LABELS: Stil vor Talent , Motor RAR, Armada, Dantze, Hive-Audio
Jan Blomqvist is a Berlin-based live electronic artist, whose signature melancholic vocals, introspective melodies and lush beats are celebrated throughout the international dance music scene. With his band he performs dance-oriented electronic pop; as a solo artist, vocal techno.
As a child Jan was always singing. His open-minded parents immediately saw and encouraged his natural talent by exposing him to a variety of music and by giving him his first guitar. Fortunately or unfortunately he was not allowed to join the school band, so instead he formed his own band in a caravan in the woods. There they were free to play whatever music they wanted, which at that time was mostly melodic grunge and punk rock. While the band had moderate success it seemed unrealistic that it would become a career option at that point so after high school Jan, who was always keenly interested in the sciences, began studying aerospace engineering. Then, at the age of 21, he saw his first techno DJ and realized an alternative path in which music could in fact be a profession for him.
Jan continued making music, sharing his nights between producing and working at Berlin’s Week-End club where he earned enough behind the bar for even the odd educational trip to a Radiohead concert or sunday picnic at Bar 25. Through these inspiring experiences he began to form a new goal for himself as a musician, to bring a concert atmosphere to the dancefloor through strong vocals, detailed minimal beats and minor key melodies that are actually somehow uplifting. And more generally, to break up the monotony in the techno nightlife by injecting some pop and rock sensibilities back into the club scene.
In 2011 he got his first big break, a prime time slot at the fusion festival in front of 3000 people right before a big rainstorm. Then after 2 popular releases on Dantze and Stil vor Talent Records he got his next lucky punch, a beautiful video of a flawless live concert performance on the rooftop of Week-End club, which immediately went viral on YouTube and now has more than 2 million hits. This seamlessly flowed into what is now over 300 gigs in three years in places like Moscow, Paris, Istanbul, New York, Rome, Copenhagen, Brussels, Amsterdam, Milan, Athens, Budapest, Beirut, Tunis, Naples, Bucharest, Warsaw, Zurich, Marseilles, Montpellier, Thessaloniki, Munich, Vienna, ans London.
But in the background of all this and his numerous other collaborative releases Jan has been steadily working on his debut album, taking all the time he needs to get everything perfect. And its getting close now. Sonically it stays true to the big club sound and dark melodies that he is known for, but it will also extend his sound and performances onto larger concert stages, as Jan has now a new Blomqvist band. This is his orchestra: Christian Dammann, drums. Felix Lehmann, piano. And Ryan Mathiesen, lyrics.
»It’s that imperfect sound that makes us« Jan explains. »Emotional, honest, authentic, detailed, big-bassed, sometimes atonal, but mostly just indifferent to the rules. Because, more often than not, it is that wry-ish note that give you goosebumps.«
Hello Jan !! How Are You? What do you have scheduled for today ?
I am still suffering from a crazy jetlag. I am still 9 hours back I California time zone. Today I made it to wake up at 2pm. So the most important thing for me to do today is to get to sleep before sunrise. Will be difficult enough. So I need to do some tiring stuff. I guess having a long walk through berlin would be a good idea.
Also I ll go to my new studio and continue building acoustic things. All the synths, eqs, compressors, drum machines and so on is all installed perfectly already. It won’t take much time until I can continue producing. But the new studio is way better than my old one. So happy times for me here
Please tell us a bit about your latest releases!
As I was working on my debut album only the last years, I haven’t had many single releases recently. The last one was ‘time again’ last summer. This track was way to sunny to be part of my album which is way darker and more melancholic. It is a winter album with many deep tracks. So I decided to have an extra release for this track. We released it spontaneously on Motormusic but it was a really successful EP. I am happy with it. But now I can’t wait for the album.
Which release was the one who gave you the most attention so far?
I think the most attention I got with my ‘Ink’ ep on ‘Stil vor Talent’. Especially because at this time I wasn’t known international. After this EP it started slowly that I got bookings form all over the world. Also my drummer and me we did a video for one track of this ep. The rooftop video of ‘something says’. We did it all alone with two cameras and some gopros, but somehow it went viral on youtube. We could really see ahuge difference in the booking requests after this. It is funny how a simple idea can change your life so much surprisingly. But it is not just one release. I think you always have to work on yout ideas continiously. Some things work better some not but that doesn’t matter so much. For it is important to stay with my ideas and my music
Tell us a bit about your upcoming releases! Is there anything special planned for 2015?
