JM#127 – Bendik Baksaas

Bendik Baksaas is back at Jæger, and this time he is in the booth. Following the release of he and Fredrik Høyer’s multimedia collaborative LP, “Ode til alt Ute” Bendik Baksaas came to Jæger to join Ivaylo for his weekly Jæger mix last Sunday.

Bendik moves effortlessly from the stage to the booth crystallizing his production work in the context of this mix. He is a versatile artist,  constantly working on new music and exciting new projects; skills and pursuits that easily transfer between genres styles and even disciplines.

He approaches his Jæger mix with the sonic aesthetic, coaxed from original material that he and Joar Renolen have been cultivating together recently. Minimalists arrangements anchored by the resolute march of 4-4 kicks loop into infinity like something transferred from the philosophy of Steve Reich to the dance floor.

There’s a transcendental quality to the Baksaas mix that soars to unfathomable heights as the listener gets swept up in the repetitive waves of his sonic assemblage. Cutting pieces down to the their essential elements and combining them in sinuous threads across different textures, he creates a stark electronic landscape through his mix.

His Jæger mix wavers little from its sonic aesthetic, with a DJ mix coming together as its own artistic expression rather than just a selection of songs. Bendik Baksaas exemplifies the DJ as artist through this mix and there is a very prominent connection between his set and the music he makes today, across his various musical projects.

The last time we featured Bendik Baksaas on this blog we talked at length about his work as an artist, but on this occasion we frame our questions from the perspective of the DJ.

Photo by  Jan Tore Eriksen

Give us an introduction to your Jæger mix.

Together with Joar Renolen I’ve spent the first month of this year making minimal house in the mysterious tempo of 123.213 bpm. The mix is strictly tracks I’ve made together with him, except for “The Vibe” by Prime Minister of Doom, because I love that song so much and need to listen to it every day.

What is your earliest memory of a piece of music?

A shiny and blue CD with the title “POP”. It was a collection of nineties pop songs, a free CD that came with one of my mothers magazines. She gave me the CD. I remember the songs opened up new feelings. Longing and blue love. I played it on repeat.

What encouraged you towards a career in music?

In the childhood memory I was describing I realized how music can make unknown feelings appear. Music is magic.

Some years later I started playing guitar and played in heavy metal bands in my hometown Horten. The band is a family. The close bonds grow when we play together, to find someone and be found in rhythm is the biggest of pleasures. It is the feeling of togetherness and of being taken into account. What I do, matters. Both as a kid and as a grown man this feeling is essential to my well-being.

What do you consider your role as DJ should be?

To play the music I love. I imagine the most intense and beautiful experiences I’ve had dancing in a club, and I play that soundtrack.

What came first DJing or making music and how does one aspect affect the other?

I was making music on my laptop as a young teenager. It was not club music tho… That came a few years later. I started playing bass guitar in Mathias Stubø’s live band Proviant Audio, and through playing with him I slowly realized that a kick drum on all four beats was a GREAT idea. Kim Dürbeck (gerKimichi) taught me how CDJs work and I started out playing disco and Proviant Audio tracks.

DJing and making music are tightly knit. There is always truth in my favorite songs, so to play them on a big sound system is always a pleasure.

I also play live techno with my beloved sampler the Octatrack and some other machines. This is DJing and making music at the same time. It is so hard to do it good. The structure of “songs” is so nice in a DJset, and to improvise music that sounds planned like a song is very hard.

To listen to my own productions in context is an important part of the composition. It’s impossible to know how it feels to play a track out before I’ve tried. The groove and the structure of the song. It must be open to playful looping, and have parts that are easy to combine with other songs.

Are there any favourite tracks in this mix?

Yes. The closing track “house02_3” is very good, strange atmosphere with the pitched and quirky samples, the groove sits right and the hihat sounds amazing.

The opening “baks ren house001_7” is also a favorite. A main part of the groove is my friend and drummer Kaggwa Noel breathing heavily in his nose. The sampled and looped delay that comes in the right channel after two minutes makes me want to loop the song forever.

We will release some of the tracks from this set at the end of february. We need to master it and come up with some catchy titles. If you like this mix put a reminding note on your fridge to search for “Nolen & Baksaas” at spotify on the 22nd of february. We will make vinyls also.

What do you hope your Æmix relays to the listener?

On an emotional level I hope that some of the songs make you feel uplifted, carefree and safe.

What’s next for you after this mix?

Now I’m going to Berlin!!! I can taste the falafels already. Going to stay at my friends house and make music every day. Will go out to dance and also attend the Nordic Film Music Days, to hopefully get some more work making music for films.