In the midst of a cold January day in Copenhagen; I’m standing outside a graffiti covered venue space located in the borough of Nørrebro called Mayhem. A home for open minded music and open minded people that has played an important role in the shaping of Copenhagen underground scene and artistic freedom. This is where I’m about to meet Loke Rahbek in his studio.
Loke Rahbek is a Danish sound artist who’s known for his work, not just under his own name, but also under aliases such as Damien Dubrovnik, Lust For Youth, and Croatian Amor, which all deny the concept of being boxed into a single style of music. All of these different projects stand together as bricks within the larger construction that is the collective, record label and strange yet functional family known as Posh Isolation. Over the last nine years since Posh Isolation was first founded, the label has held a special place within Copenhagen’s DIY and avant-garde scene. It has also become a stronghold of creative expression not only within the Scandinavian experimental scene, but the whole of Europe as well. “I try to not think about it too much” Says Rahbek “We had a party a couple of weeks ago here in Copenhagen with Khalil, Lyra and Astrid Sonne, that made me feel like I was part of a movement or something. But, that’s a Copenhagen thing, a more local movement.”
With a friendly greet, we start walking through the near pitch black space where a majority of Danish artists that have had a background in the underground scene of noise, punk, electronic music, and anything in between have had an artistic experience. As we reach to the other side of the space, we enter Rahbeks private studio.
As the conversations fly from one end of the serious spectrum to the other, Rahbek touches upon everything recent and upcoming such as performing on the opening night of the new 4D sound system venue in Berlin known as MONOM, and progress of the new Croatian Amor record.
Here’s the first part of a condensed transcript of our conversation that followed thereafter:
What is your creative working process like? What is your relationship to composing music?
I think routine is important. I want to feel almost as if I’m going to work like anybody else. You get into work when everyone else gets in and leave when everyone leaves. Of course, it doesn’t always work like that. I’ve realized when I’m producing in the middle of the night my ears aren’t as attentive. We’re all slammed with sounds all day long so by the end of the day my ears are tired and I just want silence. I usually do my best work early on in the day when my head and ears have had a chance to rest. However, it’s also important that I break my pattern of routine and do something completely different from time to time.
Do you feel at peace when you are in middle of working on music?
I never feel at peace when I’m working. I think that’s a good thing.
You performed on the opening night of MONOM in a pitch black room where everyone was lying down with their eyes closed, do you feel as if the intimacy with your fans is developing as venue spaces and concerts halls become more advanced and suitable for your music?
I was very happy that they let me work there, I have never worked with a sound system quite like it before, it’s extraordinary. However, I don’t think you necessarily need a 4D sound system to create intimacy.
In many ways the concerts are putting the pieces to the test, see if they work. See what they are made out of. A strange thing happens when you share work with an audience, it is as if you hear the music the way they hear it. Of course I can not know how someone else hears a sound that is not what I mean, but it is as if I meet the music for the first time and I believe it’s good to meet your own work like a stranger.
How do you feel Posh Isolation as a label has progressed over time?
Posh Isolation, I never really think of it as a label. I still am not completely used to that title even after 9 years. Posh Isolation is a lot of different things but the most important is that it is a group of people that respect each other and take the work serious, it’s about friendship. As a curative platform or record label I think it has gotten stronger and I hope it will continue to do so.
Are you currently working on the new Croatian Amor record?
Yeah, that’s the idea. I’ve moved around a lot last year and for a lot of it I didn’t have access to a proper studio. But I found it really liberating, I imagine I made more music than I would have in my own studio at home. The pressure is off when your workspace is a kitchen counter and from time to time you need a change of environment.
That said it is nice to be back in Copenhagen and to be back at Mayhem. The record is happening slowly but surely. Some days I swear that it is done, other days I think there is not a single track ready. We have a turbulent relationship but that is usually a good sign.
It feels like a different work than the previous and that is exciting. There are some things that finally are making sense after years of asking the same questions and then there are things that altogether stopped making sense and both aspects are liberating.
I am curious to see who it is when it is done.
Is the fantasy that portrays Croatian Amor still as relevant as it continues on?
I think I never wanted Croatian Amor to be a person and I still do not really, if it has to be a person then I think it should be several different, possibly at the same time. But I would much rather have it be a series of rooms linked by very stylishly decorated corridors. I think it happens more now with this record, it has a lot of voices, conflicting personas, but at the end of the day I think it’s for the best that we let the work decide for itself what it wants to be.
If you want to find out what Loke Rahbek’s projects decided to be as well as other Posh Isolation artists and records – https://poshisolation.net/. Keep your ears open for his upcoming Croatian Amor record!