It comes with a sad tip of the hat that we present our last episode of Residents’ Hour — the fortnightly series focusing on the art of the DJ residency, bringing you the stories and music from clubs around the world that are making a difference in their hometowns.
In this last instalment, we’re in Copenhagen. Prided on its #1 world ranking in the life-satisfaction stats, it comes as no surprise that their nightlife scene is one of Europe’s best. Here, we peer in on the city’s renowned house and techno institution, Culture Box. Longstanding resident Steen Kong lets us in some of its history, and shares a 2hr mix recorded live from the club.
“Copenhagen is so vibrant at the moment, with some good crews moving around and throwing spectacular parties. There are few really great clubs, with Culture Box being the house and techno flagship for the last 12 years, bringing in all the top DJs and nursing local talent. The musical concept of the club is house and techno, from old school to the freshest sounds, with some disco occasionally thrown in as well. There are so many good DJs in the city and some quality vinyl labels that have just started in this year alone.
“Being a resident at Culture Box is the perfect challenge for me. Warming up nights, winding them down and on occasion playing the peak hour. All-nighters, short sets, longer ones and some improvised b2bs, practically all shades of the DJing palette.
“It feels like I’ve DJed all my life. First at my parents’ parties with compilation albums bought on mail order, then at the local youth club when the older boys got too drunk or scored and left the booth. My first paid gig was in 1984, and I went professional when acid house hit Europe. I ended up running my own club nights and parties in the 1990s, with the most memorable being Club Mantra. At the beginning of the millennium, I had a residency in Barcelona. I have always been in love with the dancefloor.”
“I was brought up on vinyl. It’s the only medium I’ve really mastered, so I only play on wax. When I’m in the zone, I don’t want to think of names and look at screens. I rely on my tactile ability and the heart. Culture Box is wicked for playing vinyl. You’ll always find finely tuned Technics and fresh needles. However, the most important skill as a DJ is not the kind of media you cut it with — it’s about your ability to read a dancefloor.
“My warm-up sets are always different. It all comes down to the context and vibe of the night. The warm-up for Chez Damier was different from the one for Monojunk, or Derrick May for that matter. It also depends on which floor you are opening. Is it Black Box’s bigger techno floor, or Red Box’s smaller and more intimate floor, or equally playing after the headliner when the dancefloor is already in ecstasy? You know it’s a good night when you have the guest DJ themselves dancing until the very end.
“…a floor filled with ravers, spotters, lovers, divas, freaks, hotties, tourists, nutters and dancers, but above all, friends.”
“Red Box has a special place in my heart. The Void Acoustics soundsystem is dope and it’s so easy to leave the booth and get on the floor with the crowd to shake it down. You have to love those kind of nights with no set times, just you and a guest going b2b to a floor filled with ravers, spotters, lovers, divas, freaks, hotties, tourists, nutters and dancers, but above all, friends. Don’t forget to keep the staff happy too. When they want a 1980s night, then you do it!
“This mix is a two-hour techno house session recorded at Red Box in September. I went on at 3am after a wicked live performance from Idealist. I wanted to sustain the vibe while trying to take it up a notch. After an hour, I took it deeper and brought some sex to the floor. At 5am, I went b2b with fellow resident Ricq and we kept it going until the late morning.”
Check back on all episodes of Residents’ Hour here.
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