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Style Of Eye - The Eyes Have It

Swedish upstart talks influences passions and the madness behind his methods…

2008 Oct 01      Issue: 105
2 Bit Thugs

From his early funk-flexing days on Classic to his current status as an exciting tech house terrorist Swedish upstart Style Of Eye gives iDJ the low on his many influences passions and the madness behind his methods…

Linus Eklöw wears his heart on his sleeve. It’s an endearing trait. I noticed it when we first met at a party in San Francisco last year: he launched himself at me with his cheeky impish grin saying how much he loved the magazine and appreciated our support. We partied hard that night. Living up to the European caner stereotypes we  our Stateside cousins for dust. One of us even missed our flight

"Ha ha ha!" Linus laughs from his Stockholm studio. “I’ve slowed  a bit since you last saw me. I’m really focused on doing good shows and having quality time in the studio. I don’t want to lie  in bed for a week after tours so I’m slowing  a bit and making sure everything I do is the best it can possibly be.”

Once again his passion shines through. Be it through his work or his family life Linus positively radiates good vibes. In a scene that can often take itself a little too seriously his attitude is a breath of fresh air. Which funnily enough is something close to Linus’s heart this morning.“

I actually just bought a house up north. It’s really close to the big bears and snakes. We need that ocean view! It’s the best gift for my daughter to grow up close to nature with fresh air no city smog. We’re 50 metres  to the beach and we’ve got quality time at home. All the travelling can get quite hard sometimes so when I come home it will be to quality family time.”

His departure to the Swedish wilderness isn’t why iDJ has given him a call though. As idyllic as it sounds we’re more interested in ‘Duck Cover & Hold’ his debut artist album on John Dahlbäck’s Pickadoll Records. A dramatic slab of spikey electronic mayhem it’s a non-s dedication to modern techno-flavoured dancefloors with a range of consistent themes motifs and sonic devices.“

I sat  in August last year and decided to make track one and take it from there” he explains of the album’s formative stages. “I wanted it to have a connection between each song and for there to be a vision. I really wanted to push myself to do some things that I’d never done before and take myself to places where I’ve never been before.Yes it’s far away from the Classic stuff that many people still know me for but it was fun I even make fun of myself at points with some silly melodic trance flirts. I think a lot of heads out there will be like ‘What?!’ but you need to distance yourself from your music-making to keep the fun in there.”

From the hymn-like euphoria of ‘Amelie’ (a track he named after his daughter) to the shimmering trance-tinged spasms of ‘Girls’ the fun factor is in abundance. Linus’s lust for life is evident in everything he does… even in the studio. “

I like to gather up some funny instruments and toy flutes and trumpets” he laughs. “It’s how I have fun. On a Monday morning if I’ve had too much coffee then I’ll grab a  bunch of these toys and play around with them in studio record it and start from there. It’s a great way to start the week! They’re not even my daughter’s toys I just let myself loose in the stores!”

The end result is a carey cultivated cacophony with tracks such as ‘Zona’ and recent club smash ‘The Prophet’ designed purely for dancefloor devastation. As Linus states it is indeed a far cry from the Style Of Eye who first graced our record collections on Carter and Solomon’s late great (and recently relaunched – see p9!) Classic imprint with timeless funk jams such as ‘You Got That’ and ‘ Now!’.

You could be fooled into thinking his move towards a more techno-tinted template is a jolly jump aboard a dangerously bowing bandwagon but there’s far more to it than that. If you’d been paying attention you’d know that his initial steps in such a direction were in fact taken with his 2004 release ‘Gioco’. “That was easily the most techno thing I’d done” he explains. “I got a lot of good feedback from people like Tiefschwarz and Laurent Garnier so it made me think ‘Oh okay maybe I can try and do different stuff then!’.”

With a musical history that ranges from tempo dub acts to junglist DJ antics Linus embraced any form of sonic experimentation with his trademark wild-eyed glee. His name suggests as much. “I was thinking for a long time about what I wanted to call this project” he explains. “I wanted something to really capture every musical aspect instead of creating five or six different AKAs. Then in a newspaper I saw this beautiful picture of an eye and it said Style Of Eye underneath but in Swedish. I thought ‘Yeah that’s me!’ Everything I see or hear influences me.”

While some artists will try and avoid naming their influences claiming their work as original or unique or citing certain sounds as ‘cleverly placed reference points’ Linus is more than happy to admit his inspirations and influences.

“I really feel like a product of all the things I listen to from Stevie Wonder to Yello to Plastikman” he admits. “I’m the worst copycat there is! There are things lying around the back of my head that I don’t even know are there. They just come out with their own Style Of Eye twist. I’d love to work with Prince one day he was a major influence on the early Classic stuff I did. But he probably wouldn’t want to work with me! Do you think I should send him a copy of my album? Ha ha ha!”

Linus continues to chuckle as we say our goodbyes. “There goes a man with his heart on his sleeve” I’m thinking. Who knows what he’ll come up with next? One thing’s for sure it’ll be done with more passion and enthusiasm than most his peers put together.

Three essential Style Of Eye tracks through the ages

You Got That (Classic 2005)

A bumpy horn-drenched party-starter with cheeky chanting vocals and a deliciously juicy bassline this still sounds great today. Ideal for giving your dancefloor a proper boot in the jacksy

Hydroponic (Tiny Sticks 2005)

A rolling jacking house monster complete with scary pitched-up vocals this showed a more heads- side to Linus and went  a storm with house players across the board.

The Big Kazoo (DirtyBird 2008)

Super freaky bleeps ahoy with this slightly scary number on DirtyBird. As the name suggests this is all about the kazoo – not that you’d recognise the noises they’ve been warped beyond belief!






Tags: Linus laughs, stockholm studio. Love a duck