TAPEd Conversation: Rune Lindbaek (Noid / Paper)
So Rune, we’ve heard a lot about you and enjoyed a number of your productions, but we don’t know much about you. How and when did you first start your production career?
“I started with Bjorn Torske in 1991/1992. Bjorn was producing before me – I was just playing records, but I got dragged in by him and suddenly we had a record out.”
The first productions we heard of yours were deep house tracks on Paper under the ‘Those Norwegians’ moniker...
“It’s 10 years since Blair won the election. It was the night after we mastered the ‘Those Norwegians’ album – everyone was very hung over!”
It seems strange thinking back that for many years you were considered a house producer. Is that fair?
"We tried in a way to make not house as such. We loved Paper, but we’re inspired in a lot of ways by DJ Harvey. Things with rhythm but with something else. We contacted Paper because we were neighbours in Manchester. They called straight back and said ‘we want to use this’. We thought ‘fucking hell, Paper’!”
So, what are you up to musically now?
“I’m doing a lot of differernt things – three albums this year. The first came out in the spring, ‘Klub Kebbab’ edits on Noid. Klubb Kebbab is a night I did for three years in a basement – it was packed! It was our disco not disco night, at a place called Head On, which is a legendary Oslo club. I’m a bit of an ambient fan, and I’ve got an ambient album coming out. Then something called Preshenga. I was born on the Russian border. I did it with a friend of mine up there. That’s finished and mastered, so will be out later in the year. We have a label called Pushenga to put it out on. I’ve also been working with the Idjut Boys on an album for Noid which should come out in 2008.”
We’ve heard quite a few remixes of yours lately. Is that something you like doing?
“I don’t have much of a business plan, so friends here ask me to do remixes. So I have a lot of remixes to do for Norwegian artists. Norwegians are shit at business – horrible. Shit at getting things done, shit at pressing things up, shit at promotion. There used to be two pressing plants here, but they didn’t survive. A lot of mixes I’ve done for Norwegian artists I’ve put together on a mix CD for a label called Beatservice. They’re based in my home town, about two rows from my mum. They have some old neighbours of mine on the label. Fenomenon are on there too. That CD is out now.”
For those of outside Norway there seems to be a lot happening in Oslo right now, what with the likes of Prins Thomas, Lindstrom and Todd Terje ripping it up. Do you think it’s fair to say the Norwegian scene is hot right now?
“I think it’s fair to say there is a lot happening. I’m glad, because I think one of the biggest mistakes I did was to adpot a Swedish name as a pisstake. It was because of the Eurovision ‘nul points’ and the bad way people think of Norwegian music. The whole Norway thing for me and Bjorn started 10 years ago, but now there are all these new guys who are doing brilliant stuff, and they work really hard. Hans-Peter is in the same building as me and he works really hard – he’s very professional and dedicated.”
One of the things we noticed from our trip to Oslo earlier in the year was the real ‘community’ feel and camaradarie between the DJs and producers. Is that real?
“Oh yes. None of us make any money, so there’s no competition. There are so many nice people – everyone’s nice – so it’s more just about fun. And really looking out for good records that are inspiring. Just good people.”
We’ve always wondered why Norwegian disco productions – and yours especially – are so dubby and spacious. Care to shed any light on it for us?
“I think if you have a bit of delay, a nice melody, a good bassline and a good rhythm, then you have a good foundation. You can tell why the Idjut Boys, Dan and Conrad, are a very very big influence. Their production technicques... we don’t all use the same, but they were on to something a long time ago.”
Is there something about Oslo as a place that makes people go for dubby, spaced-out disco? All the clubs we’ve been in out there seem to play the stuff by the barrowload... For those of us used to rarely hearing those records in UK clubs it’s pretty inspiring...
“The people who influence us in Norway, the big names are dub disco DJs. You have people who are popular around the world, the big names, but they are not popular here. Me and Bjorn [Torske] and Pal [Nyhus, AKA DJ Strangefruit] and [Prins] Thomas, we are the ones who like the dub disco thing. This is going to sound… well, it is a fact that people come to our nights, and have done for many years. That’s the thing we play. You can have big name DJs, but that’s not what they play, they are not influential.”
Why are they not that influential in Oslo? In the UK club nights struggle unless they book ‘big name’ guests...
“I don’t know. The good places to go clubbing here have always been smaller venues. In Oslo they tried to have bigger places – they tried and tried and tried, again and again and again, but they were not popular. Backroom music is the main room music here. There is a place you should check out where I do my monthly, called Nomaden... you’d love it. Friends of mine are running it. All those good records, they work. So many times I’ve thought ‘I’ll see how this goes’, and the crowd are like ‘yeah!’. It’s inspirational to me.”
Here at TAPE towers we’re big fans of parties in small venues. Intimacy is good when it comes to raving, we reckon – that’s why our best before: night is in a pub!
“Sounds good – I’m very much looking forward to coming and playing in Bristol. Size is important – you can’t have 600 or 800 people dancing to disco. You need smaller venues so you can get in the heads.”
Do you think the lack of drugs in Oslo has a bearing on the party scene and people’s love of slower music?
“Maybe. In Oslo it’s all about weed and beer.”
We hear you’re pretty familar with England, having lived here in the past. How do you feel about our fair isle?
“I love England to bits, and since I was 14 I’ve been going back and forth, record shopping in London, living in Darlington for a year.”
You lived in Darlington? We bet that was pretty strange for a Norwegian!
So, going back to the whole Norwegian scene for a moment, do you think the success you, Bjorn, Thomas and Hans-Peter Lindstrom have had opens things up for a new wave of producers to kick on?
“Yeah, definitely, and I think it’s good. As long as it’s good people doing good releases, then that’s brilliant. I don’t know whether you’re getting an impression of it, but people round here are shit at selling. We don’t have that culture here. In Norway, compared to the Swedes. If someone from Norway goes to Sweden on a business meeting, the people from Sweden will be in suits, and the people from Norway won’t be. The first thing the Norwegians will say is ‘where are we going after?’, the Swedes will want to know how they can sell something!”
Having met a fair few Norwegians from our time in Oslo, you do seem to be a laidback race who love to party. Is that a fair assement?
“Yeah, we love the fun. I feel so lucky living here. I’ve travelled a lot, and we don’t have any social problems. The social system takes care of everything. Norwegians like to have fun. Without the oil we would be a wasteland. Hooray for the oil!”
Right, we’ll see you at best before: on November 2nd...
“I’m looking forward to it. I like the sound of a Bristol booze-up! Just make sure you get me to Heathrow the next day!”
As if you needed reminding, Rune Lindbaek plays best beFour:, the best before: 4th birthday bash at The Bank Tavern in Bristol on Friday 2nd November. Entry is free all night, beards are optional. Us best before: lot are also playing at Timbuk2 on Saturday in Switch's back room, and also taking over The Park on Sunday to round the weekend off. I'm assured that there will be drinks deals on the Sunday, so pop on down for a boogie with music from my good self, and eternally entertaining Kelly Twins.
We should also have an interview with Steve Bug concerning his forthcoming Fabric mix for you very soon, so hold tight for that one.