IN CONVERSATION: 

Ohm

 

On the eve of his incredible debut solo EP 'Seidingur', we sat down and chatted with Icelandic producer Bjarnar Jónsson about his new record, collaborations and what we can expect from him in the near future. 

Techno has many strains, trends and narratives, and a producer with a very intriguing story to tell indeed is Icelandic producer Bjarnar Jónsson, who since 2001 has been releasing some spectacular records under the Ohm name that touch upon many facets and sub genres of the genre. All of these records were made alongside long time friends and creative collaborators, including such other titans as Exos, Octal Industries, Kvadrant and Black Data, with the resulting sounds mesmerising to listen to and always tough to pin down. As narratives in the genre go, its a very compelling one indeed, with Jónsson's sound one that defies traditional convention and is one that always looks to explore, multiply and transfix. 

After an incredibly productive 2020 - that saw Jónsson release 6 records - the stage was set for his debut solo offering, 'Seidingur', and what a record it is. Consisting of tunes that were made at various points in time, the record feels incredibly cohesive yet still presents four differing sides to Jónsson's sound, with dubby cuts contrasted with deep driving progressions that would rock any floor beautifully. We sat down with Jónsson to discuss his new record, the production and techniques involved, and what steps he might be taking next during this year and beyond....

Hello! Thanks for taking the time to talk to us. First off, tell us a little bit about yourself as an artist and musician, and about what kind of music you look to make…

its always hard to describe one self but here goes it. I started making music in the late nineties, mostly with my friend Exos and back then I was making faster, harder techno music then I am doing today. I had my first release on the legendary German label called Force inc.
It was a collab with Exos and later around the year 2000 we had a couple of more releases on Thule records sublabel called Tissju .


After that i moved to Denmark and took a little break from making music. Around 2010 I got the felling again to make some music and I was really into the IDM scene then , music like boards of canada , plaid and others so I started making some music under an Alias 
called MR signout. I released around 3 albums and some other projects around that genre so that was me back making music. Around 2014 a good friend of mine moved temporarily to Copenhagen were i live and he was and old friend from Thule records , and slowly i started to make some deep and dubby techno with him.  I have over 10 Ep´s out with Octal industries, a good friend and i have stayed in that sound since ,, the deep end of techno.

How would you describe the Icelandic electronic music scene? And has it had a big influence on you as a producer? 

I was very much influenced by the Originators of Icelandic Techno scene and am still very much influenced by them in a big way.

In the studio, what kind of approach do you take when working on tunes? Do songs develop quite naturally or do you take time in putting the pieces together?

Every track starts normally with some drums., and later I start working on the idea for the track, something that creates the final output, the vibe I'm trying to build. I work a lot with other producers as well so it is very different if I start the track or they do. Then its just editing and sending ideas around until I and the producer I work with are happy with the outcome :)
So every track has a its own life so to say.

Would you say your production techniques have changed over time? How would you say they differ now to when you were just starting out on your musical journey?
 

In the beginning I was working with samplers and hardware synths and effects.
Today I am mostly computer based , working on a daw with vst´s and a few synths I have bought over the years. 

Recently you’ve released a lot of amazing music - have you been feeling particularly inspired lately? Tell us a little bit about this recent set of releases…

I have been very inspired lately .Well in the last 5-6 years at least and I have been fortunate enough  to have found some great labels to release my music. I have worked on with many great producers so I'm humbled and very blessed to have the chance to work on so many great projects with very talented people.

All your previous records have been released alongside other artists, such as Exos, Octal Industries and Kvadrant. Tell us a little bit about how those relationships came to be, and what you enjoy about collaborating on records…

Me and Exos have been friends since we were teenagers and we have today around 5 records out together . so we always have something cooking . Like i said before then it was Octal industries that got me on the trail again with making music and we have been friends for over 24 years or so , and our collaboration has worked very well. He lives in Tallinn Estonia so most of our records we have made have been done over the internet. We have been really active the last years of making loops and sending ideas over so working with him has been a very productive and easy process as we talk almost daily and and are great friends. so that helps :)

 
Kvadrant I met here in Copenhagen. He has had a show here in Copenhagen for 20 years or so called Tweak fm , so one day he reached out to me to play some records in his show and thats how we became friends. Later he came to my studio and we started working on some tracks and our first Ep came out on his Label called Kontakt . It was the first Ep on the label and the label has today so many great releases . Me and Kvadrant have released around 6 Ep´s together now and some more music is to come out this year for sure.

