The HedKandi producer shares somes words of wisdom with HigherFrequency about his musical background, his new album and also running a club without any idea of what he was doing.
Interview by Ryo Tsutsui (HigherFrequency) _ Introduction by Nick Lawrence (HigherFrequency)
HigherFrequency (HRFQ) : Could you tell us little bit about your musical background?
Stonebridge : It’s interesting, I started as a guitar player actually, I had really crap bands in the suburbs of Stockholm, and we didn’t have a singer so we were just jamming. I was always more interested in chords, so there was another guitar player, he did the solos and I did the chords. I always wanted to jazzy when they wanted to go rock n roll, so we never actually went anywhere with that band. After that I took a little break from music, to study, and I started to collect records. Then my sister was graduating, and in Sweden you always have graduation parties in May, so I played my sister’s party because my dad wanted to save money, and I loved it! This DJ thing was great! Luckily I printed business cards and all her friends booked me as well. So I played for a whole month then I decided to open a club. Then I started to bring an old synthesizer to the club, it was an old Korg Monopoly and I did simple things like effects and stuff. This was in the early 80’s. Then I met other DJ’s and we set up a studio together, we called it Swemix, and we started to remix, from the beginning it was very simple editing on tape, but the more stuff that went into the studio the more complex it became.
HRFQ : After your first month of DJing, you started your own club?
Stonebridge : Yes, me and a friend went around to restaurants in Stockholm and the second place we went to, a chef came out and said “that’s great because I was thinking about opening a club”. We lied and said we knew everything about clubbing, we can take care of this, we didn’t have any clue, but we were so lucky, because the guy was inexperienced himself he let us do our thing and luckily people came to the club. It was called Fellini, and we actually wrote a letter to the director and got permission to use the name.
HRFQ : What kind of equipment do you use to produce music?
Stonebridge : It started with the simple stuff, at one point, I would say the peak of my studio was in 93, I had four racks of outboard gear, big mixing console, speakers, effects and everything. Then we switched from Atari to Mac and Logic, and in those days audio was two tracks, couldn’t really use it, then something called session 8 arrived so you could record 8 tracks, then Pro Tools came along, 16 tracks, it was sometime in the era, around 98, I realized I’m not using this whole board, I’m mixing in the computer, it’s just creating a lot of heat, so I sold the board, and every year I sell something of the old stuff so I only have two racks left. Basically it’s Logic with Pro Tool hardware on a Mac, that’s what I use. I do have some analogue gear, I kept some like the Juno 106. Everything is in the box
HRFQ : Looking through your DJ schedule you have a residency every month in Stockholm which credits Stonebridge and friends, what kind of party is it, and who else plays?
Stonebridge : I didn’t use to play Stockholm at all, cause when you’re from somewhere and you play there, people think he’s a local guy I can see him anytime, so that’s the problem when you’re local. So I decided when I was offered a residency at this beautiful club why don’t I bring my producer friends to Stockholm, we work in the studio then on the Friday night we play this thing together, that’s why it’s called Stonebridge and friends. I’ve invited Thomas Gold from Germany, Chris Kaeser from France, Mischa Daniels from Holland and Funky Junction from the US, that was the first half year, now I’ve started to invite other people like ATFC from England. So it’s my residency but I want to give people a bit more so I have an English warm-up DJ called Lil Joey, then it’s the international guest in the middle and then the last two hours are myself. It’s going well.
HRFQ : About your new album “Music Takes Me” how long did it take you to produce?
Stonebridge : It’s funny, I thought about that the other day, my albums take about 8 months, for some reason. It’s because when you start you don’t know you’re going to do an album, so you do a couple tracks, and then the way I work is I make the instrumental track and I send it to singers that I like and they write the lyrics and record a demo, then I produce the track and when I feel the track is ready I bring the singer over and we record it. Usually the first 4 months you might have 3 tracks not even with vocals then all of a sudden sometime after 5 months you start to think “I need to finish” so you don’t do as many remixes or slow down on the touring and then it’s this intense period of like two or three months when everything gets done. All of a sudden you have ten tracks!
HRFQ : Why did you make the title “Music Takes Me”?
Stonebridge : The first album was a nightmare because we didn’t know what to call it, we tried everything, if you come up with this fancy title people think who does he think he is. It was actually the Hed Kandi guy that said “why don’t you pick a track and make it the title”. I thought “Music Takes Me” is a really good title because it can be anything, it doesn’t say much but it can say a lot.
HRFQ : What kind of feeling are you trying to express through out this album?
Stonebridge : Well it’s a feel good album I suppose, maybe romantic even. I try to keep my lyrics very simple and not educational. I hate music, especially dance music when you’re on the floor and political people going to war, saying you shouldn’t do this or you shouldn’t do that, I don’t think the club is the right forum for that.
I decided I don’t want to sit and think about what people will like, because I think people are smarter than that, like this pop idol stuff, it’s sounds manufactured so I try to be very organic, I just do something I like myself and hopefully other people will like it too. I think you can tell when you listen to music that’s made from the heart rather than the brain, so I try not to over think the process. I’m not a very experimental guy, so I stop myself if I feel I’m going a bit to weird, I try and keep to the center of things.
HRFQ : Did you feel any pressure when you worked on this album?
Stonebridge : None, well the pressure was that I didn’t have a label when I started,I was on my own label. Because I was signed to Hed Kandi and they were bought by Ministry of Sound and with Hed Kandi, their idea was to do artist albums just to do your thing, whereas Ministry of Sound told me they don’t do artist albums, they do hit singles and hit compilations, so miraculously they let me go. So I decided to make another album and I hooked up with Armada. Then I finished the album without any pressure and got really good feedback.
HRFQ : Which do you prefer producing or DJing?
Stonebridge : For me I have to do equal thirds of remixing, producing and DJing. Because if I DJ too much then it feels empty, I need to create. But if I only remix it sort of giving away your music, the other artist gets the credit. Now I’m touring a bit more than I should but it’s a big world so it takes time to go everywhere. I found the balance. I’ve also found that with remixes you can be adventurous and try things out but with my own music I’m a little more conservative.
HRFQ : Any messages to your fans?
Stonebridge : Keep it Funky!!!
Leave a Comment so far
Leave a comment