It won’t be an ordinary article, but this multi-threaded story is not ordinary at all. Find out about how Gerd Janson made the internet explode out of curiosity, Kornel Kovacs became a savior at the Tauron Nowa Muzyka Festival in Katowice, how weeks of searching for the author of a song looked like and who he really is. Finally, read the first in the history published interview with him.
Tauron Nowa Muzyka, drinks at the hotel, weak hopes and Kornel the savior
June, Katowice, Tauron Nowa Muzyka festival. I sit in a hotel room with Alex Kubaczewski, editor-in-chief of Muno, and timidly pour the first drinks listening to Gerd Janson‚s set from the Boiler Room in Charleroi, Belgium. The same Gerd Janson, who became my Captain America of djing of recent months. We sit, drink drinks, listen and reflect.
(it won’t be so serious now)
We reminisce that it in the past there was a real house, there was a real disco, and today it’s not anymore. That everywhere is a business techno, that everywhere is a boredom, that everywhere there are people in black t-shirts playing for people in black t-shirts. For people who make the same three moves all nights long at the club, because certain substances do not allow for more. For people who buy one bottle of water and one beer at the bar for the whole night. For people who do not know who actually plays, but there was a note „techno” on the party poster, a black and white photo of a DJ, so then they has to go there. We complain that there is no real disco anymore. The party where the first thing is to enjoy live music is a scarce item. We complain that the club scene has ceased to be about dancing and joy. We grumble that everything goes dark and there’s only a bunch of zombies on the dance floor at the end of the party. Like it was drawn by Bolesław Chromry (a famous Polish drawsman, especially known for his sarcastic-ironic-sad sense of humour). It’s just a past, it’s all gone and we all know that.
(now it will be serious again)
Well, but there is Gerd Janson. Gerd, who played the most wonderful, tasteful set of last months in Charleroi, in which there is no space for truism. The set which is an unrestrained energy. The set which is a pure joy of life. The joy like when you return home at 9 am and confess honestly to yourself, that you’re conscious and that if you lie down and then wake up, everything will be still alright.
Gerd, who played the unpublished song as the second track in that set. A song that from today to the end of this year will be included in tracklist of thousands of DJ sets around the world. And when this song appears in these tracklists and drops in these DJ sets, there will be no end of the euphoria.
Gerd plays the set on my laptop, we listen, sip drinks and make bitter-sweet thoughts. About how beautiful is this set, but today nobody will play such things at the festival. Well, but there is Kornel Kovacs. Maybe he? We place our hope in Kornel. Weak, but still some, because Kornel is a brave guy and he knows how to disco.
We go to the festival, we come to the Kornel set. What does Kornel do?
As one of the tracks in his set, he plays this song.
Storken – Lille Vals
Joy, emotion, celebration. There was no end to the happiness and dance.
I wrote to Kornel that the set was wonderful. I tell him this story, which I also summarized here, Kornel says that he’s thankful and that we need to talk to each other longer. So we talk. And this track appeared again.
Storken. On the track of the author who never released a track
Even before leaving for Katowice, I started to search who the author of this work was. A few hundred people who did not stop only at the typical „Track ID?” were searching too.
It took a few weeks, but it finally succeeded. The track led me to Sweden, and more specifically to Thomas Henriksson. He – as Storken – today officially greets the world of electronic music with the song Lille Vals. The record included to One Swallow Doesn’t Make A Summer presented by Running Back, a well-known label belonging to … Gerd Janson.
Storken. Straight to the destiny thanks to Kornel and Instagram
The story which is constituting the first part of this article, was a main part of the message I sent to Thomas just the day after we returned from the Kornel Kovacs set at Tauron Nowa Muzyka. Thomas answered me quickly.
If I’ll say that he was shocked then it will means nothing. This is how the correspondence began, the climax of which is taking place today. Today – on the premiere day of Lille Vals. Today – on the day when Muno’s readers are the first people in the world who can read what the author has to say about the song itself and his work.
The very first interview with Storken
Hubert Grupa: Today your first serious production was released. How does it feel when you read all the delights from everybody and from everywhere for months and today is this long-awaited day?
Unreal. I’m overwhelmed, I’m excited. I’m also a bit curious, what will happen. I’m standing on my toes. I’ve been producing music for 10 years and I’ve been working Lille Vals on & off for 5 years, so this is absolutely indescribable.
Your adventure with music started much more earlier. What about your very beginning? When you started listen to and record music like you make today? What did you listen to before?
I grew up with a living room that was also a rehearsing place for my parents band. Meaning I played drums, or interacted musically every day as a child, I actually have a picture from that. And they played covers of 80’s hits like The heat is on and I’m so excited so I always listened to their versions. Which lead to when I then heard the originals, they sounded like covers to my ears. This band is still a big influence of mine. They were called Want A Watch. My dad is a sound engineer, bass player and a radio host. My mom sings like no words can describe so I’ve learned early bout goosebumps and how much they matter!
