Naïve and careless: Kornél Kovács makes house music from the heart - Features - Mixmag

Naïve and careless: Kornél Kovács makes house music from the heart

The Swedish artist's debut album will soundtrack the rest of your summer

  • Words: Patrick Hinton
  • 22 August 2016

Kornél Kovács and the Studio Barnhus imprint he co-founded with Axel Boman and Petter Nordkvist are responsible for putting out a wealth of interesting and intricately crafted records. Packed full of unorthodox melodies, with influences spanning pop to dancehall, the music exists in its own field, constantly shifting away from homogeneity, marking the label bosses out as a trio of Swedish house messiahs.

Kornél’s playful personality drives this intrigue in unconventional sounds. “As far as the daily operation of Studio Barnhus goes, we're a fucking mess, we're horrible. Our finances and organisation are a joke,” he tells us candidly. A tunnel vision focus on creating and curating fascinating music leaves little time to get bogged down in admin.

Tracing Kornél’s history sheds light on his open-minded approach. The Stockholm scene he grew up in was active, but limited by the nation’s moral panic and strict policing. This led to Kornél looking across Europe to feed his ravenous dance music appetite. The UK served as his foremost influence, and he became obsessed with drum’n’bass and jungle at the age of 10, taken in by how fresh it sounded to his keen, youthful ears. Even now in his lower-BPM offerings, the strong emotional content and focus on ideas over technical proficiency of his first dance music loves resonates deeply. He took up DJing at the age of 13, and from 18 to the present day he’s been doing it every weekend, developing into one of the circuit’s most idiosyncratic selectors.

As a producer, Kornél has made two of the past two summers’ biggest tracks in ‘Szikra’ and ‘Pantalón’, and now this August he’s taking things one step further with his debut full-length release ‘The Bells’. Across the album’s 10-track runtime Kornél retains his trademark liveliness and a keen sense of fun with samba samples and spacey disco synth stabs, but equally his personal stamp courses through the LP in the manner in which the sounds are twisted and warped, resulting in an album that thrills with its conflicting atmospheres. Check out an exclusive premiere of the title track and a q+a below.

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