On November 29th, 2002 , Michael Parsberg, DJ and producer had a gig in Pakhuset, Stege.
The Safri Zone met up with Michael before his performance to talk to him about his work and the making of Episode 2.
How did your DJ career start?
"It more or less started as a hobby. I began on the radio in Copenhagen, on a radio station called Radio Kurts, back in 1987, with a friend, Henrik Hjarnø.
Then we started working on Radio Falcon in 1989, and then it all started escalating, and my interest in music became more serious. In 1990, we bought our own sound equipment. I worked on the radio for 11 years, from ´89 to 2000, when I started working on Episode 2. Then there was time for nothing else."
How did you get the job as producer on Episode 2?
"Michael Guldhammer (Safri Duo’s former manager, ed) phoned me up and said he had two classical guys, who wanted to create electronic music. He asked me to have a talk with them and give them some guidelines, since I’m an electronic dude!"
So they didn’t have much experience with this musical genre?
"Not at all!! They had only just started out and bought the computer. I went to see them at Uffe´s and they told me, that they wanted to make some House. They had been to a club in England and were taken by this kind of music. So they played a few things for me, and there was just something in it, that totally threw me! So we started working on a track, which ended up being "Played-a-live!" It was so much fun making that track!"
How was the work progress between you and Safri Duo?
"Well, they had made this bongo-solo….I think it was Morten, who had written it, I’m not sure….and it was parts of this solo I found interesting. They had already tried working on it, but weren’t satisfied so they didn’t find it that interesting; but that quickly changed! ……….and in the end, it turned out just fine! I brought some of my equipment with me and we started working. The end result came about more or less by coincidence…..it wasn’t planned. The track was more or less meant as a guideline as to which musical style they wanted to pursue."
How would you describe the sound and vibe on Episode 2?
"Pleasant……….presentable and enjoyable listening."
What’s it like, working with Uffe and Morten?
"Interesting! –and they are really, really…….what’s the correct word……they are not meticulous….but they are very, very thorough….."
"Yes, perfectionists…..more than perfectionists! Especially Morten. –And they don’t compromise in any way. But they are fantastic and extremely talented. I have never worked with anyone more talented. Never.
They perceive real quick…if you have a suggestion, they simply…..(Parsberg drums on the table)….and it’s done."
What ideas did Safri Duo have concerning the sound and content of the album?
"They mentioned some artists, which inspired them and wanted their music to go in that direction. Among others they were greatly inspired by Underworld. -Not that the final result actually went in that direction…….
Episode 2 turned out very unique, not like anything you have heard before."
Which Safri track is your favourite?
"Crazy Benny!…………..and of course Played-a-live!"
What did it feel like winning a Danish Music Award 2002 for Producer Team of the Year?
"It was totally wild, it all went so fast. We hardly had time to find our seats, before we were called on stage!! It was an incredible experience!"
What’s it like working so hard on an album and then seeing it become such a success?
It’s fantastic. I haven’t had time to think about it. It has all happened so fast! Up ´till now where you mention it, I haven’t really had time to sit down and think about how incredible it is. How huge it is…
Of course I have experienced the success when I’ve been performing all over the world, due to the success of Episode 2. It has boosted my career as a DJ like nothing else!"
So Safri Duo has had an influence on the Danish and International dance scene?
"Oh yeah, definitely!!"
About the next Safri Duo album…….any revelations?
"No……it’s secret….I have been muzzled!! I’m not allowed to say anything."
Has anything been written?
Have you met up with Safri Duo yet?
"No……we are going to meet up here and there, due to Uffe living in Switzerland. But primarily we are going to work on it in Copenhagen.
We will start working thoroughly on it in January 2003.
I’m looking forward to it; I’m excited to see what the end result will be!"
Will it be difficult to follow up the success of Episode 2?
"Yes, very difficult. Close to impossible! Unless they suddenly pull something out of the hat or we manage to create something unique once again.
But it’s always difficult making a successor. I don’t think you have ever had a successor where you could honestly say: "It’s better than the first one.
Also the public interest in drums has faded a bit, therefore we have to invent something unique and exceptional."
Are you only going to work with Safri Duo in 2003?
"No, I also have other plans. We don’t count on spending a year making the album. I don’t think it’ll take that long. One thing is choosing the right tracks to go on the album….. but I’m sure we will end up with some great tracks!"
So what other future plans do you have?
"First of all I’m going to do some more work on my underground project. It’s very underground, hasn’t got a single touch of pop! Then I’m going to work with the jazz musician Chris Minh Doky. This collaboration came about through Morten Friis, who knows Chris from high school, where they played in a rock band together. Morten called me up, and asked if I was interested in working with Chris, because he produces the albums made by the Danish Radio Girls´ Choir, and they wanted to make some dance music. Originally Safri Duo was to participate, but their schedule was too busy, so I ended up doing the project with my partner, with whom I share my studio.
The CD has just been released; it turned out a bit peculiar, but Chris and I really hit it off, so we decided to do a project next year.
Then I’m going to work with Soeren Rasted (Aqua, ed), Me & My, and some friends in Germany: Cosmic Gate and Marc Et Claude.
I have a manager filled with a lot of great ideas, so I won’t be twiddling my thumbs next year! –Luckily!
What other artists have you been working with?
I have done a lot of remixes……Shakira, Shaggy,…..I have made so many remixed, I can hardly remember by whom….. 4 years ago I did remixes of pretty much all the Danish artists: Me & My, Cartoons, Tiggy, Aqua……mostly just for fun, because it was fun making it.
But my heart is really into Trance Music and music like Played-a-live…danceable with a positive vibe.
The Safri Zone