Storken. ABBA, Todd Terje and darkness
How has your hometown and Swedish scene had an impact on you? I think Swedish scene of electronic/disco/house music is so strong and so different in comparison to the other markets in Europe. For example Studio Barnhus and producers around it. They made their unique style which no one can compare with anything.
I agree, everything from Barnhus to ABBA! Sweden has something. I have a great influential experience from Stockholm. I went to a concert at Berns in 2016, all alone. I thought that it was weird going alone but I didn’t want to miss it. I went, and everyone was so happy! There was such a happy vibe. Everyone was listening with a smile! People were dancing like nothing I’ve ever seen.
The person behind the steering wheel was Todd Terje. That was the most inspirational moment I’ve ever gotten.
Kornel Kovacs said in one interview that playing by DJs light, danceable, catchy songs – like Lile Vals – it’s rare nowadays. Everything goes dark, because of techno hype. It’s hard to find a party where the main thing is a great dance energy. Now rough, hard sound is dominating. What do you think about it?
I agree with Kornel. I like deep stuff too but I’m so picky about the quality of the tracks. Jeremy Olander does deep stuff but he does it with such great mixing skills. Everything is deep and dark but still smooth like silk. I don’t like warehouse techno that just powers on without finesse. I get bored. I’m pretty energetic and I think my music reflects that.
Storken. How to catch Gerd Janson’s attention and deal with the first hater
How hard is to catch the Gerd Janson’s attention? As we all know, he’s not only a famous DJ, producer or a label owner. He’s also entitled the world’s most influential trendsetter in electronic music. When he played Lile Vals for the very first time, people went insane about what is it!
This is very interesting. I played before Genius Of Time at Tapir in Åre, Sweden and we ended up at the same after party. My friend Jon who never fails to introduce people to my music played Lille Vals to Nils from Genius of Time and Nils said: “This is something that Gerd would want”. I got his email address and sent it. And I only sent it to Gerd and Todd Terje. Gerd took the bait.
After the signing with Running Back, the machine just runned. The famous DJs around the world starts to play Lille Vals. Under every Soundcloud track or YouTube film with a DJ set where your song was included, there was a lot of comments like “Track ID?!”, “What is a title of this banger?” “Who is the author of this diamond?”. All of them are so positive, people went insane about your song. Everyone was looking for you and the release date.
Yes! And somehow all these comments has reminded me to just do what I do. Don’t think of what is expected, don’t analyze your tracks in any other way than those feelings you get from listening to it. These comments are from you out there and you’re fueling me every day! As long as you listen I will transform that energy back to you in a new piece of music.
I’ve also experienced my first hater, that was pretty special, it weighed a lot more than I would think.
Storken. Synthesizers like Todd’s
What was your favourite comment or message that you read about Lille Vals in the past months? My is this one: 2019: „So, let’s see what’s gonna be this year’s biggest track…so excited”. Gerd: „plays this set”.
Hahah! I remember pinching myself when someone wrote – “If someone told me this was Todd Terje I’d believe it, the synths are definitely complex enough.” That really stuck!
How do you feel about all these great DJs who plays your music? Many of them seems to be your true idols. Now many of them became your fans or even friends.
Yes, I’ve been trying to reach Jeremy Olander’s level of mixing both in the studio and at sets. His productions are clear like Axwells, and when he plays he plays like some futuristic A.I. Robot. So to have met him and gotten his support is really huge. I met Gerd two days after I found out he played Lille Vals at Boiler Room. He played at Department in Stockholm were we chatted for a bit and he ended his set with the slowest version I’ve ever heard of Lille Vals, it must’ve been 110 bpm or slower haha. And when the final drumfill in the end was over, someone went over and asked Gerd something and he just smiled and pointed at me. That was a moment!
Storken. Don’t make music to please others
Who is your biggest inspiration as a DJ and producer now?
The biggest inspiration depends on if it’s morning, afternoon or night + what day it is, meaning – it is never only one inspiration. My influences are providing me with details. Everything else is whatever tends to happen during the studio hours. The best part with studio hours are the mistakes, the sudden flaws, that coincidental sounds that creates a fresh new idea/ detail. Cease those moments and follow those ideas!
Your beginning is strong, but – what’s typical – the expectations about your next releases will be huge. What did you prepared for people who will wait for Storken’s new music?
I’ve clearly set the bar, and in the beginning I got lost and compared all my new tracks with Lille Vals. But I came to the conclusion that the recipe that worked with Lille Vals is the same recipe as Queen created Bohemian Rhapsody with or when Ted Gärdestad made his beautiful tracks. They did it to please themselves.
As Eric Prydz said – “Don’t make music to please others. There is only one person who has to like what comes out and that person is me.” I believe that this recipe goes for all art. Just let things happen.