Salute, my name is Terje Bakke, 24 years old DJ & artist from Norway! Currently living in Copenhagen, Denmark. weeee
You’re from Bergen, Norway – does the city have a vibrant club scene?
Bergen is a small city, approximately 250 000 and we don’t really have any scene here for underground club music, as we know it in rest of the Europe. The biggest reasons for this is strict closing policy and the lack of proper soundsystems and clubs. The doors close at 2.30 am so you can just imagine how difficult it is to build up a music culture and tension in the crowd like you see in the morning everywhere else where the door closes later. It doesn’t help that people come out late to the clubs either. They go out 1 am and expect to be smashed in their face with something instant and main room. So, where is the love, the deep sexy, long repetitive grooves with subtle vocals and melodies? People over here have no clue and understanding for this kind of culture and music. They don’t even know how to dance. They are just jumping drunkenly around completely blind by the media. I might sound harsh, but I just feel so different from this and it’s very frustrating and also one of the reasons I finally moved.
On the other hand, Bergen has a very strong scene for music in general, especially independent music. We have a couple of very interesting bands and people around here and they all support each other in an inspiring way. The music gets noticed nationally and internationally, and the Norwegian media they just refer it as “the Bergen wave” – because there are so many strong acts hailing from here.
My style and sound is all about modern rhythms. I like it deep, I like it different, I like it sexy, I like it warm, I like it repetitive, I like it subtle, I like it futuristic, I like it raw, I like it melodic, I like it minimalistic, I like details, I like everything. The key for me is to find music that sticks out from the mass. It could be everything really. But I do spend a lot of time trying to find the right tracks for my sets. I also do spend a lot of time producing my art. I want to play and create timeless music. Music you can play for years. That’s why I’m so proud of my latest releases. “Chere Madame” came out over one year ago, but big DJs and myself are still playing it when the atmosphere is right, and I will keep doing so for years.
What have your personal highlights of 2011 been?
There have been so many highlights this year! I’m still up and coming so this year has been the first year for me to travel around the world playing. My personal highlights is defintely all the cool cities and cool people I’ve met on my travels. This is what it is for me. I feel honoured that I have the possibility to travel around and meet new peoples and cultures and try out local food. It’s me slightly starting to living my dream. Another highlight was to finally moving to Copenhagen, Denmark to finish my studies. When I graduate, I will go all in with music.
Tell us about your latest releases
My latest release was Terje Bakke – Cotton Factory EP [Be Chosen]. Be Chosen is my home and the guy running the label has done so much for my career. The biggest track for me on the ep is definitely “Ekaterinburg” and this is the typical “timeless” track for me in this package. I will play it forever. The feedback for the whole ep has been good and it’s been on heavy rotation the whole summer. Beside that I’ve done some remixes. An alternative one for Hamburg based Hfn Records for a Danish group called Darkness Falls. The original was produced by Trentemöller and the release package also included a Trentemöller remix. Next up is a remix for a local Bergen based label called Untz Untz. This remix is also a little bit alternative and melodic from me. It will be released in a week or so.
Describe a typical Terje Bakke set
A typical Terje Bakke set contains a list of wisely chosen tracks that have been harmoniously put together in purpose of giving the listener an interesting and inspiring music experience. My goal is to impress the listener. I want to present new and old music on what my interpretation of modern rhythms is. The outcome should be something different from the mass and it should sound whole, not track by track. I play tracks with emotion and love, and all my choices during a set is made with purpose. Another aspect is length. My dream in the future is to be able to play long long long sets. That is when the magic happens.. when you get more than just 2 hours to twist people’s minds.
What have you heard about the South African Dance scene?
You know what, I’m a big fan of the South African music scene actually. I’m a music lover, how could I not be? A good friend of mine once found a South African electronic dance music store called Afrodesia and we kept this store as our secret for months, even years. As a matter of fact it’s still a secret and now I’m revealing it for all Europeans that are reading this interview. This store has so much treasures of local African talents that you will not find elsewhere. And I love the African drum rhythms and the way they build those drums. My favourite artists from there is def Black Coffee and Zakes Bantwini which of course is now getting massive attention in the rest of the world too.
Any special message for the SA fans?
All I can say is that I feel extremely honoured to get this opportunity. This is a huge milestone gig for me and my career and I want to thank all the people who have messaged me now before the gig. I’m so proud that my music has reached South Africa!!
INTERVIEW: Heather Mennell