Jonas Altberg aka Basshunter is one man that's hard to pin down. Ever since exploding onto the music scene with his international #1 hit for "Now You're Gone", Basshunter is one hot commodity that everyone wants a piece of. He's primarily responsible for bringing techno music back in the charts and whether you love or hate his music, what makes him so damn popular first and foremost – is his charisma. I had the best time chatting to him and it's been one of the funnest interviews I've ever had the pleasure of doing.
In this interview with Basshunter, we talk about life in the fast line, what a Basshunter show is like and what exactly goes into a successful house party at his house…There's also some wise words from "Mr. Basshunter" himself and bit of nakedness at the end.
Enjoy EQ's – this is one interview I hope you'll have a chuckle with.
Hello Jonas – how are you today?
Hello! I am absolutely perfect. I'm in the bar at the hotel with my laptop – scrambling through some pictures and scanning some new tracks sent to me and stuff like that.
You're album "Now You're Gone" is doing very well. What sort of reactions have you gotten from it so far?
The reaction has been very very good. I'm very surprised from the reaction. I don't know how to say it in English, but it's like "self critic" – is that how you say it? I have high expectations of myself. I don't know how to explain it in a good way, can you help me out?
Do you mean that you are quite critical of the album, with having high expectations?
I mean the thing is that I can listen to the songs and feel I want to change "that" or "this" because everything was made in such a rush. The entire album was made in two weeks from when I went into the studio…
Wow – really?
Yeah, except for "Now You're Gone", "All I Ever Wanted", and "Botten Anna" – the Swedish bonus track and "Please Don't Go" – they were already pre-made. So the rest of the songs on the album were made in two weeks!
That's incredible. You're story is quite amazing actually. I read, that you started out messing about on the computer putting together some songs then almost overnight you were the "most in-demand" DJ in Europe. Are you still amazed at how fast your music career took off?
You know there's a saying like "I haven't landed yet". I haven't actually found a time to sit down and just feel life because everything is on such a high tempo and every week there's something new. You don't have any time to even think of what you're doing exactly. I produced a song called "Boten Anna" that's the Swedish version of "Now You're Gone". It took me six hours to make "Now You're Gone" from the Swedish version and within three weeks the phone started ringing and the labels started bidding. Of course I'm still amazed, I've never realized the power of the Internet and the power of the people before.
You know, I've never been to a Basshunter show yet – tell me what it's like!
A Basshunter show is quite crazy. You know I've been trying to plan the show – like at this part of the show I'm gonna say "this" or do "that", but after five seconds on the stage I totally forget about everything and the whole show is just a big spontaneous thing. I like to entertain people. My goal with a Basshunter show is that people that are watching, they are gonna remember it. It's not gonna be like when they meet their friends or colleagues. That's not good enough. I want them to say "hey man, this guy is wicked, he's crazy, he's sick". It doesn't matter what they say, as long as they remember the Basshunter show.
So whose idea was it to have a series of short films for your videos for "Now You're Gone", "All I Ever Wanted", "Angel In The Night" and "I Miss You"? Are you planning a fifth installment in the video series soon?
Yeah of course, wait until I release single number sixty-three and we'll have "Basshunter: The Musical". The whole plan is to keep the storyline going and who knows, maybe in twenty years, we'll do all the videos again in one movie. That would be quite cool. It's like me and ABBA.
Do you like filming videos? I noticed that your appearance in your own videos was rather gradual? Or was that intentional?
Yeah yeah yeah. The thing is you know how fast everything is going. People just want more and more and new and fresh. I'm just as much as Basshunter the musician and writer as I'm Basshunter the artist. Because this was a storyline, I just wanted to be in the background when we first started. In "All I Ever Wanted" they said for me to just record a few scenes, but when "Angel Of The Night" came out -that was my first appearance and now I'm the guy in the videos! Who knows, maybe in the next two singles there will be someone else. Maybe I will go back to the shadows a bit and in the future I'll appear again.
You're probably the only new techo/pop artist that I am loving at the moment. Is techno coming back or is it going to be a short-lived fad again?
The thing is, I'm twenty-three and I remember what I was listening to when I was like fourteen and I thought techno was "the new shit" but the thing is that techno music has existed for a long time – it's just been so underground. Techno music will never die. It will always be listened to. You can't compare techno music to rock music or commercial pop music. Sometimes every fifth or seventh year it gets some extra attention and becomes mainstream and after a few years it goes down again, that's how it works. Imagine electro, four years ago no one was listening to hard core electronic music, but now electro music is like fucking bigger than R&B and is mainstream around Europe. That's just the perfect example of how it happens. But techno music and any form of electronic music will always be in my heart and the Internet is supporting techno music very much.
