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
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Cities such as Berlin, London and Amsterdam are famous for their vibrant music scenes, but sometimes context and history can be restrictive. Do you think growing up in a city with a less traditional rooting in dance music contributed to the free-spirited approach of yourself and your Studio Barnhus partners?

I definitely think so. I really admire music coming from places like London and Berlin, often you can really hear that the producers grew up in the club. If you listen to the early dubstep tunes you can really hear that it was made for the soundsystem at Plastic People. And if you listen to a Berlin techno tune you're like, yes, Berghain, banger! Of course, we don't have places like Berghain or Plastic People in Stockholm so you have to make up these scenarios and fantasise about where this track could be played. We're definitely outsiders in that sense, and I noticed a lot of the producers that we signed to Studio Barnhus also come from outsider places in dance music all around the world. I do think that is liberating in a sense. When you grow up fantasising about raves and clubs, and it's such a distant thing that you're not sure you'll ever experience, then that creates a very strong romantic attachment to it.

The ‘Radio Koko’ EP came out on Numbers, and is your only full Kornél Kovács release on a label other than Studio Barnhus. Why did you diverge from your own imprint for this outing?

I'm a big fan of Numbers. I really like what they're doing. Around the same time we started Studio Barnhus, Axel also signed a record to Pampa and he's had a really nice relationship with them, and way before Studio Barnhus, Petter [Nordkvist, label co-founder] had a history as an artist with Border Community. So I think I was little bit jealous of them, that they had this home away from home, and I wanted something like that! I run Studio Barnhus and it's really nice to put your own records out, but it's also really nice to open the windows and get some fresh air in and work with other people. Doing something on Barnhus, then it's just me, Axel and Petter. It's just our little basement. It's nice to get out there and think about your music from another perspective.

Is the Puss label you set up with HNNY finished now that he’s quit DJing? And how is HNNY?

I just met HNNY for the first time in ages last week, for a coffee, walk and record shopping. He's such a nice guy, but we haven't been hanging out a lot lately. He's been away from Stockholm for a while, now he's back and working on new music. We definitely haven't quit doing it; it's just that there hasn't been a record in a long time. I guess it has a concept, which is edits, bootlegs, mashups. I don't think I or Johan [Cederberg aka HNNY] have been making a lot of music which is very suitable for Puss in a while. But if we do, then, sure. I mean, it is a bit of a hassle to put paint on your lips and kiss these fucking records as well, so there's that too. But I'm ready for a session, I want to do a Puss record, and I think Johan wants to do one too. It should happen.

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