Photos: Anders Berg
Slakthusområdet is a natural home for all things clubby, and last year block party Department made it their home with a two-day party and a line-up that featured the likes of Paul Kalkbrenner, Axel Boman and Johanna Knutsson. This year they’re back again for a one-day fest in Slakthusområdet, but also have a little more up their sleeves, with a preview club night booked for Berns in April. Artists already announced include Jon Hopkins, Magdalena, Johannes Brecht and Parallax Deep. We spoke to music journalist Calle Dernulf and PR and culture guru Fanny Larsson, the duo behind the Department, about what’s planned for this year’s edition.
This year you’ve expanded the Department concept with a club night at Berns. What’s the thinking behind that?
Calle: Just the fact that we had the opportunity to do it and would like to try out different things. Do we have to do a traditional two day event or could we actually spread it out and still call it Department? Yes we can!
Fanny: Hopefully, the show at Berns will leave the audience wanting more and feel excited to see fifteen more acts a few weeks later at Department.
Apart from the Berns show, what else is new for 2018?
Fanny: This year we have put all our love into a one day experience. And also our focus is entirely on electronic music.
Calle: New great artists, ha ha, and of course our experience of doing an event at this site. We are trying our best to do it a little bit better in all aspects. We are bringing in a couple of nice food trucks and will organise the area in a slightly different matter.
A block party is a very different thing to a club night or a one-day festival. What are the secrets to putting together a great block party?
Calle: That’s personal I guess but just the fact that we’re doing it in a industrial area on a blocked street makes it nice. Another cool thing is of course the fantastic and big warehouse. It’s indoors but you still have the feeling of being outdoors. Finally it’s [a block party] absolutely nothing without a great crowd of friends hungry for a party.
Fanny: Our ambition is of course for Department to develop each year and get bigger and better. Therefor, we’ve been responsive and incorporating feedback from last years visitors and artists. Just to make sure it’s an even greater experience then the last one.
You mention that your focus is on ‘modern electronic music’. What and who do you think best represents modern electronic music in 2018?
Calle: Electronic music has always been a rather tricky term but I like the fact that it’s really difficult to pinpoint exactly what it is. Today it’s a nice mixture of just about everything. There’s not one person who can summon things up and we have artists that are rather new to the club scene and those who’ve been around for a long time.
What kind of qualities are you looking for in the artists you’re booking for this year’s line-up?
We’re looking for a number of things but most important is that we always first and foremost pick what we really love, there’s really no other way to do it. We want people that are open minded and perhaps known for being diverse.
Jon Hopkins is a great example of the diversity. He is classically trained and composes music for film and theater and on the weekends he DJs house and techno. The artists and DJs we present all bring their own specific version of it.
Finally, as a final pitch, in a couple of sentences what can people expect from Department this year?
A couple of fun nights with the world’s best music to complement it!
Department Club Night at Berns, April 6. Department 2018, May 26. For more details and tickets see www.departmentsthlm.se