It is just amazing how passionate people can be about music. We got to talk with Jacob who runs this fabulous record label called Pattern Abuse. Just the way he explains all things about his label, and his new release “Nordic Ambient”, a VA compilation, is just amazing. It’s all about passion for the music, nothing less nothing more.
It’s an exhaustive interview. So, grab a coffee, sit down and enjoy this very nice conversation with the open-hearted Jacob Bogh about his label Pattern Abuse and the fresh release.
Connect with Pattern Abuse on Soundcloud | Facebook | Instragram
Hey Jacob, hope is all well these days?
Hi there and thank you! Yeah, the usual busy time getting everything done before Christmas, but other than that, things are great, and I’m hyped because there are a lot of really exciting things going on, music-wise.
Tell us a bit about your label Pattern Abuse? How did all come together?
I guess I’ve always had this drive to introduce people to cool music. This weird feeling some of us have, that when something is important to us, we just need to share it. When I was younger, I was DJing, and after that blogging, so I guess the label is just a continuation of me having to share my own and other people’s music with the world.
At some point, I realised the important role of the label isn’t really the practicalities of “releasing” the music. It’s all about presenting it.
When I first started producing, I felt the whole idea of labels was a bit unnecessary and outdated, because today you just put music online, and that’s it. So why a label? But at some point, I realised the important role of the label isn’t really the practicalities of “releasing” the music. It’s all about presenting it. It’s the drama, the storytelling, the packaging, the whole context so that great music can be received in the right way and become more interesting. Understanding this, the idea of starting a label suddenly became interesting and meaningful to me.
How does your label fit in the Danish Electronic Music scene (which is fairly unknown ground for us)?
I think me and my label are sort of in the outskirts of what you would call “the scene”. On one hand, we’re not that active in all the things that are going on in clubs and parties, because I stopped DJing and I’m not that involved in nightlife these days. On the other hand, the label is collaborating quite widely, with people from both the experimental scene and the club scene.
But I really don’t know. In many ways, Pattern Abuse feels like something that’s just going on inside my own little head, even though I do a lot of work getting it out of there!
Why the name Pattern Abuse? Does it have a meaning/purpose?
It certainly does, and I’m glad you asked! The meaning is basically my idea about art and the purpose of art. As humans, we make sense of a chaotic universe by observing patterns. The patterns we agree on are what constitutes our common understanding of the world. These patterns are useful, but they are not the only truth. Each is just one arbitrary way of organising and understanding, passed forth by tradition. The role of the artist is to fuck with those patterns. And to propose new patterns. The artist frees himself from consensus and proposes something new. Maybe seemingly stupid, absurd, crazy, disgraceful or whatever.
And suddenly, new meaning exists. New perspectives. This drives things forward, but also opens us up to the perspective, that there are always other ways of understanding things. Other ways of doing things. And it’s the exploration that is interesting. This is the meaning behind Pattern Abuse. An ideology of always challenging how things are done and understood.
What are your goals with your label? And who are you aiming at?
To be honest, I have no idea! I haven’t thought much in those terms. For me, the label is an artistic endeavour, so I sort of just do what I find interesting at any given time. I guess I’m trying to push some boundaries and present something new an different. That is probably the drive.
I guess I’m trying to push some boundaries and present something new an different. That is probably the drive.
But you know, sometimes I ask my self the question – why do I spend so much time, effort and money doing this? And I don’t have the answer. As mentioned in the beginning, I’ve always had this drive to show people interesting music. So maybe it’s just who I am, it’s just what I naturally fluctuate towards doing.
Something funny in your bio: “I got fired a couple of times. They said I was too rowdy, but I’m pretty sure they just weren’t ready.” Funny to say this but it kind of gives us a feeling you well know the direction you want to go!
HAHAHA, I had completely forgotten about that. I think you’re right. I got fired from DJ jobs a couple of times when I was younger. I guess you could call it being uncompromising. I mean, you’re 23 years old and the music you play means everything to you – how is some idiot café owner going to tell you how to do your job? But yes, I’ve definitely always been pretty sure of what I liked and considered good. But of course, I always have to consider the option, that maybe I’m just an asshole.
But of course, I always have to consider the option, that maybe I’m just an asshole.
You have a VA compilation “Nordic Ambient” coming up. 11 Tracks to get us through the dark season. Talk us through the selection process. How did you select all these tracks?
