CDR’s Copenhagen sessions began last year at Strøm Festival in conjunction with RBMA. Writer, DJ and CDR: CPH supporter, Fergus Murphy has been tracking proceedings since then. Here’s his thoughts on what the city has to offer and why CDR sessions in Denmark’s capital are worth a visit.
An open invitation to København, Copenhagen, CPH
Roll up roll up, Welcome welcome …
I don’t want to spoil the party with predictions for the future but I will call it promising. Miles to go before we sleep, but the last 6 years in Copenhagen and Denmark have seen many changes on the music scene, reflecting international trends but also the advent of new generations as the older promoters and DJs make room, or get pushed, for the new coming through.
It hasn’t been easy. There is no club culture here that is comparable to the UK or neighbours like Germany, its only a recent potential ’rite of passage’. There have been small and important scenes, producers, DJs, artists and clubs since the very early days in hip-hop and electronic music but nothing approaching the current following for the edgier end of music.
In some ways this whole land has kept it’s back, or at least shoulder, turned on the world for centuries perfecting the art of low key. There was a time it sat on the English throne in the course of it’s history but somehow what actually happens on the ground in Denmark, culturally speaking at least, remains below the radar, a little invisible to the world. It’s a small country after all (with a long history of being boring to beat) and it’s been keeping quiet for a long time now.
It is only in the last years via the instant worldwide internet spread of dubstep and its mutations that Denmark has felt like it’s more broadly taking part in an international scene with a large local following. Running on a daily basis, shaking off traditional remove and diving headlong into the sounds and styles of the future now.
Crucial in this development have been some key nightlife institutions like Rub A Dub Sundays, 10 years deep every Sunday it has served dancers, producers, DJs and fans with a steady reliable diet of quality dub and dancehall, reggae and roots to a regular crowd, building a culture while contributing along with the equally long serving and more UK-centric Ohoi Crew to making bass a natural and central aspect of all new musical trends. Their influence is now permanent. Over the last year a whole pile of reggae mc’s and singers have been crowding round good sounds in the charts and across the land taking national radio and the local iTunes charts by storm.
Hip-hop has been particularly strong here since day one with a large Danish language scene that has its classic, pop and radio sides as well as the maverick and backpack runners. One of the more interesting in recent years have been the inclusive, collaborative ambitions of SoundEscape hooking up with and presenting the international beat community to local audiences and also running the SoundEscape label as well as G:S Music. These labels are an ear on a whole crop of new talent like Lotte Rose, Alex Rita and Nanna B, Shatterhands, Rewolmer and X.O.B to name just a few. Elsewhere on this scene KrisWonTwo is working on a new LP and Terry Tester steps out from the tight beats of The Works to run solo in fine style, keeping a long running tradition in these parts running up to date.
The bass has always found its way into Techno too with the long established Echocord records and new movers like Northern Structures are keeping techno tuff, dynamic and exciting . The Bulk Crew have stepped up to the promoting game looking at the long run alongside the DJing and writing. Techno has always been busy here, it is northern Europe after all. Clubs like Culture Box and Dunkel booked a phenomenal range of quality guests over the last years and have contributed hugely to bringing the sounds up close as have the one-offs at Stengade, Vega, Rust. Along with that the slow explosion of one offs, festivals and crews as well as the many ’plubs’ serving DJ culture in a pub setting to the weekend crowds have ensured a sense of bubbling under.
One of Denmarks best kept musical secrets is without doubt Thomas Knak aka Opiate who has collaborated with Bjørk and Alva Noto amongst others and continues to expand and expose his hometown across the planet via his own interests and label Hobby Industries.
There is an ex-pat community that is deep undercover and includes smooth operators like Chllngr. New house manoeuvres are coming from Uffe and all that talented and extended crew and we haven’t even begun to touch on the new pop indie songwriting hybrids that are overflowing this traditional rock stronghold like snow amidst the trees.
It’s still early days and the coming years will set the pace. If you watch telly or read the news you know that Denmark is hot right now and Copenhagen is the capital of that buzz. Big in Japan and CNN. Furniture, chairs, architecture, bikes and welfare. Even fashion is getting it’s shine like DK film did. If you read the press here it sounds like Danish TV productions rule the UK and then there’s the food. Chefs over here have been cooking like mad. Fitting the DK into gastronomy with the competition crushing Nordic cuisine.
With all that current international chatter in the mainstream you might be right to wonder, what about the music? Don’t believe the hype, the music is coming and in a multitude of expressions. København is only getting started and after a year up and running CDR:CPH is a part at the heart of things, catching the sounds of a new generations tuning in.
I mentioned some locals already and here is a shout out to some of the others that are keeping it open and moving… This list is missing many and can never be complete, but if you thought it was very quiet over here this will be a good start… We will continue to keep you posted and CDR will be looking after the flow of new music…
Rub a Dub Crew, YoFok, albert, 2000F, philip owusu, robin hannibal, coco o, august rosenbaum & all the boomclap bachelors, the singers, musicians walking round, cheff records, jazz players, orchestra folk, mc’s, stacks, Efterklang, the sound systems, Rumpistol, vktr, Saints Go Machine, nanna b, iceage, eloq julius sylvest, top gunn, context, WAY People, static, noize, Storm, can, soul club, cars10, Kenton Slash Demon, trentemøller, the works, teal recordings, kriswontwo, exampler, illtunes, beastie respond, The Good Life, veteran cosmic rocker, Goldmine, all the new folder crew, dixone, simon, lasse, pac, sly nein, mike sheridan, resoe, mikkel metal, Cheff Records, linkoban, nobody beats the beats, Everyday, Endless, RAW, Strøm, click, Phono,
If we had the weather there would be music on the streets 😉
Come over and see us soon, bring your dancing shoes, we need more dancers.
Vi ses i København.
Image above by Lasse Kofoed.