Denmark's purveyor of the warm wobbling Techno style, Echocord and its sister label Echocord Colour has been pushing the boundaries of the genre since 2002. His artist roster consists of famed producers such as Mikkel Metal, Fenin, Brendon Moeller, Trentemøller, Deadbeat, and Kenneth Christansen himself, together with his buddy Dennis Bøg as Pattern Repeat. Besides spreading the thrill of Dub-Techno he co-manages the famous club ‘Culture Box’ with his friend Loke Busch - one of the Copenhagens go-to venues for quality dance music. We wanted to know more about his passion towards the dubby worlds of Techno, chat with him about his career and the story of his label.
Can you tell us a bit about how you get involved into electronic music?
Kenneth Christiansen: It all started around 1989/1990 when I started to hear a radioshow by a guy called Kenneth Bager. I started to go to Germany to buy records. At that time I lived in the countryside @ my parents place, like 2 hours from Copenhagen. I started to work in a recordshop there in 1991 where I sold underground electronic music, like the first Warp & R&S stuff. Around this period I started to go to big raves in Copenhagen, and also the first trips to Berlin, Love Parade. That was a special time. I did my first party also in 1991 in an old barn for 200 people.
What is your musical background? What was the impetus behind the start-up of the label in 2002?
Kenneth Christiansen: I have always been listening to music since I was very young. When I started the label I worked in a recordshop in Copenhagen, there I received some demos, and I thought it could be fun to start a label. I finally decided to do so when I met Mikkel Meldgaard aka Mikkel Metal. He came to the shop with some demos and when I heared them I really thought this is it. I send the tracks to Michael Mayer and Wolfgang Voigt @ Kompakt and they where very happy with the tracks aswell, and so it all started.
In 2008 you started the sister label Echocord Colour. What kind of records are released on the sublabel?
Kenneth Christiansen: I got so many nice demos and a lot of them I really would love to release but they do not fit to the Echocord Label. Some of the tracks are to hard or experimental for Echocord, so I thought it was time to do a sister label to release other stuff that I love. Still it has some kind of dubby feeling but it can go other directions. Releases on Echocord have a clear, reduced artwork and the ones on Echocord Colour are on colored vinyl with mostly black labels in black sleeves.
How important is the artwork that is accompanying your releases?
Kenneth Christiansen: The artwork has always been important to me. For me a record is not just some tracks to put out on Beatport. I like the whole process about releasing a record. Music, artwork, mastering etc.. I always used a very good friend of mine Lasse Kusk to do all my artwork. Check out his side www.kusk.de. He knows ecxactly what I like and we always ended up with something special that fits to the music (I think). I have always been into coloured vinyl so I thought it was a funny idea to do the colour label with coloured vinyls.
What are your future plans for Echocord?
Kenneth Christiansen: My future plans are to release good quality electronic music that I like and hopefully to do many more showcases for Echocord all over the world.
Do you have a "wish list" of producers you'd like to see on Echocord?
Kenneth Christiansen: Not really, I'm just glad and thankful for the artists I have already released.
When did you start to produce music by yourself and why?
Kenneth Christiansen: I started to produce music with Dennis Bøg aka Resoe some years ago. Dennis and I have the same taste of music and we thought it could be fun to start a project together. Dennis has a nice studio where we can work together. We both also like the harder, edgy, metallic kind of Techno so that is what we ended up with. We released the first one on my label Echocord Colour with a Ben Klock Remix. Then we got the idea to start a label together just for our own music. So far there are 5 releases and we already did a lot of gigs all over Europe.
You run the club Culture Box in Copenhagen. Can you tell us a bit about the story behind it?
Kenneth Christiansen: My partner Loke Busch and I started Culture Box in 2005. At that time in Copenhagen was not much going on and we thought it was time to try to start up a regular club. It is a club for non-commercial electronic music. Techno, House, Dubstep, IDM, Electronica, and Drum'n'Bass. All the important names already played in Culture Box and the club is known from it's special vibe and atmosphere and of course the good program.
What makes a club perfect in your opinion?
Kenneth Christiansen: When the sound, the music, the atmosphere is perfect then you have a good night.
When did you start to DJ and what was the first big night that still gives you a goose flesh today?
Kenneth Christiansen: I started to dj in 1991 in a small scale. I got my first gig in Copenhagen in 1995, it was just before I moved there and that was a really big thing for me, to take the train to Copenhagen and play in a underground venue. I will never forget that. The biggest thing for me was when I was invited to play in Berlin the first time in the year 2000 in the old WMF club. I met Stefan Betke aka Pole in Copenhagen where I booked him for a liveshow. I was djing and he really liked it so he asked me to play for a Scape Night in Berlin. After that I was suddenly playing at a lot of Scape shows all over Europe. It was also big for me when I did the first Echocord show in Fabric and in Berghain/Panorama Bar.
What was your biggest hit so far?
Kenneth Christiansen: Biggest EP is Vampire by Deadbeat. Biggest album is by Mikkel Metal: Peaks & Thoughts.
Image #68310 (Deadbeat)
How did you select the tracks for your Carhartt Radio show?
Kenneth Christiansen: All the tracks are pretty new. I like it when there is a flow in the mix so it starts up slowly and goes a little wild in the end.
What records from the past coined your live?
Kenneth Christiansen: Uhhh, there are many. I am very inspired of all the old Basic Channel/Chain Reaction + the DIN label, old dub Berlin stuff + minimal stuff like Elektro Music Department, DUM, and Sähkô. I am also a big Kate Bush fan. :-)
Who are you listening to these days?
Kenneth Christiansen: When it’s not dj stuff, I listen a lot to Dubstep, Dub, and records of James Blake, Actress, and Burial. But also a lot of older stuff.
What are you current top 10?
Kenneth Christiansen: This change constantly. Just check my current Top 10 on Residentadvisor.
How is music a part of your life?
Kenneth Christiansen: Music is a very big thing in my life, and has always been. Club, labels, djing + making music.
What are your hobbies beside music?
Kenneth Christiansen: Besides the music I spent a lot of time with my kids and family. Another big hobby of mine is running. I try to do that as often as possible. It gives me a lot of energy. Just did my 3rd half marathon.
If somebody gives you a million quid and you had 24 hours to rinse it, what would you do?
Kenneth Christiansen: Book a super nice luxurius holiday with my lovely family and eat a lot of Sushi.
Can you name us some things that you haven't done yet but you always wanted?
Kenneth Christiansen: Do the Marathon (only been running half-marathons so far), skydiving, gigs and holiday in Japan.
You are located in Copenhagen. What are your favorite spots and secrets in your hometown that you would recommend to somebody that comes around for a visit?
Kenneth Christiansen: Many nice things to say about Copenhagen. I personally like all the open spaces, parks, and the channels, playgrounds for kids, the industrial area @ Holmen and Refshaleøen. Nice cafes and the fantastic club Culture Box ;-)... of course.