UE.44: Kenneth Christiansen
Having casually shaped the modern dub techno sound to such a degree so as to contribute to its synonymity with the Danish region, Echocord will be celebrating nearly seventeen years in the game in 2018. Some achievement for the label and its enigmatic founder, Kenneth Christiansen.
Perhaps best known for his role in establishing Culture Box as the Danish clubbing institution that it is today, Kenneth recently announced that he’d be stepping back from the day-to-day responsibilities of its running to concentrate on personal projects.
With his focus shifted and a busy release schedule on the horizon for Echocord, sublabel Echocord Colour and Pattern Repeat (which he co-runs with fellow Dane Resoe), now is the perfect time to check in with the artist, who treats us here to an hour’s worth of hazy dub and unreleased dubs, plus a unique insight into his storied career and future movements.
01. Equiknoxx – Flagged Up (Mark Ernestus Remix)
02. Vainqueur – Solanus (Extracted 2)
03. Babe Roots feat. Baba Ras – Spiritual Connection
04. Mikkel Metal – Konkin
05. Dj Richard – Path Of Ruin
06. Ohrvert – Blavus (Xdb Reshape)
07. Marco Cassanelli – ADUB (Fluxion Remix)
08. Mikkel Metal – Include
09. Rhauder feat, Paul St. Hillaire – Reconnection
10. Sounds And Sequences – Blackboard
11. Fluxion – En Route
12. Ramadanman – Humber (Sven’s Rumber Remix)
13. James Blake – Love What Happened Here
Hi Kenneth, thanks for taking the time to join us. Where in the world are you at the moment?
You are welcome, and thanks for inviting me. I just got back to Copenhagen from a little German weekend tour. Played at my Globus Tresor residency in Berlin on Friday, and did a show in a club called Paula in Dresden on Saturday.
This month, Culture Box celebrated its 13th birthday and it’s about 6 months since you stopped working there to focus on gigs and the labels. Do you have more time now for other projects? Are you still a regular on the dance floor in Culture Box and other places in Copenhagen?
Yeah, it’s still kind of strange not working there any more, but for sure it was the best thing for me in the end. Since I stopped, I suddenly had some extra time during the week to focus on other projects. Also I have had some time to go to other venues and bars in Copenhagen, which I haven’t done much over the last years. It’s been nice also to see a lot of people again that I have missed. I have also been DJing and doing a few bookings in other areas of Copenhagen which gave me new energy again. I haven’t been back to Culture Box since I stopped working rhere.
You’ve worked in the industry in quite a few different capacities over the years – in record shops, distribution, DJing, running a club, running a label. Which would you say has been the most valuable experience? Is there anything you haven’t done which you’d still like to have a go at?
It has all been valuable in some way, because I think it had all connected for me. I started to work in a record shop when I was only 17 years old, around 1990. That was the time I also started to listen to underground electronic music, and where I started to get some ideas for making events, and wanted to become a DJ. But when I moved to Copenhagen in 1996 from the countryside, to work in what was at that time the biggest and best record shop in Copenhagen
for electronic music, I knew the music and this culture would be what I wanted to focus on.
Today, I would say that what I’m most happy and proud of is my label, Echocord. My very own project has been running for almost 17 years now, and I have really enjoyed the whole process over the years. To create this platform for artists doing this kind of music, inviting them for Echocord showcases all over the world, has been something special.
For the future I have some ideas I would love to try out, and hopefully it can happen. Maybe with some financial help I will try to create some shows in Asia and other areas, exhibitions, Echocord art installations and live performances, and afterparties in bigger venues. Also I would love to do radio shows again, which I did many years ago. A smaller festival in Copenhagen could also be something special.
How do you think running a label in 2018 differs from when you started out in 2001?
Many things have changed over the years. It’s a completely different kind of world we live in now, compared to that time. The way music today gets promoted online, the amount of releases, the digital world… It’s a challenge. I use a promo agency now too – very important so at to not “drown” in all the releases coming out every week.
Tell us a bit about how you approached the mix. There’s a couple of tracks in the mix that pay homage to Rhythm & Sound. Is the reggae connection still strong in dub techno, in terms of Jamaican vocalists jumping on tracks?
My idea for this mix was to include a few upcoming Echocord tunes, some older, and mix it with other related releases. I like the idea to start up slow, and to end it more powerful. Basically just music I really love.
I think the reggae connection will always be strong, especially for me for sure. It’s not so often you hear the vocalists jump in on tracks anymore, but still once in a while you hear it. I still think it really works.
What’s next on the horizon for you? Do you still see a long term career in dance music?
As earlier mentioned I will focus more on Echocord and sublabel Echocord Colour (maybe even start another sub label). Also I hope to have studio time with my partner Resoe, and do some more Pattern Repeat stuff. A new EP for sure.
I will try to do more label showcases all over, with the help from my agency Vice Versa.
I have some other ideas but it’s still too early to talk about those. I think I already had a very long career in dance music, and hopefully it will never end.
Finally, can you give us your top 5 Echocord tracks of all time?
1. Mikkel Metal – Vainqueur Rmx – echocord014
2. Fluxion – You Don’t Know Feat Dennis Brown – echocord060
3. Mikkel Metal – Get Over Feat. Paul St. Hilaire – echocord032
4. Sven Weisemann – Lunation – echocord075
5. Deadbeat – Vampire – echocord042