I’m walking across the eclectic square of Möllevångstorget in Malmö on a warm late summer night. I’ve been given a mysterious address and quite frankly it seems like I’m about to get lost in the middle of a city. but suddenly I’m there, right in front of the house I’ve been told to go to, and it does not look like I expected. I’m staring up at a normal Swedish 50’s apartment building and a family of four walks out. It can’t be? Is this really the centre of underground music in southern Sweden? I give Per Hammar a ring and suddenly the entrance door opens with a big smile on Per’s face while he says: “Welcome to the techno Mine, haven’t seen the daylight for a while!”.
For the most of us, Per Hammar is an unknown name and if you are older than 40, the chances are slim that you would ever cross the path with Per unless you are into underground clubbing. Yet Per Hammar’s music spreads throughout the world and is crushing every little past instalment of prejudice of cultural clashes on the dance floor. This isn’t just about this music, this is a new era of a cultural institution lead by a generation with their eyes wide open to everything around them, open hearted and ready to welcome you as who you are, the very essence of the Scandinavian philosophy: come as you are.
And Per Hammar? He is just a normal Swedish guy that wanted to make duby melodic underground techno for a living and have a great time with his friends… as it turns out, the universe had the same plan for him, and his new album ‘PathFinder LP’ is just about that, finding your own way.
THE PER HAMMAR INTERVIEW
Tell us a little bit about yourself, who are you and where is your heart at?
I’m a dreamer and solution wizard born in the mid 80’s. My heart belongs to the Öresund region. No matter where in the world I am, this place keeps on pulling me in.
Describe your music to someone what have never heard it before?
Dusty, warm, nerdy and sometimes confused 4/4 music with too much details.
Your music represent a very niche genre, yet so many people outside the direct interest of it seems to find their way into the groove of it. What is the magic of it in your eyes?
Yeah i guess you can say that when talking about other people’s music. I can also talk about music that I hear and categorize it quite easy. I love to categorize. Although I’m having problems categorize my own music. I think that belongs to the game. Nirvana kept on denying that they did grunge, for example. Yet they became the number one artist one would think of when mentioning the grunge genre. I’m not trying to compare myself with Nirvana at all, it just tells a bit how it is to label music. Minimal or dub techno can be hard to present to someone if your main goal is to be inside of those frames. But if you just let go of any expectations and make music that comes up in your head, i believe that you have a better chance to break through the noise, if that’s what you want. Because then you’re a bit more released (not completely, since people love genre categories) from expectations. And also you’re more protected from current trends, and what that does to the scene.
I see a lot of influences in the sequencing between your music and more free formats of jazz for example, building a moment and yet there is a sparkle of confusion that creates that magic human feeling to it. Where do you find your inspiration for these out of the box ideas?
I agree on that description. For me I felt that I entered that state when I started to really learn certain physical gear and how to use them together. To use my mixers as instruments for example. Or to use outboard FX’s as a main part of the tracks and not only something you add to enhance. I like to find ways of working with machines in my own way. I can learn from the manual or such up to a certain level, but then I wanna experiment myself. I think that’s where it becomes interesting.
How has the Scandinavian culture influenced you as a person and a musician?
One thing that’s makes me very proud when I’m out traveling and meet other DJ’s or producers is that we Scandies seems to look after each other more than others. We know that this music isn’t something we can take for granted. The house and techno scene has been working in dead wind since day 1 and therefor we can’t really afford to have too much of internal competitions. And it’s still a very small scene. ”Can you help me with this? Then maybe I can help you with that.” I wanna think that we encourage new producers to keep on going and not give up. That makes me proud and even more psyched to keep on doing my thing.
What’s the favorite tools in your studio?
In my studio in Berlin it’s the Genelec 8330APM+ 7340APM sub with GLM. This new room analyze technique by the finish wizards are next level. My studio is already sound threatened, but with this analyzing soft- and hardware it made the sound respons more or less flat. It finds the perfect frequency where to crossover the speaker/sub, and where to set the phase. It finds the peaks in the room and cut them away as much as possible. But if we’re talking instruments: I’m taking my Roland RE-301 space echo with me to my grave. And if there’s space left in the coffin, my Eurorack modular system.
