Kenneth Bager is one of the OCGs (Original Chillout Gangsters) and to follow up his last album Premiere Classe he has dropped a mini album entitled Follow The Beat. We are a tad late in getting this interview up due to the onslaught of "Best of 2016 Lists" but hey, better late than never right?
We have been fans of his label Music For Dreams and his DJ mixes for years so it's nice to see the subtle comeback of classic chillout. As the second generation of electronic music fans start to settle down a bit pioneers like Kenneth Bager, Gilles Peterson, Mixmaster Morris, Coldcut, The Orb and many others will be rediscovered and new artists will start to emerge once again.
So big props for Kenneth and the many others who have carried the torch for this great genre for so long.
Check out our interview and his mix below. Happy New Year... may it be filled with Chillout!
Tell us some of the influences behind the new mini album, why release something so quickly after Premiere Classe? Is Follow The Beat an extension of the last album or does it stand all on its own?
KBE: The recordings of the Follow The Beat tracks were all made in a short space of time in Copenhagen with singer Damon C. Scott - the voice of NYC act, Storm Queen, and were part of a very long recording period.
Many young listeners don’t seem to understand or care about the concept of an album. Why do you think the concept of the album has struggled so much in the last decade?
KBE: My opinion is that we have had a period where it has been all about singles and hits, I guess that in a way has killed the concept album. But there are still lots of concept albums made. Music for Dream's artist Jose Manuel has just released an afro concept album on our label.
The interesting thing is that new generation has gone back to buying albums especially on vinyl, and the latest albums by Bon Iver, Badbadnotgood, Anderson Paak, A Tribe Called Quest and Anohni work really well.
How does this Follow The Beat create a true album experience for the listener? Is there a particular programming of the tracks, a story being told?
KBE: No not really - they just seem to glue together in a nice way
You have been busy with a lot of DJ performances in 2016, what can people expect from your DJ sets? Are you playing for the dance floor or are you providing more of atmosphere like Cafe Del Mar?
KBE: The music I play always depends on the gig - I try to fit in and always educate and entertain. The Coma Club and Amoc parties in Copenhagen is an example where I play alternative club music, and the beaches in Ibiza is more atmospheric but can be uptempo as well. We did a few Music For Dreams parties in Ibiza during the 2016 season, and I played uptempo there as well.
Copenhagen seems to be a vibrant music, food and culture scene. What are some of your favorite spots in the city and some of your favorite new musical talent emerging from your local scene?
KBE: My favorite spots are PaiprØen (Paperisland), Louisiana Museum (outside of Copenhagen) Christiania and Jolene (a very nice club).
New musical talent: The Swan And The Lake, Ayowa (received airplay by Huw Stephens on BBC Radio 1), Perfect Plush (sounding like Prefab Sprout meets Mantronix), Silent Riders (Massive Attack/Portishead-like) and of course the Regelbau Crew from Aarhus.
What other chillout / downtempo labels are you paying attention too?
KBE: I love Aficionado from Manchester, RüF Kutz, Fasaan Rec, Soundway, Antinote, Ecm, Music From Memory and Golf Channel (and probably much more).
Are you a fan of the Neo-Classical movement guys like Dustin O’halloran, Nils Frahm, Yann Tiersen, etc.
KBE: Yes I have been a big fan of this for many years - been listening to people like Wim Mertens, Penguin Cafe Orchestra, and Michael Nyman for many years - our composers Troels Hammer and The Swan and The Lake seems to fit within that new Neo-Classical movement.
If you had to explain your music to a deaf person, how would you go about doing it?
KBE: It is melodic, and often I blend genres together, like reggae with afro-beats, disco with atmosphere, swing with a children's choir - I often try and break musical barriers .. create something new.. I am like a kid in a candy store - I take elements from all shelves.