As one-half of soulful Copenhagen house duo Leodoris, Kristian Rix has remixed the likes of Metronomy and Hercules and Love Affair, as well as released critically acclaimed singles “Run” and “What If.” Now, after lighting up Glow on New Year’s Eve, he returns for a DJ set at the new venue Grease Mon-Sat on Jan 18 alongside Dane Wetschler and DJ Coran.
How did you first get into music?
At very, very first I started borrowing my older sister's records as a young kid. She listened to Tears For Fears, Eurythmics, Duran Duran and so on. Shortly after that I remember standing focused, super alert and ready to press the play and record buttons as I listened to this pioneering Danish radio show presented by a speed-talking, very, very cool and very gay host named Kim Schumacher, who played all the new exciting stuff from abroad. I was really into making these "mixtapes", and took it very seriously! The mixing exercise was getting as little silence between the songs making it feel like a continuous mix! I remember handing out these cassettes to the older kids at school and feeling very proud—without showing it, of course.
You tasted some success with your previous band Rio; what did you learn from that experience?
I learned a lot. First of all, the other guys where really great musicians, so I learned a lot music-wise. Before joining those guys, I had mostly just played around with music software for the fun of it and since the other guys each had their instruments (drums, bass, guitars), I guess I eventually got the role as the guy putting it together on the computer, arranging, and mixing it. We put out a 7-track EP and the result was far from perfect, but it taught me a lot. It's quite funny actually, now that I think of it, when they asked me to join them, on the first night in the studio they said: "so, Kristian, we thought maybe you could sing!" and I went, "No, I don't sing!". So, for the next time we met, I bought a MicroKORG and brought my laptop to make myself of some use.
How did you hook up with Erikka Bahnsen [vocalist] and begin Leodoris?
We were friends and one night, after a few too many drinks, we had a spontaneous acoustic jam session. I had never heard her sing, and she hadn't sung since childhood, but still I was really blown away by the character of her voice. In-between the very late-night jam session errors I heard snippets of her vocals that were pure gold and like nothing I had heard before. We agreed to form a band and see if we could turn those snippets into entire songs.
How would you describe the Leodoris sound?
It has electronic music characteristics to it, sometimes with a house-like beat, synths, and so on, but it's also more melodic I guess than a typical house track. It has a warm side to it as well, I think, especially with Erikka's vocals. Maybe you can hear some disco-ish elements here and there too.
You’ve remixed some big names; what makes a good remix?
I think a good remix takes the original somewhere else and makes it a track of its own without losing reference to musical elements from the original. But a good remix can also be to make a not-so-danceble song work in a club without taking it too far from the original. The audience has to think "hey, that track is awesome!" not just "hey, that's a funny take on the original."
Could you tell us a bit about your creative process—do you have a set idea of how a track is built or does it come organically?
It's never thought out before it's created. Personally, I do have a lot of ideas of what I think works well in songwriting, but they more just come to mind as we start jamming. The process is quite simple in a way, it often just begins with a basic beat and then we add instruments like bass, synths, guitar and then the sound that appears often surprises you by having a mood or sound to it that you didn't expect. From there we usually add vocals, arrange the track and see how it works live.
How did you come to the attention of the This is Music record label?
We were actually about to release on our own again, since releasing "Run" ourselves had been quite a rewarding experience. But established labels can do a bit more of course, so we picked a few that released artists we could relate to, and sent them what we thought of releasing. We went with This Is Music, partly because they are not only releasing underground electronic music, but also alternative pop and other genres.
What are your plans for future releases? Have you got any new material ready to go?
We've got some finished tracks that we have performed on our live shows that we might put out. But no specific dates yet.
What can Bangkok expect from your DJ set?
That I won't play a single track that I don't think is awesome! Well, I usually figure out what to play when I get there, get a sense of the vibe of the crowd. The range of music could be all the way from slow-house/disco to house music and all the way to more uptempo minimal techno dubby stuff if people are up for it - as long as it makes your hips or feet move, preferably both. But actually I'm super excited to see this new venue with a bigass LED ceiling that should make Watergate in Berlin look like a tiny pizza sign!