Hailing from Sweden, a man who is not only a producer but the label owner of the very unique Macarize, the next interview is with none other than Kristoffer Ljungberg!

1. Kristoffer thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to do this interview! I hope things are going well for you! Being that you are both a label owner and a producer how do you find the time for both? Do you have any secrets to time management in being able to balance everything?

Hey Ankit! Thank you very much for having me. Things are going fine! Can’t really complain.

I never title myself as producer and it doesn’t take up much of my time to be honest. I write melodies and ideas for tracks, that’s about it. Sometimes I get inspired and motivated and I make a whole track but that doesn’t happen very often as you can see in my discography, hehe. There’s no secret though, I just devote basically all my time to my hobbies, whether it’s photography, writing melodies or running Macarize. If you’re as passionate about something as I am about these things, you just love spending your time on it. I don’t mind sacrificing other things.

2. Macarize’s releases are regularly featured on Group Therapy with Above & Beyond and always receive massive support, are you still shocked each time you hear a track or have you come to expect it since you release quality music on a regular basis?

Shocked? No! I’m lucky enough to be able to work with these great artists every day and I do think they deserve to get support, but I never expect it to happen. I never expect anything good to happen to me. I do get really happy though and I get goosebumps every time a track from Macarize is being played on ABGT for example. I hope I’ll feel this way 10 years from now as well, otherwise I think I’ll need to re-think what I’m doing here.

3. To anyone out there looking to start their own label, it can be daunting task to undertake, do you have any tips on someone looking to start one? Is anything you’ve done in the past that you may have learned from which you would like to pass on?

First and foremost, running a label is amazing! Getting started on Nellie Recordings early 2008 and later on creating Macarize are the best decisions I’ve made in my life probably. In terms of advice I’d say – take it slow! Don’t rush things. Create a nice graphical profile for the label and plan as much as possible in advance before you start.

I regret a few things, but I’m a perfectionist and I hate for example that the early Macarize releases have different colors on the artist name and the track name, it’s not all white like it is today and the text layout is slightly different as well. For MRIZE014 I changed to the look I have today. I wish I thought it through and kept it the same from the beginning. This stuff can still bother me!

To come back to my initial advice, the thing about taking it slow and don’t stress too much. I don’t particularly regret any signings, but I do feel that some releases are not as good as they could’ve been and I pushed it because I felt stressed, I wanted to release something and keep a steady schedule. So I regret not taking my time on things and care a little less about release schedule.

4. Tell us more about Macarize! Do you have anything in the works you can give us a sneak peak on? Any surprises or collabs in the works? You mention that you sign a wide variety of genres which make these label unique, whereas most labels sign one genre or have sublabels for different genres, what lead you to this decision?

We start with the first questions. I have a lot of cool music coming up. This summer has been amazing so far in terms of music. In fact, 2014 will probably be the best year yet for Macarize and I hope it’ll continue like this for a while! Coming up later on Macarize is a new single with Stan Arwell called “Outburst” which in my opinion is better than his debut release “Flight to Miami”, so I’m really excited about that one. Voxy P will make his debut on the label in September! I signed an amazing EP with him earlier and I can’t wait to show everyone. I’m listening to it as we speak. Another one who will be making a label debut is Zuubi. I signed two tracks with him and it sounds really sweet. I got a new single with Labtracks coming up and lastly, a guy called Von der Lohe will release his track “Jupiter” on Macarize. It’ll be his first ever release so that’s quite exciting!

As for me personally, I have a few things in the making. Three collabs actually, with three different artists, all of which has released music on Macarize before. None of them are finished yet though, but they have really cool potential so I hope everything pans out.

Regarding the genre thingy, well, I’ve always said that Macarize is an outlet for my musical taste. It’s a reflection of all the styles I enjoy myself. Macarize is really personal to me, it’s my biggest passion. You could even say it’s my life. So yeah, that’s why I release everything I love on there. It just makes sense for me.


5. Now let’s talk more about the man behind the label, you of course! Your last release on Nueva Deep, the track titled Drive, was something different yet very refreshing. Previous to that release you had Ghost Town and Heat which were more deep/house tracks released a while ago. Is this a genre change for you or are you just mixing things up? A lot of producers mention they would go crazy if they kept producing the same genre over and over again, would you call it more of a break after your releases of Outbreak and Around the Sun? What are you currently working on at the moment as well?

Since I listen to different styles, it’s just natural for me to try to produce different styles as well. I never really think about it though, it just happens. I fiddle around with synth sounds and then some cool sound pops up and I get inspired. That’s usually how it goes. I always knew I wanted to make a track like “Drive” though. The idea has been in my head for years, a really repetitive piano track that just goes on and on. Glad I finally got it out of my system, hehe.

Currently I’m not working on anything special. As I said before, I got those collabs but it’s a bit out of my hand at the moment since I’m not producing them per se (the guys I’m working with are way better at that stuff than me). I try to write some melodies every now and then but nothing solid yet I’m afraid.

