Exclusive Interview w/ Tim Andresen from What Happens Records

The highly acclaimed ‘What Happens’ label is foundered and ran by Copenhagen DJ & Producer Tim Andresen. The imprint is now home to some of the finest talents in underground house music and it’s reputation continous to build. On top of that, Tim also recently joined Scott Harrington (City Soul Project) and now co-owns and co-runs the UK-based Savoir Faire Musique.

Tim’s label reached a milestone this month with its 100th release entitled What Happens 100 and is available right now on Traxsource. We caught a few moments with him to chart about the achievement, the new release (see below) and much more in this Traxsource Exclusive Interview.

What Happens 100 is available now on Traxsource.

The Interview

1) Firstly Tim, thanks for taking the time out to chat with us. Tell us where you are and how you are and how you are feeling right now.

It’s a pleasure. Thanks for having me guys. Right now I’m in sunny but freezing cold Copenhagen. It’s my hometown and always has been. We had some snow last night and the streets are still icy and covered so I’m planning a nicely chilled day inside and catching up on some of the loose ends.

2) Obviously, the topic for today is the new What Happens 100 album – tell us in your words a little bit about how it came to be and what you were trying to convey to your listeners…

I wanted to do something a little out of the ordinary. Up until now we have done single and EP releases topped with the rare best-of compilations. This time though to celebrate we are now reaching the 100th mark, we wanted to bring together some of the label regulars including Alvaro Hylander, Big Al, Qmusse, Jon Sweetname and Trevor O’Neil etc. and even added a couple of new faces. I did have an idea of the style we were after like I do with all other releases we put out but I wanted to leave it to the artists to do whatever they wanted and felt was right. It ended up being 11 tracks from 11 different producers ranging from deep house to tech house and basically covering the sound we love and play and like to push to the world.

3) What’s it like running your What Happens label – and what do you want to accomplish as an imprint?

It’s a lot of work with a lot of music listening and a lot of emailing with artists, my distribution EPM and all kinds of related people such as DJs, reviewers and so on. If I was in it for the money, my time would probably have been spent much better somewhere else but I love what I do. When I launched my What Happens label back in 2007, my goal was always to keep a high level of information and give the records a fair chance of being heard by some of the key people of the industry. That’s still the case. We try to promote properly and advice our artists on how we think we can get maximum attention to the releases and how they can grow their career. It’s teamwork and we all need to deliver to make it successful. I once said… Finishing a track is only half the work done. Still believe that’s how it is today. Obviously not all tracks will enter the top of the charts with so much new music out on a weekly basis but we do our very best to make some noise and hopefully the artists are happy with what we do.

4) Any advice for your fans on how to make it in today’s fast paced game?

You got to be consistent and patient. It took me 15 years from when I bought my 1210s and started to collect vinyl until I got my first international gig. I had no clue how to get gigs or get noticed in my earliest years. I even had a break from DJing in the mid 90s where I totally lost interest because I didn’t get anywhere. Or at least that’s how I felt back then. So yes, it does take a while to build something and you can’t expect to step into the best clubs after just 6 or 12 months of playing music in your bedroom. These days it’s important to gain a local following as a DJ and also to produce music if you want to get bookings at clubs outside your hometown. Competition is stronger than ever due to the technology and you have to do something that separates you from the rest while the promoters also need some stories to tell about you to get attention from the ever-demanding crowd. Make sure to support and take part in the scene you want to enter. Make friends with people out there and deliver when you get offered the chance. I’m seeing too many new and inexperienced DJs showing up to gigs without even telling their friends they are playing except for the obvious status update on Facebook. No need to spam everyone but just make sure to bring them to the party. It’s that easy. Look at it like this… If your own friends don’t even want to hear you spin how do you expect others to show up if no one really heard about you? While you are there, please have a good idea of what music to play at the right time of the night and just make it a good night to remember. That way the promoter is likely to get back to you. If you screw up, it will be hard work to get another booking. Although we are all in it for the love of music, it’s also pure business out there nowadays.

The same goes for promoters of new nights. Don’t put on a night if the DJ line up is useless, venue is rubbish etc. and you don’t want to invest money and man-hours to try and make it just a bit special. Think about a proper headliner, the sound system, some visuals, the promotion you do, anything really that will influence and make it a good night. We have all done that mistake but these days it’s being well documented on the social medias. People judge all your actions so be careful what you do and how you do it.

If you have just started to make music, please don’t hurry too much and do not upload your work until you are truly happy with the result. You never get a 2nd chance of making a first impression. Be humble and polite to the people you talk to and don’t be afraid to get advices from the more experienced people. They probably know what they are talking about if they have been in it for let’s say 20 or 30 years.

A final advice is to keep all your social medias active and updated. This is super important these days if you want your work to be taken seriously by others.

