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“Swedish Danijel Alpha is not new to the scene, in a matter of fact, he was one of few pioneers that brought electronic dance music to Stockholm in the late 80s.
Working as a deejay since the mid-80s, Danijel had already established his name in the Swedish capital.
Full of influence of the European scene, Danijel formed a plan to promote the new dance music to the Scandinavian crowd.
In 92 Danijel got an offer to hook up with one of Germany's biggest agencies to start touring abroad.
After a few years on the international circuit, Danijel decided to move to Berlin.
At this point, he was spinning most of his gigs in Germany anyway.
The move ended up with a residency at the legendary techno club, Tresor.
During this time, Danijel produced tracks and remixes under various monikers for different labels.
In the year 2000 Danijel moved back to Stockholm where he became a father of three beautiful little children.
During this time Danijel focused on his production and stayed away from clubs to support his family.
During this period he produced music for three different feature films and a couple of short stories.
Danijel is now back in popular demand, and once again spinning all over the world.
His unique style is a mash-up of deejaying and live performing as well as remixing tracks on the spot. If you have a chance to catch his performance, make sure you do.”
Hi There Danijel,
Thank you for making this interview. We appreciate your story!
What are Your hopes and dreams? Where do you want to go with your music?
I have finally come to a place where I can focus on producing some dance music again.
Koh Phangan is a great environment for inspiration and I have not been so productive in years since I got here.
Back in Sweden, my life was occupied by all the things that a western lifestyle encourages.
The freedom to make music was a contributing part that made me and my family move to Thailand.
With my new label in my back pocket, I now have a release rate that I always dreamed about.
I try to make music sprung out of my heritage in dance music and hopefully, some other jocks out there will play the tunes. More important is that I have a creative canalization where I can feel productive in a satisfying way.
What is your Koh Phangan story? How did you end up here?
My, I and my family have always been in love with Thailand, one way or another.
First, we moved to Bangkok and lived there for a year.
We got our business going and soon we realized that the kids needed more than just be stuck in traffic all day.
We had spent some time on Koh Phangan and after being here on one of the kid's schools break we decided to move here.
Ever since we got here in May this year we have to scout the terrain for a business opportunity.
Now we are settled here and work our way towards becoming a part of this island and contribute as good as we can to this beautiful place.
You are a producer as well as a DJ. How would you classify your music?
I’ve been deejaying for as long as I can remember and along with that comes the urge to make your own music. I’ve been producing ever since the mid-eighties.
I started on my Amiga by making music for hacker demos back then.
When I started deejaying a couple of years later in 1986 I span mostly funk, disco, and electronic influenced music as Italo, new wave, and krautrock, a genre that groups like Kraftwerk was sprung out from.
A couple of years later I discovered house music and the rest is history.
The music I play and has always been deeply rooted in the early values of house music and techno, mixed up with what is coming and is just around the corner.
It’s often easier to say what I don’t spin instead of telling what I actually play.
Most of the time I stay clear of trance and progressive house and don’t get me wrong I can totally dig those styles but I’m in my heart a black music person since I was born and I just find it hard to incorporate those genres with the rest of my music.
Otherwise, I play most styles that have a house beat, especially if it has a distinct baseline that makes people go nuts.
Do you only play your own music when you DJ?
No of course not, I’m not Todd Terry. But I tend to blend in a few tracks now and then. I don’t make a big fuss about it, deejaying isn't about tricks, it’s about making new tracks as you deejay. I can’t think of any more boring, than a deejay that just plays tracks from start to finish. Deejaying is about putting a different baseline to another track, incorporate vocals, and so on. I always thought that the best deejays put on a great vibe and you don’t recognize anything, but everything sounds great. You just wanna dance.
Did it change genre or style through the years?
Of course I did. I’ve been around this scene since it began and I’ve covered about everything!
Even if I like I said before, tend to have a more eclectic approach towards the music I play. Over these 25 years, I have been doing this I’ve been through every style on the map.
Even trance music back in the days, when the genre first surfaced around 1993.
One thing I never did, was to play commercial music, even when I had hard times surviving I never went down that road.
I just tend to focus harder and make sure I get the job done. I’m not saying that is wrong to take that path, I just couldn’t do it and continue what I was doing.
Where and Who do you get your inspiration from?
Mainly from black music. Soul, funk, American house, and techno pioneers.
Today EDM is such a global phenomenon so you can find your inspiration everywhere.
I tend to spend hours on Soundcloud to listen to music by new talents out there and I’m truly amazed that there is such depth and variation to the things that are being produced.
The scene has totally changed in the last couple of years.
You only have to look back two years to realize that it happened a lot.
There was not as much variety as now, and much was focused on a few particular genres.
Dubstep, teahouse, and soulless German minimal house pardon my French.
The music scene today is much more forgiving and experimental. You can easily mix up styles again without the purist lifts an eyebrow.
Music is free again and the guys hanging by the wall are no longer scratching their beards while they analyzing the tunes the deejay is spinning to the same extent.
