It’s not too often you sit down to listen to an artists back catalog without having some contention regarding at least one of their releases. However, Uffe Christensen has managed to gratify from all angles, composing some of the most forward-thinking and generally likeable dance music of the last couple years.
With recent releases on both Pets Recordings and Tartelet Records, his latest being ‘Straess’ on the latter, Uffe is definitely one to watch. We caught up with him recently for a chin wag… or rather a ‘finger wag’.
Firstly, why don’t you introduce yourself for those fools that don’t already know..
My name is Uffe Christensen, I just turned 23. I’m originally from a small town in Denmark called Odense, but have been back and forth between Copenhagen, Berlin and Amsterdam for the last couple of years. I’m now living and studying in Amsterdam. I’m terribly nearsighted and my hair colour is red. I’ve been making electronic music since I was 10 or so, juggling genres and aliases. I release under “Uffe”, which is my attempt to make dance music.
You’ve got a real ear for a groove, namely ‘Something Wrong’ from ‘Stræss’ and ‘When the Sun Rose’ on ‘Colors Outside’, is your ultimate goal to make music that you yourself can jam to?
Yes absolutely! I make really a lot of different kind of music and I try my best not to be too concerned with a certain style or genre. My style is “no-style”, I guess.
What was the reasoning behind the move from Copenhagen to Amsterdam?
Actually I moved to Amsterdam because of my studies. So it was in some ways a bit of a gamble for me, since I had only visited the city two times before, but luckily for me the city turned out pretty dope and I’ve met a lot of cool people here.
I’ve been to the Dam a few times now, but I’m yet to really experience the night life/music scene. What’s the deal?
I think the night life in Amsterdam is really hard to miss honestly. Electronic music in Amsterdam is huge at least compared to Copenhagen. The city has so many clubs, compared to the size and the number of people here. And it seems like the people are actually into the music as much as the going-out part. Moving from Berlin to Amsterdam I didn’t have many expectations music-wise, so I was pretty surprised to see so many great lineups weekend after weekend. I can only bitch about the prices and the closing policy here. It’s fucking expensive and just to be safe you don’t miss out, you have to buy tickets in advance for going to ex Trouw, and then they close 5 at the latest (but they were recently granted a 24-hour permit from the city, so scratch that).
It’s a small town but there are lots of great initiatives and spots for music. Such as the Red Light Radio, where local djs do radio shows from an ex-brothel in the Red Light District. Oh yeah, and of course, Rush Hour is based here and their record store on Spuistraat is amazing. And Trouw is without a doubt my favorite club in the world. I’m still new in Amsterdam and honestly not really part of the scene here. But there definitely seems to be a pretty tight community of nice and dedicated people.
Would you rather do a set in one of those red lit windows or a coffee shop?
Definitely the coffee shop. The ones I’ve been too always had really bad music playing way too loud.
Are you a vinyl or CD man? Or otherwise…
I’m a vinyl man at heart. I was always buying records and looking for samples on old records. That’s what I grew up with. But – I had to leave my whole record collection in my basement in Copenhagen when I moved. And I tragically lost my beloved 1210s last year in a fire (true story), so I involuntarily turned into a cd man. I’m desperately trying to learn how to use cdj’s; It’s getting better and better. But the very second there is a plus on my bank account I’ll get new turntables. Might be a while though.
You’ve recently released on Pets Recordings and Tartelet Records, has this opened your eyes at all to the different ways in which labels operate? Is there much of difference?
Luckily all labels don’t operate the same way. It’s an exciting process every time working with new people. With Tartelet the whole record was put together in a matter of weeks. Tracks, remixes, artwork ect. That’s why we decided to call it Stræss. It’s was hectic but also fun, and it turned out very well I think.
I have another ep to come in the spring on Pets, and the process of doing that is completely different than with Tartelet. It’s nice to have some diversity with every new release.
Any aspirations to start your own label one day?
It’s on my to-do list. It will definitely happen one day.
Obviously musicians take influence from other musicians, films, literature etc, but have you ever found yourself impacted by something totally random?
Not that I can think of. My inspiration for music usually comes from music. It’s a really lame answer, I know. Well actually, I made the “Turbulence” track right after being dumped by a girl. Don’t know if you can hear that in the track. But that’s as emo as it gets.
Could you find yourself sitting comfortably in a previous era of music? (The 80’s hip hop scene for example)
Maybe the jazz era of the early and mid 60s? The 80’s hip hop scene for sure, but mostly for the fashion.
Is that your voice on ‘Turbulence’ and ‘Fist Fight’?
Yes, I always do all the vocals myself.
Is music life or do you keep yourself occupied with other interests?
I’m in my second year of studying fine arts at the art academy in Amsterdam right now. So music is being squeezed in on the side these days. It can be quite stressful to make time for everything, but I enjoy doing both. I love both art and music but I try to keep them separated the best as I can, so I don’t mix up music with art. I think if I did either one full time I would go fucking crazy.
Would you ever consider a move to England? Have you ever been? It’s totally charming…
Never really thought about it before, but now that I do, I think it’s definitely a possibility to move to England. It would probably be London then. I was there a couple of years ago, but I’m going back soon. I like London a lot.
Do you find yourself more comfortable playing out or in front of your laptop producing?
Well naturally I find it more comfortable to produce. But playing out the stuff from the studio for people is also really great. Standing there behind the laptop or the decks can be a bit akward sometimes but it’s always great to play good music to people who enjoy it. I think when making dance music it’s good also to try out new tracks while they’re in progress.
On your Soundcloud page, it says ‘if i had practiced for my piano lessons as a kid I probably would have played jazz now’ – much truth behind that?
Nothing but the truth. My mom forced me to do piano lessons for some time when I was younger, classic story. Obviously I didn’t give a shit and never practiced. Now I regret never learning how to play an actual instrument.
And finally, Uffe. Why? (feel free to get your philosophical hat on for this one)
I get asked this quite a lot. I was thinking it over just the other day, but I still didn’t find out.
Uffe’s ‘Straess’ EP is out now via Tartelet Records, click here to purchase