of art and cultural facilities, is that evident in Copenhagen?

I think so, yeah. There is a lot of museums and cultural offerings in our small city… 

Do you think it is also the responsibility of the artist/creative to improve the quality of people's lives in their city?

Not in a direct way, no... But I think every artist has some sort of driving force around creating something that others will hopefully experience and enjoy… So, a desire to contribute in a subconscious way maybe - but that doesn’t necessarily only mean for the people in the city where they live. At least for me, I rarely think about music defined by geography...

You have started a new imprint .Sensitive Records. Could you tell us more about it?

I started Sensitive as a platform for my own future ambient releases but fate had it that me and my friend Langstrakt worked with the american painter Landon Metz on his debut album at the time - and we decided that Landons album should be the first release on Sensitive.

However Sensitive is not going to be a traditional record label… as a matter of fact i refer from calling it a label... I don’t want to own the rights to other peoples music, for example. 

So I see myself more as a curator of compositions of artists that I like and that I think are interesting within this realm or palette of music… Its not going to be all ambient but it will all be sensitive music in some way...

Im working on putting together a compilation with other artists that I think represents the sound that Sensitive to stand for - I hope to release it later this year ø and then also my own next album and other artist albums in the future...

LANDON METZ - SIX DAYS AT THE ORANGE HOUSE (Sensitive 001)

If you could add or change something about Copenhagen, what would that be?

Remove all cars and motorcycles from the central part of the city unless they are electric. Build  more sustainable apartment projects, garden rooftop projects and solar panels on every other roof...

What would be your dream project?

I want to build a second studio in an old farm house in the countryside, where I could spend weekends and holidays with the family - and then eventually once the kids have left the nest we would move there permanently and just have a smaller apartment in the city for weekends…

I would like to have horses there and also a self sufficient vegetable and fruit garden...

If you could choose any artist/creative to collaborate with, who would that be and why?

The american producer Rick Rubin. I connect with his mindset about life and music...

Can you tell us about any current or future projects that you are particularly excited about?  

I am currently working on my next album that I hope to release in the spring of 2024… Im also starting the third Kasper Bjørke Quartet album… but its a very long process as it involves a lot of analog recordings with various musicians in different studios so I dont expect it to be released until sometime in 2025.

What do you do to switch off?

I swim, I meditate and I see my acupuncturist twice a month.

Staying off my phone also helps, Ive started using the iPhone focus settings that filters out work stuff on weekdays after I pick up my kids and until the next morning. 

What does home mean to you?

It means everything. The sound of my kids playing in the livingroom, the sound of ny girlfriend using the coffee grinder in the morning, the warm space of being surrounded by my loved ones, home made food in our kitchen, our spacious bedroom and comfortable bed, at night…Except for the family summerhouse in the countryside there is nowhere I would rather be.

Describe the perfect day for you in Copenhagen. 

The kids sleep in so we can have a slow morning, maybe I get a chance to go for a swim on my own, then we head with the kids to Frederiksberg Gardens for a walk... my girlfriend and I have some time to catch up while drinking a nice coffee as they run around the playground.

If I can get a nice lunch and dinner too and the kids fall asleep in my arms, its honestly a pretty dreamy day for me. I cherish these every day moments more and more because I know that one day they will be busy with their own lives...

Kasper Bjorke - Mixtape

Some of the songs that Im currently listening to at home… usually I prefer instrumental downtempo stuff, ambient, classical and jazz… but I have sneaked in a few vocal based songs too….

Sometimes people relate a specific smell to the city they live in or the place they grew up, does Copenhagen evoke a personal smell to you?

Sometimes people relate a specific smell to the city they live in or the place they grew up, does Copenhagen evoke a personal smell to you?

The smell of wet leaves on an autumn day on Frederiksberg Alle or the smell (and sound) of rain on hot asphalt in the summer.

If you weren’t living in Copenhagen and could choose any city to live in where would that be, and why?

I used to say New York in a heartbeat - but after getting kids I would say maybe Amsterdam or Stockholm... Both are kid friendly and with a nice climate - and much less stressful than New York... Im officially old, haha !

copenhagen by Kasper Bjørke

A selection of places in Copenhagen - recommended by music producer and DJ, Kasper Bjørke. See Kasper's citylikeyou profile page here

www.kasperbjorke.com

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