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Pattern Abuse label owner, Jacob Bogh

Diving deep into the life of Jacob Bogh, music-wise.

We welcome back Pattern Abuse label owner, Jacob Bogh. Our previous interview dates back to early 2019. Time flies. We took the time to check in and see what happened over the past years and asked him to provide us with a guest mix on top.

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Thank you for the guest mix. What can our readers expect from it?

It’s a retrospective. Ten years of Pattern Abuse. A greatest hits megamix. Of course, with ‘hits’ I mean ‘some of my personal favourite tracks from the label’, Pattern Abuse.

The mix is divided into two parts: ‘The main room’ and ‘the chillout room’, representing the two sides of electronic music and club culture. And also the two sides of Pattern Abuse.

Pattern Abuse 10 years – The Main room mix

Pattern Abuse 10 years – The Chillout room mix

When I started the label, it was with the idea of releasing something between dancefloor and experimental. Something between body and mind. Or maybe combining the two, if possible.

Of course, when you start out, this is just an abstract thought. You have no idea if it’s actually going to work, what it will sound like or how it will evolve. But the releases have gained attention and play by top their club DJs as well as classical music radio and everything in between, which both makes me really proud seem to indicate that the idea is working out.

I was always curious how the tracks would go together in a mix, and the 10-year anniversary seemed like a good time to try it out!

One funny detail about the two mixes is that they are made as a continuous loop. Each starts out where the other ends. So if you want, you can put them on repeat forever. It will make you feel you are at the club, going back and forth between the dancefloor and the chillout room, forever and ever!

What has changed music-wise on a personal level over the past years?

My taste keeps getting both broader and more experimental. I’ve always had an open mind, but these past years I’ve been diving into things I never thought I’d enjoy. Country and new age for instance. Things that are sort of really lame, but also cool if you come into them with the right mindset. Podcasts are great for that kind of introduction.

I’ve ended up in this weird space where I’m constantly trying to find music that basically isn’t music.

And I’m always getting kind of more extreme on the experimental side. It’s that rabbit hole, a desensitising effect where you enjoy something. And you find the next thing and the next thing and go further and further out. I’ve ended up in this weird space where I’m constantly trying to find music that basically isn’t music. Or really exploring the borders of what sounds can constitute music. Abstract sounds, musique concrete, atonal things.

But of course, I always dip back into “normal” music as well.

And with your label Pattern Abuse?

I’ve definitely gained more confidence to go with what I personally like and to release music that is more experimental. Or just what works for me with no consideration about where, how or for what anyone might use it. And the amazing thing is that it seems the less you take into consideration what people may like, the better it works. The last release is a good example. An album of dark ambient by M422, and I thought “I have no idea where this will fit, but I love it, so I’m releasing it”. Then both Richie Hawtin and Charlotte de Witte both played tracks from the release. So there you go!

That’s the best. To confirm that your own feeling is the right way to go because that’s really what art is always about. Exploring new and exciting territories. But of course, you never know if anyone else will feel it, so it’s always unsafe. With makes it that much more satisfying when whatever you do actually resonates with people.

Getting some confidence to do that is really essential. Like a main ingredient in putting something interesting into the world, whether you’re composing, DJing, releasing or whatever. The alternative I guess is safe music – music that sounds enough like something that already exists, and what’s the fun in that?

Talking about the magic of music? What is it that makes it such a big part of your life?

It just is! Always has been. I think if I was deaf, I would still be listening to music in my mind, either writing something or listening to a track from my childhood.

I love all art, but music is the one I instinctively understand and feel. I watched the movie “Sing” the other day with my daughter, and teared up multiple times. Simply, because that’s what music can do. An oil painting might hit some people that way, but for me it’s music. Sounds are organised in time to create a narrative.

That’s the personal part, but another aspect is the social, communal one. Go to a concert or a rave, and people are experiencing something together because things are happening at the same time. If we look at that oil painting, we’re both in our own little world, because the narrative is in each of our minds, it’s not time-based like music. That’s not to take away from visual arts, they do great things, just to mention one of the nice aspects of music.

To another extent, with trying out new things, what are currently your main challenges as a producer? Can be release-related, equipment, collabs, …

Personally, at the moment it’s time to actually make music. Just because I’m too busy with other projects.

More generally, it’s the double-edged sword of the internet. Digital music. It’s great that we can all potentially reach everybody. But that means information overload. Now everyone has to find their music in this endless sea of sounds. People end up in this “paradox of choice” dilemma. Everything is there, but what should you listen to? Often people end up going with what they know. Even me! Of course, I do my digging, but often times I’ll end up listening to Wu-Tang or The Ramones or something like that – whatever pops into my mind from my teen years.

In some ways, record shops were better, because you might go out to a store with limited choice and you had the money for one or two records, and you would go home and really listen to that.

I say all this well aware that I’m becoming an old man saying “things were better in the old days”.

Of course, the internet and endless music is also an amazing thing. Everyone can discover sounds that would be practically impossible to find back in the 90s, and that’s a much better world than we had before.

Everyone can discover sounds that would be practically impossible to find back in the 90s, and that’s a much better world than we had before.

Music and sound are in some ways the most collaborative and interactive forms of creativity – what are your thoughts on this? Do you prefer to work solo or with others – and what are some of your most memorable professional collaborations?

This is a sore spot because I know that collaborating is undoubtedly the best way to create. But for my own music, I’m so set on my own ideas that I end up flying solo.

That said, I have a couple of projects I would like to get going on. With old collaborators. Again, time is really the main enemy here.

