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Jonas Erik Altberg (Basshunter) Interview

by David Dolphin on May.03, 2009, under Concerts, Interviews, Media, Music

The following interview with Jonas Erik Altberg (Basshunter) was taken on Friday May 1st 2009 for An Focal, the ULSU paper. Audio of the interview is available in MP3, OGG and FLAC formats.

This interview has been referenced from Basshunter’s Wikipedia page. If you have found this via Wikipedia, please note that the same text is also hosted (with permission) on ian.ie and a french translation is available from basshunter.fr.

BasshunterDD: Good show tonight, congrats.
BH: I loved it.
DD: How did you get into DJing?
BH: I didn’t DJ.
DD: Producing?
BH: There’s is a big difference between producing and DJing. It was about 8 years ago I think, one of my mates burned me a CD with a couple of programs that included a music program.
DD: Fruity Loops?
BH: That’s right, Fruity Loops. So I was trying it out, because I spend basically my whole life in front of a computer. So then I got hooked, I loved it, I kept on doing it.
DD: Do you still use Fruity Loops?
BH: Yeah actually I do.
DD: You haven’t moved onto Traktor?
BH: I use Logic as well. I’ve been using a PC all my life, but I got myself a Mac Pro, an iMac and a Macbook Pro because I really need to start working with Mac, it’s like he ultimate thing now. But I don’t have so much time to sit at home, it takes time to study and learn a new music program, you’re always afraid that you’re going to loose your sound. So I’m kinda stuck with FLStudio, when I three months off in my schedule then I’ll probably start using Logic full time.
DD: One of your songs, Boten Anna is about an IRC bot.
BH: That’s right.
DD: You’ve been involved with computers for a long time, how did you get into IRC?
BH: When I started playing counter strike, it took a couple of weeks, everyone spoke of this #gather channel on Quakenet. I was like “What is that?”, “Just download this IRC client, mIRC”. So that’s how it all began. I’ve been using ICQ, MSN, everything. I don’t use any of them any more, except for IRC, because I know that’s just my kind of people, that’s where I can be myself, and just chill out.
DD: Brilliant, what games are you playing at the moment, or do you have any time?
BH: Yeah, I do have [time], I mean you have to make time, especially for gaming. I’m always travelling with laptops, if it’s a really bad connection I can play World of Warcraft, because it’s OK if there’s a little latency. At home I play DotA or Warcraft 3, I love Tower Wars and Tower Defence, and line TD, of course DotA and Counter-Strike. Do you play any games?
DD: Some games, I used play Counter Strike back in the day.
BH: Call of Duty?
DD: Call of Duty is very good, Modern Warfare.
BH: I’ve heard that Call of Duty is almost bigger than Counter-Strike, especially in Ireland and England.
DD: It is, but it’s different, personally I was always a fan of the faster games, like Unreal Tournament, UT.
BH: Oh yeah, that’s big! I actually have my own Unreal Tournament (UT) server.
DD: Nice. UT2003/2004 were awesome, particularly because there are so fast. You’re in there playing, you kill three guys [in a row], it’s great.
BH: Unreal Tournament came out before Quake 3, didn’t it?
DD: Yeah.
BH: I mean, Quake 3 is almost inspired by Unreal Tournament. I remember Quake 2, the edge, shooting rocket launchers to the spawn points, if you have a good system…
DD: You’re set. Gaming is very cool, and I know you’re big in the gaming scene.
DD: Boten Anna, when you translated it into “Now you’re gone” you changed the meaning, almost completely
BH: So, half a year, 6-7 months after I started my career with Boten Anna I thought I should write some English lyrics. So I tried to translate it several times into English and still keep the story and the hook, and that’s impossible, it’s so hard. So at the end of the day I was collaborating a little bit with a guy in Holland – not for the Basshunter project, we did productions for a couple of vocalists, just some side projects – and we worked out the [lyrics] together. We didn’t have any inspiration so we were just playing around, drinking beer, and it all was there.
DD: Cool, well it’s a huge hit and you’ve done well from it.
DD: Speaking of the Netherlands, how is your jumpstyle?
BH: My jumpstyle, I’ll see if I can do this, it was a long time ago.
BH performs a few jumps.
DD laughs.
DD: Very good.
BH: I’ve always wanted to learn how to dance and as you probably saw I have no idea how to dance, I’m just jumping around waving my arms and just freak out. Some day it would be nice to have some choreography. You know about tectonic, there is a French dance called tectonic, and shuffle. I think shuffle is [from] the UK or Ireland.
