DOWNTOWN 500 MAGAZINE CREW TOOK A ROAD TRIP DOWN TO COPENHAGEN TO JOIN OUR FRIEND’S ART EXHIBITION. WE HIRED AN APARTMENT THROUGH AIRBNB AND GASSED DOWN TO DENMARK JUST FOR A REASON. A FEW HOURS LATER WE HAD FUN ON THE SOUTH COAST IN THE HARBOR OF COPEN.
WE ENJOYED THE CITY A BIT TOO MUCH (IN FACT SO MUCH WE NEVER MADE IT TO THE ACTUAL ART-SHOW…). INSTEAD, WE WENT BAR-HOPPING AND FINALLY ENDED UP AT CULTURE BOX, AN ACTUAL GOVERNMENT SUPPORTED ELECTRONIC VENUE (AMEN, DANISH POLITICIANS !). THE VENUE WAS TOO GOOD FOR US TO EVER BOTHER TO LEAVE IT. WE MET A LOT OF RARE PEOPLE THERE, AND ONE OF THEM WAS THE COOL TOMBOY MAI.
SHE CLOSED THE MORNING BY HOSTING A PRIVATE AFTER-PARTY, AND SO WE ENDED UP FINDING OUT MORE ABOUT HER INDIVIDUAL.
MAI grew up in a townhouse in Brøndby. Her parents got divorced when she was young, and she was primarily living with her mother, little brother, and big sister. Mai spent a lot of time in Brøndby playing soccer and going for long walks in the woods with her dog, listening to all kinds of music.
MAI says that she always had a lot of energy and run as often as she could, to get some steam out so she could concentrate better. Once she ran half a marathon with a broken bone in her foot, a stubborn one and definitely a fighter! Well, Mai meant that she didn’t know her foot was that severely injured, and when someone really wants to cross the finish line you have to forget all about the pain and just stay in it!
” I feel like the running and me creating music is part of the same thing. I can feel my body when I run, and I also feel the music, whenever I do both I feel like my mind is free and not disturbed by a lot of thoughts. It makes me feel complete.”
DT 500 MAG: – What is Copenhagen?
MAI: – Copenhagen is beautiful with beautiful buildings and canals. It’s a city where you go out a lot, people meet at cafés and sit by the harbors. I get inspired by different kinds of people, types, living beings, and their destiny. I could not live in a small city, I don’t think it could inspire me as much, because of the lack of freedom to stand out and explore the different types of people who live here in Copenhagen. Even though I love living in the capital, I am also very fond of being out in nature, that also inspires me a lot.
DT 500 MAG: – What is engaging you there?
MAI: – I party a lot and go clubbing, I especially like the meatpacking district which is a bit trashy, and Culture Box where I feel the electronic music gets a lot of space, I think they book a lot of great artists, so that’s a great place to go to. On a more personal level, it means a lot to me that my siblings and my little nephew also live here in Copenhagen.
DT 500 MAG: – What are the sounds of Copenhagen for a DJ?
MAI: – I feel that there are too many clubs in Copenhagen where they play more mainstream music, but that being said there is also a lot of other alternatives. Especially in the summertime where we have stuff like Trailerpark, Stella Polaris, Strøm and other right underground parties. And VEGA, especially, is excellent at booking different cool artist.
DT 500 MAG: – What means CHRISTIANIA for you?
MAI: – I think it’s an important area where many different people live. It has a lot of beautiful nature and cozy, creative houses, it’s easy to see that many artists live there. If you are into smoking weed and chilling out in comfortable surroundings, this is the place to go.
DT500MAG: – You are playing in different cities and countries, what can you say about party differences?
MAI: – I have not been that much around playing yet, but my dream is to do that much more in the future, to experience a lot of different cities, it can quickly get boring to play at the same place and in the same city all the time. If I play at a home where I can play my own genre, it is much easier for me to build up a good set and the right vibe,
” My goal is to get people’s attention and make them feel the energy and the intensity.”
DT500MAG: – How did you become an artist?
MAI: – I think I need more time to get a REAL artist in me. With all respect. But of course, I feel like my own artist already. I still need to finish my projects and release more of my own music. But it’s on its way – hopefully, haha. But to get here I, first of all, got inspired by my brother-in-law, who was DJ-ing a lot at that time, when I moved to Copenhagen. I bought my own DJ-deck and practiced a lot, and then I contacted different places and asked them if I could play there. I met a lot of cool music people through the nightlife, which became a good network for me. I got a really close friend who was also a DJ, and he booked me for a job in a club called RUST.
DT 500 MAG: – Tell me more
MAI: – Then I was hooked, and I strived to develop myself as a DJ. Suddenly everything was moving very fast. I was DJ-ing a lot for a few years, and at the same time, I had a really painful breakup with my girlfriend. That made me party a lot, drinking lots of alcohol and taking drugs.