I’d more like to see it as tracks to compliment the dark season, but yes. It was quite a bit of work. I had been thinking about making an ambient compilation for some time. I’ve been making ambient mixes since 2009, so when I started running a label, it’s kind of a no brainer. Especially since I’m moving a bit away from the dancefloor music.
Then I played a live set at ETER Festival in Sweden last year, and I really liked a couple of the artists I heard there. So I wrote them, and suddenly, there was material to get started. I got a few tracks from friends and collaborators. I also made an open call to the Danish electronic music community, where I got a loooooot of submissions. This is where it turned out to be very good to have a starting point because it gave me a good idea of the type of sound I wanted to go for. Ambient is a very broad genre, so there is a huge variation in what people send.
But this kind of thing is always more work than you expect when starting with it. I think I went more than 6 months from starting the process of closing the track list. Really just listening, taking notes in a Google doc, listening some more and taking decisions.
Some tracks feel minimalistic, others are more dark & organic and some even light but melancholic as mentioned. It feels you took a broad range of sounds?
Definitely. My goal in this kind of thing is to have variation – because then the common theme will be found somewhere else. It’s something I’ve thought about since I did DJ mixes back in the day.
We humans always create meaning (you know, patterns!) Any time we see 2 objects, we want to make a connection, so we can create meaning and understand what’s going on. We write a narrative. So if you play 10 piano tracks or make a DJ mix with 10 tech house tracks, that’s boring, because it’s too easy. You already gave the listener the answer. But if you play 11 different tracks like on my compilation, the story is less obvious and the listener needs to do some work to create meaning. What is the common theme? What binds this music together? Why does this fit in? What is the story? It activates the brain, and you create your own meaning and write your own narrative.
I think there are some common sounds. Some have that dusty, imperfect, lo-fi feeling. Some abstract rhythms. Dissonance. But most of all, I think all the 11 tracks are “visual”. They all have this way of setting a scene and putting you into a place. But on the sound palette, yes, there is a huge variation from the noisy and scary, all the way to the sweet, harmonic and soothing.
Maybe something about some of the artists. Why did you select their tracks?
I met Inuti and M422 playing at ETER Festival. Their sets were so cool, I felt like a total imposter for playing in the same room as them. Also because it was my first time playing live, and I had developed my set over like three weeks, so I was sort of an imposter really. But after getting over that, I just thought they made awesome music. I also discovered Ljudvägg at that festival, as he was playing on the main stage and it was beautiful.
Jack Rock and Jens Paldam are both good friends and collaborators from even before I started the label. Jens actually did the cover art for the first 5 releases. Qloo is a guy I found on Soundcloud years ago, and he also had a track on the first Pattern Abuse compilation, which was even more diverse in genre. The last 4 guys, we just hooked up online and I loved their sound!
Listening to the album does not make us quite happy. More melancholic. It’s a true selection for winter days. Is this the style you prefer, or is this the Nordic sound?
I think both. I personally have a thing for depressing, melancholy music. Even from some of my earliest memories listening to music, my mother would play The Beatles, and my favourites were Eleanor Rigby and She’s Leaving Home. Maybe it’s just the pleasure of feeling something. Happy is my normal state, so happy music doesn’t change my state. But melancholy does.
But I also think it is a Nordic thing. And I’ve been trying to figure out why ever since I started working on this. Why do we love the dark and the sad? For whatever reason, I think people generally feel like me. And it’s not just the music. I mean, look at Danish cinema. Lars von Trier is our greatest filmmaker, and all hos movies make you want to kill yourself. Norway invented black metal. So there’s definitely some love of darkness in the Nordics. Maybe it’s because the days are so short in winter. We know we need the darkness for there to be light.
Our favourite is Ljudvägg – Taktlöshet. Love the piano. A perfect ending to this great story you are trying to tell. It is a story?
The compilation is definitely a story. But it’s not a story I’m telling, it’s an abstract story I’m presenting, and then you have to write it in your own mind.
Each song puts you in a different location and mental space, and the mind wanders, creating whatever connections it wants to make. And I definitely think the Ljudvägg track is a good way end to it. Where other sounds are more abstract, the well-known sound of the piano is like a bridge back to reality. Like when you meditate and slowly let your mind drift back to the real world. But I love the track as well. It never ceases to amaze me, how it’s possible to communicate such complex feelings just with notes played over time.
Happy New Year, good health and all the best for 2019 and beyond.
And to you as well. Thank you for your interest and your involvement. And the work you put into the culture!