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You Need to Hear This

Touching Bass: Diskjokke

A chilled out mixtape from Oslo's space-disco senior.

Space-disco senior Diskjokke gained VICE’s attention back in 2007 when he remixed Bloc Party’s “Sunday” released on Vice Records. In the following years he moved on and released three studio albums and several tracks, surfing on that famed electronic Oslo-tide as his contemporaries Prins Thomas and Lindstrøm did and still doubtlessly do. After years on tour and several tracks featured on everything from HBO’s Bored to Death to Banksy’s Exit Through the Gift Shop, Joachim Dyrdahl (his real name) decided to take a step back in his native Oslo as the resident at nightclub Jæger. Last year, he spun records at our You Need To Hear This launch party in Stockholm. We thought he was great so we couldn’t help getting in touch again and ask him to make a mixtape for us. It turned out quite different from the stuff we’re used to hear from him on the dancefloor, but pretty brilliant nonetheless. YNTHT: How are you?
Diskjokke: I'm a stressed [laughs]. Why?
I'm handing in my Masters assignment in ten days. So I'm kind of working 24/7. I see. That’s a Masters in mathematics, right?
Yes! Finally. So how good at mathematics are you?
Not as good as I had hoped to be. What kind of mathematics are you doing? Are you calculating, or doing that abstract thing?
I wish I was calculating but now it's numeric analysis, so it's something in between I would say. I did all the abstract classes so I'm finished with that. So I'm focused on solving problems again. So do you ever use mathematics in your music production?
No. It's sort of been my fuse in the music world versus the mathematics [world]– to do something totally unstructured. Right. So in one of your classics, "Folk i Farta", is it you playing the piano?
Well it's me since I programmed it. No way.
Yeah. I'm a big virtual keyboard player. I have a plan of how it's gonna sound and then I record it again and again and again until it turns out the way I want it to be. I had this idea of you being a kind of Beethoven math genius who used mathematics to compose classical music that you turned into techno.
Well the part about classical music is correct. But I don't think I would play Beethoven though. But I have a classical background in a way – from the violin. What's up with the mixtape then?
I'd say it's not a DJ mix. I've been doing a lot of DJ mixes in the past so with this one I wanted to strip down everything that has anything to do with DJing and try to make a mixtape from a producer's perspective. So it's not about the DJ skills, it's more about the producer skills. I tried to put together something that's nice to listen to. Something that would reflect music that I listen to and music that I like. Is this like a new thing from your producer perspective?
No I wouldn't say that. It's more a matter of me thinking in a different way. Like, taking one step back and trying to do something with different eyes. And trying different techniques and a different approach – for me. Are you happy with what came out of the process?
Sure! It's a bit strange to put together music without like turning knobs. But it's nice to put together something that it's nice to listen to and that's more like a really long song. Do you have an idea of when it's good to listen to it?
It's pretty chilled out so I don't know really. It's not a party mix, even though there are some upbeat tracks towards the end. How important is the fact that you’re a classic DJ when you produce music? I mean it's not quite the same thing to mix a couple of tracks as to produce music from the scratch.
I don't know really. I haven't thought much about that. I mean the music that I've made have never really been DJ-friendly. I always get complaints from everyone that my music isn't very easy to play. DJs tell me that my music is too hard to play. Haha.
I don't really do the DJ tricks and I've never been interested in doing that. Sometimes I do it but I'd say that generally it's not really music that is easy to play from a DJ perspective. That's the feedback I'm getting at least. Do you refer to yourself as a producer, artist or DJ?
Nowadays I'm more of a DJ. It’s been like that during the last three years or so. Because that's what I've been doing most. But before that I was a producer slash artist. But I think I did too much of it: Too many lightshows, too much travelling around and listening to my own music all the time. But I'm starting to miss that a bit now. So I'm going to finish my Masters and then go back to the studio and put together the last two years of sketches and see what it all leads to. So we can expect something of a comeback soon?
[Laughs] I'm not that keen on travelling and playing all over again. You can still produce without touring, no?
Yeah. It'd be nice to put it out and hopefully someone would be listening to it. But I haven't quite thought about a relaunch thing to be honest. In all the press releases and articles that I've read about you it says that you're part of this Norwegian electronic wave of producers, such as Prins Thomas and Lindstrøm….
[Laughs] I think it's hard not to be part of that scene considering that we're not that many in Norway… Haha.
I'm only kidding. I think we were quite similar for a while. But now where doing very different things. Isn't Lindstrøm one of your main inspirations?
He is. Absolutely. Do you have any particular moments when sound means more to you than other times?
That's hard to say because I've kind of drifted into something when I prefer silence. You know, cause I've had music in everything I've done all my life and I never really tried silence. That sounds strange but… [silence] Maybe you pay attention to different kinds of sounds like scratching your skin or rain drops or…?
Yeah, maybe. Lately it's been quite a lot of ambient music. I guess sound to me still circles around electronic music. Do you remember the moment when you fell in love with electronic music?
Absolutely. It was on a radio show. I was out with friends listening to the radio, I think I was 14 or something. There was a new show on the radio on Saturday nights that was playing electronic music. And they played Paperclip People by Carl Craig. That was the first time I heard anything like that. Maybe I was 15, I don't know. Before that moment, I knew that I wanted to do something with music, but I never knew why or what kind of music I wanted to do. Do you remember what kind of feelings that evoked?
It was such a long time ago… I just remember that it was something different from anything else I'd ever heard.


Diskjokke will be playing on the following dates this summer:

July 6: Footfood at Jaeger, Oslo, Norway July 12: Electro Splash Festival, Valencia, Spain July 20: Footfood at Jaeger, Oslo, Norway July 26: Villa, Oslo, Norway