Interview: KAIZER

KAIZER Interview

KAIZER im Interview beim Soundkartell; Fotocredit: Sonja Lovdal

Es ist noch gar nicht so lange her, da überraschte mich KAIZER aus Aarhus mit ihrer Single „YOU KILL ME WITH A WORD (aim your gun)“ und ich war hin und weg. Was die junge Dame namens Karen Stenz Lundqvist hier präsentiert klingt nach den älteren Songs von MØ. Dass dieser Vergleich öfter fällt, ist wohl auch gar nicht so unwahrscheinlich. So ist es Karen enorm wichtig, dass die gesamte Kraft eines Songs aus ihr heraus, ihrem Herzen kommt. Dabei war ihr Weg nicht immer so klar vorgezeichnet, wie er bei ihrer neuen Single „FAMOUS!“ zu sein scheint. Zur Single gibt es auch ein Musikvideo, das ihr euch weiter unten anschauen solltet. Denn anfangs war sie bei einem Major unter Vertrag, doch das hemmte sie so sehr, dass sie raus musste aus diesem Hamsterrad. Es ging nicht mehr und so litt auch ihre Kreativität darunter. Sie musste notgedrungen die Reißleine ziehen.

Und so kam es, dass sie beschloss ab sofort alles aus ihrer eigenen Hand zu produzieren. Nur sie, ihre Ideen, ihre Visuals und ihr Statement. Dazu gehört unter anderem auch das Empowerment der Frauen in der Musik. So ist sie Teil einer größeren Bewegung in Dänemark, auch durch ihre Performance, wie unten im Video zu sehen: Der Blumenkranz im Haar stellt optisch eine Gleichheit zwischen allen her.

Da ich so hin und weg von ihrer Musik und ihrer Präsenz als Musikerin bin, musste ein Interview her. Wir sprechen mit ihr über ihre Produktionen, ihren Weg zur DIY-Künstlerin, ihre neue Single und vieles mehr.

Die Single „FAMOUS!“ könnt ihr über diesen Link streamen oder kaufen.

Kaizer is the artistic moniker of Karen Stenz Lundqvist, an Aarhus-based songwriter and producer bringing a spark of punk attitude into the pop music scene.

With „Famous!“ you recently released a new single. There is also a music video to watch. How has the response been so far and to what extent does that drive you to continue?

KAIZER: The response has been amazing. The music was first picked up by Apple Music, which is rather hard to accomplish, and in the past week I have been attending radio-interviews and meetings regarding new and exciting collaborations! It’s really just immensely astounding. Everything is going very fast at the moment, and so I am trying hard to remember to appreciate the wonderful things and all the accomplishments I have made in such a short while. Kaizer was only born in Generally people are quite enthusiastic about my visual universe! It’s pretty amazing to create something that people just get from the beginning, where I initially thought it would take some time before people would understand me and my intentions! It’s very important to me to create something new and exciting. I think the world has seen to much generic visuality, and I want to create something explosive and maximalistic in the middle of all these rather boring Scandi-pop clones.

Everything you publish you produce yourself. So everything comes from your pen. How does it feel to get things going so completely without the influence of third parties?

KAIZER: It’s tremendously important to me to produce everything myself. I was signed at a major-label for two-three years, on the basis of my home-made productions, but was slowly led away and in to the aforementioned current generic female-pop-icon idea, where all soundscape is sharply polished and NOT produced by yourself, but by third party. And of corse male. I know it sounds ridiculous, but that is just the reality of things. So when we broke up, I needed to find myself again, and am still experimenting! I am also a HUGE spokesperson and representative of seeing more female producers on the music scenen. Since Kaizer arose my managers have therefore been pushing me hard to get me to produce all my material myself. Both to get that unique and personal take on it, but also to be my own role model and set an example for others.




Your path leads you away from a major to a complete DIY style. There are now a number of opportunities to be very successful as an independent artist. You say about yourself that stepping away from the major actually saved you. Your creativity came back. To what extent were you afraid of this step back then?

KAIZER: I was actually never afraid. It was mostly because my A&R was fired. And he was the one who believed in me and my personal style. But even before then retrospectively I now see that I was dragged in to the whole co-writing-session-scene, where you very quickly led someone else be the producer, and your songs also get to sound like everything else. I actually signed with a management, an independent one though, and am also soon to sign with another company, not yet public. I think you start out independently. A lot of record labels take in very young and new artists on the music scene, and then sculpt them into what they think is best. Often in the contemporary modern persona-image they think has the best possibilities of making money. Now. But it is not a good long term strategy for the artist. But if you first hand create your own universe and let the record label come to you, I think it’s okay to sign. Because then they can see the capital value in the product beforehand.

I want to see more women booked at festivals and concerts in general.

As an artist, what has been the biggest obstacle that you have had to cross so far and is there still one that lies ahead?

KAIZER: Uuuh, great question!! I still haven’t finished finding my own sound. Still experimenting. And still find myself transforming into Alice falling down the generic-songwriting-hole. Falling in to old patterns, I need to break free of.

What role does gender equality play for you as an artist?

KAIZER: It’s an immensely important subject for me. I am currently a part of a danish movement where we try to organize more women getting together and collaborate, helping each other out, in stead of seeing each other as competitors. I want to see more women booked at festivals and concerts in general. This is just completely critical as a business women. Already knowing that it’s going to be more difficult for me being booked live. In Denmark all the biggest festivals during the summer, we are talking 5-6-7 major festivals, all had something like 5 women booked out of 50, or 2 women booked out of 43.

KAIZER über ihre neue Single „FAMOUS!“, Geschlechtergleichberechtigung, ihren Start als DIY Künstlerin und vieles mehr; Fotocredit: Jeanette Phillipsen

What is your strategy if you are releasing more songs now? Do you think single-minded, i.e. rather very modern?

KAIZER: I have started out with songs that are cathy and more on the pop-side, where I will expand my universe with more experimental song with the next releases!

For the majority of creative professionals, Corona and the lockdown were a massively bad experience and many are still suffering from it today. To what extent does Corona still give you the chance to see the crisis as something positive and draw new energy from it?

KAIZER: I actually generally see Corona as an upside to my music work. I had the time to sit at home creating sound-universes, getting better as a producer and experimenting. But it also resultet in all my concerts being cancelled, among them the very important showcases at SPOT Festival. The big danish music-industry festival. We had four showcase-venues booked… But it also continues. This month we have had several cancelations once again. But back in the saddle!

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