Interview with Per Aksel Lundgreen about his label, projects, music ... and more

  Van Muylem    12 januari 2017

From time to time it's nice to interview the people in the music business that you really like and adore. Today it's time for an interview with Per Aksel Lundgreen, label owner, remixer, was part of many bands and has hiw own projects! Time to put him in the spotlights!

Hi Per Aksel, how did 2017 start for you?

2017 had a great start with dinner among great friends, and me working on a more permanent basis in a local record store that sell both new and second hand vinyl!

We came into contact as you are a label owner, can you tell me how you started up your label and why?

First of all, it was because I in 2007 bought back both the physical and digital rights for a lot of masters from bands that I had been in over the years, including the back catalog of Cronos Titan, Chinese Detectives and Angst Pop, and also for releasing both the back catalog and new stuff from Shatoo. Then I had friends and bands asking me with help in distributing their material digitally which was nice, and secondly I contacted bands/artists that I knew were not available digitally, but that I really felt that should be out there, including old Norwegian new wave, electronic and industrial acts like Famlende Forsøk, Johnny Yen, Rosegarden etc.

Was there a particular reason why you choose this name for the label?

Ever since the single Subculture by New Order, I have loved this title/name, and it’s been in my head that I wanted to use it for a club concept, a label or something similar. So I decided to split the word up in two, Sub Culture, and use that as the name for my label, as I feel that it also represents the kind of music that I release there. I see that my friend John von Ahlen from Paraloxx has a new album coming now called “Subculture”, so maybe we’ve been an inspiration, I don’t know! :P

Can you drop some names of bands and artist that you signed and tell us the latest news about new recordings?

Honestly, the label has been put a bit on the backburner these days, because I’ve been having a lot of health issues, and also I’ve been busy with my own bands, videos, gigs, studio work etc, so I have not been signing new bands for a long while. Cronos Titan just released a new single, SARPSBORG 1K which is a tribute to our home town Sarpsborg for their 1000-year anniversary in 2016. Also, a new single from Shatoo called Movies is just about ready for release, and the same for a new single from Technomancer called Empire. All of these I’m involved in, and apart from those, Carlos Perón (ex-YELLO) has stuff coming.

Can we expect some new best of or new compilation?

“Cultural Differences – Vol. 1” was a great compilation both for promoting the label and the artist, so a Vol. 2 might come when I have the time to compile and get stuff sorted. But another compilation that we’re working on the sleeve fore, is a Various Artists compilation, that is called “The Best Technomancer & Angst Pop Remixes”, and that is going to be awesome! It has remixes from Die Krupps, Nitzer Ebb, Page, Apoptygma Berzerk, Substaat, Anne Clark, Rossettis Compass, Clockwork Orange, Carlos Perón and many more!

Personally I loved Train to Spain and Touching The Void, how did you got in contact with both of them?

With Train To Spain I was approached by their manager, Kjell Ek, a brilliant guy who’s a really good friend, so when they’ve got a new album coming, we’ll step into action again! He also helped me connect with Machinista for the digital distribution of their first EP and their first album. Touching The Void is Mark from Rossettis Compass that I’ve been very fortunate to have been working with on several projects and remixes, so when he presented Touching The Void to me, I immediately said yes to distribute it. Mark has later set up his own label, LJE Music, and Rossettis Compass and Touching The Void is now distributed through them, but Mark and I are still the best of friends and will surely be working together on musical projects in the future! Nothing dramatic about it all, just practical really!

In the beginning you had Jet Noir helping you out, can you tell us something about her?

I can tell you A LOT about Jet Noir, but I better not… HA HA HA!! When I signed Naked Lunch, Jet and I coordinated the promotion for Naked Lunch, and I soon found out that she was brilliant at doing promotion, and she lovingly offered to do some promotion on our new Shatoo single that was coming out, which helped us a lot and got us into radios and press that we didn’t even know about, so she was, and still is a valuable asset and a dear friend. She then also offered to help promote other bands on Sub Culture Records, and we were like a small family, all pulling in the same direction actually! Naked Lunch have also put up their own label, Evolve Or Die, long ago really, but they’ve considered doing digital too for a while, so they have from January on taken over the distribution of all the 10 Naked Lunch releases that came out via Sub Culture. As with Rossettis Compass, nothing dramatic about it, just practical, and I understand and support every band that wants to have full control over all their releases! And even if Naked Lunch are not on Sub Culture any more, we have plans on working together on other projects. In 2015 I was tour manager for them on a UK tour, and from what I understand, Tony Mayo and Jet Noir wants me to do this job again when a new tour is being booked. We had tons of fun on the last tour, so doing that again is something I wouldn’t miss for anything in the world!

