In the eyes of many, becoming a successful artist is all about fame, fortune and nice cars. For Berlin born producer Jan Blomqvist, such external items are much less important than his inner journey and creating the best music he can during his time on earth. With a rich history and an even brighter future, Jan is has stayed focused on the things he can control and with one spin of his new track on Armada, aptly named: "Remote Control" you can tell that his focus has been on quality production. We got the chance to sit down with this band leader and master of the deep sound, and we found out that he is not only a fantastic producer, but a refreshingly honest, up front individual with extremely interesting views on life, music, and how to cope when everybody thinks your Swedish.
What first got you into creating music, and did you always know that you would stick to the deep side of things?
"My first contact with music was a guitar which I got from my mom when I was 10. I taught myself to play it because I just couldn’t stop practicing, I was having so much fun. All my childhood I was playing in grunge and punk rock bands, we even tried hardcore punk rock sometimes. Was more fun though, but more hard than deep I guess. But we played mostly melancholic melodies, which I guess you could say is ‘deep’ somehow."
In addition to a full scale solo career, you're the leader of a live club-soul band shockingly named BLOMQVIST :) How does your approach differ with the band vs your solo performances in terms of what you want the audience to feel?
"For me it is always the aim to play a perfect show even if this is not possible of course. So that’s what makes it so interesting to play live. Especially with my band we are more like an orchestra who tries to play a well known symphony super exactly. Felix and me we are controlling 5-7 synths or pianos and my drummer does all the kicks, hi-hats, shaker and claps or snares. The only stuff coming from Ableton are some reverse sounds, white noise, distorted sounds or maybe vocal samples or anything that cannot be played live. What is definitely necessary is to make electronic music sound extraordinary. Fabi the singer from ‚THE/DAS‘ always calls it 'gold-dust‘. So yeah the band is more about a live performance to make it more interesting for the audience to see that it is definitely possible to play electronic music live. When I play solo normally I don’t take all our synths and drums with me. I play with Ableton live then and do my vocals live of course. The fun part about playing solo is that I am able to improvise much more. Whenever I have a new idea during the set I can just do it, what is of course not possible when I am performing with my band."
From the venue, time of day, amount of people, and peak moment: describe your perfect party.
"I am a fan of Festivals for many reasons. The most important point is that I really like the quietness on big open air stages. When this super massive perfect sounding speakers are aimed to the audience the stage usually is really quiet behind them. That’s perfect to play, because it is easier for me and also so much fun for the people on the dance floor in the same time. I also really like clubs of course, which can be nice to party close to the audience or even dancing with them at the DJ booth. For me, when I am a dancer myself, I really love the Sunday evening vibes in Berlin, when the clubs open their gardens and the whole city is dancing in the sunset. It sounds cheesy but yeah i still like it. There is a special Sunday Berlin phenomenon. When all the overdressed Saturday night ravers are already sleeping the city turns into a super cozy peaceful happy vibe full of good music, nice people and strong energy. Maybe I just like it because most of my friends are djs and they all come back home to Berlin on Sundays. But no, I also experienced this vibe on festivals sometimes or in New York I had the same feeling on a Sunday evening rooftop party. The party after the after-party is often the best. After the game is before the game is what the soccer players always tell."
You create music that is ethereal as it is deep. So in your own personal playlists, are there any guilty pleasure that might give your fans a chuckle? Like 2 Live crew or the Bangles? If so tell us why!
"Hmm… Sometimes I like to listen to some cheesy folk-music like Damien Rice or Ry X, but that’s not bad music, not so laughable. I love to play tracks like ‘Mazzy Star - Fade Into You’ for breakfast. Or maybe funny 90's stuff like ’Chris Issac 'Wicked Games’. In general i like to listen to every kind of music as long as it is produced well and I can feel something special in it. It may be a nice melody or a deep vocal sound or a nice arrangement. I can find interesting stuff in many ways. But honestly in my opinion good music is very rare. Maybe 95% of all production are just bullshit and so I don't listen to that."
What has been your favorite performance (solo or band)? and why?
"My favorite performance was for sure any with my band. I guess the Gig at Fusion main stage in summer 2014 was my absolute favorite. It was always my dream to play there and we did it and was so much fun. Playing solo on a boat party on the Hudson River in Manhattan was really great, the vibe was just amazing. And I will always remember my first gig in a foreign country which was Vision Festival in the Swiss mountains. The festivals on Corsica also are always unforgettable."
In the ever changing musical landscape, what would you say are the keys to a successful career in comparison to 10 years ago?
"Ten years ago I believed that every musician will get at least one chance to kick his life into the right direction. I know it is not possible for everybody but I believed in my chance and so I did everything to be well prepared for when I get my special moment. So I worked a lot everyday trying to improve my production skills and working on my lyrics and live performance. It was important for me to find my personal, unique sound design which could be recognizable for the audience. I got my chance, I played about 400 live gigs in the last 6 years and now I am just focused on staying authentic, true to my own mind. Therefore it’s really important to get enough quiet moments and even more than enough time to reflect myself to not get lost in this crazy music business. All the time everybody tries to give me advice like they know exactly what is best for me. everybody wants something from me. It is really important to not loose the ground and keep working with passion. Better follow your mission of doing good music instead of following the hype."
Lastly, what's are the best and worst things about people thinking you're Swedish?
"Haha yeah good question, I have never been asked that before. Normally journalists ask me how it feels to be a Swedish guy in Berlin. So yeah, I am not Swedish, but I don't feel German also. For me it doesn't matter if people think I am Swedish. It’s even positive actually, because Sweden is well known for its amazing independent music scene. They must have a great education in music for their children over there I guess. So it’s fine when people call me Swedish by mistake and of course it is funny if some journalists didn’t do their homework before the interview. It’s nice you did. I travelled a to all over the world and I experienced that all kinds of people are partying together. We all need Love, Drugs and Rock’nRoll... Ok food and water of course is the most important but then next points are music, dancing, kissing and sex of course. And friendship maybe also. We cannot deny that. So in a way its not so important what country we are born. We are all humans and we all have similar needs and desires."
We hope you found that interview as refreshing as we did. Remember to follow your mission, not the hype! And be sure to check out his incredible new track 'Remote Control'. Out now on Armada Deep: