What this blog is now mostly about... and some great new music coming feat. Mario Swagga & DJ Sillila

Mario Swagga & DJ Silila in the streets of Dar es Salaam

The future of this blog is mainly concerned about the activity on my label PG Sounds. but it will also include other projects, that I will be involved in..

Right now its one of the most, let's say - musically a wild-ride...
When my old friend Dave Kerr introduced me to the musical genre Singeli the music spoke to me. I have never heard such energy, such a wild and restless rhythm as is captured in this ep. It reminded me of the impact electronic music had on me back in the 90s, but with total new and unknown energy.
Dave presented a completely new music world to me; the street sounds of Dar es Salaam and introduced me to the musical souls of Mario and Silila.
Dave is an anthropologist based at the University of Johannesburg and has been doing research on popular music in Tanzania for many years. We’ve known each other from way back in the 90's where we both organized underground club nights in Copenhagen. Since then we have kept in contact and so working again together pushin´ the boundaries of music from the underground comes natural to us...And here we are now with Mario Swagga and DJ Silila.

Cover for Mapenzi Digital

What's the deal you may ask. Well…

Combining an Afro-Punk do it yourself attitude, the energy and vibrancy of their driving drums with lyrics which speak to both the fun and complexity of young people’s lives in Dar es Salaam Mario Swagga and DJ Silila have created a truly distinctive and original sound.
Coming from the informal settlements of Kiwalani, Dar es Salaam Mario Swagga and DJ Silila’s music captures the restless energy and hustle of young peoples lived in this fast-growing metropolis. This is music to get you moving, as Mario sings in Party La Uhakika (Epic Party)

Party as hard as you can, party with the vibe, this is an epic party”.

Mario Swagga & DJ Silila 
Singeli is a new electronic music genre which originates at street parties called vigodoro held in Dar es Salaam’s informal settlement. Created using the computer program Virtual DJ, Singeli is made when DJ’s cut, looped and sped up sections of older Tanzanian recordings, generating their own unique sonic landscape. This soundtrack typically evolves over an hour of live performance as singers’ freestyle lyrics over the top of Singeli’s animated beats. Through their use of samples from Tanzania’s musical past Singeli’s producers creates an Afro-futurist sound. Fusing the unique melodies of Taarab, with the energetic drums of Mnanda and the singular sound of the Mario Swagga’s lyrical style this EP combines an electronic aesthetic with the ‘traditional’ sounds of Tanzania. The frantic sound of Singeli is perhaps closest to early jungle but has a uniquely African aesthetic.

Recording their songs in their studio, which also doubles as DJ Silila’s one room living space Mario and DJ Silila perform at Vigodoro across the city. Mario Swagga started performing at street parties across Dar es Salaam in 2009. He was named Mario by crowds he performed to because on stage he possessed some of the same confidence, attitude and swagger as the footballer Mario Balloteli. As his reputation grew Mario began to perform at events organized by Clouds FM and in 2016 was crowned the number one Singeli singer in Dar es Salaam at Fiesta Singeri Michano. Mario’s name has gone on to spread across the city and is now ready to travel even further afield.


The Dark Side - Introducing bandleader Kaare Bjerke to a talk about the album, recording and music & life

The Dark Side is the latest signing for my PG Sounds label. 
We have recently released the debut single "Marsmand "(Martian). Now the album "Out Of The Dark Side" is being released on the 6th april 2017, after nearly a year of work. We are looking so much forward to get the music out to you.

The band is:
Bas: Kaare Bjerke
Guitar,lapsteel: Buster Jensen
Guitar: Alex Jønsson
Sax,clarinet: Svend Dam Meinild
Drums: Emil Mossing Thorenfeldt

The music is the result of a partially anarchic mindset to the music. The idea is not to create total chaos, but to liberate themselves from norms and rules, creating music in immediacy and meet the music that arises spontaneously. "Free assignment orderly".

The Dark Side started as a DIY project that was recorded in Copenhagen in March 2016, with several musicians from   Zetzum Zorglub and Onkel Ond (Uncle Evil) where the composer behind The Dark Side (Kaare Bjerke) also helps. "Out of the Dark Side" contains eight tracks recorded on a total of 8 hours and thus laid the foundations for the unpolished recording. The 8 compositions have thus been a number of guidelines to free interpretation of the orchestra.

Check out more on The Dark Side here:

I caught bandleader Kaare Bjerke in the studio while he and the band are preparing for a intimate release concert, to talk about the new album:

Kaare, this is your first kind of “bandleader” project, is that correct ? 
a: Yes, this is the first time I’ve published music as a bandleader.

As you have worked with these musicians in other projects such as Zetzum Zorglub ( where your guitarist Buster Jensen is the band leaser), how does this change your musical direction ?
a: Buster and I have played together for many years. Over time we have built up a sound and a common understanding of it, and it grows every time we play together. However, our compositions are very different, and as the bandleader of The Dark Side I have the opportunity to put my personal imprint at the orchestra.

When you write new material, do you write or improvise until you have a full composition ? Tell about the creative process getting these tracks recorded ? 

a: When I wrote the tunes for Out of The Dark Side, I based the music on some very simple ideas. Many of the tunes are written from chord progressions I’ve got from improvising. That way I've created 8 “guidelines” that were spontaneously orchestrated and produced in the rehearsal room.

You recorded the album at The Mill in Copenhagen with Thor Madsen ? What's the story behind this relationship and how does this give your music life ?
a: The first time I had the pleasure to work with Thor Madsen, was during the recording of the ZetZum Zorglub in 2014. Thor has a great understanding of capturing the natural sound of a room during a recording-session, and I take that as a great skill. Since then I've worked with Thor quite some times. He knows me by now, and know exactly what kind sound I’m looking for in my music. Furthermore both Thor Madsens (Thor De Force), Buster Jensens (ZetZum Zorglub) and The Dark Side are published by PG Sounds.

The recordings were done in only 8 hours. Why that speed ?
a: It was basically not just a matter of speed. All the contributed musicians on Out of The Dark Side is selected according to create the sound that I wanted to create. I would like to be able to capture as much of these musicians personality as possible, and if you track relatively few takes of a tune without having too many agreements, naturally you’ll get some of the immediacy that I find appealing in the music.

Can you tell me a bit about every track on the album or are their specific elements you rather focus on with the music and the story behind it ?
a: A good example of some of the things I just mentioned is “Wings". The tune consisting of a relatively short melody and chord progression, which has been the starting point for a improvisation. Wings is tracked in one take, where the only agreement was, that all the musicians has to follow the one playing the melodi. 
I think that some may say that the album is very quiet. Out of The Dark Side reflects the way I see the world in my contemporary time. In a world of upheaval, chaos, social medias and stress, was it quite important and natural for me, to create simple and meditative music.

What's next ? More live ? More collaborations ? More music ? Whats coming ….
a: Right now The Dark Side are playing some concerts as a trio. We experiment with a more electronic setup where we play music from Out of the Dark Side, and try out some new stuff as well. The idea is to create a sound that can be the starting point of the next album. Right now we’re in a little uncharted territory, but it also help us to add some of the immediacy in the music that I’m looking forIn that way we avoid playing the same tunes in the same way every time. 

Here at the end, we know you listen at lot to radio and tv, whats your favorite tv show and radio show these days ?
a: I Actually watch more movies than Flow-TV. In the same way that I use music, I try to embrace as wide a repertoire as possible. Everything from old classics to brand new movies in every genre. I am also a frequent user of Ekkos Shortlist where I also collect very much musical inspiration. I hear radio quite randomly and have no specific favorite shows.

And, as you are a musician you must have some musical darlings that you listen at lot to these days, reveal please ?

a: You ask a musician to name his favorite music? tuff one! I listen to a lot of different musicians and I find inspiration in everything from Tinariwen, Rufus Wrainright, Tom Waits, Radiohead and Brian Eno to name a few. If I should I mention one, that I always go back to and never get tired of, it must be Daniel Lanois. I think he's a phenomenal songwriter and I'm very fascinated by the way he mixes songwriting, ambience and electronica elements together. He is a great inspiration for me.


PG Sounds now has its own website






"Sundays In September" - The new sounds from Thor De Force - 4 tracks in 4 weeks

Thor De Force

Sundays In September”

Oktavia” Release date: 04.09.2016
Erozone” Release date: 11.09.2016 
Elvin” Release date: 18.09.2016 
Five Stars” Release date: 25.09.2016 

Here at PG Sounds I am extremely thrilled to announce ”Sundays In September "series with Danish producer/ muscian Thor De Force. The series consists of four single tracks, published over 4 Sundays in Septemper 2016 which has already been introduced with Thor De Force's animated stop-motion film "Next President? "

As a Dane born in the US, with the possibility to vote in elections in both countries, Thor De Force has a close relationship with both cultures. With November's election, it seems many thoughts going through the musician's mind. The great rift in American society seems clearer than ever before, but the divide is not just American; it is a flow that permeates Western culture.
Musically Thor De Force works around this mood in the 4 tracks. Blues, soul, electronica, jazz and deep grooves reminiscent of the great American tradition, but also the more cool Nordic - almost Bergmanske mood - and leads the listener through a long journey; a tour de force of beats and melancholy.

Follow the next four Sundays in Septemper when Thor De Force releases tracks on all digital platforms to stream, download worldwide.

Follow Thor De Force here

The interview

Label boss PG has forced Thor De Force to the table in the studio to talk more about his music, the tracks and what he is up to with all this....

What is going on here with this artist name Thor De Force ? Are you a dancing viking or a Jedi?

More of Jedi than a Viking...Jedi's are mad cool, can levitate and what not...Vikings on the other hand went around the world a killed, raped and robbed.

You travel a lot between NYC and CPH... Is this due to the fact that you actually are too confused to know where you wanna live, or do you just want to escape all the female fans ?? Just kidding... you are not swimming in female fans, so tell us, what so special about these 2 cities and their music scenes...?

What do you know about my female fans? Both NYC and CPH are great for music, both has an incredible density of great musicians. NYC has an edge that you don't find too many other places, something you can get quite addicted to and a reason to keep coming back.