6. Regarding the Outbreak remix competition, fantastic track by the way, did it bring a lot of newer fans to the label? I read one of your posts on a forum that mentioned you had done it at the same time Silk (and possibly ESM) did a remix competition and it still made quite a stir and generated a lot of remixes. Are you planning another remix competition in the future?

Thanks man! I don’t know if we got any new followers thanks to the competition. I hope so! But yeah, the timing was unfortunate. We did get quite a few submissions though so that was cool. In the end it worked out and I’m happy with the result. I don’t think I will run a new remix competition anytime soon though. It’s too stressful, I really don’t like it. First off, you never know what you’ll end up getting in terms of submissions. I don’t mean to sound harsh but theoretically I could end up with 100 remixes I don’t like and feel forced to release 1-3 anyway, which I know would bother me forever. Secondly, I just don’t feel comfortable telling all these people that they didn’t win. Same with regular demos actually. I’m so happy I don’t have to sit face-to-face with all these people telling them “No, I don’t want to sign your song”. That would kille me. I hate that aspect of running a label. Even though they don’t care, I still feel like a bad guy and yeah, it’s just not a nice feeling.

7. Aside from Outbreak you did another collaboration with EDU – Around the Sun, which was given massive support. You guys seem to be a superstar duo! How did you guys meet and start to collab? Do you have anything in the works with him at the moment?

Me and EDU has done three collabs now and all of them got great support and reactions so now I kinda feel some pressure to deliver. But I’m not that worried, EDU is a quality guy and he wouldn’t release something he didn’t believe in and he wouldn’t work with me if he didn’t believe in the ideas I send him. I’ve actually sent him an idea for a track but we’ll see if it’ll work out.

I’ve known EDU for a few years now. I released several tunes with him on Nellie Recordings back in the day and he was one of the artists that followed me over to Macarize right away. He’s a great guy and a great producer.

8. To all of the aspiring producers out there, do you have any tips to give? What are some of your favorite plugins? Which DAW do you use? How long do you work on a track before you are satisfied with it?

Play around as much as possible and try to have fun. That’s my best advice. I use FL Studio because I think the layout is easy to understand. I’m not a technically smart guy. I tried Ableton once and I didn’t understand a single thing, so I kinda gave up and settled with FL Studio. I don’t really have any favourite plugins. Well, Minimoog is really cool. I like that one. I also use Sylenth1 and Nexus. Been using Massive in a couple of tracks as well.

Regarding how long it takes for me to finish a track. Well, sometimes I get inspired and finish a track in a couple of days, other times I work for a few days and then I get bored or lose motivation and nothing happens for a few weeks, then I try again. I’m never satisfied though.

9. What is your creative process for starting a track? Where do you get your inspiration from? Do you have a special meaning behind any of your tracks – something deeper than just the title?

I have a template I always open with FL Studio where I have a couple of synths, a kick, sidechain and that sort of stuff so I can play around with melodies as fast as possible. 9 out of 10 times I start with melodies of some sort.

I usually get inspired by tracks I’ve heard recently and really enjoyed, or some cool synth sound. I never get inspired to produce by going out in nature or meeting people or something. Also, I never think about chords or melodies when I’m not producing. I’m not one of those guys who sit on the bus and comes up with insane melodies that I have to record on my iPhone. For me it’s always a grind. I open the piano roll and try to create a melody.

Oh and no, there’s no special meaning behind my tracks. It’s just music for people to hopefully enjoy. Simple as that!

10. Favorite drink (alcoholic/non-alcoholic)?

I think I have to go with a cold beer. Something light like Corona. Nothing beats an icecold Corona!

11. Favorite color?

Oddly enough, I don’t really have any favourite color. It’s kinda weird, isn’t it? I kinda just love colors in general.

12. What is something you enjoy doing outside of running Macarize and producing?

Watching tv-shows! I love getting hooked on a good tv-show like Dexter, Sopranos, Homeland and stuff like that. Photography is of course another passion of mine.

13. I couldn’t help it on noticing – but you seem to be quite the photographer! How long have you been into photography for? Are you the type of person to take your camera everywhere with you to capture life or do you reserve it only for nature?

Thanks! My interest for photography came when I was around 16, but then I stopped for quite some time actually, maybe even a few years. I’ve always enjoyed it though, even if I didn’t practice it regularly. I bought a new camera though recently so the plan is to get back to it again.

I don’t take the camera with me everywhere I go actually. It depends on the occasion entirely.

14. Thanks again for your time on this interview – is there anything you’d like to add?

Anytime man! Thanks!

http://www.macarize.net/
http://www.facebook.com/macarizelive
http://twitter.com/macarizelive
http://www.youtube.com/MacarizeTV
http://www.beatport.com/label/macarize/19629

About The Author

Ankit Desai, better known as Desaicrator, is a Systems Engineer by day and a producer by night. Currently residing in Rochester NY.