 

Techno has many strains, trends and narratives, and a producer with a very intriguing story to tell indeed is Icelandic producer Bjarnar Jónsson, who since 2001 has been releasing some spectacular records under the Ohm name that touch upon many facets and sub plots of the genre. All of these records were made alongside long time friends and creative collaborators, including such other titans as Exos, Octal Industries, Kvadrant and Black Data, with the resulting sounds mesmerising to listen to and always tough to pin down. As narratives in the genre go, its a very compelling one indeed, with Jónsson's sound one that defies traditional convention and is one that always looks to explore, multiply and transfix. 

After an incredibly productive 2020 - that saw Jónsson release 6 records - the stage was set for his debut solo offering, 'Seidingur', and what a record it is. Consisting of tunes that were made at various points in time, the record feels incredibly cohesive yet still presents four differing sides to Jónsson's sound, with dubby cuts contrasted with deep driving progressions that would rock any floor beautifully. We sat down with Jónsson to discuss his new record, the production and techniques involved, and what steps he might be taking next during this year and beyond....

Hello! Thanks for taking the time to talk to us. First off, tell us a little bit about yourself as an artist and musician, and about what kind of music you look to make…

its always hard to describe one self but here goes it. I started making music in the late nineties, mostly with my friend Exos and back then I was making faster, harder techno music then I am doing today. I had my first release on the legendary German label called Force inc.
It was a collab with Exos and later around the year 2000 we had a couple of more releases on Thule records sublabel called Tissju .


After that i moved to Denmark and took a little break from making music. Around 2010 I got the felling again to make some music and I was really into the IDM scene then , music like boards of canada , plaid and others so I started making some music under an Alias 
called MR signout. I released around 3 albums and some other projects around that genre so that was me back making music. Around 2014 a good friend of mine moved temporarily to Copenhagen were i live and he was and old friend from Thule records , and slowly i started to make some deep and dubby techno with him.  I have over 10 Ep´s out with Octal industries, a good friend and i have stayed in that sound since ,, the deep end of techno.

How would you describe the Icelandic electronic music scene? And has it had a big influence on you as a producer? 

I was very much influenced by the Originators of Icelandic Techno scene and am still very much influenced by them in a big way.

In the studio, what kind of approach do you take when working on tunes? Do songs develop quite naturally or do you take time in putting the pieces together?

Every track starts normally with some drums., and later I start working on the idea for the track, something that creates the final output, the vibe I'm trying to build. I work a lot with other producers as well so it is very different if I start the track or they do. Then its just editing and sending ideas around until I and the producer I work with are happy with the outcome :)
So every track has a its own life so to say.

Would you say your production techniques have changed over time? How would you say they differ now to when you were just starting out on your musical journey?
 

In the beginning I was working with samplers and hardware synths and effects.
Today I am mostly computer based , working on a daw with vst´s and a few synths I have bought over the years. 

Recently you’ve released a lot of amazing music - have you been feeling particularly inspired lately? Tell us a little bit about this recent set of releases…

I have been very inspired lately .Well in the last 5-6 years at least and I have been fortunate enough  to have found some great labels to release my music. I have worked on with many great producers so I'm humbled and very blessed to have the chance to work on so many great projects with very talented people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All your previous records have been released alongside other artists, such as Exos, Octal Industries and Kvadrant. Tell us a little bit about how those relationships came to be, and what you enjoy about collaborating on records…

Me and Exos have been friends since we were teenagers and we have today around 5 records out together . so we always have something cooking . Like i said before then it was Octal industries that got me on the trail again with making music and we have been friends for over 24 years or so , and our collaboration has worked very well. He lives in Tallinn Estonia so most of our records we have made have been done over the internet. We have been really active the last years of making loops and sending ideas over so working with him has been a very productive and easy process as we talk almost daily and and are great friends. so that helps :)

 
Kvadrant I met here in Copenhagen. He has had a show here in Copenhagen for 20 years or so called Tweak fm , so one day he reached out to me to play some records in his show and thats how we became friends. Later he came to my studio and we started working on some tracks and our first Ep came out on his Label called Kontakt. It was the first Ep on the label and the label has today so many great releases . Me and Kvadrant have released around 6 Ep´s together now and some more music is to come out this year for sure.

