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Code Walk returns to Peder Mannerfelt Produktion with a triptych release spanning 3 EPs with a total of 15 tracks. Representing the cream of the crop of the young Copenhagen underground, Code Walk expands on the fast techno style of the Danish capital incorporating UK leaning bass and IDM vibrations to create a sound world that is completely their own. Accompanied by strong visual works by Eigil Bakdal Jørgensen “Phases Triptych” should not be seen as a collection of tracks but rather a statement by a duo confident of being in the zone.
Eclecticism may be a natural by-product of contemporary music culture, but in the case of Code Walk special attention has been given to their studio processes, from generative compositional approaches to signal chains. Fusing digital tools and analogue hardware, they’ve crafted a specific sonic imprint that binds together their work as they span tempos, rhythms and intensities. There’s a steely fortitude at the heart of their sound, but it’s far from sterile. Febrile textures and icy atmospherics collide, creating their own volatile weather systems, largely underpinned by thunderous bass.
Hi Søren, Jesper. Thank you for your time. First of all, what were your first experiences and junctures with electronic music?
I was on vacation in Berlin with my family when I was around 5 and we went to this big record store in Kreuzberg. My dad told me I could pick one cd and I found a cd with some cool animated spaceships on. When we went to the disk the owner laft so hard because the record was a hard trance collection. It contained stuff from producers like future breeze and groove club. haha I think I still have it somewhere.
I spent a lot of time building and tuning scooters in my youth and a part of that culture was hardstyle, so there was a lot of searching for the newest Qlimax anthems. I was mainly into the old Technoboy and DJ Zany and later I was super into jumpstyle when that started going off.
What was your relationship with music in your teenage years?
I liked to go to the library on my way home from school. The library in my hometown had a big music department on the first floor and there was so much weird stuff. All kinds of electronic music but also Heavy Metal and Punk. Sometimes my dad would give 10 cds from the library and say something about it. It was important that I knew those records if I wanted to make music myself. It was a lot of fun to dig through a lot of records and then find something that blew your mind.
On one side it was something I did in music school where i was pretty serious about practicing bass guitar, so the music I was introduced to was also the kind of bass centric funk and fusion jazz a teacher would like. On the other side most of the parties revolved around some kind of dance music. I think I learned in school that a part of the craft with writing and playing music just requires a lot of discipline. But I never really got that ecstatic feeling from playing bass that I got from listening to dance music, so I eventually started being really curious about how that stuff was actually made.
When did you start to produce and what was the learning process like? Would you consider yourself as a mainly self-taught artist? What advice would you give to a beginner?
Music production on the computer came pretty late for me. I was around 19 when I really got into electronic music because I met Jesper. He was so into all kinds of stuff I had not heard before. That was very exciting for me. I learned a lot from him in the beginning of our friendship.
A piece of advice could be not to give a fuck about what other people might think about your music. If you think it sounds good it is good!
I think I was around 15 when I got FL Studio and a blutonium boys sample pack and with that I started making some of my first jumpstyle and hardstyle tracks. Of course it was super bad, but I had some important early experiences of making a track and hearing it played on a shitty PA at some hardstyle party way out in the countryside. Later on I moved on to Ableton Live and MAX/MSP.
Most of my creative development in the beginning was trying to unlearn all the stuff my music teachers told me, so I would say I’m self-taught. People on youtube and from my community taught me more than any teacher did.
My advice would be to think about the process of learning to make music as trying to close the gap between your taste and your abilities. So listen to a lot of music to refine your taste and keep trying to make the music you like. How you try doesn’t matter as long as you stay patient and keep considering if what you’re doing gets you closer to a result you like.
How would you describe « your » sound and what are your main influences ?
It has become a method for us to have a sound that can be applied to make a wide range of styles of music. Describing that sound is so hard, especially when you made it yourself, but if there’s one word that has been resonating with me lately it is: Direct
Regarding timbre we have considered distortion and saturation a lot lately. To make that work, we have tried to tone down temporal effects like reverb and delay compared to our earlier work. Working with a combination of analog and digital sound sources lets the different roles have the contrast that is needed to have some depth. If everything is full on banging there is not room for as many roles as we usually work with.
Tonally we have been mostly operating in a cold space, but to us it’s important not to pin this stuff down too much. Basically everything goes if it sounds like us!
You returns to Peder Mannerfelt’s imprint for a triptych release spanning 3 EPs with a total of 15 tracks. The tracklist reads pretty impressive and promises a vast cluster of different musical approaches. What made you want to make such a voluminous record?
We always wanted to make an album that contained all of our production methods and dynamic range. When we write we usually don’t set out to make something specific which results in having a lot of stylistically different music in the bank. We’re curious about how far we can stretch our aesthetic and still have it sound like us, so the decision to release it all together is also about underlining that we think listening should be more about vibe and less about definition.
What were your mindsets when working on these 3 EP’s and how did it feel when looking at the finished pieces of work?
Some of the tracks are 2 years old so a lot has happened during the writing process, but we have talked about how the personal challenges we went through in those years has seeped into the sound. There are some of the tracks that have a despair and anger but it never gets so dark that it turns hopeless. For us personally it’s a nice time capsule from a period where we learned some important lessons about being true to yourself.
When you produce – do you have a clear idea of a track in mind beforehand or rather, does it evolve in the process of making?
We usually start from a vibe more than an idea. Working each on our own we work on a sketch until the idea is somewhat presentable. When we meet up, we play new sketches to each other and get into the details regarding arrangement. Having a rough sketch with an arrangement we start working on sound design and mix, which usually happens remotely through dropbox. We use shared notes to keep track of what needs to be done for each track, and when we can’t think about more changes to make, it’s done!
Throughout the whole process our main goal is to stay as true to the original idea as possible. So it’s rare that our tracks end up being very different from the initial sketch, but sometimes it happens that stems from 3 different tracks come together in a new one.
What did you learn from one another both personally and professionally?
I learned a lot about electronic music and production from Jesper for many years. He is a full time nerd when it comes to electronic music and I do not know anyone whose heart beats more for the genre and the community. I admire that.
Søren has this superpower of uncomplicating everything. On the one hand it’s an attitude of staying true by really not giving a fuck about what other people do or think, on the other hand it’s this ability to take a birds eye view of all situations and see what really matters. It’s a skill that’s really useful when arranging a track but it also comes in really handy when I’m having an existential crisis and he is acting Dr. Phil.
Is self-doubt something that you have to deal with often in your creative process or are you confident in your vision as artists?
My main problem is that I often can settle too hard on a specific idea about a track that I have in my head. I tried many times to fool around with an idea that just won’t work. Then it is better to just call it a day and try something different the next day.
Through spending time near other artists I have found that most people don’t know what they’re doing most of the time, but you’re often asked to rationalise your creative choices when presenting your work. Rejecting the need to articulate an artistic vision with words was something that opened my process up a lot, because I have had a need to rationalise why I did things in the past and it was sometimes limiting me to not do something just because I wanted to. I think it’s more inspiring to me to think about creation as exploring my specific aesthetic as deeply as possible.
What is your goal and purpose as artists and musicians? Is there something particular that you want to achieve with your work?
The main goal of Code Walk is to have fun, stay inspired, make all kinds of exciting projects and to not give a fuck about what people think.
What’s coming next for you, any plans or exciting projects you’d love to mention?
Oh yes, but we can not talk about that yet, sorry. (cliffhanger)