Feel good music from the Barnhusgatan basement.
Although his DJ credentials might state otherwise, there’s nothing too serious about our next guest. As co-founder of Studio Barnhus – the notoriously quirky Stockholm based studio, label and DJ trio that he runs alongside buddies Axel Boman and Petter Nordkvist – Kornél Kovács’ refreshing approach to this modern music biz has seen him rise up the ranks in recent years, playing on all the big stages while staying true to the Barnhus style – eclectic, informed, seriously fun and utterly danceable music. A DJ since his mid teens, Kovács’ floor friendly productions have been doing what they were made to do since 2011, with his Szamár EP for Japan’s Endless Flight imprint, Szikra EP and recent full length The Bells for Studio Barnhus a couple of his standout works. With some Australian dates a little over a week away, we caught up with the easy-going Swede and he’s mixed up some of those feel good songs he’s become so well known for.
Hey Kornél, how’s things mate? Where have we caught you?
Hello friend! I’m good thanks, on the couch here in Studio Barnhus, listening to the mix I just did for you. Stockholm once again turned into a winter wonderland today, it’s hilariously cold outside and I’m enjoying this cozy basement.
Looks like you guys have an exciting release due out on Studio Barnhus next month with Shakarchi & Stranéus’ long awaited debut album, hilariously titled Steal Chickens from Men and the Future from God, what’s the story behind that record?
Shakarchi & Stranéus have been a part of Studio Barnhus from the very start and we’ve been planning the release of their debut album for a good seven years now. Back then they were still making beats in the cloakroom of the tapas restaurant where they both worked as clerks. I’m not sure a lot has changed since then to be honest. The album consists of 12 cuts lovingly selected from a collection of music created in makeshift studios all over Gothenburg. It was then mixed at Nacksving Studios together with Matt Karmil, who did similar work on my album and Talaboman’s. It’s been a long ride – actually holding a copy of the record in my hands for the first time felt surreal. Big up Shak and Stran forever.
There’s a real quirkiness to your music, and throughout much of the music on your label Studio Barnhus, with your shared sense of humour on regular display in album titles, record covers, funny write ups and the like. Where does this stem from, and do you feel as though this light hearted approach to running the label has helped make the music even more accessible?
People seem to react strongly to this side of Studio Barnhus. It used to bother me, a journalist called us “house pranksters” once and I was obsessing about that for years. Today I’m just happy that we get to be ourselves and connect with people in a positive way. I think the light hearted approach you mention comes from the fact that we were always outsiders in the club music world, a position which allowed us to see this stuff as something magical rather than functional. Feel me?
You’ve spoken about the importance of raving as a movement for bringing people of all walks of life together, especially in Stockholm where the legal club scene can be lacking at times. Do you find illegal raves still popping up as regularly as you would like in Stockholm, and what are some of your fondest memories of these over the years?
Stockholm’s illegal scene stays surprisingly strong despite constant harassment and provocations from the man. I don’t get to take part as often as I’d like these days. My fondest memories from these situations consist of the same fuzzy pink haze that anyone who grew up raving can or can not remember.
What can you tell us about this mix you’ve put together for us? Any special tracks in there you would like to mention?
I opened with a new Matt Karmil track that I’ve been opening quite a few sets with recently, it’s A1 on his new record for Studio Barnhus. From there on I just played music I’ve been playing in clubs lately, with last Saturday’s gig at the excellent Golzheim club in Düsseldorf still echoing in my mind. I finally noticed the recorder’s batteries were about to give up. Luckily I managed to squeeze in this Sizzla instrumental I like to close nights with.
I hear you’ve got a bunch of new music on the way this year, what can you tell us about that?
EP on Unknown To The Unknown before summer, EP on Studio Barnhus after summer. Working on a very special Studio Barnhus project that will include some of my music. A few remixes and surprise appearances here and there too!
You’re back in Australia for a cheeky weekend next month, where can people catch you?
Yes I am! Too damn excited. Starting off the tour at Sugar in Adelaide on March 9th, the day after that I go to Sydney for a daytime set at Days Like This and then to Victoria for Pitch Festival. I’ll stick around for a few days after that, wrapping up the visit at Revolver in Melbourne on March 14th. Really looking forward to sunshine, party and the amazing food you people make!