Today is a completely different range of music being produced and you can find all kinds of styles merging and grinding in a new and exciting vortex. There’s only one thing we can thank for that progress, and that’s house music.
Where did you play on the KP?
I played at the Jungle Experience, Anahata and Loi Lay.
I really like those venues. They have a really good vibe. It's a pity that Anahata is closed for the moment. I really hope they open again in one way or another. Loi Lay has really managed to capture a true house feeling at their location. I like it when it gets so intimate as that venue does.
Jungle experience is one of the nicest locations on the island. I love the idea of that secluded garden in the middle of the jungle. I have big respect for the crew behind that concept, and hopefully, they will continue to spread that good vibe for years to come.
How do you feel about playing here compared to Sweden or where you have been playing before?
Frankly, Koh Phangan is like any other place that has a good set of tourists and a vibrant dance scene. It’s in many ways equal to London, New York, Barcelona, and Berlin.
It’s easy math to figure out that the people who visit these places often are there to have a good time. I mean, you travel here to go to a party, it’s just the same in those other places. That creates a certain vibe and a really good atmosphere. Then, on the other hand, is the climate and nature here that make the parties magic. Even if I’ve played at some of the world's best venues, this island amazes me every day.
Do you find Koh Phangan to be the right place for you?
Yeah, this is the place.
I’ve been living abroad for many years of my life, but this will be the place that I and my wife will stay and raise our three children.
We have one son and two daughters who attend the British school here on the island.
We also just started a football (soccer) school for kids 6-12 that want to play ball every Wednesday.
That and our new business here on the island will occupy me for some time I’ll hope. This want stops me from making music of course.
Where is your favorite place here?
Oh, there are so many nice spots here on the island, but since I have a bunch of children I tend to have the same favorite places as them.
To name a few I must say the Wat Pho herbal sauna, Ban Tai beach for jogging, the fruit shakes and the Nam Tok cart on Thong Sala food market, and the cliffs on Than Sadet beach.
You can just walk down to the beach and look out over the ocean and inhale the beauty of it all. Even better when you think about how it used to be back in Europe around this time.
This surely beats getting up in the morning to do an excavation the get the car out of the snow.
Where do you think The Phangan Scene is headed?
I’ve been here too short of a time to have a real opinion on this.
I hope that Phangan will continue to spread good quality music, and contribute to a nice experience for the people who come here for holiday.
Hopefully, Phangan gets more of the party tourist that populating the big cities in Europe these days, which is a bit older, a bit more well played, and a bit more eager to spend more money on things they enjoy.
I think there’s a good possibility to get them here shortly since the airlines are dropping prices and South East Asia will be more accessible for shorter trips. Maybe in the near future we will see weekend travelers from Europe?
What are your next projects on Phangan?
I and my family have just taken over a resort, and that’s the project we will work on daily.
It’s going to be fulfilling to start with a new project again.
Back in Sweden, we both had successful companies that we had built up from scratch before we sold them off.
I lived on only music for almost 15 years, after a couple of years struggling with a day job.
Eventually, I needed more than the music to satisfy myself so I got into starting up businesses in various branches.
Today we still have some sort of business in Sweden and Bangkok, and now we starting up a new and exciting business here too.
What are your next projects around the world?
I will continue to give out EPs and albums on my Weyland-Yutani imprint with a good release rate.
The plan for 2012 is 5 more releases, and for 2013 we’re looking at 15 releases.
Music nowadays is just for fun, you can’t make any money on a record company anymore.
When we have the resort ready, we will start to invite producers from around the world. The friends of mine from all these years deejaying around the globe.
With their help, we will start a unique remix project where all those people will contribute to our label, and if we’re lucky we can even get them to spin here somewhere if their promoters are up for it.
Do you see yourself playing on Phangan 10 years from now?
I will still be here for sure, one way or another.
Hopefully, I have still time to spend on deejaying once in a while, and the scene on the island will be as vibrant as ever.
In ten years Koh Phangan will be a completely different island, but it’s up to all of us who live here to keep the spirit alive.
Where do you see yourself then?
If I can help it, I’m still in good shape and enjoying life as much as I do now.
My kids are starting to become of age then, and surely looking for higher education elsewhere.
Either my wife and I will follow them to where ever they choose to study or we do something else like staying here or take a few years in another place.
Maybe there’s a new hobby I can dedicate some of my spare time on or maybe I’ll be engaged in some sport here on the island.
Cause that’s something I like to encourage on a place like this, more organized activities that are not dependent on the tourist industry. Everyone needs to have a vivid community where people can activate themselves.
I’m a restless soul and a doer.
I will always be up to new projects and interact between people.
Back in Sweden my latest company was involved in the development of intelligent housing.
I’m an electrical engineer by profession and my company was at the cutting edge when it came to reducing electrical costs, internal communications, automation, surveillance, and self-sustainable solutions for the environment.
I really hope that I can implement some of these skills here on the island and contribute to reducing dependency from elsewhere.
There’s a brave new world out there, and it changing rapidly.
Just make the most of it and be sure to help out whenever you can.