House is feeling, not a music genre: Papaya Exclusive with Tim Andresen (original article: Roskilde University, Papaya Magazine, January 2012 edition: www.thepapayamag.com)
When mention of House music comes up in everyday parlance most people will instantly think of the likes of David Guetta or The Swedish House Mafia, artists who have skyrocketed to global fame over the last couple of years or so, cutting through the echelons of mainstream music like a hot knife through butter. Truth be told however, the pop-induced “House” wave that’s dominating airplay on most teenager’s mobiles today could not be further from the definition of true house music, a genre that kicked off in Chicago in the early 80’s before becoming a worldwide phenomenon through it’s popularisation as Acid House in the U.K at the end of the 80’s. This viral metamorphosis counterweighted the economic hardships and disillusions of a nation bored beyond tolerance by the conservative Thatcher politics of the time and as such, the second summer of love, Woodstock’s successor was born. House music was, at the time, an instrumental-rich form of electronic music that borrowed from the disco culture of the late seventies / early eighties, the result being a more minimalistic series of drum machine produced beats accompanied by everything from poignant synth stabs to Motown-esque vocals. Fast-forward two decades or so and House has branched off into commercial pop-heavy Electro house a La Guetta, whilst retaining its former dignity through its identity as deep and tech house.
I caught up with Culture Box resident and co-booker Tim Andresen for a quick chat about the state of the current house scene and his work as a Deejay one rainy day in the post New Year’s eve state quietude that the streets tend to blossom with in early January.
From humble Beginnings to global success
Tim Andresen started spinning vinyl way back in 1986 (that’s before I was even born ! ) Part of a mobile disco group of newly-made friends, Tim started as most Deejays do, learning the tricks of the trade by saving up for his own pair of decks and honing his skills on them in his free time. Back then, he had not yet been bitten by the house bug, and as such, commercial music du jour and a fair bit of old school Hip Hop was what he spun albeit commercial music fused with choice, hard-to-come-by 12 inch imports from record shops such as Fredgård and the legendary Street Dance Records. The switch to House came in 1997, when Tim played a gig with a friend of his and got hooked by it. Since then he slowly built a name for himself, specialising in playing a witty blend of “good quality House music with an uplifting edge to it”. House music in those days was nowhere near as well-known in Denmark as it is today and as such, a lot of work went into promoting and hosting gigs, as no specific venues existed to serve the needs of the electronic music market niche.
Further along the line, the jump from Deejay to producer saw Tim venture into making his own productions in 2002 with literally no professional music training whatsoever. Since then, his releases have been featured on the likes of Fatboy Slim’s label “Southern Fried,” Mark Knight’s “Toolroom ” imprint and on the mighty “Azuli,” The UK’s longest running House label. His forays into the world of music production elevated Tim to the highest level of Deejaying, as he backed his studio creations with hectic tour schedules that saw him play in over 40 countries, headlining for brands such as theMinistry Of Sound Tour, Godskitchen and Azuli and playing some of the finest clubs on the planet such as Space, Pacha and Privelegé Ibiza, Fabric, Ministry of Sound, the impeccable Turnmills in and dozens of others. Tim also founded his “What Happens” label a good 5 years ago, and has enjoyed a fair deal of success through it, with upcoming names such as “Tiva” and “Dennis Horvat” using it as a base for their productions
Fast-forward and press play
Tim’s decorated past in the annals of house music folklore lives on today through his label What Happens and his residency at Copenhagen’s Culture Box who he also co-books for. He jets around a lot less than he used to but he’s certainly not any less busier as a result. In fact, Tim’s dedication to the scene means that he’s in his own words “listening to music for up to 12 hours a day” and as such, if he listens to anything else, it’s usually Chillout music, to unwind and kick back from the hectic everyday life of a producer.
The scene today
The music industry in one that is in constant flux. Despite being a vinyl lover, Tim admits that Deejaying with vinyl is an artform that’s history. He doesn’t miss carrying around a bag full of 12 inch records and he appreciates the mod cons of mixing using CD’s. Like many other players in the music industry, Tim also believes that the influx of new artists on the scene due to technological advancements that have made making and producing music something that can be done in a bedroom as opposed to a studio has made it more difficult for one to find good electronic music. He maintains that creativity needs to stand out, and a sense of imperfection and even difference in music production has to exist in the process of making electronic music. As such, an otherwise optimistic Tim feels that focus on already established artists and labels has created a sort of music hegemony that locks out many newcomers to the scene who aren’t part of the most favourited and highest rated charts that electronic music sites such as Beatport popularise.
So With so much to do all the time, where’s the fun in it all ?
Despite the strains of producing, running a label, Deejaying, promoting and co-booking Tim still enjoys his everyday life and is content with being able to get paid to practice his hobby on a full-time basis. His new single, the aptly named “New Era” has rocketed to number 37 on the Traxsource.com listings and with the likes of Trentemøller, Nic Fianciuli and James Blake all booked to play at the venue, things are definitely looking up in 2012. The house scene in Denmark is continuing to grow and Tim feels that there’s a lot of passion and indeed a lot of love and open-mindedness within it that is heartening to take note of.