Knife Magazine

The cave : MINI ESCO

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Words and photos by: Jonathan Holst Bruus

The Cave is all about studio environment and creative spaces. Once a month we visit a band, group or producer in their respective cave(s) to see how they work and delve in their grottos. This time we visited Copenhagen-based musician and producer Jacob Formann.

I arrive around two o'clock and Jacob just got out of the shower. He's calm, well-groomed and has a nice smell of body lotion that immediately makes us both excited for the interview.

Restlessly he cleans up while I explore his cave. It's a bit disorderly after a smokedown he had the night before, but there's still plenty of stuff to discover under the mess – if not even more. Teenage posters, random souvenirs, whips, trinkets, a grand piano and dozens of plants. The whole vibe is laid back and I take care of the coffee while we listen to some of his new demos. Some of them feature collaborations from artists such as Varg2, AnnaMelina, Yen Towers, and Emma Acs .

A series of candles light up the room while the December wind rattles outside. It's cold, cozy​ and we warm ourselves with coffee and a couple of croissants Jacob brought for the occasion. Excitedly he begins to rummage in his drawers. Lots of different stuff circulates, but eventually, he finds a piece of paper that reveals the storyboard for an upcoming animated series that is centered around his project, Jackie Midnight & the Psycho Street.

“I'm working on some sort of animated series. It's still on a very early stage and may never happen, but I like to think of Jackie Midnight & the Psycho Street as something bigger than the music itself. Like a big creative collective. The project I have with Emma Acs, which is named Evil House Party, is also a part of that expanded universe. For example; on the psycho street – which is like the fictive main street – there's a creepy haunted house. Emma (Acs) is a vampire who moves into that house. Then she invites everyone to a housewarming, which is the Evil House Party. That's at least​ some of the ideas.”

I quickly discover that playfulness is a keyword when it comes to Jacob's musical approach, “being able to play around is one of the most important aspects of creating music. In the end, it makes the final product way more honest and interesting if you can hear that someone's been present during the process. Then the music becomes way more believable”, Jacob humbly explains.

Frequently he returns to the beauty of being playful, whether it's a trance track with Varg2 or a dreamy horror pop song with Emma Acs. Everything is created out of that particular playfulness, a feeling that's been boosted since he got his cave at Refshaleøen – a big creative community in the outskirts of Copenhagen that houses every artist imaginable; musicians, producers, painters, actors, ceramists, etc.

Multiple times Jacob expresses how much these surroundings have inspired him. “During the last six months or so I've been extremely productive and I'm sure that this creative environment has played a huge role in that. Even though it's near the city, you still got some sort of distance. It's easier to get in the zone.”

Being able to work confidently in Ableton has also been a tool that has given Jacob a new approach to music.

“When I released Life Force Energy, it felt like I reached some kind of milestone. I had finally learned to use Ableton, and suddenly I began to work more freely on music. However, I had no intention of being a producer or something when I cracked the software. It was just me fooling around and smoking weed. I wanted to create some kind of BBC Earth-inspired music, but then I added a beat and the foundation for Life Force Energy was created.”

He looks out the window, lights a cigarette before he modestly states, “I always viewed music as something bigger than life itself. When I sit here, I imagine that I'm surrounded by all kinds of different colours. I'm so much in the zone that I completely forget reality. It's pure escapism. That's why I love being here so much.”

Once again we listen to one of his tracks, I turn off the recorder, and Jacob smoothly re-enters the zone.

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