Many musicians from all around the world want to make it big in NYC. You have played with a lot of them. If you should highlight 1-2 personal musical moments in the Big Apple, what would it be?

Too many great moments to narrow it down to 1 or 2.

You are a producer and you are a musician. You do you own tracks. But PG Sounds will also release some crazy stuff with the impro guitar rock God Buster Jensen and his fellow musicians in Zetzum Zorglub. You had you mind deep into their music. What nobs did you twerk [tweek] to get the sound so awesome good in these productions and how do you feel working with these guys ? I mean...their name could be a sloppy affair... or not ?

Buster is great to work with. He is very much about spur of the moment, the magic of first takes and keeping the musical mistakes intact. He really gave me the time and freedom to approach every single song from a new angle.

You are known to many for you guitar wizzard things. What is the best thing about guitars... and don’t come up with just punani talk..

I think of myself as a musician before a guitarplayer and I think all the people I like to play with are the same in regards to their chosen instrument. The guitar is an amazingly versatile instrument and sound-creation tool but in all honesty I could probably have been just as happy playing another instrument. In my next life I will be a drummer.

Your first video is a funny comment on the US election. Why are you concerned with who will be the next president ?

The american presidency is such a powerful institution and extremely important to the well being of the world. Who wins the White House is infinitely more important that who will be next prime minister of Denmark.

Now that Bernie Sanders has left the building, do you still think we can Feel The Burn ? - And was Bernie just too much of socialist for America ?

He got incredibly far in the race against all odds - before he set out to become the presidential candidate I thought yes, he is too much of a socialist but now I am not so sure. Everything is upside down not only in the american election but all over the world and A LOT of people are really, really fed up with the greed of capitalism and that greed is destabilizing the world - so why not a US socialist for president, obviously not this time but maybe next time...

When Bernie brought The Danish Model into the election, what did you think ? Is'nt he just glorifying The Danish Model because he is American and does'nt know better ?

A lot of people before Sanders have pointed to the Danish or Scandinavian model, Gorbachev among others. I think we should be extremely proud of that.

Do you think there is enough political music these days, and do you see yourself as an political artist or are you just another café latte political musician ?

I have not ever considered myself a political artist but that could change...whether somebody becomes a political voice in arts has a lot to do with circumstance and circumstances are changing.

What is it about this “Sundays in September” series... Are you a 9/11 freak ? I mean, were you there feeling the burn from the towers ?

I was in New York on 9/11 and I think of that day as one of the two most important geopolitical events in my life-time, the other being the fall of the Berlin wall. What happened on 9/11 and really mostly what happened after that day came to change the world.

Back to the tracks. You release 4 tracks in a month and non[e] of the[m] are with vocals. Lets go through them :

Oktavia” - you make a stop/motion video about the US election, but nobody is saying any political statements in that tune. What’s then the point [of] bringing any political point of views into a tune that is totally not political, or is there some kind of twisted nerdy sample of a statement that only can be heard playing the tune backwards ?

There is always a point in making a political statement. Instrumental music is not the best medium for political statements, videos are great for that.

Erozone” - Do you prefer to get paid in € or USD or what else is the point with such a title ?

Erozone is an old title and actually, the core composition of that particular track is 15 years old. The title has always intrigued me and has a magic sound to my ears. We are so used to hearing the word eurozone which is about the unsexiest word I know, but just remove one letter and it is whole different ballgame.

Elvin” - who is that guy ? Is that a secret son you have or your inner self ?

That track pays homage Elvin Jones. You listen to the track and tell me how !!:)

Five Stars” - There are 50 states in the US and 50 stars in Stars & Stripes, so whats up with these 5 stars ?

The track was originally written for 5 guitarist equally featured thus 5 stars. Even though the track morphed into something slightly different I chose to keep the title.

Talking tracks... Can tunes still change the world like your musical heroes did such as Hendrix ?

That is a great question - does art still matter or has it just become pleasant wallpaper? My heroes - Marley, Miles, Fela, Jimi - changed the world with their art but that is not something that comes along every day or every decade.

And talking Hendrix.. Tell me about your Hendrix love..How old were you when you could possible comprehend that that Hendrix was – and still is - a guitar God ?

When my parents returned to Denmark from Chicago in 1971 they brought with them a bunch of LPs - Electric Ladyland was one of them and I grew up on Hendrix. So in a way I guess I have always known.

I know you personally and I like you political point of view. But should'nt you raise you children more like Captain Fantastic (played by Viggo Mortensen), move out of the city and learn your girls to kill a deer with bare hands in order to be “real” ? I mean, I live currently in Nuuk, Greenland, and the first think I did was to throw my 5 year old son onto a icebrick and see if he could swim back..So you as hardcore as you pretend ?

I don’t pretend to be hardcore in that regard. I feed off the energy of the city and love ‘em big like New York, Sao Paulo and Mumbai. Maybe there will come a time when I start to feed off of solitude and wild nature, just hasn’t happened yet.

The future of Thor De Force - Whats next, can we expect more tracks soon and what about live ?

Yes expect both more tracks and killer live shows!

Did I miss anything. Is there a question that you wanted me to ask but I did'nt ?

When do I get paid?