Jarle Bråthen is one in a googleplex. He’s one of the most endearing characters to come out of the Norwegian space Disco era, a self-effacing musical polymath and an enigmatic presence in the booth. His reserved output is matched only by his dedication to the art DJing, with a sincerity for the craft and the music pacing through his sets and his productions.
A Full Pupp affiliate, Bråthen’s original compositions and remixes are known for their galaxian trajectory, tripping through the cosmos of icy synthetic textures on primordial percussive waves of rhythm to exotic locations. With an artistic voice like his variegated record collection, Jarle Bråthen is an eclectic soul with an encyclopedic knowledge of music, from obscure B-sides to ABBA.
Although he’s still a significant fixture on the DJ circuit in Norway, he spends most of his time in Berlin these days, spending his time between the studio and DJ booths like the one at Paloma Bar or Bohnengold. Always a welcomed pleasure in Jaeger’s booth and an infectious selector wherever he goes, Jarle Bråthen sets never disappoint.
He returns to Jaeger tonight for the Bogota Records showcase with a new record for the Oslo label and some other exciting news on the production front. We took the opportunity to shoot over some burning questions via email on one of the hottest days ever recorded in Berlin and he obliged on his way to the studio.
Hello Jarle and welcome back to Jaeger. What are you listening to at the moment?
Thank you very much! I’m listening to: X-ray Connection – Get Ready (Petko Turner’s & James Rod’s Fama De America Edit)
The last time you played here, you were scratching records from the rotary mixer. What do you have in mind for this upcoming set?
This time I’m just gonna play FX, hehe. No, for Saturday I’ve planned for a more streamlined set.
It’s a Bogota night, and you’ve got a new record coming soon to the label. Can you tell us a bit more about the record and how it will fit around the night in terms of the records you bring?
The tracks on Bogota are more uptempo in comparison but I will try to keep the set as deep as my inner compass allows me.
You’ve done a few remixes for Bogota in the past, but this is your first venture of original music outside of Full Pupp I believe. What is it about this record that was destined to be on Ivaylo’s label?
I have several original tracks outside Full Pupp but Ivaylo asked me to make some for Bogota. So as a kind of commission for the label, I pushed my production style to challenge myself creatively and ended up with a likable result.
You generally have quite a reserved output. What do you need to make a record and why do you prefer to do it only on occasion?
I produce a lot but not necessarily push to release the stuff all the time. For a while this “pushing” was killing my creative process. For example; If I thought one of my tracks reminded me of a certain label’s sound, I would listen to that label’s output to make my track sound coherent. This also made me “stressed” about music making all together. I find myself the best when I just stay in the music making processes not thinking of what comes next. If that made any sense?
Btw, there are a lot of stuff in the production pipeline for instance a solo EP on Beatservice Rec, and collaborations with Hard Ton, Miss Plug Inn and Local Suicide.
What are the perfect conditions for you to sit down and start making music?
There are no perfect conditions so I make the space in both schedule and head to produce.
What usually inspires you outside of music?
Stand up comedy
I assume that you consider yourself a DJ first and foremost. How did you get into the DJ thing?
I consider myself a music fan first before DJ. I used to dance a lot as a kid at the youth club but wanted the dj to play the music I could dance to. The DJ said why don’t you DJ yourself so you can hear the tracks you want. Slowly I moved from the dancefloor and into the booth.
When did you notice you had a knack for it?
When I felt it was somewhat effortless to beatmatch and pick out tracks that people danced to.
How do you think you’ve evolved as a DJ since then?
I come from a mainstream background so music content has evolved towards a bit more underground and electronic way. And still is evolving…
You’ve definitely got that Norwegian eclecticism and musical sincerity in what you do in the booth. What do you look for in records and how would you define your sets for the uninformed?
I can’t put my finger on it but there is a certain “weighty bump” in the groove that resonates with me. Set wise I think I’m all over the place but some of my friends tell me that I have kind of a red thread in my sets that I can’t really hear.
Why, the move to Berlin?
To feel free, meet open minded people and the musical opportunities that are not other places. I also took my bachelor degree in electronic music production here.
With you, the Sex Tags guys, Charlotte Bendiks and Karima F all there, there’s quite a healthy Norwegian faction in the German city and you’re all very popular there as far as I can understand. Why do you think the kind stuff you and the likes of Fett Burger play resonates with the Berliners?
An unconscious projection of Aurora Borealis.
Having said all that you regularly still play in Norway. How do you have to adapt your sets for Norwegian audiences today?
I usually adapt my sets to the venues not the countries.
I always thought that you can be a bit more experimental in Berlin, since you have those long sets. Is this something that you’ve experienced, and what is the usual trajectory a longer Jarle Bråthen set would follow?
Let me get this clear: I love long sets! Starting easy to get everyone onboard the tu tu train ride. Slowly increasing the bpm with a mixture of longer stretches of one style to develop into another and differentiate from hot to cold soundscapes, building it up to a bit faster and harder climaxes.
You know that on the other side of the night you’re playing, we’ll have MC Kaman selecting some guilty pleasures by request. What is your guiltiest pleasure when it comes to music?
ABBA – Chiquita
Thank Jarle for answering these for us. Do you have anything you’d like to add?
I am really looking forward to play in the Jæger backyard with Ivaylo.