On the label side, I have started to get a bit more involved. Earlier on, my attitude running the label was: “you’re the artist – I’m not going to intrude on your work”. But I’ve realised that taking the role of an editor is a better way to go. I still don’t want to intrude too much, but everyone can use a pair of external ears to say this works, this doesn’t, consider cutting out those sounds etc. I used to think the musicians would see it as intrusive but turns out people like some feedback and direction.

I also have a few label ideas where I would like to give a concept and then have different producers make something for it. For example, a compilation exploring minimalism or atonality – getting different people’s take on the same idea. I guess that will be a way of collaborating as well.

Do you think that the kind of music you grew up listening to affects the taste of music you develop?  

In some ways, it’s inevitable. It’s like the basis. The reference for everything you pile on later isn’t it?

Like I would have The Beatles and Billy Joel or whatever in my mother’s car. Whatever I hear a bit later, in life, I’m understanding it through the filter of what I previously heard. Someone who grew up on Christian rock or afrobeat – they might listen to the same things as me but they will hear something different because their references would be different. “This I know. This sounds new and weird. This reminds me of that”.

Like when I started listening to listening to avant-garde classical music. It made sense to me through the reference to modern electronic music. But of course, when people heard it in the 50s, they will have understood it completely differently.

This might be a different answer to what you really wanted to know about, sorry.

What’s the favourite record your mom or dad played during your childhood you still love?

My mother played The Beatles, and the tracks that hit me were Eleanor Rigby and She’s Leaving home. Come to think of it, I’ve remixed both for fun at some point. A dubstep version of Eleanor Rigby

and an ambient experiment based on She’s Leaving Home

Billy Joel is another one from my mother’s side. I still love 52nd Street and recently rediscovered Rosalinda’s Eyes as one of the most amazing songs ever written. I want to start a ska/punk band, just to do a cover of that song.

Another one is the classical composer Dvorak, his 9th symphony, for the new world. I heard it in my late 20s and loved it, and my mom told me “yeah, you used to love that as a kid as well”. I had forgotten I knew it, so I guess I got to experience it for the first time twice!

On my dad’s side, it was mostly Louis Armstrong. But also, I grew up in Venezuela, and my dad would have merengue, salsa and that kind of thing in his car. I wasn’t too much into it at the time, but I think it stuck with me. That whole frame of reference thing I was talking about earlier. And I definitely developed a love for salsa and other Latin styles later on, which I think I can thank that early exposure for.

Who should be on our radar music-wise — who is getting you really excited?  

I have to be honest, I don’t think I have anything new and contemporary to offer. I’ve spent the last years digging into the past much more than looking at the future. The new and fresh stuff I know is mainly what I release – artists like M422, Jens Paldam, Jack Rock, Aloof. Artists I plan on making releases with, hopefully in the near future.

But for my personal listening, these past years I’ve been falling deep into this hole of mid-20th-century composers. I spent more than a year being obsessed with Philip Glass. I’ve been exploring John Cage. Everybody knows him for 4″33. But he’s such a wildly interesting composer with so many other crazy things. Steve Reich, LaMonte Young. A more recent composer called Michael Nyman. These things are definitely not for everyone, but I’m kind of obsessed.

Oh, one thing from Denmark people should check is SØS Gunver Ryberg. Electronic music with next-level attention to sound design. Brilliant.

The DJ seems to be the rock or pop star of our generation, electronic music seems to be the modern Rock’n’Roll, Burning Man and Tomorrowland the Woodstock of our generation. How do you think future generations will re-invent music and festival culture to distinguish themselves from us, the parents?

I’m not sure things really really change that much fundamentally.

People and especially young people have a basic need of coming together. Sharing experiences and being in spaces where the real world doesn’t exist and the rules don’t really apply. Where you can do drugs, be naked, hug strangers, dance like nobody is watching and be totally immersed in the experience. In that regard, how the music sounds – that’s just details.

My personal taste is of course more fringe, so I prefer a festival with loads of smaller stages. For me, the format of 50.000 people at the same concert doesn’t really work. Because it’s one type of music that works in that setting. Stadium rock, stadium IDM, stadium rap – in some regards it’s all the same because the music needs these big broad strokes. Like painting on a giant canvas. One small subtle brush won’t do. You need a huge brush with just a few primary colours that stand out.

A very specific type of music that works for that format. Plus the logistics of the whole thing aren’t that great. Nobody really gets a great concert experience at those 50-100.000 people concerts. You just show up because you really want to see the act, but does anyone go away saying “wow, that was the best concert of my life”? I don’t think so. Between 500-5.000 people is the best size in my opinion. But of course, I know if I want to see Eminem, it’s never going to be a 500-person concert.

But I digress. To answer your question, I don’t think things will really be reinvented. Just new sounds and technology, but fundamentally, we’re doing what humans always did. Meeting up to share experiences.

What’s what you’ve got planned for the year ahead? Any new music or collaborations we should know about?

Right now I have too many projects that are in a quite an early conceptual phase, that I hope to be able to bring to fruition this year.

I have a half-finished album of soundscapes that I’m trying to find out what to do with. And some rough ideas for my new digital punk project Kraniebrud (skull fracture).

On the label side, there are a few releases in the works by artists who have been released on the label earlier.

And as mentioned, I have some conceptual compilations I would like to put into motion, where different artists explore a common theme.

I also have some ideas for live shows. Collaborations between me and different friends. But realistically, this is probably on hold unless I suddenly magically free up some time.

Thank you! 

It matters little whether you are an artist or a visitor, the love for music is the unifying factor.

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