Classy Sasse

The European house DJ talks families, Finland and finding needles in the musical haystack



By Adam Zacharias

Published: Thu 21 Jan 2010, 8:48 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 12:33 PM

Sasse – Aka Klas Lindblad – has been DJing since his teenage years, beginning in his Finnish hometown of Turku before moving on to Frankfurt then Berlin.

The 36-year-old house music fanatic still resides in the German capital, where he also runs his record label, Moodmusic.

City Times spoke with Sasse before he returns to Dubai for the second time.

What’s going on in Berlin this fine Monday?

I’m in the office – we also have a studio here so I try to do office and studio work at the same time, which is sometimes a bit hard. As a DJ, Mondays are my office days. I don’t listen to any music on a Monday.

And weekends are your workdays – is that more of a help or a hindrance to your social life?

I try to mix work with pleasure, and nowadays having a family means my work is basically also my time to go out. I try to keep myself out of the clubs if I’m not working.

What brought you from Finland to Germany initially?

The scene was just very small in Finland. There weren’t many clubs and it was difficult to connect with people, because the internet wasn’t that developed. I’ve been in Germany for 10 years, and I moved here in 2003.

Is Berlin at the cutting edge of house music internationally?

I wouldn’t say so, I think definitely for electronic stuff because there are so many producers here, but there are other cities which make the house music that I stand for. Berlin has techno roots, which gives it an edge, but there aren’t so many people playing proper US house like I play. But it’s a mixture – Berlin has its own house sound which is more stripped down.

What would you say is the future of the genre?

That’s hard to say – I think it’s going in circles like everything else, and taking influences from the late 80s and early 90s at the moment. Later it might take sounds from the mid-90s, then the late 90s, and then it’ll go round again.

You’ve released two albums as Sasse and one as Freestyle Man. What’s the difference between the two monikers?

Freestyle Man is more open-minded and not as dance-orientated. I’m about to release my second Freestyle Man album in the UK on Hairy Claw Records. That’s coming out in February and it’s called The Bottom Line.

What styles does your new album encompass?

I like to go back to my roots, as a teenager listening to the early New York and Chicago sounds. It’s more of a listening album than a dancefloor album, and there’s some downtempo stuff as well. It’s kind of a mixture of old and new, but I hope I can give it a timeless sound too.

You said before that you’re a family man now.

Yes, I have a son and a second one coming in the summer.

Has that affected your international touring schedule?

Definitely. The weekends are for travelling, but I don’t really want to be away from home for more than two weeks. But being a modern family, my wife is also active in the music business. She runs a booking agency. And I really enjoy taking time off from the club scene and being a normal dad. Kids grow up very fast and I don’t want to miss that.

Where does the name Sasse come from?

It’s something my mother came up with when I was a small kid. I couldn’t really pronounce my name Klas, and Sasse somehow came out of it. After that everyone in my family called me it, except my dad who’s a bit old-fashioned and still calls me by my proper name. It just stuck.

Does it surprise your fellow DJs that you are so strongly influenced by American house music despite your European roots?

It’s interesting – I don’t know, I have a lot of friends in Berlin who are also addicted to old house. When we started to DJ that was the sound we all got used to. I think it definitely helps me nowadays to produce, having all those classic tunes on vinyl – it’s an immense collection to sample!

Have you spent much time in America?

I’ve gone to New York over the years and played and produced with some friends. In the 90s, I used to go on record shopping adventures – going to clubs as a fan. Now I’ll head in to DJ, do some business then get out. If I were a single man, I’d definitely go more.

You started your own record label, Moodmusic – is that solely to release your own material or do you scout for new artists as well?

It’s 50/50. The label was made for my releases but nowadays I only do every tenth release. I try to keep it mixed. The A&R work and developing new artists is fun – as much as doing my own stuff in the studio.

If you receive 100 tracks from fledgling artists, how many on average excite you?

Musically, every tenth track is usually something I could play, but every once in a while the track is so amazing I really have to sign the artist. But that happens every three or four years – every one in 100,000 or so!

So when did you last get that tingle listening to an act?

There are some guys from Germany called Penner and Muder – it’s one guy from Hamburg and one from Berlin. They do what I call ‘white boy soul’ and it’s a bit more band-orientated but without guitars. They’re just so happy to be making music.

EVENT DETAILS

What: Sasse DJ set

Where: The Rooftop, Madinat Jumeirah

When: Thursday, January 21 from 10pm till 3am

Cost: Dhs100, ladies and Face Card holders free till 11pm

Tickets: Available from www.timeouttickets.com, www.platinumlist.ae and at the door

For more info: Call 050 725 8277 or e-mail lindi@ohmrecords.com

adam@khaleejtimes.com


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