5) What do you consider to have been your big break which launched your DJ career?

It certainly was to arrange the Flow parties in Copenhagen back in the late 90s and early 00s, originally held at the Store Vega concert hall that takes 1500 people. Back then the scene here was totally different from what it is today. The clubs were dominated by commercial hip hop, RnB and cheesy euro dance. House and techno parties mostly had to be one offs in clubs or held in warehouses or small bars and the number of parties were very limited compared to now. I had been organizing tiny club nights before but when I returned from a great summer in Ibiza in 1999, I decided it was the right time to go all in and do something spectacular. We quickly gained support from Danish National Radio that broadcasted to 11 countries live on the night as well as support from one of the local TV stations and a lot of the press due to the massive light, sound and stage production. We did the parties for a couple of years and even took the concept to Ibiza with Danish National Radio P3 broadcasting live to the listeners back home. My profile as a DJ propelled to local fame in those years and it was also when I got my international debut and started to DJ outside of Denmark.

Tim Andresen – founder of What Happens Records

6) How do you communicate with your fans?

I always try to reply to as many messages and emails as possible. I do get sent a decent number of promotional DJ mixes, promos and links to tracks in progress on Facebook in particular and I don’t really have time to listen and go through them all but I do my best to reply to as much as possible. I use Facebook, Twitter and Soundcloud as well as my personal website: timandresen.com to spread the word about my music and gigs. We also have a website for the label: whathappens.dk and use our Facebook page and Soundcloud to update on our label actions.

7) Best gig of 2015 so far and why?

Well, we are only a few weeks in and I just played 3 nights but the stand out gig so far is What Happens at Culture Box last weekend. Even though it was January and the week after the venue celebrated it’s 10th birthday, it was still very busy in all 3 rooms and kicking off till late with a great loveable crowd all being there for the music and to have a good time.

8) Choose one. Little party with great pay or well known party with no pay? Example?

Hopefully the bookers don’t read this but as long as I can pay the bills and live a normal and decent life I’m perfectly fine. It doesn’t matter too much if the party is small or something big or well known. If the crowd is into the music I play and the vibe is good, then the rest comes second. Every DJ on the planet say yes to profile gigs and plays for a small fee or for free every now and then. That’s really how it should be. If there’s a lot of money involved, the DJ should be paid properly. If not, then it’s often fine to support the scene and give something back by playing for less than your normal fee. To be totally honest, in many ways the scene has grown to become overtaken by too many agents, bookers and managements while forgetting what it used to be about. So let’s cut down on the ridiculous drink riders, hotel suites, limousines and private jets and play the music we all love.

9) Where can your fans catch you in playing over the next few months and what is next for you?

I’m the resident DJ at Scandinavia’s leading club Culture Box here in Copenhagen and play twice monthly along many of the world’s best DJs. I play our What Happens parties every 3rd Saturday monthly in Black Box (the main room of the club) with a banging sound system and dark pumping vibe. Then 1st Friday monthly in Red Box in the basement which is the sexier room with a deeper and cool vibe. Loving both! I also have other domestic gigs forthcoming including KB18 while on the international front I will be in Ghent in Belgium, Almaty in Kazakhstan and the UK soon with quite a few more to be announced shortly. I like the switch between playing gigs away and at home. I have a lot of great music lined up and ready to be released on What Happens in the months to come. That includes stuff from Oliversam, James Benedict, Lowtone and Lex (Athens) among others as well as a couple of new EPs from myself.

Few of you may know but I also just joined my good friend Scott Harrington (City Soul Project) as his partner in Savoir Faire Musique and we’re currently making plans for releases and tours here in 2015. I produced two new releases to be released at the label and also did a remix of Lee Clarke’s “Mindop’s Bounce” and Rishi K’s “Solid State” soon to see daylight. Finally I’m also about to start collaboration with City Soul Project on a new track so exciting times ahead.

10) What’s you’re opinion on the current state of house music?

I think it’s good. I’m seeing a lot of good music coming out at the moment and labels seem to be slightly more picky about what they release which is a good thing. We have had some years with average quality and new labels opening one day and disappearing the next. A lot of the people who suddenly entered the industry for the wrong reasons are gone again after realizing they didn’t become rich or famous over night. It’s hard work if you ever make it. It seems as if some of the major EDM players are to turn their back to what they’ve done in recent years and the bubble is soon to burst. Hopefully it means we can finally bury the war between the commercial and underground scene and look forward and focus on the future. I’m seeing the underground clubs being full again after focus being on the ever-growing number of festivals for some years. Fingers crossed there’s a market for it all in the years to come as the scene is expanding heavily at the moment. As long as we all keep raising the bar, I’m positive and sure the future looks bright for us all.

What Happens label page & releases on Traxsource.

What Happens

Tim Andresen