FEW DJs can claim to have had as much impact on their local club history as Copenhagen’s Culture Box resident Tim Andresen.
Tim has been resident at Culture Box since 2005, playing a key role in the evolution of the club while successfully curating his own label What Happens. Epitomising DJ culture, he also regularly runs What Happens parties at the club welcoming some of the best DJs in the world to the Danish capital. Culture Box repaid Tim’s dedication, loyalty and obvious talent by making him a partner at the club two years ago.
We caught up with Tim earlier this week to find out more about club culture in Denmark, his plans for 2019, What Happens and exciting times ahead for Culture Box. Tim has also recorded a mix for The Night Bazaar Sessions which you can listen to below.
Happy New Year! How was 2018 for you and what’s 2019 looking like?
Happy New Year to you too. 2018 was a great year for me. I had the pleasure of playing some excellent clubs across numerous of the European countries. Many of which I visited for the first time but I also appreciated to be invited back to a place like Fabric in London by WYS and then play room 1 for the very first time. I was lucky to be invited to a handful of festivals during the summer and some of them really stood out as memorable moments. During the last months of 2018 and early part of this year, I decided to mostly do domestic gigs for a while following a year without holidays. Unlike many DJs these days, I actually enjoy having a weekend off here and there and not have a fully booked calendar of gigs. I’d like to think I’ll last longer in this job that way. In terms of music productions, I had just one release (“Flying Bullets” on Tenampa Recordings) last year but at least it did fine on the Beatport chart so all good. I have a handful of tracks ready for 2019 but still considering whether to do these as EPs or continue to work on a full album.
You are a key figure in the Danish club scene, what’s the scene and club culture like over there and specifically Copenhagen?
Copenhagen has a small but excellent little scene with lots of minor one-offs and a couple of clubs with Culture Box being the most well known and at the forefront of the scene here for 14 years. The Øresund Bridge between Sweden and Denmark means there’s a rather close relationship between Copenhagen and Malmö, and the two cities now share crowds and DJs on a regular basis. Copenhagen’s club scene in general has become a lot stronger in recent years with good help from a large and growing movement of international students and younger people deciding to move here. You’ll find a wide selection of genres presented on rotation. Aarhus, Aalborg and few others play host to a limited selection of events but few parties feature international lineups. The rest of Denmark though is far from this level and have very little to choose from and the nightlife there is mostly based on top 40 chart music. If you dig deep down in the underground, there are the rare event here and there and some talented young artists are based all around the country in the smaller cities although many of them obviously move to Copenhagen or elsewhere like Berlin etc. to follow their hearts and try to live the dream.
You have been resident at Culture Box for more than a decade. It must be a great feeling to now be a partner too?
Yes I have been resident DJ at Culture Box since 2005 where I first did monthly B2B all-nighters with my friend Rune (Kölsch) for some years. After a while we grew apart musically and I therefore started my What Happens nights in 2007. They have been running monthly since with great success and is the reason many great artists have visited our capital while also being the playground that helped to shape the careers of talented local newcomers (most notably Denis Horvat).
After some years assisting as the right hand man to the club management at the club, I became partner a good two years ago. It’s been great but also a lot of hard work and something that has changed my life upside down. I saw great potential that was never fully completed before. Step by step we’ve done improvements but it’s all been done with respect for the club’s long history. It’s a constant process that never ends I guess. Recently me and my team have established new free knowledge sessions to help support the music community while others in here updated the light installations in our mainroom with a lot more construction work scheduled for later this year. All the changes and upgrades seem to pay off and we’ve just had the busiest year to date and people appreciating the new things we do. For me it’s also about giving something back and build something that is unique at least for Denmark. It’s rewarding.
Are there any stand out memories or performances you can share with us?
To me personally it’s been amazing to see some of the world’s most successful DJs guesting us at Culture Box. Bearing in mind the current state of the electronic music scene with all the festivals and major events everywhere, it was great to share the decks in our humble surroundings with legends I really respect including John Digweed, Sasha, Dubfire, Nick Warren and more. The first two visited for the first time in 2018. John invited me on to do a guest mix on his Transitions radio show and said that everything he liked about night clubbing was in that building. I feel honoured when it comes from someone like him. Playing with Nick Warren ended out in a memorable B2B session. It’s something we’ve done before and it just seems to be even better and more fun every time we do it. It was definitely one of my personal highlights, also due to the fact he’s now a good friend of mine and one of the friendliest people to hang out with.
However, the stand out memory of recent times must be when Amelie Lens played with me. I don’t recall having seen such a hype and intense atmosphere at Culture Box for a breakthrough name if that’s the right word to use here? It was special. I almost couldn’t believe just how extremely popular she had become in such a short period of time. She delivered and blew the roof off.
Your label What Happens is also now over a decade old and up to it’s 138th release. You have seen lots of changes during that time, how have you adapted and overcome them and remained consistent in your output?
I’ve just gone with the flow and learned from the things that worked and those that didn’t. But you never really know and quite often it’s down to the quality of the music itself and equal parts of luck and support from the shops. You can spend money on all sorts of promotion companies or at social media campaigns but you’re likely not to recoup the costs from what I’ve learned. So to me it’s all about growing your fanbase organically and keep up the quality control.
What are the key ingredients you look for in music for What Happens?
The music needs to be well produced and something that I can see myself and related DJs play in their sets. The music we release aim for the dance floor and need to sound good on a dance floor. I also take a good look at the artists themselves to see if they are a good addition to the roster and someone I can see myself work with. I prefer to work with people for more than just one release but I also fully respect if people want to release at other labels. It’s just how things have evolved over the years.
The label also has a club night at Culture Box. How important has the night been for the label? Does the club night inspire the label directly?
Yes, to a certain degree. But the night is much more than just the music style we release on the label. I try not to pigeon hole myself as a DJ and like to explore different styles and sub genres and challenge the crowds I play for whenever possible and that also includes the guests I invite. It’s always good to test new tracks and see how they work on the floor and the night is great for just that. The night and the label have partnered since day one and I think it’s benefited both and supported each other nicely.
What have you got coming up on the label?
Up next is a new EP from Every Ulusoy from Turkey with a great remix by Frink from Mallorca. Both have done releases on What Happens before and someone I’m proud to feature on the label. Following that we have a 3-track EP from a new Argentinian duo called Doma. It’s always a pleasure when I receive stuff from someone I’ve never heard off before and instantly know I want to sign them. These guys were the rare needle in the haystack. I love when that happens.
What big nights are already on the horizon for you at Culture Box and beyond?
I have nights with La Fleur, Evren Ulusoy, James Zabiela and Patrice Baümel all jetting in to play with me the next months but I also get back on the road and play internationally again as the Spring slowly starts to arrive. Exciting times ahead.
Thanks for the mix you have recorded for The Night Bazaar Sessions. Can you talk us through some of the highlights in there?
It’s starting out deep and dreamy with Rowee’s “Anima” and moves into slightly tougher grooves from James Dexter, Markus Homm and Hermanez. It builds towards melodic territory and tracks from Dimuth K, Nicolas Petracca, Eziquiel Anile, EANP etc. before ending with Elfenberg’s beautifully percussion-driven and ethnic inspired “Kigelia”. I hope you enjoy it.
For more information on Tim Andresen head here.
For more information on Culture Box head here.
For more information on What Happens head here.