Interview: 5 minutes with KONGSTED

DJ and electronic producer KONGSTED has been a prominent gear in the Danish DJ scene for as long as fifteen years and counting, who has to date, won several awards, most noticeably; Club DJ of The Year, Danish Deejay Favorite Of The Year, Award and The Voice Clubbing Award, which he was nominated for four consecutive years in a row, winning in both 2010 & 2011 consecutively.

KONGSTED has received substantial support after being handpicked by acclaimed international DJs such as Pete Tong, AVICII, Tiesto and Martin Garrix during their trips to Denmark. Filling a residency at Copenhagen-based nightclub ZEN, KONGSTED has also been deemed an official DJ for the prestigious nightclub network The World’s Finest Clubs, and has been requested at renowned clubs all around Europe, some of which include: Just Cavalli (Milano), Club Hollywood (Milano), Byblos (Milano), Carpe Diem (Barcelona), Gibson (Frankfurt) and NoX (Oslo). With a busy schedule ahead of him and more than a handful of singles in the pipeline, KONGSTED is excited to bring new music to fans worldwide.

We caught up with KONGSTED on production vibes and his ‘melody-ear’:
(Be sure to stream the latest single ‘Get Away’ by KONGSTED and official remix by HUGEL below!)

Set the tone for us. Why the arts?

As KONGSTED, I’m trying to push what is possible in popular dance music culture and to create something new. With my shows, I am always focusing on the crowd, creating a strong connection between me and them and always giving them a lasting experience.

I’ve made DJing my living for more than 15 years now, and I have been producing for the last 7 years. I get inspired by crazy, edgy and different sounds and I always look for the right feeling when I produce and DJ. I try to channel all of this into my music.

Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?

It differs. I am very sound and melody driven. If I find a cool sound, the melody kind of grows out of that sound, and shapes the whole idea around the track. Sometimes I’ll come up with a cool melody in my head, that then gets its edge when its paired with a cool sound. But I love sifting through new weird sounds, because I think the sound of a track really gives it character and makes it unique. The same when you work with someone with nice and edgy vocals.

Does your material feature any collaborations?

Yeah, I also try to collaborate with different people. I love the creative process of creating music together with someone else. That way you can really take your idea to different levels, because someone else will always look at the same track or idea differently, and that’s a great way to get your original idea to grow.

What’s on your current playlist?

My latest single: Kongsted – Get Away
MHD x Major Lazer – Afro Trap pt. 7
Heroburst – Move Mint (VIP Edit)
Will K – Guamo
Nonsens – Muerte
Full Crate, The Partysquad, Nick & Navi – HOT.

And my new un-released club EP 😉

Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.

I really love the connection you get with your fans when you are on stage. I’m always looking to create this connection, so that together, my fans and I, create this one-of-a-kind vibe for just the particular night. No two nights are ever the same, and it is important to reach out and feel the crowd when you are on stage, and take the them on a journey and give them an experience. When you create that, and get the response from the crowd, there is nothing like it in the world, and it’s a very strong and intoxicating feeling!

What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?

I am always looking for new and unique sounds. It can be a new virtual instruments, or it can be the discovery of more exotic world instruments. Finding some kind of old Arabic instrument that just has lots of drama and emotions to it’s sound, can for me, create and entire track. Music is all about emotions and feelings, and setting the vibe in a track is very important. Vocals and lyrics do that a lot, but I also believe that you can do the same purely with instruments and unique sounds. Just think about the music in a movie. Just with the right drama and chords, they set the whole mood for a scene. I believe you can achieve the same in a track. And when you combine it with vocals and lyrics, then you really have the opportunity for something magical.

Take us through a day in the recording studio.

My days differ a lot when I’m in the studio. No two days are really alike, and I really love that. If I am working by myself, I mostly sift through sounds, experiment with melodies and chords, or create a simple beat. I look for setting the vibe with as few elements as possible and then build upon that in collaboration with others. If I work together with someone else, the process is more open-ended, and can take many forms. Mostly when you work with vocalists, it’s all about getting some chords going, and again, creating this feeling and vibe. Then I always love vibing about vocal melodies and top-lines, because I can use my “melody-ear”. And from there, it’s just all about vibing with each other and letting the creative process flow.

Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?

I had been DJing for many years before I became a producer. With DJing, I paid my way through college and business school, but at one point, I thought that I had to try this “DJ/producer life” all the way, and start creating some music. I did not want to, at the age of 50, regret not trying it all the way. So I bought Logic, and just started playing around with it. Just go for your dreams and keep believing!

What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?

Just my phone and a bottle of water. I am really trying to escape and be in the moment when I play. So I don’t want too many distractions. I think that is the best way to connect with the crowd and create a very intense show.

What gets your creative juices flowing?

Sounds, other creative people and listening to totally different music. I love getting ideas about tracks, even before I go into the studio. And these ideas can pop into my head from many different places. And as soon as I have this idea, creativity starts brewing in my head.

Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.

I actually don’t have that much gear. I like to keep everything very simple. I always work from my MacBook Pro, my UAD sound card, a keyboard and a Machine drum-machine. I really like how simple it is, and it’s very good to get ideas down fast. And with this kind of setup, I always have the freedom to work on new ideas almost anywhere in the world. Many of my ideas for tracks or melodies, have been created on airplanes, and hotel rooms, at a cafe or just sitting in the couch at home.

Any side projects you’re working on?

Not at the moment. Trying to focus more on my own stuff, and get back to also producing more pure club oriented music. It a nice outlet sometimes, that you can just do something simple and more specific for the clubs alone, and not worry that much about radio plays, streaming, commercial potential and all that.

How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?

Yeah, I am always trying to evolve as a producer, DJ and as a human. I think it is important, in all aspects of life, that you are constantly evolving a little bit. And especially when it comes to music it is very important, because the musical market is always changing. So every time I go into the studio, I am always focusing on refining my craft and pushing my limits.

Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?

This year, more than ever! I will be doing more diverse music. Still trying to create these crossover club/pop/radio hits, but I will more than ever, dwell back into the pure club music, and release an EP and some tracks, that solely has that focus. I love both, but in previous years, I haven’t focused on these pure club tracks that much. And there’s nothing better than creating a new beat in the studio, and then going to a club to test it out and see, hear and feel the reaction from the crowd. That is priceless, and that is why I am a producer and DJ.

Order ‘Get Away’ by KONGSTED via iTunes

For more information follow KONGSTED on Facebook