In the booth with BCR – live from Nightflight

Born out of a studio in Grünnerløkka during the pandemic, BCR (Boring Crew Records) seemed to have sprung into existence overnight. The studio- and DJ collective, made up of Anders Hajem, Henrik Villard and Jens Wabø, have had an immense pro-active drive, releasing mini-albums, EPs and singles over the course of the last year, staking a claim in the deeper echelons of House music in Oslo, where none seemed to exist for the time, and building a small community of fans around them. 

They soon added podcasts to their repertoire, building on the BCR portfolio which inevitably led to hosting events in their studio and as Oslo came dancing it soon took note of the young label’s infectious musical creations and immersive selections. Their studio parties turned legend for a generation of music heads robbed of the dance floor during the time of the pandemic, and saw BCR’s star rise from the ashes of the pandemic as the clubs opened up. 

From the music they create to the music they play, their sound harkens back to that golden era of East Coast US House music in the nineties, as they carry the torch for future generations. While combining their efforts across releases for the label, Anders, Henrik and Jens, have carved out individual careers, spreading the sound of BCR to labels as far and wide as Full Pupp and Mhost Likely. Cementing their sound in that deeper style of House music, BCR and her constituency have found an unlikely niche in Oslo, where they are the few currently pursuing this sound. 

“The idea is that we release music that we like,” says Henrik in a recent interview for the blog, and from that simple idea a community started to grow, a community that extends beyond Anders, Henrik and Jens and has started to seep into Oslo’s clubbing landscape, Including Jaeger. After playing alongside Badabing a few weekends ago, BCR will be back at Jaeger hosting their own night on a Wednesday and to mark the occasion, we’re streaming their last set at Jaeger, with an extensive Q&A with the collective. 

A mix of songs rather than tracks, channels the sounds of the early part of a night for a largely seated audience. The trio carve an immersive path through the familiar  and the contemporary as they connect the dots from the past to the present in the timeless sound of House music.

Between the labels, the DJ collective, and events, is there one specific thing that garners most of the attention at BCR? 

So far we’ve had a very organic growth in our exposure and success with the Label, we started out as a studio-collective releasing our own tunes in early 2021. We played our tunes together with like-minded people and danced in the studio, and now we’re lucky enough to get to play at some of the Clubs which have inspired us to do this. The events in the studio were always spontaneous and effortless, just people gathering and having a good time together. Most of our focus lies in releasing good and varied music, showcasing our diversity as producers ourselves. We have intentions of making this label grow and releasing other talents in the near future. DJing also plays a big part in keeping it interesting and fun, just the sheer joy of mixing in a newly discovered track goes a long way. Sharing music with each-other and the world is something we’d like to do more and never grow tired of.

It sounds like the music you make, and as an extension play out, is a continuation of that New Jersey sound that emanated out of the US in the early nineties with people like Kerri Chandler. What were some of the influences, artists and labels that cemented the sound of BCR for you?

We are three guys with quite individual tastes in music, from techno/electro to ambient and krautrock. And we believe that the New Jersey Sound / 90s East Coast House Music in some way connects the sounds of the music we like. Many of the elements of that sound is very closely related to both Henrik’s sound in terms  of drum esthetics, and at the same time having the connection in terms of “feel” to 909 and sample based house from the late 90s that Jens really likes. In addition, based on the parties in our studio, we have the impression that the objective catchy-ness of some of these tracks is something that everyone connects to. We like to think of it as the gateway-drug to dance-music. To name a few of our influences: Shall Not Fade, Cody Currie, Strictly Rhythm, Studio Barnhus, Fouk, Ian Pooley, Honey Butter, Paul Johnson, Nervous Records, Madhouse Records,  NinjaTune, PAMPA and Running Back. 

How do you express the sound of BCR differently between what the label does and what you do as DJs?

I think the two are intertwined. We try to play our own tunes when DJing, whether they are released through BCR or another label. We have also been able to explore new subgenres in club music after teaming up and discovering new music with each other. But we have to keep each other’s taste and preferences in mind so you don’t set off a tune going in a whole other direction, although this can be a challenge sometimes. Working collectively to go on a diverse musical journey that has a sense of collective direction is something we strive for, and we believe that this is what makes BCR unique. 

Henrik was telling me that you’ve had some success with hosting events at the studio. What was the intention with creating these events?

The label-idea started out in late february/ early march 2020. Since the pandemic hit we spent a lot of time in the studio Dj-ing and making music during lockdown, and since the clubs were shut down our friends would come with us in the studio to party and have a good time. This summer we have also hosted some parties in the backyard of our studio, which have been really fun. Without the support we were getting from the “core” attending these events we wouldn’t be where we are now. They know who they are.

Are you still hosting events in the studio now that you have started doing events at venues out in the city in recent months?

I think everyone, including us, are more than ready to be back at the clubs and live our normal lives. We have been lucky enough to play a few clubs already since things have started to open again, and for us, to DJ in front of a dancing crowd in a club is as fun as it gets. We still have the occasional “nachspiel” though, and if you’re lucky, you might get invited.

What were some of the challenges of taking your crowd and music out of an intimate space like a studio to a fully-fledged club dance floor?  

We haven’t really noticed any challenges yet! But, we hope we can bring that informal and fun-vibe from our studio nights to the clubs. Playing in the comfort of your own friends and being on homeground makes it easier to take risks while mixing. Obviously it’s a different setting when playing out in the clubs. We aim to bring the studio-confidence to Jæger! We hope to be able to keep exploring sounds and dare to take risks on the club dance floors in the future too. The identity of the label will also be interpreted by a whole new crowd, and we can’t wait to get to know the Oslo crowd.

This mix we recorded at Jaeger during Badabing, sounds a lot more song-based than anything we would hear at the club usually. I was also surprised you opted to play the early part of the night too. Was there some specific train of thought relating to the time and music on this occasion? 

Well, we think it’s great to play song-based as long as it fits the crowd, room and occasion. And if you can leave the club sweaty from dancing and humming at least a couple of the songs played that night, we’re happy. Usually we play songs that we love, and I hope that when we play together we are able to match up with what the crowd expects – whether it’s an early or late set. There was also the element of sitting at your tables and not being able to move around and dance as usual which makes a more song-based selection natural. It’s also fun trying to do more song-structured songs because you have to change your approach to mixing, keeping the flow going. Meanwhile, have enough patience to respect the tune you’re mixing out of, especially when going back to back with each other. But we can’t wait to get a whole floor dancing again, that’s really what it’s all about, dance and forget, or remember. 

Yes, we were still under corona-restrictions that time, but your next visit to Jaeger, will be with an open dance floor and you’ll have the floor for the entire night. What are some of your expectations… and reservations… for the upcoming BCR night at Jaeger?

Oh boy! We are really looking forward to the BCR night. We really hope people will come through, and join us for a great night with tons of good music. Make sure you keep an eye out for our coming releases and hopefully more BCR nights at Jæger!