VOGUE INTERVIEW WITH BE SVENDSEN
by Merve Evirgen, Images by Marko edge
Vogue - Hi Lasse, thank you very much for your interest and sincerity first of all. How is it going for you nowadays, post-pandemic process? Have you started touring again?
Be - Hello, Thanks for your interest. Post Pandemic in Copenhagen is going well so far, I can’t complain - The Pandemic year obviously slowed touring and everything else down dramatically, but it also created space and allowed time to embrace and dive into new creative directions. So even without massive touring, I have been keeping super busy the whole time.
Vogue - You've always been one of my favourite artists and when I first watched the Mount Nemrut performance I was totally hypnotised, what an experience! Even watching it on your couch in quarantine days can be this magnifique, I cannot imagine what it's like to be there! Can you tell about what you've felt during the performance?
Be - Thats great to hear, - if you can get anyone's full attention directed towards something you have created, that’s really strong.
It was a very special experience for me to do the Cercle set. In the weeks leading up to the Nemrut stream, I was working intensively on a number of different projects and deadlines, and in the same time I had many ideas for how I wanted to play the set. Once I got it all narrowed in, and as we got closer to the mountain, I started to feel a great calm, which I hadn’t felt in a while. We arrived on Mount Nemrut late evening and did the setup and sound checking all night. That’s also when we decided that I would be playing in a sitting down position, into the sunrise.
Once I sat down and the crew retreated down into the production house, I was suddenly alone in the quiet dark on the majestic ancient stone terrace. Any insecurities stress or tiredness I might have had up until then, disappeared completely, and I felt deeply honored and comfortable despite the cold, as if I was being welcomed and warmed by the place itself. It was like a focused concentration naturally occurred in me, and I felt in my element.
I’ve always made music for the outdoors, and I have travelled far in my younger days, to seek ancient epic locations for events and profound music/dance/nature experiences. Playing at the mountain of the gods went beyond my expectations, and it felt as if I had come to a milestone in my career, and as if it was something I had been moving towards my whole life. Looking up to see the sun come up over the horizon, revealing the surrounding mountain ranges and the scale of the place, and feeling the vibration of it all, is a moment I will never forget. Feeling deeply blessed to have experienced that.
Image by Marko edge
Vogue - You've also been to Turkey for live shows before, you also have collaborations with one of our talented producers Oceanvs Orientalis. What are the things that you love most about Turkey? Do you know/like any other musicians from here?
Be - Safak (Oceanvs Orientalis) is a brother, I love him dearly - I’m a big fan of his music and him as a person. It was great to work on his track Tarlabasi. I’m also very fond of ‘Island Man’ I really love their music. They release on the same label as I; Music For Dreams, from Denmark.
I love to play in Turkey, and I’ve been doing so for the last 6 years. The energy and vibration is always high and the people really seem to resonate deeply with my music.
Vogue - Can you tell us about the moment that you decided to make this kind of music in your life, that cornerstone?
Be - The music is ever changing and evolving. Inspiration takes you places, and ideas occur – then it’s up to you to hold on to it, and see it through the process of making it become a reality. There is no particular moment when I decided to make certain ‘kind of music’, but one that does stand out as a profound moment or period that lead me in the direction was my first outdoor raves in the late 90’s. The meeting with the hypnotic repetitive electronic music in combination with outdoor dancing changed something for me, and it definitely pushed me in a direction, also musically.
But the call to create nice things has been there as long as I remember.
Vogue - What have been your inspirations for taking a step into this scene? Besides music, do you have any biggest inspirations from art, literature or cinema?
Be - Electronic music is huge, and the sub genres many. The list of things that inspires me is long – I find most things that are carried out with intention and style attractive. I love a good film, and some of my favourite records are movie soundtracks. I’m always drawn towards the feeling of nostalgia, ..echoes of the past, like an old crackly record which plays an old melody of acceptance. I like old things.
Music lovers are everywhere and we connect globally over the feelings we get from music. That is a beautiful thing.
Vogue - You’ve played literally everywhere in the world, and also every kind of experience from Burning Man edition to this Mount Nemrut performance without audience, or from a Berghain performance to a gig in any European nightclub with 200 people capacity. Which are all time favourite places to play for you? Do you like big festivals or hypnotic experiences, or maybe small nightclubs?
