Photo: Robin Ottersen

It is boring to limit myself to make music just for a DJ

This week sees international cosmic disco kingpin Hans-Peter Lindstrøm take on another US and Canada tour, playing in Denver, New York, Toronto and Detroit, home of modern techno.

MIC met up with the prolific producer in his studio, crammed wall to wall with classic analogue gear and vinyl. Since most of his rather long songs usually last between around 8 and a record 28 minutes 58 seconds (“Where You go I go too” off the album of the same name) we wondered whether he ever at all feels a need to produce shorter songs?

Yeah, I usually need to do something shorter or more compressed, maybe. After doing long stuff, or weird stuff, I need to do more accessible music. Something you can actually listen to. A couple of years ago I did an album with Norwegian vocalist Christabelle, that is even possible to play on the radio. I am working on some similar kind of music right now and I have been doing it ever since, but I am working on so much music and it is up to others to decide what will be released when. But yeah, I really like working on short songs as well.

Production wise, do you finish song by song or do you work on several projects at the same time?
Usually I work on a lot of stuff all of the time. It is really easy for me to start a song, I guess that is how it is for everybody, but it is really hard for me to finish a song. I have my hard drive choke full of unfinished songs and projects. I kind of regard my computer like a note book, it is a note book full of ideas. Sometimes I listen back to things, and sometimes I use old stuff in songs I am working on now. I really like that way of working, I don’t really need to finish everything, I don’t need to finish a song before I start on a new one.

Being in a rhythm driven genre, when you start a new song do you think about the drums, the rhythm part first, or do you start with the melody?
The melody more than the drums. I don’t think my music has been more drum based, I like to try to make something interesting in the melody and the chords. I am trying to get inspiration from how they did it in the 70’s, disco music with full orchestras, strings and horns, properly trained arrangers who were able to make something interesting out of everything else than the bass and the drums. I am not saying that I am trying to rip off Salsoul Orchestra or something like that, I am just saying that it is important to focus on more than just the minimal parts of the music, like drums and bass. A lot of the time people are making music in just one key, one bass note. It may work great for a DJ, but I think it is boring to limit myself to make music just for a DJ, I think it is important to make music that is possible to listen to as well.

Do you meet a lot of journalists who mention the Scandinavian cosmic disco sound and the Nordic sound that you are a purveyor of?
Yeah, all the time. I guess journalists and music writers need to define what we are doing here up north, or what I am doing and my friends are doing, they try to see patterns and similarities.

Do you see them yourself?
I guess other people will see them. I am just doing my thing and my friends are doing things not so far from what I am doing. It is just part of my life, sometimes I feel like I am living in a bubble and I don’t try to look at it from outside to see what it is like for other people. I guess just like we think that the Japanese are a little exotic, maybe they look at us a little exotic as well.

You are big in Europe and have played a lot around here, what are your expectations and experiences with your audience in the US?
For the past few years I have been going to the US a couple of times a year. Playing in the US is really good, I think that usually people are there to actually see me play and that they look forward to see me play. The people I actually play for , they are more music lovers than party people who are just out to have fun and get drunk. I expect it to be like that this time as well, and I look really forward to it.

Look forward to a longer version of this interview in the next edition of our webcast “99 Minutes”

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