Jan Blomqvist is a man on a roll right now. Since recently coming to prominence courtesy of his emotive and melodic take on electronic music, he’s managed to rack up an impressive social media following – not to mention a string of impressive gigs. That said, it’s definitely the music that makes this German native such an intriguing proposition. His recent EP, the Time Again EP, is very much indicative of this fact – while it also manages to showcase the producer at his prolific best. But what truly makes him tick? We caught up with him recently to find out…
Where are you originally from and what was it like for growing up electronic music wise?
‘I was born in a crossfire hurricane’, no, I wish. Really just in the middle of nowhere in a forgotten area next to the border of the GDR in the north of Germany. My playground was deep forests, rivers and lakes. We had no fast food, no television, no religion, no rules nor any other distracting bullshit. Not even any neighbours. It felt like there were more sheep and cows around than humans. A paradise for a freedom loving kid. But also far away from hot fresh electronic music. My first contact with electronic music was a remix of a Tocotronic Song done by Console who was the electronic mastermind of The Notwist. I didn’t like the remix, but I started to like The Notwist then at the age of 14.
I met some older guys who had a drivers-license already and we went to Hamburg City every weekend listening to electronic music on the saturday night radio during our 90 minute drive. We knew that we would never get into the clubs in Hamburg because we were way to young but we tried again and again. In the end the parties in the cars of my older friends were the best electro parties of my childhood.
You’re now based in Berlin. What made you move to the city in the first place?
When I stepped out of the train at Berlin main station for the first time at the age of 12 I started to love it already. The smell of beer, party-sweat, food, freedom, peace and adventure. It was clear I should move to Berlin as soon as possible.
Later I was mainly fascinated by the huge amazing electronic music scene of Berlin and also by the way of life there. In Berlin you can make a living easily so there will be enough time for doing music, or so I thought. Instead i found all these funny people and massive parties which did not leave me any time for doing music. So my first two years in Berlin were not so productive, kinda wasted time but not wasted life.
Today I mostly love the freedom here. I can do what I want whenever I want as long as I am respectful of others. For me as a musician it’s very important to not get distracted by all the stupid typical city stress. Berlin is a huge city with a lot of music culture but also still quiet and slow. But I am thinking of leaving Berlin soon. I need a change. It is not changing much here anymore. The city is a bit too lazy, me included.
Do you find it’s a place that aids creativity then?
I don’t now if Berlin aids creativity. Somehow it does because of all the other inspiring artists who are living, working, partying and cooking nice dinner with me here. And it also still continues to reinvent itself. I find new art projects, new clubs, new parties, new people all the time. But as I said it can be super distracting. My dream would be to work in the wild mountains and keep getting inspiration from Berlin, but that’s difficult to realize. no possibility of mountains here, also no wild landscape. Wild people only!
What’s your take on the gentrification of the city?
Gentrification happens everywhere in a capitalistic system. It is not the fault of Berlin and especially not the fault of a few new citizens. In my opinion if you wanna fight gentrification, you have to fight the whole capitalistic system in a sneaky way. But I am really not the person who wants to fight against something. I wanna be positive and focus on solutions. As a musician I can try to do a small part by writing tracks. Making the people think and become happy and self-confident would be a great aim for me. I don’t understand these Berliners who always blame the others for their own problems. If you wanna fight gentrification, don’t fight the people. Change the system by contributing positively to solutions.
What prompted all this moving in the first place? Are you a sort of restless person?
No not restless. I am very curious. I wanna see everything. I love travelling and meeting people and getting all these nice experiences from other cultures.
Can you tell me a bit about your rock past? What did that entail? What made you turn your back on rock music? Was it simply because you found electronic music?
When I was ten years old I got a guitar. Next step was a band and another and another. Nothing special. We did guitar music like many other kids. Playing a lot of concerts in the north of Germany. We took it very serious and we thought we were the greatest, but we were shit. After a while rock music bored me. There was nothing to discover anymore. Always the same sounds and rhythms. And also there were bands like Muse and Radiohead. They were so fucking perfect that it was nearly annoying. Whenever I had a new idea, I realized that they had done it before already. I hate them but I love them.
Electronic music is more free and much more complex and even more difficult to create. You can’t just grab a guitar easily and start playing something. For electronic music you need a whole concept first and you have learn many instruments and also you have to learn a lot about sound, mixing, mastering and all this studio stuff.
I was super fascinated when I realized that electronic music is more like controlling a huge orchestra of sounds than simply playing one instrument. That doesn’t mean that I don’t like rock music anymore. I still love it. But I am just not genius enough to get interesting music out of just one instrument. Unfortunately in the moment I don’t know any rock music artists who really kicks me. Maybe I will go back to be a singer-songwriter again some day. like Bob Dylan or something…