DD: Yeah, I think shuffle is hardcore UK. Ireland just takes [all types of dance].
BH: I think it started in the subways. Shuffle and tectonic, that’s something I could get into.
DD: Do you have any advice for upcoming producers?
BH: I’m on a boat motherfucker, with my flippy floppies. I jizzed in my pants.
DD laughs.
DD: Lonely island are very good.
BH: Aw man, that song, when we heard that one, we were in that car and see a guy lying on a bench, “I’m on a bench motherfucker”, and “I’m on a bike motherfucker”, it was fun.
BH: Advice? Are you looking for a recipe for success?
DD: I’m looking for what someone, an upcoming producer do. You started out with Fruity Loops in your bedroom, now you’re playing to 2,000 people in University in a different country.
BH: If you compare to 15 years ago, today it’s so easy to produce music, anyone can, actually. There is, for example, the Nexus VST plug-in, pre-made sounds, you don’t have to touch it, it just sounds perfect from the beginning. The only thing you need is to know how to use the program and produce some beats. You need to have an ear as well. To be honest the best thing to do is to try and make something that no one else has done before. Make it as simple as possible and as catchy as possible. If you do that, and do it in a good way of course, everyone will be [able to sing along], even a person who can’t sing “It’s a long way to Tipperary”. That’s one of the easiest songs to sing.
DD: It’s catchy and people remember it.
BH: Picture a bunch of guys partying in the pub, suddenly a sound starts to play. It’s not a song you sing, you just scream it out. Use all the free promotion you can get, why do you want to spend €10,000 on one weeks radio promotion when you can reach out to millions and millions of people with MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter. Seriously, there is the future, and it’s free. So, just become a member on all communities, Asian communities, everything, with the same name, and hand out your music for free. Free downloads, people love that.
DD: Speaking of free downloads, what are your views on the Pirate Bay?
BH: I know the guys personally, they’re Swedish so of course.
DD: And their unfortunate court-case recently.
BH: Yeah, they’ve had a hard time. Actually, I think it was the first of April, a new law stepped in in Sweden and it says, you’re not allowed anything, and you’re not allowed to upload anything. That’s like movies, music or anything copyrighted. They’ve found a way to track, even if you download with torrents. You remember DC++, Limewire or WinMX, it was so easy to track the IP number, but with torrents they couldn’t but now they’ve found a way. So basically what they do is, they don’t even tell you, they just send you a bill, of €2,500, and say “you’ve downloaded this, this, this files, we’ve registered your IP number. If you have any objections, go to court.”. So basically, that’s quite fucked.
DD: So, what do you think the future of music on-line is?
BH: You can never stop the download or upload, never. I mean look at me; without the internet and downloads I would be a fart in the wind. It’s true, if my label read this interview they’re probably going to kick my ass. I think the future is like iTunes, they were the first [to] put out songs for sale very cheap. Some songs, you download 10 versions and it’s just shitty copies. This is like 320Kbps.
DD: Same with Amazon and VBR.
BH: Exactly, everyone follows. So I think that’s the future, you just order things on-line to your laptop and transfer to your iPod. No one uses portable CD players or anything.
DD: Even still, they say that only maybe 15% of iPods’ music is legitimate. A majority is either torrents or you get it from your friends. So, will people continue paying for music, do you think?
BH: I think people will continue paying for music, yeah. I know [what] it’s like being a student, I’ve never had a job in my entire life, I couldn’t get one, I don’t know why, I tried. I know [what] it’s like, you have very little money to spend. Imagine if there is a new album out by your favourite artist and you cant buy the album for 3 months. Is that going to prevent you from listening to the music? No. Of course I think it’s more than right that this person should download it.Basshunter Crowd
DD: I know that as a student I would much rather spend money on a live show, I would much rather buy a ticket to a gig of an artist I like and get the music for free on-line.
BH: Yeah, yeah, exactly.