” I felt like I lost myself with all that, living the night, being high, walking in the streets, feeling lonely like hell, not knowing where to go. I couldn’t feel anything in the end. I felt sad and lost, sometimes I even fell asleep on the street.”
DT 50 MAG: – What did you decide at that point?
MAI: – I decided to start learning how to produce music on my own. I needed something that was mine, something I could immerse myself in and I needed a way to express my feelings even more.
DT 500 MAG: – What moves you?
MAI: – When I started I was fascinated by Fritz Kalkbrenner, Nicolas Jaar and Djuna Barnes (Danish DJ).
DT500MAG: -Why DJ?
MAI: – I think it was a coincidence, I love music, and because of my restlessness I also like to party a lot. I needed something to immerse myself into, and the music does something good for me.
DT500MAG: – What is your context?
MAI: – I like to experiment with the music and tell stories, make my own universe, but it depends on the atmosphere, sometimes you just need to get the party going. I like to play Ambient, House, Deep-House, and Techno.
DT 500 MAG: – Do you feel like a part of a creative community?
MAI: Yes, I feel like I am a part of a creative community in Copenhagen because I know so many people in the DJ/producer business. I really like being part of that, also because I don’t have any education and a “normal” network as you would call it. That being said, it can also be a very lonely business, but that is a positive thing for me. I like to work alone so that the music is 100% mine, but it’s also nice to know there’s always someone to ask for help or inspiration if you need it.
DT 500 MAG: – What helped you to develop your own ideas?
MAI: – As I told you earlier in this interview I did not produce music at the beginning of my career, at that time I was only DJ-ing, but after a tough break-up with my girlfriend, I started to really immerse myself into the music. I had some friends showing me the program, and then I started as a producer. Ups and downs in life inspire me and push me forward.
DT 500 MAG: – Who are you most connected to?
MAI: – When I was younger I was very inspired by Coco Rosie and their quickness, I liked the fact that they were standing out of the norm both with their looks and their music. Michael Jackson was also an idol of mine.
DT 500 MAG: – Do you think the social media has empowered a generation of young people to be both muse and protagonist in a way they couldn’t be before?
MAI: – Yes, Social media has made it possible for people to promote themselves on a daily basis, for example on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. It is also easier for the young generations to be online on a regular basis because they’ve grown up with it, so it’s a natural way for them to communicate and show themselves in a certain light.
DT 500 MAG: – What are the consequences of social media?
MAI: – I use them in a creative way where I try to show people who I am. I have a page on Facebook and Instagram, and I also post my music on Soundcloud. But it can also be very stressful to maintain all the time, it has become a thing we all do, and you just roll with the flow and people expect you to use it and update it all the time. I follow my friends and colleagues and get updates about their lives and music. I also use it for inspiration, but it is important to stay grounded in real life. Things get so polished on the social media sometimes, it is essential to also experience the real world where things fall apart.
DT 500 MAG: – let’s try to seat you in the box, what type of girl is Mai?
MAI: – I am a very loving and open person with an eternal lust for expressing myself. I am actually also a very shy person, and I consider myself a creative. Even though I am a very restless person I like to be by myself most of the time, I get stressed if I am among too many people. I recharge when I am alone with my music.
DT 500 MAG: What is next for you? What is on your calendar?
MAI: –Recently, I played a gig with a singer called ALFAKAT. It was a demonstration for the organization Refugees welcome. “Refugees Welcome” – is a small humanitarian organization. They offer free legal councilling and assistance to asylum seekers, and at the same time they try to ensure the rights of refugees and inform the public of the conditions for refugees in Denmark. It was a beautiful day, and so many people showed up. It was the people talking to the government. We told that we would welcome immigrants, who are fleeing from war and suffering, in our free country. I was thrilled to support this because
” I believe that if you have the means, you should always help other people in need. “Peace out, and save this cruel world that we are living in “
MAI: – Actually – Tomorrow I will check out a studio. Money or not, I really need a place sometimes, that is not my home to get some stuff done. I hope that this will help me with finishing some tracks this winter.
DT 500 MAG: – Good luck mate!
MAI: – And tomorrow I will also have a new tattoo, with three loose teeth. A friend opens a new tattoo shop called “Sort Black” at Ahornsgade 25 at Nørrebro. Go visit her if you are in Denmark. She has made my beautiful elephant on my leg!
DT 500 MAG: – Where can we meet you, DJ?
MAI: – On the 15th of August I am going to play at the Copenhagen Pride before the parade for the fifth year in a row. And in the evening I am playing at a benefit party at a place called “Reden” (a drop-in center for women who are struggling with prostitution and drugs).
DT 500 MAG: – When will you come over to Oslo so we can enjoy you playing?
MAI: – As soon as possible, I have never been to Oslo before, but I would like to see the city. I picture it being a cold city but a natural capital with a lot of the same stuff as in Copenhagen, except maybe with more natural and more hills.
Inteview by Arthur Sopin
Photographer: Polina Vinogradova
Graphic Design by BIOTOM