When you are having one of those days where you just need to lose yourself in a tranquil state of existence brought on by sounds of mystique and wonder, you can always rely on Pete Oak to induce that serene state of mind. That palette of wonderful sound is brought to us once again through Pete’s latest release ‘Ventus’ on his own highly respect Danish label Blindfold Recordings as part of their latest VA compilation also featuring Third Son, Rafael Cerato, Baime and Martin Switch.
Pete certainly gives off an aura of inspiration and his passion and determination to bring great music to the ears of his adoring fans really shows what a great character he is to have leading the way in the musical underground. “Music describes exactly what words could never achieve.” – begins Pete’s biography. Words that do an incredible job of galvanising our interest in Pete’s music. We had the wonderful opportunity of grabbing a few words with Pete, follow our interesting discussion below!
Hi Pete, great to meet you and thanks for chatting with us today! How’s it going?
The pleasure is all mine! I’m good thanks :-)
Let’s start by talking about that amazing new release ‘Ventus’. Your sound is a truly thought-provocative one. Is that what you aim for in a production? To induce wonder?
“To induce wonder” is a nice way of putting it. “Ventus” is latin for air and that was what I felt while creating this piece – it was light and filled with uplifting harmonics which leads to wonder and deep thinking. So yes, I like this idea.
Where does your influence come from for these magical sounds?
I have absolutely no clue. I think I might be a bit of a dreamer and an optimist. This could be what influences me indirectly when sitting in front of my piano/synth and jam away.
Do you find the music that influenced you at an early age still finds a way into your productions today?
Yes I think so. I mean, it’s kind of a blur sometimes, due to all my encounters with music over the past 3 decades, but when I go dig in my mind and heart for that feeling I used to get from listening to my favourite artists and bands, that feeling is what still drives my inner passion for music and influences me in a subconscious way. The Doors has been my biggest influence, even though it’s not remotely in the same genres as a produce.
The release also sees a mix of fresh new producers and well established artists. Is it important to you to give talented producers the break they deserve?
I think that there’s way too much focus on the established artist in the underground scene and I want to challenge that. When we see fresh talents that brings something original to the table, then we go for it, no matter the name, amount of followers/fans and past music releases. Everybody deserves a chance! Why shouldn’t they?
Aside from obviously the great music, are there any outstanding attributes you look for in new, unknown producers prior to signing them?
Aside from the music, we always appreciate artists that makes an effort of writing a personal demo email explaining why they want to release their hard work on our label – we applaud this approach and make more effort into listening to these demos rather than the 9 out of 10 “here my demo. Write me if you will sign it. Bye”. We like good people with their heart and mind in the right place.
It has been 2 very consistent years so far from Blindfold Recordings. What do you think makes Blindfold stand out amongst the masses?
Thank you very much! We have been working hard to get everything going and have been quite particular about what we release. To be honest I don’t know if we stand out in particular in terms of a specific sound. I think we go more for a feeling based sound, so we don’t limit ourselves to being a “one genre” label. I think this is what makes Blindfold interesting and makes it possible for us to be a bit bold.
Are there any artists in particular, be it big guns or newcomers, who you are eager to sign for your label?
One of the first releases on Blindfold was from Egyptian born and Berlin based Chiati. We just signed another EP from this guy and I must say that I am quite in love with it! Another name I would love to and hope to have on my label at some point is my fellow dane and friend Denis Horvat. This guy will make waves over the next year – this guy is massively talented and has his heart and mind on the right place.
Who would be your absolute number one dream collaboration and why?
Tough one. Each year I have a new favorite artist – only few has a steady spot in my top 5 :-) This year it would be Patrice Baümel. His sound is something special and he keeps on surprising with quality music and an unconventional way of building up tracks and I’m a huge fan of this. But overall I would love to make music with fellow Dane Trentemøller as he was the reason why I started making electronic music in the first place.
Let’s talk a little about the underground scene in general. Do you believe the modern resurgence of Techno and House music has influenced positive cultural change around the world?
In many ways, yes most definitely. House and techno creating bridges, embracing diversity and breaking down the barriers between people of different views, creating a space where everyone comes together for the love of the music. On another note, I’m also seeing tons and tons of music festivals headlining the same 20-30 DJs. So the underground is not so “underground” anymore – the word has lost its depth in some ways I think.
Would you say Techno and House is affluent throughout Denmark? Has it always been this way?
Maybe not throughout Denmark overall, but at least in some major cities. Copenhagen and Aalborg (where I come from) has been on the underground map for quite some time. Recently the techno and house has become more common in the danish nightlife. A lot of big clubs in Copenhagen plays house and techno – but only a few masters and understands the essentials of the music and concept.
Do you think the underground music scene is headed in the right direction?
I think that the underground scene will be divided into two at some point. Tech house on one side and house and techno on the other. It’s hard to predict whether it is good or not, but some genres is definitely getting more and more trivial. The right direction? I don’t know what that direction is – but if house and techno becomes the new EDM / ULTRA main stage thing, then we should consider to start calling it something else instead of “underground” music ;-) #TechHouse #winkwink
Would you agree that most current governments throughout Europe promote the stigmatisation of the underground music scene? Why do you think this is?
Yes, most of them. Perhaps Holland is the only place on this planet where you actually try and help and guide club-goers instead of treating everyone as criminals. The laws in most European countries is hitting hard on drug related environments and the underground scene is thereby a target. They are stigmatizing the underground scene because they have no understanding of what it is like to be a part of a musical movement – the majority thinks that all people who listens to techno does hard drugs. They don’t know the difference between Hardwell and Adam Beyer and they have no intention in understanding either. It is easy to just hit hard on something you have absolutely no insight in. It’s a shame and I doubt it will change.
The excitement leading up to festival season is unbearable! What event in 2017 that you are playing excites you the most?
I’m not playing any gigs this summer – I have decided to take some time off to be with my family. BUT I’m going as a guest to a festival for the first time in 5 years and I can’t wait :-)
If you had the opportunity to launch your own festival, based on ability alone, which 3 artists would you put on the main stage lineup?
Have you got any special secrets lined up this summer you can exclusively share with us?
I’m in the making of an album. I’m not quite sure of what to expect from it, but for the first time in 3 years I’m really enjoying making music again!
Thank you very much for chatting with us Pete, it was an absolute pleasure! Anything you would like to add?
It was a great pleasure and privilege being interviewed by Decoded. You guys are keeping the underground scene real – big kudos for this!