We are delighted to welcome one of our all-time favourite Norwegian producers to the Phonica Mix Series – Bård Aasen Lødemel aka Skatebård.
Dating back to the early 2000s, Skatebård‘s predominantly house and techno-focused productions have been picked up and released by such labels as Sex Tags Mania, Bordello A Parigi, Full Pupp, Untz Untz, Live At Robert Johnson and, of course, his own Digitalo Enterprises imprint.
For all of us here at Phonica, when we think of Skatebård we think of his 2005 anthem, ‘Conga’. Its hypnotic groove, distant vocal snippets and iconic bassline make it a certified classic.
Coming in at almost 2-hours long, Bård’s roof-raising mix recording is a deep dive into the more cosmic and energetic shades of house, techno and Italo, with tracks coming from Juri Hulkkonen, Lauer, DJ Blasy, Huey Mnemonic, Helium, Cybertrax and more. Keep scrolling and you will find an in-depth interview with the main man himself, as well as a full tracklist. Enjoy!
Hey Bård, thanks for contributing towards our Mix Series. Can you tell us about your recording and what the idea was behind it…
You’re welcome! Also, Phonica has always been very supportive of my record releases. The idea behind was only that I prefer to actually record mixes in front of an audience, even if they’re seated as nowadays. So I joined one of Trym Søvdsnes and Bjørn Torske’s evenings at Café Opera in Bergen. Yes, that live version of my track Conga featured on the Sex Tags Mania repress, was also recorded at one of Torske’s nights at the very same café.
The only thing I knew I wanted to do with the mix, was to open with that brilliant new Jori Hulkkonen track.
Could you tell us a little bit about your background, perhaps where you grew up and what first got you interested in music?
I grew up in a village between the alpine mountains of northwestern Norway. Started playing the drums at an early age. Was very interested in all kinds of music, but especially heavy metal to begin with, but at the same time a lot of synthetic pop music, and then later a lot of more experimental rock/progressive rock, until I saw the light with jungle on a trip to London in January 1995. Perhaps late to the jungle party there, but after all, I lived in a village in Norway and not in London. Then fast forward to the Millenium times it was about a lot of pure electro and techno, then half-obscure Italo disco and you see the story.
And what about your record label, Digitalo Enterprises, how would you describe this to anyone that isn’t already familiar with it?
Digitalo Enterprises was started by me in 2006 to release my own music. A few 12-inches and CD albums were released, with also full digital distribution. This back-stock is available digitally today. After a few dormant years of the label, I started up the label again as a vinyl-only label with the help of Fett-Distro a few years back.
The three releases of these years have mostly been a combination of the usual suspects myself, Lauer and DJ Sotofett.
Are there any exciting new releases on the horizon that we can look forward to checking out?
Yes, upcoming is actually an LP on Digitalo Enterprises! Single disc, not 2LP. I prefer the classic single LP style, like disco albums of the 70s/80s with six tracks, and actually loud enough pressings to play in clubs. But before that, as in right now, a repress of Dent 008 has just been released, in a nice and green disco sleeve.
If not in stock yet, then hopefully on its way in the mail.
What are your other favourite record labels out there at the moment?
In this matter I might just say too many to mention, it’s actually a bit like I trust in the newsletters from record shops like Phonica, Clone, Hardwax and Bordello A Parigi to give me a kind of map over this terrain. But at the same time, I always find new, but old labels to dive into. From a combination of friends on social media, YouTube algorithms and tracks in mixes from some good DJs. Sometimes these old releases are repressed and/or on Bandcamp, sometimes not.
How would you describe the music scene in Norway and how does it differ to some of Europe’s clubbing hotspots, such as London or Berlin?
It’s important to understand how few inhabitants there are in Norway, so it’s actually amazing that there’s a scene here at all. Like, Bergen where I live has 272.000 inhabitants, Tromsø 72.000 and the capital Oslo 634.000. But yes, before the pandemic there could be up to 2-3 club nights per night on the weekends in Bergen, which is good when everything is just a little 10-minute walk between.
What’s your preferred method for finding new music – do you still enjoy digging around in dusty crates (when record shops are open!) or do you prefer to buy online?
Dust should preferably be kept away from the crates in record shops though, only flea market and street vendor crates are accepted to be dusty. Sorry, I know it’s more a figure of speech. Well, things have changed a bit in the last year, as this has been the big home listening and not touring year. I’ve re-discovered my big love for cassette tapes, so I’ve bought a lot of tapes from various labels on Bandcamp. And a few online record shops. Often neatly combined with a digital download, so I have a lot of good Flacs and Aiffs to play when things open up again. Also, I’ve moved to a bigger flat, which allows me to re-discover my own record collection, half of my records I hadn’t seen for 10-12 years because some of my shelves were obstructed by all kinds of things… Also, I’m very lucky to know so many producers and labels that send me Wavs of new things directly.
And what about these crazy lockdown times we’re facing today. What’s been keeping you going through it all?
I think I’ll refer to my previous answer here, with the cassettes and the home listening. And also I’ve been listening even more than before to ambient music, and even folk music and acoustic music. There’s been a lot of solitary walks, reading and watching movies in the last year. Not very uncommon activities this last year. I’ve managed to release eight DJ-mixes though, so this will be number nine. All the other ones can be found on my Soundcloud page.
What does the rest of 2021 have in store for you?
I’m hoping that during this summer we can have something that resembles dance events here in Norway.
From September on I’m even having bookings abroad! I still work with KLS Bookings based out of Sheffield/Berlin and we all do the best we can, but we’re in the hands of the governments and the law, and these contagious viruses. I wish it wasn’t so, like everyone else. The only thing I can do to help is to play music. So I hope this helps. And mostly every Friday I post a favourite track or mix online and I write “God helg”, that means ‘have a good weekend’. And I mean it.
You’re very welcome, this was my pleasure.
Jori Hulkkonen – “Tähtien Suojaan, Toistensa Maa”
Guy Contact – Cool Blue Liquid (Maximus Mix)
Dj Blasy – Mutazione
Thomaas Banks – And The Machines Began To Breathe (Timothy Clerkin Remix)
Huey Mnemonic – Transmutation
Szaio – Chodź Tu, Idź Tam
Lauer – City Galerie 2
Vhyce – Far From Reality
Temple – Love Machine II
Perdu, Tjade – Dystopia (Bells Mix)
Infravision – Wasteland
Amtrac & The Juan Maclean – Grit
Enflure — Music For Everybody (Lauer Remix) – Amsem Records
Younger Than Me -Time To Say Goodbye
Skatebård – Agfachrome RSX II
Alex Niggemann – Technology (Fabrizio Mammarella Remix)
Skatebård & Lauer presents Crabsticks – Sundays In The Sky
Helium – Out There (Jody’s Mix)
Cybertrax – Illusion