Exclusive Interview with Kristoffer Ljungberg
An impressive CV of young Kristoffer Ljungberg shows us he is a type of a guy who dedicated his life to music. First thing that cross my mind when i hear his name is: Damn this guy did so fucking much for progressive house music! So thank him for that!
For those who never heard of Kristoffer before, you should know he is the one responsible for arising of famous Nellie Recordings back in 2008. He was Nellie’s co-owner, A&R and manager. He stepped out from Nellie in November 2010. In March this year, first release of his new established Macarize label saw the daylight. There is so much more in the Macarize pipeline, so we just had to catch up with him and talk a bit on various of topics. I guess all you want to hear from him, or what you would like to ask him is down bellow in the interview so check it out.
PHW Exclusive interview with Kristoffer Ljungberg
PHW: Hey there Kris! Thanks for your time mate, we are really honored we have an opportunity to chat with a guy who did so much for progressive house world! To start, for those who never heard of you can u tell us – who is Kristoffer Ljungberg?
Kristoffer: Hey guys! Thanks for giving me a chance to introduce myself and my label to all the viewers. Always a pleasure! Anyway. My name is, as you said, Kristoffer Ljungberg and I’m 24 years old. I currently live in Sweden and I work fulltime in customer operations on a big telephone/broadband/tv provider. That’s how I earn my living right now. Nothing fancy but it gets the rent paid so that’s good!
PHW: How did you get involved with music/ progressive house in the first place?
Kristoffer: I’ve always been a big melody junky so that’s the reason for choosing this kind of music (melodic prog house). However, back when I was like 13 a friend of mine in school introduced me to some hard trance stuff from the Goliath compilations and I didn’t really know what it was, only that it was rocking! Since then I’ve always enjoyed that kind of music, even house, but I never really knew where to find that kind of music or even what it was called. Anyway, in 2007 a friend of mine introduced me to some blogs on the Internet and told me about house music and from that moment on I’ve always listened to electronic dance music. All of a sudden nothing else sounded good enough to catch my attention and here we are today! I never get tired of it.
PHW: You made a really really big contribution to progressive house world as A&R/manager of Nellie Recordings. Nellie traced a whole new path in contemporary EDM. Soo many new talented artists have became known and established names through Nellie. And u was head honcho of the whole project. How and why the Nellie saga ended?
Kristoffer: Well, what can I say. I took over Nellie basically back in 2008 since Alaa didn’t really have the motivation to run it. I didn’t know what I was doing but I did what I thought was the right thing. Time went by and I was running it like it was my own little baby, releasing the kind of music I loved and with artists I found and talked a lot to. After a while I realized that me and Alaa didn’t talk very much anymore, we drifted a part, and he wasn’t really into the music I released so we decided to split up. Since Nellie is the name of his daughter I felt it was wrong to keep the name, so he took over and I left. That’s the story. I love melodic prog house, he loves clubbier house music that he can play when he DJ’s in clubs and stuff. Simple as that. Life goes on!
PHW: Hows does it look like to run a label in this digital mp3 era? Is it a full time job and can you earn enough for normal living with that job? Is illegal file sharing still a big issue? What are your thoughts about that?
Kristoffer: It’s definitely not a fulltime job! If we calculated the amount of hours I’ve put in to the label and divide it with the amount of money I’ve earned personally, you would laugh your ass off! But money is not reason why I’m doing it, it’s just pure love for the music and the whole thing. Running a label is a lot of fun and exictement. Regarding file sharing, well, of course it decreases the sales but on the other hand, a lot of us would never be known in this business if it wasn’t for blogs and file sharing. I’m not one of those guys who sits back and complains about it. If you can make a living out of your hobby, you’re one of the lucky fews in the world. Sure it would be fantastic, but for me it’s a dream. I think people should be thankful for even having an oppurtunity to make a little money on their hobby. There’s a lot of people who works fulltime with something else and still makes music just because they love it! And the sad thing is, only the rich people in the busines who makes thousands of dollars on making music, deejaying all around the world and gets to see beautiful places, are the ones complaining the most. Isn’t that ironic? Be thankful instead! They can easily live good lives even if they can’t buy a new car every month. Gosh, it makes me so angry when I read that a certain big house DJ cries on Twitter every time someone downloads his song illegally. Give me a break. Sorry for going a little bit off topic here! I just felt I had to say something about it.