 

Your new record, ‘Seidingur’, is your first outing on your own, and it's a brilliant piece of techno. How did you approach making this record from a production stand point? 

Seidingur Ep is made by tracks I have made over the years . And I have been waiting for the right label to put out this record. So I'm very glad that its coming out on Exos label as it fits the profile of the label nicely. All these tracks have their own sound and a vibe so for me its the perfect package. A very Variated record with hopefully a track on there for everyone . 

Were there any influences that were particularly impactful on the making of the record?

Going back is somewhat like my sound these days, its deep , driving and very dreamy .
As we see it coming is a track I made some years ago , and its a powerful techno track with a evil streak. It kind off shows me back in the days when I was making a bit harder techno.
Shiva is a ode to my tribal techno era. lots of percussions and a chord that cuts right through you with a vocal stab that was very often used in the 90´s records that I collected . 
Seidingur the title track is a track I made some years ago... it connects with me on many levels and its very special,, it has its own sound I think , and its  hard to pin out the genre , which is very often the case with the music I make.

The sound of the record caters for many moods, from deep driving techno to blissed out dub techno. What guided you towards the sounds on the record? Was it important to create a balanced experience?

 

Me and Exos have been thinking for some time what should go on this record, and we agreed that is cool that the whole EP has something for everyone so that's kind of how we finalised it.
 

There's a wonderful relationship between the keys and the drums on the record, with both helping to create a distinctive atmosphere. Did you conceive these tracks with the idea of taking listeners to certain places? what kind of context did you create these tracks to be listened in? 

I normally don't have a direction when I make my tracks, they kind off make themselves sometimes and these tracks are that way too. Its only when i am almost finishing writing them, i see them for what they are. 

The album has a strong audial identity, one that seems to draw from your previous releases but feels quite new and fresh. Do you think this is to do with the record being made by just you? 

Yes probably, when I work with other artists the tracks seem to change always in another direction then when I first made them, and thats the fun part sometimes. So these just came out of me without another output so they are just what they are.

How did it feel to be working on an Ep just by yourself? and do you think that the sound of this record is the definitive Ohm sound?

This EP is like I said is mainly some music I have had lying around with out any direction to where to release them. It is definitely sounding like OHM but I tend to make all kind of music and projects so there is not any way to say what my direction is. I go where the music takes me, that is the OHM sound I think. I don't like to be put in box, I like to try new things every time in my productions.

Going forward, do you think you will be releasing more tunes by yourself? It's a truly breath-taking record and we would love to hear more!

I will most likely be putting music out thats just mine. but i love to work with brilliant artists so you will definitely be hearing some more of those for sure. 

If you could choose one location (club, venue etc) to play the tunes off this new record in, where would that place be?

I played in Globus , Tresor 2 years ago and i would definitely like to repeat that night. A Legendary club with the best crowd.

Finally, upon reflection of this record, where do you see yourself going from here? got much planned for the rest of 2021 and beyond? 

Yes I have 4 Eps in pre-sale at the moment , and some more projects coming out as well very soon. I just opened my own label now called OHM Series and the first record is coming out in a few weeks. So I am focusing my energy on releasing more records on the label with some of my favourite producers. So keep an eye out for that! 

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We would like to thank Bjarnar for his wicked answers. 'Seidingur' is coming out on the X/OZ imprint, and will be available in early April in all good record stores. You can check the clips here: 

https://soundcloud.com/xozmusic/xoz009-ohm-seidingur-ep