Sub X - What You Do To Me [Positiva]
Jan 02, 2020

MORTEN Gears Up For 2020: Exclusive Interview

2019 was the start of a massive new chapter and sound for MORTEN. Singles like “Me & U,” “Never Be Alone,” and “Make It To Heaven” with David Guetta defined his sound this year, setting the stage for an even bigger 2020. With his headline show at Academy LA approaching on January 3rd, we sat down with the Danish DJ/producer to discuss his plans for 2020, a look at over 10 new IDs, and exactly how a day in the life of MORTEN goes. In addition, he will exclusively be taking over the 1001Tracklists Instagram stories on the day of the show, so if you can't be there in person, be sure to follow along!
MORTEN, thanks for joining us today! For those who aren’t familiar with your music, how would you describe it?
Hey guys. Thanks for having me! If I briefly should describe my sound, I would say it’s “mainstage music made with sounds and techniques from the underground with a Nordic feel and melodies to it.” To be a little more specific, I like to take a different approach to how we’ve been making big room mainstage music for many years. Instead of having big buildups with the usual 3-2-1 count, I prefer to bring a big tension in the build, like it has been in techno music for many years. Using analog sounds inspired by the underground, melodies and chord progressions that are different from what people have been used to.
What makes playing in LA and at Academy special?
To me, it’s super special because I rarely perform in LA and I live less than 10 minutes walking distance from the venue. LA is home for me now therefore it’s super special. Also, the crowds in LA are used to seeing big acts, so you gotta bring your A-game, and that’s a challenge I like because DJing itself is special to me.
What are two of your go-to weapons in your sets right now?
I’m opening my record box and checking. Honestly and humbly said — and I’m not trying to sound cocky — but all the new music I've been making with David Guetta is the hottest music out there to me. I wish we had more records ready because it’s what turns me on and works best for me, and it’s not because we made it but quite frankly I’m not really inspired by what others are making right now for mainstage music.
With so much new music to premiere and play, what’s your approach when placing those tracks in your sets?
Yeah, it’s crazy, I play like 10 unreleased records in my sets. I really like to start off playing new music and set the vibe of the evening that I’m coming and playing my sound. Later on, I drop some records that people are familiar with but mostly edits so it's always a fresh and unique set I bring.
How, if at all, do you see the crowds differing in America vs. Europe vs. Asia? How are you adjusting accordingly?
Argh, man! It’s super different, I’m in India now for Sunburn Festival as I’m writing this and in Asia, it’s so different as well. They just go crazy almost no matter what you play but also they have low patience, so you gotta minimize your breaks and make your mixes short and aggressive. 
Europe and America are very very different right now when it comes to electronic music. The bass scene in the US is huge and if you take Ibiza where I played throughout the whole summer in Europe — I didn’t hear one single bass track. Nothing psytrance or dubstep — none of that. I think the sounds between the countries/continents change over the years. 
Right now it’s very divided but it’s also a cultural thing. If you take an American artist — almost all of them, also entertainers, they all make these “funny” videos on their platforms, this is something the American audience really relates to. Where in Europe that form of entertainment can be difficult to understand. It’s very social media-driven in the US whereas Europe is mainly music — for now.
Talk to us about growing into your home in California and how the scene there has influenced you.
I've spent many of my first years in California very confused. I felt kinda lost. I didn’t know which way to go and I was naive and listened to many people around me about where I should take my music and what direction to go. Finally, when I stopped listening to everybody and started listening to myself, I started creating something I love. To me, that's the most important aspect of making music. I’m making music I love and if others like it it’s amazing, but I make music for me.
Working out plays a big role in your life, how do you balance that regularly in between studio life and touring? Walk us through your typical day.
I have always been living an active lifestyle and I had my years of partying, so I'm not really into getting fucked up and having a hangover the next day every weekend. I try to do something active every day, from Thai boxing to yoga and just lifting some good old weights. A typical day for me I work 4-6 hours on my computer and go through records, working on new ideas, then I work out for an hour almost every day. Then I have a lot of skype sessions with different producers all over the world — almost every day. I work on different projects.
Taking a trip back to 2009 when you released your first artist album “Drop!" under Morten Breum, how has your sound and approach to your productions developed over the years?
So funny you guys know bout my "Drop” album. That album was an underground album released in Denmark, where I was born. The album had much success so it became commercial. That album is my musical DNA. I still use the same sounds today. The years have taught us to mix better and I became better at working with different producers that bring a lot to the table so my sound has developed from being made in a studio apartment smoking 5 blunts, finishing records in a few hours, to really going through every sounds and every detail as arrangement sound design and so on. Today I’ve become a perfectionist. Back then, I didn’t know how to perfect my craft.
Finally, what’s in store for MORTEN in 2020?
I’m hoping to release the radio version of "Make It To Heaven" with Raye, David Guetta and myself first thing in the new year. We produced a whole new version that I’m pretty excited for people to hear. Also, I’m dropping my first solo record "Polar" right after. I’ll focus hard and work my ass off doing what I love. Hopefully, I also play a lot of shows and bring my sound all over the world and release more music than ever.
Connect with MORTEN: SoundCloudFacebook | Twitter | Instagram
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