Be - Usually Intimate crowds suits my personality best. I like to feel the close up visual confirmation and the energetic and exchange, which is happening. It’s good to know if the music is being well received. I much prefer that compared to big stages where you are too far from the crowd.
Outdoors will always be my favourite for sure, but collective high vibrations can be created anywhere. I’ve played at some mind blowing places on earth, beyond anything I had dreamed of – and to present your work in those setting with people who appreciates and understand what you are doing, with their hearts – is simply incredible. But I’ve also once played a gig on a Tuesday night in December in Oslo Norway, in a small little venue, where the energy was so high, that it stands out and one that I will never forget it. They are all special in their own way.
Be Svendsen at Nemrut for Cercle Music, Image by Marko edge
Vogue - Your genre is often connected to partying. "sex-drugs-rock&roll" is out "sex-drugs-electronic music" is in, let's say. I feel that the music has a lot more to offer than this, it has feelings, it has emotions and it takes serious hardworking. What do you think about this? How do you balance partying, working and good health while you're on tour?
Be - I certainly aim for the music to have feelings and emotions, and it’s definitely not making itself. Intoxication is a big thing, and an issue in most parts of society, also in the music and nightlife scene. It can be challenging to balance intensive working with heavy touring, high frequency of social commitments, and same time keeping a good health and rhythm, in order to be creative and professional and continue to do your best for yourself and your loved ones. That is not always super easy, and it can really ware you down. If you want be under the influence of alcohol and substances, you can have access to everything in any genre and music scene, maybe except from ecstatic dance groups and the spiritual scene.
It’s up to the individual to be true to our essence, and keep on striving to be the best version of us selves. That is really important.
Vogue - 'Rock n' roll' is dead and DJs and producers are the new rock stars, when we look at today's world. I'm sure it must be very hard living in such tempo and maintaining your routines and relationships with your family, partner and beloved ones. How do you handle it?
Be - If you are super dedicated and passionate about your work, it is likely that it will absorb at least a fair portion of you. I’m not a DJ, in the sense that I write and produce all the music I play myself, so that naturally takes me a lot of time and focus in order to keep my material fresh and satisfying, then add touring and all the rest surrounding my project. Me and my team does everything in-house, artwork, designs, visuals, music videos etc.
I can easily become slightly obsessed with a project, so much that I neglect both my loved ones, and also my self to a degree. Pushing ourselves to extremes sometimes is vital in order to get something extraordinary done - and that can sometimes take all your focus. Then it’s up to you how much you are willing to sacrifice in your pursue of excellence. Every action spawns a re-action, and your creating energy goes where you direct it, whether that is a conscious act or not.
I am very grateful to have the most amazing partner. She is my best friend in the world and my favourite times are together being in our bubble like little children, full of love, silliness and lots of creative ideas. We also work extensively together on common projects, my graphics and visual designs and style direction.
But honestly, you can easily loose out by being too self/project absorbed - balance is key to everything, and it must be practiced continuously.
If you don’t water your plants, they die.
Be Svendsen and Partner Christina Mikelis at Nemrut for Cercle Music, Image by Marko edge
Vogue - What are your future projects? Is there any chance we can see you live here in Turkey again in near future?
Be - This year I’ve decided to pause touring and dedicating the time to write new music. Staying offline as much as I can in order to re-connect with purpose and essence and only playing a handful of selected festivals and shows, in order to maintain the balance we just spoke about.
I have a couple of exiting releases lined up for this spring. Among them a track with a certain Rumanian vocal which people have been requesting for years. Currently I am working on a new live set, and finishing my next album.
In the end of last year I did a concert tour which was different to my usuals shows. I invited some talented musicians to join me on stage and we only played concert venues with sold out shows in Copenhagen Berlin and Amsterdam, no clubs or festivals. This opened my eyes to new possibilities and I learned a lot from that experience. Alongside my solo shows, I will explore more in that direction for the future.
The last year I have also worked on a new project with a vocalist, writing songs together. The project is called ‘The Stone Of The Wise’, and the songs are inspired by a book by the same name, which my Great Great Grandfather wrote and won a prize for in 1923.
The book and the project is very dear to me and the release is aimed for 202 - the 100 year anniversary of the book.
During Covid my agency got creative, and together with my partner we designed a merchandise collection based on my artworks, which was released recently.
So far there is no date fixed for Turkey, but it’s quite likely though, that I’ll be visiting at some point this year.
Thanks for excellent questions.