Which do you prefer, recording in English or Swedish?
The thing is, I have a lot of fans all around the world that prefer my songs in Swedish. And I kinda of feel a little bit of disappointment with the new stuff because to sing in English or to write the songs in English is different. When you write something in English, grammatically it's correct but sometimes it's not the way you say it. I don't want to give a bad example. I have an example, but it's quite nasty…
(Laughs) I could go to a friend in Swedish with a really horny girl and say "hey my friend, do you want to have sexual intercourse with me and this girl" but in English it could mean "oi mate, are you up for some spit roasting"…With all these slangs, I work with the best people and they help me out. I mean I am Swedish and I do need some help with my English writing sometimes – just with a few corrections. I have some new Swedish songs that I don't want to translate into English because in Swedish they are just so fucking awesome, so I just want to give them out as bonus songs. Or maybe make some songs with both Swedish and English lyrics – like have some parts that are just Swedish. Something experimental maybe next year. Who knows. A new year, a new world, new people.
What made you decide to cover "Please Don't Go". Great song and it's been covered a lot already.
Well, that's a good question. Actually I had a couple of other ideas and "Please Don't Go" really wasn't my idea. The office felt that "Hey Jonas, why don't you try and make a cover of this song". Well, I made it. Personally I don't like it.
Ok. You also covered "Love You More" – one of my favourite songs by Sunscreem – Is this one of your favorite songs?
Oh yeah? That's one of my favourite songs as well. I've got it on a compilation CD in Sweden called Mr. Music Hits. And I have almost all of those compilations and it's on CD twelve or something like that. It's a great song and was one of the songs that I really enjoyed - especially with the female vocalist, I think it sounds cool.
Do you prefer being a recording artist/performer or being the DJ behind the decks?
Well you know when my career started in May of 2006. I actually haven't been DJ'ing at all since. I only DJ now in my private parties in my crib with my crazy Swedish friends and usually I do it naked being tipsy (laughs).
That would be a sight then!
Well everyone is invited, we got a big place with a big fridge with an unlimited supply of Cranberry juice.
Fantastic – now that sounds like a party!
Well I got two girls who are really good at making blueberry pancakes as well.
You have it all at your parties…
Well if we don't have blueberry pancakes I have a taxi driver from Korea whose one of my best friends. I actually live like five minutes from McDonald's, but you don't want to leave the party or tell a drunk guy to go by 18 hamburgers, it doesn't work. So basically I call this guy to help me out and he always drives at night. I ask him what he's doing and he asks me "Hey Jonas, what do you want?" I then send him a text message with like 12 McChicken – no mayo, 4 cheeseburgers, 3 McFish and like 15 chocolate milkshakes and he just delivers it.
My god! I hope you give him a good tip!
Oh man, he's got a new car! (Both laugh)
You've been spending a lot of time in the UK now – what's your favourite place you've seen so far here on our fair shores?
I love it! That's a tough one. I've done more than 600 shows and 500 hotels, but I can't pick a favourite, but there are a couple places in my heart. Newcastle and the Millennium Bridge. There is a piano bar right next to the Millennium Bridge that has an amazing chicken cesar salad. I was eating that for like five hours in the sunshine with drunk English girls having a good time. Then after that, it's Edinburgh in Scotland.
You're doing a UK tour with some of the Hard2Beat artists soon to…
That's correct, that's gonna be great…definitely. So far when I began here in the UK from January until June, it was like four or five club shows in the UK every week, but now it's been TV shows, interviews and promotion. I really miss to stand in front of the UK crowd to entertain the people. I definitely look forward to going back to the stage. That's where I belong, that's what I do baby.
That's it Jonas – thanks for hanging with us. Any parting words for our EQ readers?
I mean why are you thanking me? I should be thanking you and all the readers for all the great support - and my fans and listeners. I want to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! And a few wise words from Mr. Basshunter…Don't go home with strangers and always chew the food ten times before you swallow because it helps with the melting process in the stomach and hmmmm…..we were born without clothes, so well don't use clothes at home, be naked. Show your ass to the neighbors because they love it! So that's three wise things from Mr. Basshunter. Next year there will be new ones…
Looking foward to that Jonas! True to his testament, Basshunter has posed for his very own own 2009 naked calendar. Yes, that's true. Every morning, all next year you can wake up next to naked Basshunter. I might just have to go snag a copy for myself…While you're not doing that, you can listen to his quality tuneage as well over on MySpace if you still don't know who he is yet. He's massive.