Days before Sónar İstanbul: An interview with Prins Thomas

One of the pioneers of space disco scene, Prins Thomas will be performing in Sónar İstanbul this weekend. We had a chance to talk with Norwegian musician about his latest release Principe Del Forte and his DJing background.

Interview by Cem Kayıran – Illustration by Barış Şehri

Your latest release Principe Del Forte is one of the most fluidic records I’ve listened to for a long while. What was the main idea you had when you started to work on this album? How did it change through out the process?
Joakim who runs the Smalltown Supersound-label had been asking me for a while if i would be interested in doing an album for him. As I do have my own label Full Pupp that I run together with Kai Fraeger from Word And Sound Distribution in Germany I thought that if I was gonna do an album for Joakim it would have to be something different.
So basically the search for something different started. At some point during our conversations the idea of doing an ambient album came up. That and an involuntary change of equipment shaped the record.
The idea changed last minute basically, with me starting to rework the material I had finished and in the process making a much longer record….

For the first time you worked with Smalltown Supersound for this record. How was working with them?
It was a good excercise for me as I usually just deliver the record to mastering often without anybody having heard it before. Having more of a debate with Joakim did at least shape to album some. Most of all he insisted I’d cut down the length on some tracks.

As a listener, I really enjoyed the variety of the musician and producers in the remix album of Principe Del Forte. Did you pick all those names? What were the notions that you bear in mind while making that selection?
Yes, all of these people do work that’s inspiring to me and I wanted to have a variety of sounds with people who represents other scenes to see what direction they would take my music into. Everyone was given carte blanche and I think the only decision I had to make was where to chop down Ricardo’s remixes to make them fit for vinyl as he sent a total 50 minutes of studio jamming…

As far as I know you were DJing before you started to make music. What kind of effects you observe when you think about the role of your DJing background in your music?
I started DJing in my bedroom in the mid 80’s and at the same time I was learning some basic skills on the bass, guitar, clarinet and cello. I think I never considered these 2 different to each other until I started playing in nightclubs for money at a much later point. The only time I consciously keep the dj in mind is if I make music that’s purpose made for the dancefloor.

The most charming detail iny our music is the way you use the krautrock elements for me. If you had a chance to form a band for a new album from that era, which musicians would you pick?
Ah…. I’d simply get Can to play all the instruments for me. Or even The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Or even Jimi Hendrix and his Band Of Gypsies.

It’s been eight years since you released the last record with Lindstrøm. Do you think you’ll end up making some more music together soon?
It’s fully possible. We recently collaborated on some remixes again after taking a few years off so let’s see if something happens. The line of communication is there and the interest so it’s more about finding the time

You played in İstanbul four years ago. What’s the first thing that comes to your mind from that show?
I can’t actually remember but was that playing live with the “Orkester”? If so, the main thing that comes to mind is that we had a lot of fun playing. By that time the band actually even started to sound good despite only having done 3 shows previously. In the end I had to give up my ambitions of having a touring band as it took so much time away from my studio work. And of course, organizing rehearsals for 10 people is a pain in the ass…

What’s next for Prins Thomas after the tour? Should we expect a new record this year?
Yes, there’s plenty of stuff lined up for this year. At least a few one off singles, a new artist album and then definitely an album-collaboration with another artist if not two 😉