Yes! My debut album will be released in February I think. For me this is the most special event I could imagine because I am already working on it since 3 years. Some tracks are even older. Also for it is super interesting how the people like it because it is not just a collection of some more Jan Blomqvist deep house tracks. Maye tracks will be slower and more pop music style, some sound very independent, but of course many new dance tracks on it too. It was difficult to write some much Lyrics for one album. Took me lots of time and effort to find the words which fits into the music and also giving the album a meaning. I didn’t want to write some bullshit tracks. So it took some tome but now I am really happy with the result
As you are touring a lot, please tell us something about your experience around the globe. What is your favourite city or country and why?
I can not answer this question directly because I experienced beautiful moments everywhere. There is no certain electronic music paradise. I found lovely peaceful smart people all over the globe. That’s what I am really thankful for. Last week met such nice new friends in San Francisco. Last year New York was my special moment. Before that in Istanbul and about 3 years ago I met my friends in Paris. Switzerland also feels kind of home already. Romania or Hungary also. Italy, Belgium just to name a few. People wanna dance everywhere in the world. And mostly people in electronic music scene have similar idea about tolerance and freedom. It doesn’t matter where I play. People in Moscow party the same way like in New York even their governments wants to tell us we are different. We are not. We all only wanna breathe, eat, drink love and dance.
Maybe it is because I am a musician but People are always very nice to me. My favourite city to live is still berlin even if it is not the most beautiful. It is just so easy to be happy in berlin.
What was your funniest or craziest experience while touring?
The most scaring experience was when my band and me where ht by a lighting in an aeroplane. It is not really dangerous but we didn’t know that. It looked like an explosion and we heard a massive loud noise. The pilot took 20 minutes before he told us that it is all fine. Since then I am not the biggest fan of flying anymore.
It was crazy in Beirut when the airline forgot all our gear in Amman, Jordan. So me and my piano player had to buy many things new before the show. But there was a bomb attack one day before so many shops were closed. But we did not want to destroy any idea of doing music by stupid bomb attacks. So we decided to play. I had my computer and a mini controller with me and so we connected the headphone output of my mac with the sound system and improvised. My band did not even had a click from my ableton but somehow they made it work. It was not our best concert of course but it was ok and the people were super thankful.
For me it is still funny that I am still booked on every rooftop I the world just because of one video that I made to show the promoter that I also have a drummer in my team. Now I am the worldwide rooftop sunset boy, but I like peak time club sets. Ok I won’t complain. Could be worse J
You are working very close with two friends in a Band tell us a bit about this project
I always wanted to bring my old punk rock band back I the game. So I did. We know each other since we were 16 or so. It is still the most fun to be on stage with them. Especially as a live act who can not buy new track in a record store every week, I always was afraid of getting bored on stage. But with my band every gig is a new challenge. I love it. I think even for the audience it is way more interesting to watch a band playing than watching a dj. I knew that we could never sound as fat as a dj with his overmastered fresh tracks, but I always wanted to give the club scene some live shit. So we tried it and it worked. Maybe one of the best ideas of my live to do electronic music with a punk rock band.
What were your TOP 5 gigs so far?
Fusion Festival, Turmbühne 2014
Sonne Mond Sterne Festival 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
New York, Zero Boat Party at Hudson River 2014
Rooftop Gig in Marseille 2013
Vison Festival, Switzerland 2012
Tiblisi, Georgia 2015
Rock am Ring Festival 2015
What are your top 5 tracks that are really working the dance floor in your sets at the moment?
Normally I play about 4 new album tracks in my live shows. Nobody knows them but they are really working super well. Also ‘something says’ still work at every gig even if it is 3 years old now. And my track ‘time again’ always works, people know it and wanna hear it.
Thank you for your time and this interesting interview!
Interview by Stefan
Recondite – Levo (Club mix)
Trentemoller – Always something better (DJ Tennis & Mind Against remix)
Animal Trainer – Aeron
The Bianca Story – Dancing People are never wrong (Jan Blomqvist remix)
Hundreds – Aftermath (Robags Berchem Duff NB)
Ian Pooley – Kids Play (Stimming remix)
Jan Blomqvist – Time Again (Club mix)
Peter Kruder – Young Girl
Gui Boratto – Joker (Dave DK remix)
Joris Voorn – So Long (Christian Löffler remix)