You are in constant travel in-between Berlin and Malmö. How does each city influence you and what do you take with you from each place?
It’s no secret that Berlin is the center of the world when it comes to electronic dance music. To live close to this is inspiring of course. So many great clubs and records stores, with all of the associated people. The ravers, the artists, the organizers. It gives energy. In Malmö I get inspired by the focus I get there. The studio I run with Patrick Siech and how he made it sound in there is inspiring. All of the his gear that he has there. Plus that Malmö is part of Öresund. That’s where my heart is.
You and your partner, Patrick Siech, have just started euromix.net, can you tell us a little about it?
After 2 decades of creating our own music, with everything that it means, we decided to start our own mix and mastering studio. Or actually it’s 2 studios. All the projects that we work with are always getting checked in both studios and at a final stage on our club standard PA system. Our idea is to turn to producers that are focused to learn more about producing. We help out with mixing and mastering, and various studio solutions and engineering. At the same time we work as a creative hub, where we share mixing techniques and even self produced plugins. Check out our instagram.com/euromix_net or www.euromix.net
It’s easy to freeze in creativity as an artist when you have to deliver something, how do you deal with those moments?
I’ve been trying a few different tricks over the years. But it always comes down to just go to the studio and just do it. I just have to come to the point where I give it shot. I make some coffee and I open the project and give it 15 minutes. The human brain works like that. It’s a bit slow to adapt to a new task, but after 15 minutes it’s almost always tuned in. If I still feel unconnected, I do something else. Then I know that I’m gonna force it too much and things are not gonna come naturally, and I will probably have to re do it at a later time.
You breathe, eat and sleep what you do to 100% and there is many sacrifices you must take as an artist to continue this path, what would you change if you had the possibility?
I think I came to where I am now because of all the decisions I made this far. Even the bad ones. If I’d change something, that would mean that I never had to deal with my mistakes, and I don’t think that would be healthy. And to find a balanced and harmonic life with the music as a big part of it I think I have to constantly learn and adapt.
Tell us more about your events Kiloton? How did it start, what’s the philosophy about it, what makes these events so unique?
I started to sketch on the plan of running a club night on regular basis in the end of 2010. During a few years before that I was throwing separate nights at local bars and also a punk squat in the industrial areas of Malmö.
Since I was already playing at, in my opinions one of the best venues back then, Babel, it was a natural decision to try out my visions there. And here we are 10 years later.
The idea of Kiloton is simple, yet effective. Me and Kajsa Lindström, that joined the project around 2016, want to bring quality minimal and tech house to the crowd of southern Sweden on a regular basis. Sometimes we bring big names names and sometimes we book a few local artists. Since we have a good relation to our crowd, we know that they trust us no matter of the size or hype of the booking. They know what they will get when showing up at our nights. And I can’t wait for that first post covid night to take place.
You have just released your first ever album ‘Pathfinder LP’ on your own Dirty Hands imprint, tell us about the process and thought behind it.
I made documentary called ”Finding The Path” based on my diary notes that I wrote before and during the album process. Check it ->
3 records you can’t live without?
- The M series records from Maurizio (Basic Channel)
- Daft Punk – Alive 2007
- Regnar på Gränges – Kom Ner
Top 3 spots in Malmö
- The botanic garden in Slottsträdgården. Really chilled out and relaxed place. Obviously especially in the summer. Perfect when your brain is a bit all over the place and you wanna reset.
- Inkonst is my home for music in Malmö. It’s a nice community with all kind of cultural events, and this is also where I do my club nights. Nice crowd, nice sound system, great drinks.
- The bridge that goes from Värnhem to the harbor. The bridge goes over the train tracks, where all the trains that arrives and departs from Malmö goes. I love to just stand there and watch the trains pass by, with the city sky line in the background. It’s meditative for me.
Your favourite club in the world?
- Club Der Visionäre in Berlin
The best mix ever created?
- Erlend Øye – DJ-Kicks
You are dropped out of a helicopter on a Scandinavian archipelago island for 6 months, what 3 things would you bring?
- Coffee ranson, vegan sausages and a field recorder
You got one sentence to change the world, what would it be?
- Threat others in a way you want to be threatened.