Constellations of music

Interview with Sebastian Mullaert & Ulf Eriksson

Constellations of music

12-11-2014 | 17.40

In February of this year, Sebastian Mullaert played one of the last Minilogue live sets here in Trouw together with Marcus Henriksson, before putting the duo on hold for the time being. Now, two months before the end of Trouw, Sebastian will return for a special live/DJ b2b set with long-time friend and KontraMusik head-honcho Ulf Eriksson. We asked the Swedish duo a couple of questions about their friendship, the Swedish club scene and their musical bond in anticipation of their performance here on Friday.

Hi Sebastian and Ulf, nice to meet you. A typical first question: when was the first time you met each other?

Ulf: "I remember seeing Sebastian and Henrik doing an ambient live set in a bunker in Lund (small town in Sweden next to Malmö) where some people used to throw raves back in the days. That was as Sonkite and Sebastian was playing the violin. I think that was the first time. But it was not until much later we started to work together. I was sort of the main promoter in town for electronic music so when Minilogue played in Malmö, I was usually the one to host the party. That was when we really got to know each other in person and developed a professional relationship."
Seb: "Oh, I remember that party ... what an amazing night it was, I think it was the new years party 1997 or 1998 and it was actually before Marcus and I started our Son Kite project. At this time Christian Steiner was also part of the group and we where maybe called Trimatic I think. Before we started to work together I think I met Ulf through the underground magazine about electronic music in the Malmö/Copenhagen area called Brus. If I remember correctly Ulf worked with that magazine for a few years."

I can imagine to idea for a b2b live/DJ set didn’t come out of nowhere. What kind of musical bond do you share?
Ulf: We have actually always been walking down different musical paths. But since we both were kind of seriously involved in music, we have always kept track of each other’s different adventures and escapades. I think what we have very much in common, is that we are both still hungry for new sounds and collaborations, still inspired. Most of all, we are both very open-minded when it comes to music."
Seb: "I think it was just a matter of time before we tried to do something together, some roads are meant to be crossed."

Sebastian, I’ve read in a Goethebunker interview that you live in Rostanga. Was it a conscious decision to live outside of the big cities?
Seb: "Very much indeed. I lived my first 16th years in the middle of a deep forest and always felt that I was going to move back to the countryside at some point in my life. When me and my wife got children, it was obviously time to move. I'm so connected with the nature and can't really imagine to live in the city anymore. The nature helps me to heal myself, walking in the forest is like charging the batteries of self-acceptance."

How does making and playing music with Ulf differ from doing so with Marcus?
Seb: "Every constellation I'm part of, triggers different aspects of my creativity, that's why I love to work with different people. Ulf and I are still finding each other musically, but what I really love about playing with Ulf is that it triggers the more dirty, deep and trippy side of me. Some of my other work is more slick in a way. Ulf is a bit random and odd at times, in a good way!"

If I’m not mistaken, you only starting playing shows together frequently this year. Do you feel that you are still growing as a performing duo or was it an instant connection?
Ulf: "So far none of the performances have been the same. So we are definitely learning and developing all the time. That is what's so much fun about it. You never know exactly what will happen. But all the gigs so far have felt good, but in different ways."

Ulf, I’ve also read the 2011 Kontra-Musik: Label of the Month piece on RA, which was quite fascinating. You're the KontraMusic label boss and you stated that the label is “a mess, basically”. Has this changed throughout the years?
Ulf: "Absolutely not. Things get messier all the time. Life is constantly accelerating. Every day you get more and more busy, I guess that's a part of growing up. And that lifestyle leaves a lot of room for messiness. I do first and think later. I wish I could learn to do it the other way around. Things would be less stressful and more focused I assume."

What can we expect from KontraMsuic in the future?
Ulf: "God only knows. It is a diverse label and you never know what will happen. But I think and hope that now and then an important release will continue to drop from my label. In the pipeline for next year is a mix-cd + album from me and Seb, a 12-inch from an Italian talent called Roberto Clementi and a white label from Villa Åbo, one of the FRAK-guys."

What came first: being a DJ/producer or being a label boss?
Ulf: DJ-ing for sure. Been doing that for ages. The label was founded in year 2006, so reaching 10 years soon. Insane...

The club scene in Sweden might be a little bit unknown for the general Dutch audience. We obviously see a growing trend of institutions like RMBA and Sonar coming to Stockholm quite often. What’s the club scene in other Swedish cities like at the moment from your point-of-view?
Ulf: "In Malmö, where I live,  the underground (illegal) scene is very strong and healthy at the moment. The normal club scene is kind of dead I would say. Laws and restrictions are forcing people to find their own way of presenting culture, and there are a lot of new promoters doing this in a very good way in Malmö at the moment."

Is the club scene in Sweden relatively big or small compared to other countries?
Ulf: Small for sure. But it is growing all the time. Slowly but steady.

You’re playing at the SoHaSo night this Saturday, the label of Nuno Dos Santos. What’s your connection to his label?
Seb: I've met Nuno at loads of different parties and festivals in Holland over the years and always felt a great and warm energy from him. I love the SoHaSo label as well!

Sebastian, you played here at Trouw earlier last year, which was also one of the last Minilogue performances with Marcus to date. What do you remember from that night?
Seb: "Yes, it was in February of this year. It was an amazing night in the cellar, I remember that we played in 110 bpm the last hour and the dance floor was full until the end, a very special feeling!"

Last question: can you give us a sneak peek by giving us one track you’ll definitely play Friday?
Ulf: I will play a lot of Kontra-Musik records, I always do. I just remastered the Silent Servant remix of Mokiras Time Track. Will for sure test that one.