Those of you familiar with the unstoppable music and art scene of Copenhagen will already be aware of these two characters – Rasmus Stolberg is of course the bassist of the much adored musical outfit Efterklang and also of the recently emerged Liima, and Kasper Vang is an acclaimed artist and musician, known for exploring perceptions of atmosphere with sonic influences.
The Lake Radio – launched in 2014 – is the brainchild of both Rasmus, Kasper and radio journalist Jan Høgh Stricker, as well as Mads Brauer and Casper Clausen of Efterklang. The station has already become a celebrated outlet for music that reaches beyond the boundaries of popular culture, providing a welcoming space for the experimental, the avant-garde and the inspired to join forces in one fantastically accessible, hypnotically curated spot.
The Lake Radio is also making a name for itself in the live arena, and is currently preparing for a residency at Copenhagen music spot Jazzhouse. The event will roll out over 10 days, and will feature performances from more than 20 artists – including an outstanding selection of Nordic musicians, so ahead of the shows, we caught up with both Rasmus and Kasper (second and third from the left in the photo, in case you were wondering…!) to find out more about what the event has in store, and to delve further into the inner workings of The Lake Radio.
Press the ‘play’ button just above to hear their specially curated Nordic Playlist, and make sure to find out more about The Lake at Jazzhouse by clicking just here.
We’re very excited to learn more about one of your latest projects, The Lake – can you tell us more about the concept? What gave you the idea to create the radio station and what are your ambitions for it?
The Lake is a radio platform for music and sounds that are beautiful, weird and/or radical.
We focus on exploratory, experimental and interesting music of all ethnicities and of all times. Furthermore we are broadcasting sound art pieces, radio art and other recordings of interesting sounds from around the world.
The radio plays randomized tracks 24 hours a day on www.thelakeradio.com, and about once a week we broadcast a longer program, mixtape or live concert. We also host events in Copenhagen and Berlin. ‘The Lake in Jazzhouse’ is our most ambitious concert series yet since our launch in August 2014.
The Lake is non-profit and voluntarily driven. It is also an open radio platform. We encourage everyone reading to contribute to The Lake in whatever way you find interesting. If we find it interesting too, it will be featured.
The programming is really diverse and interesting, so how do you decide what should be played and who to feature?
We have editorial talks and meetings about the longer programmes we produce, but the general stream that runs 24 hours a day is built on trust. At the moment we are 7 people who add tracks we think fit to a shared database. In addition we have about 20 guest curators who suggest tracks now and then.
We let our passion and curiosity guide us.
We are free to program old music too and this opens up a lot of interesting material. It is interesting for us to question the idea of relevancy. The music media is obsessed with the new music, but at The Lake we enjoy pairing a Malene Dietrich recording from the 1920s with a brand new FKA Twigs song. We have lots of avantgarde and experimental stuff in The Lake, but we also have Whitney Houston singing a capella and Paul McCartney’s bassline from ‘Something’. We also program lots of sounds that are not music, like sound pieces, field recordings of mating frogs or conversations with taxi drivers.
It’s all about opening the field of listening and appeal to the listener’s curiosity, combined with a pluralistic approach to musical genres.
As you mentioned, you’re going to be taking The Lake to a live setting in March with a residency at the Jazzhouse in Copenhagen, so what should we expect from the shows? And which performances are you most excited to see?
The diversity of the shows hopefully reflects the eclectic nature of The Lake.
We are very excited about the entire programme. We have managed to book some of our favourite artists. Arve Henriksen and Fennesz open the series with the world premiere of their new duo collaboration and the electronic music pioneer Manuel Göttsching will visit Denmark for the very first time. We also look forward to acts like Dean Blunt, Bohren & Der Club of Gore and then for the closer Mad Monday will host a mini symposium about waste, which will include a live demonstration of how to prepare sheep brain in a delicious manner.
You’ve picked an amazing selection of Nordic artists for the residency, but who would be the ultimate Nordic additions to your dream bill?
Would be amazing to see Björk in the intimate settings of Jazzhouse. It is admirable how she’s been able to use her success to create even more ambitious projects. A lot of things can be said about an album like Biophilia, but everyone has to admit that it takes serious guts to create such a beast. Just think of the apps and all the far out instruments she commissioned.
Pan Sonic is unfortunately not playing anymore, but that would have been a blast. Now we have Mika Vainio playing solo instead.
Another dream act would be Finnish avant-garde singer M.A. Numminen, who is an old hero of ours.
Can you tell us about the tracks that you’ve selected for your Nordic Playlist today and what you like about them?
These tracks are either by artists who are playing at Jazzhouse during our residency in March, or tracks which are actually in rotation on thelakeradio.com. It is a diverse selection of high quality ambient, free improvisation, experimental electronics and modern compositional music – just like The Lake.
Which artists / musicians / creative folks from Denmark would you highly recommend we check out?
There’s a lot of stuff going on in the experimental Danish music scene at the moment. The venue Mayhem is an epicentre, as well as the labels Eget Værelse, Afmedhovedet, Posh Isolation, Escho, Yoyooyoy, El Paraiso and Infinite Waves. Four really good recent Danish releases are Selvhenter’s Motions of Large Bodies, Frisk Frugt‘s new opus Den Europæiske Spejlbue, Stof & Energi by æmæx, and Amor Fati by Jakob Skøtt.
Can you tell us about a Nordic artist or album that is particularly special, memorable, or has been really influential on you?
Rasmus: I feel boring selecting a Danish album, but I will do so anyway. Opiate’s Objects for an Ideal Home from 1999 left a very big impact on me. Still does.
Kasper: Circle’s Miljard, which is also featured on the playlist, is one of the most amazing ambient albums of all time. Slowly developing textures and motives, very melodic, but strangely trance-inducing improvised pieces of piano, electric bass and drums. Made by a self-proclaimed ‘Finnish speed-kraut’ band. It makes no sense, and yet it makes totally sense. A masterpiece. They’re a wonderfully eclectic band.
And finally, what does 2015 have in store for The Lake, and for your other projects? What can we look forward to hearing next?!
Two of Denmark’s best radio journalists and music communicators just succeeded raising money (via Kickstarter) for a third season of their series of programs called ALBUM. This will start running on The Lake this spring. We also have the ongoing series of events at Roter Salon in Berlin and much more coming up. We are trying to fund money to commission sound pieces from Nordic artists specifically for The Lake. We are hoping this can take place already in 2015.
Main photo credit: Malthe Ivarsson