Originally hailing from Cork, Wukah aka Gavin Desmond now lives in London teaching music production…
Be Svendsen produces an organic, melodic and nomadic style of groovy techno, which paints tonal stories that invoke the rusty key to the door of your feral imagination.
After starting his solo project in 2011 releasing a series of EPs and remixes, the ripples spread via live performances and a breakthrough into the international scene came in 2014. Touring through Europe, USA, Canada, Australia and South Africa, performing at festivals such as BOOM, Fusion, Burning Man, Symbiosis, and AfrikaBurn, gave a home to his enchanting vibrations.
Electronic Groove: Hi Lasse, it’s was a pleasure meeting you at Get Lost party and we are grateful for the opportunity to share your thoughts with our readers. What can you tell us about your experience in Miami during Miami Music Week?
Be Svendsen: A pleasure to meet you too. The crowds at the MMW shows I played were quite mixed, and it’s always interesting to see how first-time listeners takes it in. My music does require a certain level of attention from the listener, and I felt like it was being well received. Also really special to meet so many people from the scene in one place at Crosstown Rebels’ Get Lost party.
Electronic Groove: We would love to know about your musical background and how it has influenced your productions and/or playing style?
Be Svendsen: I was never trained in any instrument, but always fooled around with them, learned a bit of guitar as a kid, but only standard stuff. I was very attracted by the thought of playing multiple sounds simultaneously and experimented with old turntables and real to reel tapes found in flea markets, effect pedals and such. Finally, I saved enough money to get a pair of 1210’s at the age of 15 and started mixing. Then bought my first sampler and HD recorder in 96, and here we are 20 years later, ha!
Electronic Groove: In terms of inspiration, who would you say has been the artists that have most inspired you to produce and evolve as artists?
Be Svendsen: I really can’t just name one artist that has done it for me. There are so many legendary producers who I deeply admire. But inspiration-wise, I’m generally always drawn to stuff that touches me emotionally, and above all its got to have soul. You can say I make Tarantino-Tech! In the sense that Quentin always reintroduces old elements that have a certain familiar and nostalgic value, perhaps even without it being obvious to the receiver, but it has the ability to attract and pull one in, because it was there somewhere in your life already, but now mixed up and served in a new form.
Electronic Groove: We could say that you’re part of new wave of dance music that has lower BPM. Some call it Shamanic or Andean house… How would you describe it and how do think it will evolve through time?
Be Svendsen: I only heard the term Shamanic House a few weeks ago, and Andean is completely new to me. There are only so many medicine songs over slowed down beats you can be exposed to before it becomes a bit trivial – my upcoming release on Sol Selectas Summer Compilation has an Icaro on it, which I just realized has also been used by LUM, so there you go – and the sound of pan flutes and duduk however beautiful instruments they are, will get used up eventually and then you’ll have to find a new name for the same genre now using other types of samples. So instead of limiting the genre to a certain style of chants, instrumentation or area, I would prefer to just call it Organic. But that being said, it can be loads of fun though, to come up with new genre tags matching the vibe for individual tracks. I love the exploration of different cultural musical traditions as long as it’s done with style and respectfully, and I see the increased use of sampling of such, as a very healthy and interesting step for the electronic music scene.
“Instead of limiting the genre to a certain style of chants, instrumentation or area, I would prefer to just call it Organic”
Electronic Groove: You’ve just released ‘Twilight in Tankwa’ On Rebellion. What can you tell us about the inspiration behind it?
Be Svendsen: The Tankwa Karoo is the area in South Africa where the AfrikaBurn gathering is being held – a very dear and special place to me, so from there comes the title, partly. The track is made up of a bunch of samples and recordings I did 7 years ago. It’s based around the hook of a Raymond Scott piece ‘Twilight in Turkey’ from the 1950’s made on his home-made, first of its kind synthesizers – The Electronium. You’ll also hear my old clarinet in there, and a barber-shop quartet sample from the late 20’s. The B-side ‘Scarecrow’ was originally a vocal from a track by AYAWAKE which I completely fell in love with and was lucky enough to get to work with.
Electronic Groove: Nico Stojan was in charge of the remix. Was choosing him something that came naturally or did you have any other producers in mind?
Be Svendsen: I made a remix of Nico and Mira’s track ‘Born and Raised’ about a year back. When ‘Twilight in Tankwa’ was done and I was looking for a label, it felt natural to ask him to do one. I’m very happy with his version. Actually, there were a few other remixes made by Unders and Britta Arnold, and one by Seth Schwarz. They really did a great job too, but there was only space for 1 on the release.
Electronic Groove: Are you working on any new material? Can you share some details?
Be Svendsen: I’m always working on new music. Playing sets consisting solely on my own productions obviously puts the pressure of having enough new material to keep it fresh and interesting for both the audience and myself to play. I just cancelled going to AfricaBurn this year in order to stay home and work in my new studio, and I am taking the whole month of June off from gigging to work on a new live set. I’m planning to change things quite a bit, so there will be a significant difference from listening to the releases and the live sets. Everybody who is playing live sets or strictly their own material are all facing the same challenges – how do you make it more live? Besides working on that, I’m just about to sign a contract for an album.
Electronic Groove: We heard your sets at Burning Man. What can you tell us about the experience?
Be Svendsen: I have always made music for the deserts, long before I went to any of the burn festivals it was always that. It’s been calling me, so playing at Burning Man and AfrikaBurn really felt like finally coming home. Presenting the music in its right element is a true gift.
Electronic Groove: Are you playing again this year?
Be Svendsen: I am. This year though, I will only play one live set. It’s going to be a unique performance and different from anything I have ever done.
“I have always made music for the deserts, long before I went to any of the burn festivals it was always that”
Electronic Groove: Can you share with us your favorite 3 tracks on rotation?
Electronic Groove: What do you like to listen when you’re chilling out and unwinding?
Be Svendsen: There is so much beautiful music, sometimes it’s pretty random, but I rarely listen to electronic music at home.
Electronic Groove: A few artists have mentioned that one of the perks of touring is having the possibility to experience worldwide gastronomy. Where and what would be your last supper?
Be Svendsen: I really love to cook myself, and I appreciate the art and detail in a well-prepared meal, so last supper would be any veggie dish anywhere on the planet, as long as it would be carefully crafted with ambition, love and intention.
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