Getting To Know… Steen Thottrup

Getting To Know... Steen Thottrup

f: How did you first get into making music?

Steen Thottrup: I was obsessed with music from an early age and tried different instruments like acoustic guitars, but it was a bit too boring for me back then. It wasn’t until my dad bought a drum kit for himself when I was 13, that I knew that was my instrument, so I managed to take it over very quickly.

f: What was the first dance record you bought?

Steen Thottrup: It was an early Chicago House compilation with Steve Silk Hurley, among others on it. They performed in the really early stages of House in Copenhagen in a place called Alexandra around 1986 and I went to see them. After that I was 100% sold into House Music and never looked back. 

f: How would you describe your sound?

Steen Thottrup: Well with the years it has become relaxing electronica, I would like to think very sunshiney and Balearic and always with some acoustic instruments blending with the electronics. I have always loved that combination between the organic acoustic and the sometimes cold electronic (in a good way).

f: Who were your musical influences and did they have an impact on your sound today?

Steen Thottrup: Quite a few from all genres really, it was really always about individual tracks more than the whole library from one artist, but from my pre electronic days I would say, Brian Eno, Pink Floyd, U2, Talk Talk and when I started in the scene of electronic dance and chilled stuff, I was so much into the German Frankfurt scene with Sven Vath, Torsten Fenslau, Jam & Spoon and DJ Dag. Later on I moved to London and I have several heroes from the British scene as well.

f: What was your first release?

Steen Thottrup: My first release was on Kenneth Bagers first record label called ‘Coma Records’ and it was in ’91. A very ‘full on’ Rave tune with me yelling ‘attention all ravers’, hahaha funny to think about now, but it was all about energy, dark clubs, smoke machines and strobe light back then. I was in a band called MIRO with Mads Arp and the double sided 12” single was called Energy/Mystery. We released quite a lot of successful stuff through the ’90’s under that name before I got more chilled and older.

f: Which of your own tracks was the biggest labour of love to create? 

Steen Thottrup: This is always a hard one because for me I have distinct memories with every track I have done. Each track did its thing for me at that particular time, but from my new album it’s probably ‘While We Are Dreaming’. I have a little daughter and unfortunately we live very far apart after a divorce. So this one really gets to me and makes me very proud even though I have listened to it more than a 1000 times while doing it. It’s not the most commercial on the album at all, but for me the meaning of the lyrics and the music melts together as one and it’s about connecting with the ones we love through dreams.

f: You’ve just released your wonderful new album, ‘5’, what can we expect to hear?

Steen Thottrup: Thank you so much. I think ‘5’ is very Balearic and sunshine, probably because I live here in the Balearics again and I really always felt at home here.

I’d like if the album gives the listener time to think a little deeper, relax, and hopefully also get the inner feeling of gratitude to life. That’s what I get out of it when listening and if its the same for others, then my mission would be accomplished.

f: This is your fifth album release, how does it compare to your previous albums?

Steen Thottrup: The question no artist can answer I guess. I am a person full of emotions and I have tried many things in life, incredible happy moments and some incredibly sad and that always melts into what I do. So maybe the listener can answer that question better, if they find this one more optimistic or less, etc. I have gone back to my roots a bit though because I play everything myself. In the past I brought in either guitarists, cellists… you name it, but this time I wanted to do what I used to do and get the best out of my own skills and see where that brought me. I’m still using great vocalists, my voice is too rough for most of my songs.

f: And what was the inspiration behind it?

Steen Thottrup: Life in all its shapes and forms.

f: Who else was involved in the release?

Steen Thottrup: For the production side of things the only ones involved were vocalists, either through singing or spoken word, they also co wrote some of the lyrics on the tracks. Three of the tracks feature Danish singer SIGNE who also co wrote with me, I am in love with her voice and very grateful she wanted to participate on this album. Juliana Silveira is my friend here in Mallorca, she’s from the Azores originally, which I find so fascinating, she has a great voice for speaking I think. I also co wrote with her and on one track she speaks English and another she speaks her native Portuguese. I am so happy with the outcome and her talent to melt into the tracks. Lastly it’s another friend ‘Goyo Castillo’ a Mallorquin native who did a great job on ‘Gracias’, it’s a track made purely to celebrate the late Jose Padilla, who I knew very well and who inspired me so much in those early days of sunset chill Out. He was the first person to sign me up with Cafe del Mar, but unfortunately he passed away a couple of years ago. 

f: Which is your favourite track from the album and why?

Steen Thottrup: I think at the moment it is ‘My Balearic Soul’, it gives me that feeling of summer and feeling free without worries, but my favourites change all the time depending on how I feel.

f: You’ve lived all over the Mediterranean, Ibiza, Italy and Mallorca, has it had an impact on your music?

Steen Thottrup: Yes, I’m sure I bring something from everywhere, I also lived in London for 11 years and that is for sure a big influence as well. What it brings I don’t know, but I am super sensitive to my surroundings, so everywhere I am and everything I do has an impact on the music I make.

f: What’s your studio set up like and what’s your favourite piece of kit?

Steen Thottrup: I used to have all the outboard gear, but sold it and now most are plugins apart from the acoustic side of things with my guitar, congas, cajon, hang drum, etc. My favourite is my piano, it is where it all starts mostly.

f: What’s the secret to writing a good chill out track? 

Steen Thottrup: Hahaha, good question. The secret is letting things around you inspire you. In my case a piece of beautiful footage or a picture is enough to melt into that emotion and then it all happens automatically(ish), sometimes frustration takes place as well, because I know what I’m looking for, but it takes time to come up with it.

f: What else are you working on at the moment that you can tell us about?

Steen Thottrup: I use a lot of time doing my albums, this one was 2 years in the making and quite intense 2 years. So I live in the Balearics and it’s May, I think I will enjoy the next three months the way they should be enjoyed here on the islands.

f: When you’re not busy ‘chilling out’, what do you like to do for fun?

Steen Thottrup: I love people and socialising, and that is one big reason for living here. People really have a chance to do that here, year round, and in beautiful surroundings and that can become very funny.

Steen Thottrup ‘5’ album is out now on CandyBox Music.

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