Katja Lindeberg aka HAJ300, co-founder of the Swedish female electronic music collective Drömfakulteten, has started off the new year with a fresh release dubbed ‘Swedish Tribal’, available through Bandcamp or if you are a retro-nerd – on cassette. So make sure to dig out that old tape recorder from the basement and crank up the volume.
Katja is far from a newcomer, although in a sense this can be viewed as her debut album, for a long time she has been heavily involved in various projects related to the ambient, improvisational, experimental and electro-percussionist activities performed within the context of Drömfakulteten. And it is clear that her ambitions go far beyond the walls of their studio, in 2015 she boldly declared:
“I wanted to take over the world with my music”
The new HAJ300 album starts off with a track that has many of the signature mark of her music. ‘DU TAPPAR DET SA LATT’ shifts forward jauntily, like something from Shed’s 140 BPM experiment, The Panamax Project. Spine tingling screeches of noise burst out unexpectedly, building to a grinding climax amid tremoring waves of synthesiser.
You may wonder about the name Drömfakulteten (dream faculty) and Katja made an attempt to explain this in a recent interview: “The name is actually pretty random. It was the name of the studio complex that existed there before, so we just kept it. I had been hosting parties and different events there before I took over the contract, so it was kind of an established place already. The name originally comes from a book by Sara Stridsberg, called Drömfakulteten. It is a fictional novel about the life of Valerie Solanas , an influential figure in 20th century feminism.
That might actually be one of the things that ties us all together in the collective, that we are kind of pissed off at how we are treated in our different fields of work, be it music, photography or film.”
To enjoy more of what the members of Drömfakulteten are up to you may have listen to the embedded track list below, and as a reminder here is a thought from Katja on the foundation of the tribe:
I had been making music for about two years with a friend of mine. He then went more into making techno influenced music whilst I wanted to explore more than one genre. I also felt that it was hard to keep working together, because I really wanted to take over the world with my music and was looking for someone I could do that with.
And if that statement of the importance of how important this collective is – Katja continues:
“I spend my whole day in the collective, Alva and Olga do the same. Kristina is there every day. So we tend to meet every day. With everyone else it depends on the projects, when we are close to a deadline we obviously spend more time together to finish everything.”
As you probably have already figured out Katja and her team mates in Drömfakulteten are quite keen on exotic gear that can be used in their set ups – everything noisy one might add. However, one particular machine appears to be quite close at heart with Katja – the Synthino XM.
The Synthino XM is powerful polyphonic synthesizer with unique features running on a powerful hardware platform. It has a compact, rugged tabletop design that is also quite attractive. Most importantly, it is really fun to play whether you are a musician or you just want to make some noise. In the track below you have a good example of the Synthino in action, which by the way started out as a Kickstarter initiative. The Synthino XM has 3 modes: synthesizer, arpeggiator, and groovebox. When Synthino XM is powered on, all the LEDs blink, prompting you to select a mode. (More info here)
Coming back to her new album the track ‘DEADLINE MASTER’ is a sweet combination of computerised voices, glitched-out synthetics and delicate ambience, while FULT I’ & ‘FULT II’ are more full-throttle; jackhammer low-end and amp-driven atmospherics ploughing roughshod over all in their path. Katja takes a stab at explaining how she approaches music and the creative process by stating: “It is hard to be creative if you think too much about it. Sometimes you just need to stop thinking and do it and see what comes out. You need to trust that whatever you do, it might not be perfect and people might criticize it in different ways, but that is how you grow as a person as well. People should also be allowed to see what you are feeling and experiencing. I think it is important not to be too scared to also make something that might not be politically correct in the beginning. I am also not the best feminist sometimes or say racist stuff by accident, I don’t always act in ways that I like, but I have to be able to take the criticism for it and reflect on it and listen carefully.”
HAJ300 is also a really accomplished DJ, make sure to tune in to her latest set on Mixcloud, we can only say “Haj haj” to Katja 🙂 and her strikingly cool tribal rhythms.
NOTE: The new HAJ300 album is released through EURO2000. EURO2000 is a Belgian based label that focuses on acid, techno and different kinds of electronic – experimental music presented on tape and other forms of publishing.