This episode we present rising Norweigan talent Joel:K who has a release out on Ackermann’s Traktor Records imprint
Hi, tell us about you.
Hi! I’m 31 and based in Oslo, Norway. When I was 14 I discovered that I wasn’t very good at sports, so I bought my first DJ equipment. After a few years of practice I wanted to expand my knowledge beyond playing other people’s music, so that’s when I started producing.
How difficult was is it to start producing and how long did it take for you to get to the standard you are now?
Back when I started we didn’t have any “how to produce music for dummies” or any sort of tutorials online (at least not any that I was aware of), so I had to learn through trial and error. It was a very humble feeling once I realized how difficult it was to make music that sounds good. Looking back at it now, I can say that one of the biggest struggles was getting started without any knowledge of how to produce. At the time though, I was so interested in the craft that I didn’t really think of it as being difficult.
After 15 years of producing I have evolved by trying different styles and genres. The standard I have now is the culmination of all my years of experience working within different genres, leading up to these past two years in particular, which I’ve spent really digging into techno and house music.
Talk to us about your latest release with them and the inspiration behind it.
This is a EP with two original tracks. The title track “Nakama” is a melodic tech house tune with a rolling bassline that I wanted to be a track for the late hours in the club. I’m very satisfied with the soundscape of it. The second track “Liberte” has a calmer feel with a creamy french vocal. Also, the EP has three remixes of “Nakama” from Ackermann, Federico Locchi and IVO. A big inspiration behind this EP is definitely from my early days listening to trance and the track “Bipolar Star” from Olivier Giacomotto.
How did you first get introduced to Ackermann and what made you sign with him?
My girlfriend hosts a weekly radioshow on Radio Nova here in Oslo which plays house and techno music. She came across Ackermann´s track “Don Dan” on a Deutsche Trend Chart for club music and played his track on the show. That’s where I first heard it and I instantly fell in love with it. I then decided to reach out to him on Instagram and we started chatting. I sent him some of my tracks, not knowing that he ran a label. One thing lead to another and I ended up signing “Nakama” and “Liberte” on Traktor Records.
Talk to us about the underground music scene like in Oslo and how it differs/compares to the rest of Norway?
Oslo is a small city with around 650.000 people and we have a couple of great clubs that represent the clubscene. We also have an amazing festival called Sommerøya. It’s definitely a smaller scene compared to other European cities, but the passion and dedication more than makes up for it’s smaller size. As for the rest of the country, there are groups of very engaged people in some of the larger cities that bring light to the underground music scene, but compared to the rest of Europe we operate on a much smaller scale.
Where are you usually playing and how supportive are Norweigan promoters when it comes to promoting new talent?
I have moved between clubs like The Villa and Elefant. I’m also very excited to be playing in a big museum that’s being converted into a club in Trondheim – a city in the middle of Norway hosted by Tornado Sounds (on the 17th of February).
I feel like we have a few clubs with a solid platform that gives new and upcoming talent a chance, offering everything from bookings to open decks competitions.
How difficult has it been in getting people in the industry to take you seriously and what strategies did you use to get people’s attention
There are so many people in the industry competing for attention, but I hope that my passion, experience and knowledge after all this time shows that I’m worth their attention. Locally I have built up my network through hard work and dedication. That’s not really a strategy on my part, but a natural development considering the size of the scene. That’s probably one of the main reasons my music has reached out to people as well.
What’s been your biggest achievement this year or the release you’re most proud of?
My biggest achievement this year is definitely the release of my upcoming EP on Traktor records, which is due 19th of January.
Tell us about your DJ setup when you’re performing
Right now I’m performing on a classic CDJ and mixer setup, but I’m ready to move on to a live based setup using Ableton and analogue gear.
What new stuff can we expect from you soon
I was recently in the studio with Burn Energy and the Norwegian Burn Residency winner Thomas Skjærstad. We made an EP together and Burn filmed parts of our sessions in the studio. I believe the first episode is coming out this month. Other than that I’m working on some collaborations I’m very exited about that I hope you can hear very soon.