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What Happens 9th birthday

Denmark's top house label celebrate with Nick Warren on 21 May

2016 May 05     
2 Bit Thugs

We catch up with What Happens main man and former iDJ writer Tim Andresen

Some of you will remember that, many years ago, iDJ had a regular section in its news pages called Around The World, in which writers from, er, around the world would fill us in each month about what was going on in the dance scene in their country. And one of the first writers to get onboard was a young Danish DJ called Tim Andresen.

In the years since then, Tim's gone on to become one of Danish house music's best-known names, travelling all over the globe to spin while also running his much-respected What Happens label. Well, What Happens is nine years old this year, and they've got a party to celebrate on 21 May, when progressive house legend Nick Warren will be joining Tim himself plus local heroes Uffe, Paxton Fettel and Ryan Dank at What Happens' spiritual home of Culture Box in Copenhagen.

So now seemed like a good time to grab him for a quick catch-up...

First of all… happy birthday! Nine years is quite a long time: what have been the biggest changes you've seen - for better or worse - in the industry and the dance scene generally over those years?

"Thanks! One of the biggest changes has to be the number of people involved in the industry. There's been an explosion in the number of DJs, producers, label owners, agents, managers, promoters... the list goes on.

"Another change, of course, has been the impact of social media and the way we use that now to communicate and promote our products. The worst thing is probably all the fakeness, with artificially boosted plays, likes and followers and less attention on real talent across the music industry as a whole."

What have been some of the high and low points of those years?

"It's been great to see our monthly What Happens party at Culture Box growing slowly from a party with local DJs only to becoming a party with some of the biggest and most respected DJs on the planet gracing the decks and asking to play for us because they have heard good things. It's nice to see a crowd with a passion for music, and to see people traveling in from far and near to be a part of what we do. It's also been a pleasure to work with the guys at Culture Box. They give me artistic freedom and let me take it in the musical direction I want. It wasn't really what I was used to from the clubs I worked with before.

"There've been very few lows, but nine years is a long time and in those years I've formed good friendships with people involved. So sometimes it hasn't been funny when I've had to take decisions that disappointed some of them, but that were necessary to drive things forward."

Talk us through the DJ line-up for your birthday party: why those DJs for this night in particular?

"We have Nick Warren headlining for us. Nick is a good friend of mine and we've played together numerous times over the years - here in Denmark but also at his Soundgarden party in Ibiza. He recently remixed my Pitiusa release and it was only natural to ask him to join me for this special occasion. We play all night in Black Box. We both like to play long sets and the crowd is now used to the DJs playing 3-4 hours or sometimes even longer.

"Meanwhile in Red Box we have our two bi-monthly residents Paxton Fettel and Ryan Dank playing with Uffe. They all bring a slightly different musical vibe with their deeper and slower disco-, jazz- and funk-inspired house sounds. Uffe hasn't played our night before but he recently played an all-nighter with Paxton Fettel and everyone I spoke to said it was brilliant, so we wanted to follow-up and bring them together again."

What's going on with the label right now? Any birthday releases lined up, or are you saving that for the big 1-0 next year?

"We're saving the special birthday compilation until 2017 but we do have some excellent single and EP releases coming up from the likes of Hassio (Col), Sous Sol (with a remix by Pornbugs), Dilby and myself. Quality stuff to look forward to!"

There are some great deep and tech house labels in Denmark right now, such as yourselves, Gartenhaus and DeepWit. Is house still strong in Denmark compared to, say, Germany, Spain or the UK?

"Here in Copenhagen we have a cool underground scene with a couple of good clubs and bars and several one-offs every week. Outside the capital there are just a few clubs with quality club music so it's mostly happening here to be honest.

"However, it's not really to be compared with any of the countries you mention above. They all have a long history, larger crowds and selections of clubs and festivals but we have our own little thing going and the scene keeps growing. Thank God there's not much attention on EDM, but more on music with more substance, so to speak."

Finally, as the former Danish correspondent for our Around The World section, what other Danish artists, producers, DJs, labels and clubs should we be keeping an eye on? 

"Speaking of labels, you already mentioned What Happens, Gartenhaus and DeepWit but others that are delivering good stuff (digitally or on vinyl) include Blindfold Recordings, Martinez's Concealed Sounds, Kompliké, Echocord and Noir Music, to name a few.

"Some of the most interesting Danish producers at the moment, aside from the ones you all know already, include Paxton Fettel, Uffe, Jacob Bech, S.A.M., Nandu, Radeckt, Pete Oak and Notize.

"The venues to keep an eye on here in Copenhagen would be Culture Box, arguably the best and most famous Danish club, but other clubs and bars like KB18, Jolene and Mein need to be mentioned too. These are the ones with a clear music profile and quality DJ bookings. Looking outside Copenhagen there are also great DJs playing at Vesteraa in Aalborg and Double Rainbow in Aarhus.

"Oh, and if you happen to be in Copenhagen the first week of June, please look out for the massive Distortion Festival. If you plan to visit in the second week of August the Strøm Festival is an option. There are numerous open air parties, too, taking place (legally and illegally) across Copenhagen all summer, and most of them are free to attend. Ask one of the local clubgoers when you are here and they are always willing to help and guide you."

Words: Russell Deeks

What Happens' 9th Birthday party is at Culture Box, Copenhagen on 21 May. Check this video of Tim playing there in February to get you in the mood!

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Tags: Tim Andresen, What Happens, Denmark, Copenhagen, Culture Box, Nick Warren, Uffe, Paxton Fettel, Ryan Dank, DeepWit, Gartenhaus, Blindfold Recordings, Concealed sounds, Kompliké, Echocord, Nori Music, Jacob Bech, S.A.M., Nandu, Radeckt, Pete Oak, Distortion Festival, Strøm Festival