Full House: The attendance was 1,200 for Danish Night at Popkomm – 300 international industry people among the crowd

Full House: The attendance was 1,200 for Danish Night at Popkomm – 300 international industry people among the crowd
Text and photos: Henrik Friis, ROSA

MTV’s TV cameras were red hot during
several of the Danish bands’ gigs.
Here it’s Carpark North.

Thursday 15th September, Danish rock got a little feather in its cap. The Danish night featuring Kashmir, Nephew, Carpark North, Diefenbach, and The Movement at the Popkomm trade show was in so great demand that halfway through the night the organisers had to shut the doors. 1,200 spectators had entered – a little more than half of these were paying spectators, and a preliminary count indicates that no less than 300 were from the international music business.

Already in the hours leading up to denmark@popkomm, one had the feeling that this night was going to be something very special. Several of the Danish bands gave interviews to TV-stations as well as the German music press, while the fans were already gathering outside the gates impatient to get in.

When Carpark North kicked off the show at 9 pm at Postbahnhof’s biggest stage – and with prominent figures in the crowd, the old premises of the former East Berliner Post Office and Railway Station were packed. And approximately an hour later – between the Diefenbach and Nephew gigs – the red lights came out: Full house!

Much to the chagrin of the people standing in line outside. But for security reasons, the organisers could not let more people in – not even the international trade and business people who had not reserved tickets in advance.

Jan Clausen – German manager
and promoter of the Danish night:
– The current German interest in
Danish music is obvious.

Danish Wave
The promoter of the show, German Jan Clausen from the Hamburg company Queen About Music is hearing more and more people talk about an actual Danish wave – a bit like the Swedish one we saw a few years ago.

Personally I’m too much into Danish music to actually be completely neutral, but there is quite a buzz about Danish music right now. I think it started two or three years ago with Kashmir, Junior Senior, and The Raveonettes. At first no one down here believed they were Danish, or thought too much about that fact anyway when they found out. But since then, Figurines, Under Byen, The Movement, Epo-555, Tiger Tunes and a lot of other Danish bands have cropped up demonstrating that Danish music not only has a strong top but also a fascinating underground. Denmark has a lot of bands to offer and each with their very own distinct style and sound. In short, Danish rock has become a popular brand in Germany right now.

Clausen backs up his statement by adding that it has been quite easy to attract attention for the Danish event.
“Often you work like a dog – without achieving any results. In this case the attention was there from day one. And not just in music circles. The feeling that we’re witnessing a Danish wave is strengthened when without much effort you succeed in getting the attention of 20 representatives from the advertising business”, says Jan Clausen and points to the thought the commitment with which Danish rock has focused on the German market as one of the main reasons for the success.

“ROSA’s Skand-All project shipping Danish bands on mini-tours in Germany to make their first connections is of great significance but also that a record company such as Crunchy Frog has set up a German department.”
“That’s not to say that it is going to be easy from now on. There are still a lot of battles to be fought – tough battles mind you. For instance – our company has spent a year struggling to secure a record contract for Yellowish down here, but well we succeeded, and there’s definitely a ready response towards music from Denmark.

Generally speaking there’s an atmosphere of optimism this Thursday night at denmark@popkomm at the Postbahnhof venue. According to the executive of Sony/ BMG’s Danish division, Torben Johansen we’re facing a new era of Danish music. “We have tried to promote Danish music abroad before, but this time we actually have the feeling that we are going to succeed. The change of atmosphere is unmistakable!”

Kasper Eistrup and Henrik Lindstrand
(Kashmir) being interviewed before their gig.

And when his colleague at SONY/BMG Germany Mathias Lomm (the marketing director of the company’s rock department) is asked to find a reason for the growing demand for Danish music, his reply is simple, “It’s only due to one thing: the quality of the music. We are experiencing a Danish wave, and we have sensed it coming for a couple of years”, he says and points to Junior Senior – and from his own stable – the Raveonettes and Kashmir as bands who have made it clear to German music fans that there is more to Danish music than D.A.D and Aqua.
“The expectations to this event have been really high down here. Actually, it’s fair to say that it has been one of the most anticipated events this year’s Popkomm. First of all because of the line-up, which is very impressive. And then the event has been promoted very well not just with posters but also with articles and interviews with the Danish bands in all the influential music magazines” says Mathias Lomm.

His own company releases Kashmir’s new album “No Balance Palace” in Germany on the same date as it hits the shops in Denmark – 10th October. Kashmir’s last album Zitilites sold 8,000 copies – this time Lomm expects the sales to double – at least! It is still difficult to make the national TV and radio stations in Germany interested, but well what do you know? Today Kashmir has just given a half-hour interview…

Nephew and Simon Kvamm – in the

A different Sound
MTV’s producer for this night’s
event Lilly Behling can’t really come up with any reason for the growing appetite for Danish music – apart from the fact that it is ‘different’ somehow. “It’s not like the English sound, which we get plenty of. Maybe people are getting a bit fed up with that sound and want something else. In any case, Carpark North are very interesting right now – personally I love their new video – and The Raveonettes, Teitur and other Scandinavian bands such as The Hives for instance are very popular these days”, says Behling, who interviewed Carpark North, Kashmir, and Nephew for the MTV-programme ”Spin”.

“The music fits the profile of that show perfectly”, says Behling, whose crew had to fight the reporters and photographers from the music magazines and the daily press for every square foot – not to mention Rundfunk Berlin Brandenburg, which was there to make TV-features for TIP Magazine, and French-German Arte.

The culmination so far
The organisers – MXD, Danish Radio P3, and ROSA The – Danish Rock Council could not be anything but pleased, and so they were: the managing director of ROSA – Gunnar Madsen calls this Thursday’s denmark@popkomm the culmination so far and the fruit of many years’ hard work to attract attention around Danish music in Germany and he continues,

”Selling Danish music abroad is often like tossing pins into a haystack, but this time it was five lit matches that we tossed into the stack. The organisation of the event ran smoothly, and everybody – the audience as well as the industry people have been overwhelmingly enthusiastic. There used to be a sceptical attitude in the Danish rock circles to this kind of initiatives – does it make a difference at all? But this year, there’s no doubt. We have managed to secure and strengthen the position that we established last year. Down here people are talking about Danish music, and close to 70 per cent of the crowd were Germans. I guess the figures speak for themselves”

Gunnar Madsen concludes that the strategy with its focus on live concerts have been “the correct one” and he adds, “And in this connection we should not forget our Minister of Cultural Affairs Brian Mikkelsen, who endorsed the live approach that we, as well as The Danish Radio and the other MXD partners felt was the right strategy.”
“We have all the reasons in the world to be happy about this night. It has been a key event for Danish popular music, and it will serve as an excellent take-off for our future initiatives”, Gunnar Madsen says.

The coverage of the Danish bands at Popkomm 2005 is the result of the joint efforts of MXD, ROSA, MyMusic.dk and Gaffa. Read more about Popkomm at Gaffa and MyMusic.dk.