DD: This way, hopefully, the artist gets more money. Rather than getting screwed by a label.
BH: Basically all artists today, I mean artists in general, their income is from the shows, not the sales. There aren’t many artists today who produce and write their own music, but I do, so I get the whole cookie. As long as you can pay your bills and rent, put food on the table every day, that’s my goal. Everything else is just a bonus. If people like my music and want to listen to my music I don’t care how they get it, as long as they like it and are having fun.
DD: Do you have any new stuff coming up?
BH: You heard the last song, that is going to be the new single, after the summer, it’s called “Every morning”. I’ve been at home now for one and a half months, working on a new album. I’m about 70% done, so the album will be out at the end of the summer.
DD: Good luck, I look forward to hearing it.
BH: I’m working quite hard on it. For “Now you’re gone, the album” they only gave me two and a half weeks in the studio, so there are tons of things I want to change, but there wasn’t any time for it. But this time I said, “if you don’t give me two months in the studio you’re not getting an album”. So what are they going to do, you know?
BH laughs.
DD: So, how’s the tour going?
BH: Very good. This year I’ve been in America for one and a half months, in Canada, in France, I did the Dance Nation tour which was quite successful, and now I’m here in Ireland. It’s good to be back. This summer will be another major tour in America, around fifty shows, then New Zealand and Australia for one and a half months, then I’m going back to the UK and Ireland for a tour.
DD: So, do you spend any time in Sweden at all?
BH: Last year I visited my home town, my family – you have to spend some time with your family as well – and she has calculated that last year I spent 52 days at home, or in Sweden in general. The stuff I do at home; I just eat pan pizza and play computer games, when I’m not in the studio producing. Basically eating pan pizza and playing computer games I can do wherever, so long as I have a decent connection.
DD: Are you planning on a family, do you have a girlfriend?
BH: I had a girlfriend before, for 5 years, and it went straight to hell when my career started, don’t even ask why.
DD: You were on the road, never home.
BH: Yeah, and she freaked out. I’ve tried to establish a decent relationship for the last three years on tour, sometimes when you really meat someone special, but it’s not going to work.
DD: I imagine it’s hard on tour. Do you plan on settling down at any point?
BH: Oh yeah, I want to be a father before I’m 30. I’m 25 this year so I have at least 5 years. I’m always wearing my scuba gear, so I’m not going to have any mistakes. I picture myself in maybe ten years time with a son or daughter.
DD: The best of luck.
BH: The thing is, and I don’t want to sound like a complete idiot, but if I wanted to find a girlfriend it wouldn’t be a problem. It’s just that you have to find the right one. Before this whole thing started it was quite easy to find the right one, because people didn’t know [me] and only the people that though there was something special about me wanted to… you know what I mean. But today when you mean someone you never know why interested, if she’s interested in Basshunter, my success or me as a person.
DD: It’s hard to find someone who’s interested in you.
BH: Yeah, most of the time it’s quite easy to tell, but I think I’ll get there.
DD: Good luck, Good luck. OK, very good chatting to you, we’ll all be looking forward to your new album.
BH: Is this a newspaper for the whole campus?
DD: Yeah, the whole campus.
BH: We have a couple of Universities in Sweden as well, I’ve been on a few, especially at parties and stuff. I must say, this is probably the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. I could defiantly think of going to school here, I mean I’m not going to open another book again, but maybe, who knows…
DD: It’s a nice place.
BH: My mom, she’s the principal of a college in Sweden, and I went to that college. I didn’t do so well in the Math and the History, I didn’t study. I could never get away with it. I have pictures of my mom, speaking with all the teachers in school when they are having lunch and she’s ask Mr. Mahr, the Math teacher, “Hi there, I’m just curious, how is Jonas doing in your class?”, “Well, I haven’t seen him in three weeks”. Busted man! So maybe I’ll just go back to school some day and fix my minus.
DD: Cool, well, thank you very much, we’ll see you again.
BH: No, thank you, my pleasure.

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