PHW: Can you describe a usual day of A&R of a label. U have experience with many artists. What are the most common problems? Also, when you request a remix from some of the artists, do you tell them like: ‘listen, please make a remix in that and that style… i want it to sound like this’ and so on? Which are the most expensive remixers you know?
Kristoffer: I’m the kind of A&R who likes to keep in touch with his artists a lot. So I have almost all my artists and people I work with on MSN/AIM/Skype so with most of them I talk on a regular basis. They usually hit me up with a new idea they have for a track, I give them input/feedback and we discuss it. Sometimes I like it and say “Yeah, this is great man, I’d love it for my label” and we work on it. That’s mostly how it goes down. I rarely sign a track from a demo I get sent on SoundCloud. I really don’t know why.
The common problem is that I’m a bit of a pain in the ass sometimes and have a very strong will to succeed and a big belief in my own taste, hehe. This means that an artist can send me a track where the melody is really nice but the rest is not, but the artist is satisfied with it because he thinks the track is great as it is. These times we have a problem because I think we’re wasting a lot of potential. That’s one way things can go wrong. Maybe I shouldn’t interfere so much with my artists work but so far it’s been going pretty well. This being said, it’s not always like this, most of the time we agree about the things the track might need. Don’t get me wrong.
Regarding remixes, it’s a lot of the time a big hassle. Either it takes the remixer forever to make it or the remix itself doesn’t pan out the way I wanted it to. I usually have an idea of what producer I want to approach for a remix inquiry, because I want a certain style for the remix. But as I said, sometimes it takes forever to get the remix and that kills me because I easily get stressed out and impatient. But I guess that’s something I have to work on.
PHW: Whats the story of yours new established Macarize label? What/who can we expect to see in Macarize roster? And whats your vision of Macarize?
Kristoffer: Macarize is just my new label where I’m the only owner, so no one can ever tell me what to do, which is great. Hopefully the label will earn the same amount of recognition as Nellie, and even more! That’s the plan anyway. My roster will contain most of the Nellie artists obviously since they trust me and know me, but I will also work a lot with a few new ones, such as David Folkebrant, Emil Gallier, Andycap and Eric Shaw. That’s the plan anyway! Got some stuff lined up so it should work out alright. I also have tracks lined up with Labtracks, Daiquiri and Thomas Feijk for example.
PHW: You did a couple of really great track in collab with Alaa. Are you still into production? On one of Nellie last compilation releases there was one of your single tracks. That was pretty awesome. Can we expect something new from you?
Kristoffer: I’m not a producer. I wish I was but I’m not that interested in the production aspect of if. I like to make melodies and stuff like that. I sometimes try to get something going but it rarely results in a full track. Actually, it almost never results in a full track. I have one track finished though that I would like to release on Macarize at some point. It’s a very slow and loungy track so we’ll see what happens. Maybe I’ll try to put together a solo EP. Would be cool to have done at least one EP before I die, hehe.
PHW: What music personally means to you?
Kristoffer: It means everything. I can’t imagine a life without music. I just helps me to get through life. There’s almost no words to describe the feeling you get when you hear a great track for the first time and you immedietely get an energy boost you wouldn’t dream of! It’s just amazing really.
PHW: Your 5 favorite tracks at the moment?
Kristoffer: Oh that’s a tough one. It’s always hard to just find a few ones you love and it varies so much from time to time. But I’ll try to give you at least 5 tracks I really enjoy right now.
EDX – Embrace (Original Club Mix)
4 Strings feat. Ellie Lawson – Safe From Harm
Pryda – Illusions (Original Mix)
Michael Cassette – Pangaea
Mango – Good Morning Track (Sunn Jellie Remix)
PHW: Thanks for your time Kris! We from PHW wish you all the best with Macarize! You can always count on our support. Speak with some more great news sometime soon. Cheers!
Kristoffer: Thank you for interviewing me! I really appreciate what you do for me, my label and my artists.
June 20th, 2011