Another guy who is helping you out is our mutual friend Roy Julian Digre (Technomancer, …), what is he doing for you (besides remixing)?

Roy, besides being a great friend and colleague, has been doing a lot of design work and video work for Sub Culture and the bands I’m involved I’m, and I can truly say that without him, and Jet, Sub Culture would have been bleak and boring! I owe them so much, and I just wish I could have afforded to pay them full salary for all the work they’ve done, but apart from trading favors, they’ve been idealists and they’ve shared this labor of love with me. Heartwarming, really…

You have your own project running: Cronos Titan, how is it going and can you explain to the people who have to discover it what it is about, how does it sound?

Cronos Titan is the project that I’m currently moste active with, and my bandmate there, Pr3ben Bjønnes is a brilliant and hard working guy who’s producing tons of great demos for us. Apart from the newly released SARPSBORG 1K single, we’re currently working on our new album, which so far has been given the working title, The Age Of Shaming. Cronos Titan is inspired by the early works of Delerium, Chris & Cosey, The Klinik, Die Form and other darkwave/coldwave/industrial acts, and many people say that we sound like a soundtrack to a scary move that hasn’t been made yet. You find our stuff on all digital platforms as well as out on CD, so if you’re curious about it, check it out!

What’s happening with Angst Pop?

Angst Pop has always been my own moniker, and at the moment, I only use it for production and remix work. I have had some thoughts on doing a new single just for fun, and with the help of Roy/Technomancer, it might just happen when/if we find the time!

In the past you played, recorded and toured together with Apoptygma Berzerk, how was that? Any nice stories about the past?

Yes, that’s true, and I have many great memories from the early Apop days that I wouldn’t be without. I still remember our first gig in Germany in April 1994 in Gelsenkirchen at Kaue together with Steril and Sabotage-Q.C.Q.C?, an experience that blew us all away! Also, being part of releasing Norways very first EBM record(s) and helping pave the way for a new wave of Norwegian electronic bands like Icon Of Coil, Spektralized, Northborne, Komor Kommando, Sweep, etc that later took to the studio and to the stage is truly an inspiration. The friendship that I still have with Stephan Groth, his brothers Jonas and Andreas, and the rest of their family, is also something I am very grateful for. They’ve always treated me as a part of their family!

More recently you also did some promotion for their last record, were you involved in it too?

Yes, that is correct! Stephan asks me for help now and then for promotion, marketing, design (Ashes To Ashes reissue 12”), feedback to demos, practical work and/or dealings with managements, selling merchandise, bookings, driving, press, interviews whatever, and I really like to be involved and to help out, so as long as I have the time and I’m available, I always try to say yes. That’s the family aspect again, as it feels like I’m helping the brother I never had. Also, on top of this, I’m a huge fan of Apop, and everything they’ve done and accomplished after I left the band, and I really want people to hear it and appreciate it and to help present it in the best possible way. However, I was not musically involved on the Exit Popularity Contest album.

What about Shatoo? You also played in it, right and even recently toured a bit together? In my last interview we talked about a new record, somehow it’s not coming?

Yes, what about them?? HA HA, Dag, the singer decided to travel the world and more or less disappeared last year, but now we’ve got this new single coming, and hopefully some more gigs too!

What is your biggest unrealized dream, as label owner / artist?

I would love to take Cronos Titan back to Germany for some club gigs together with a band there that we can relate to and do something to meet up with our fan base down there. Also, we’d love to be able to write music for an actual movie with Cronos Titan! As label owner, I got to release some old-school 80’s pearls from Norwegian electro/wave scene, and that’s a big enough reward I think! It was awesome!

Finally, I’d like to ask everybody out there to support your favorite artists by buying their physical releases! It’s hard enough and expensive enough to record, produce, mix and master a releases + create artwork and make CD’s and LP’s, and then having to fight to sell your product and feel like you’re pushing it down someones throat. It’s not a nice feeling, so get the CD/LP, buy the t-shirt, and go to the concert! Before you know it, you’re stuck with only soulless crappy bands and no (local) underground scene, because all the underground bands have to pay from their own pockets to make products that they have a hard time selling! Support your local underground!!! Peace out and God bless!!!