Scandinavian Top-Notch Techno

Hailing from Copenhagen, Denmark, our guest is the mighty CTRLS, with a history in electronic music dating back to the 2000s.
Since a few years ago though, he has been delivering top-notch, no-nonsense techno under his CTRLS alias for Token.
Also, having dabbled as one-half the Northern Structures duo, Troels’ background is versatile and extensive (including a long affair with Drum & Bass).
The techno that Troels Knudsen has been releasing as Ctrls is often an interesting combination of the canonical structures of techno music with the syncopations that form the foundation of the genre in which he’s worked for much of his career. 
Currently Troels continues to develop his fast paced and futuristic style, seeking out the various nuances of techno and the surrounding genres.
We thought it might be interesting to ask him some questions about his work process, where he finds inspiration, and why he’s focusing on techno these days.


Let’s start from your musical roots: which are your influences during your teenage years?

I’ve been very into electronic dance music from a young age. When first I started getting into it I just went for whatever I could find. So we’re talking eurodance, happy hardcore, trance, jungle, acid house and whatever else was around at the time. I think the first track that really grabbed me was Technotronic “Get up” and it all spiralled from there. I’ve also consumed a lot of hiphop in the following years.

Currently, bringing you to the studio side, what inspires you to produce music?

It’s pretty hard to boil down to any specific concepts or thoughts. I’ve always had a million ideas in my head, that was part was never a problem. The hard part is doing them justice and making sure they stand the test of time. For someone like me, where the main focus has been the dancefloor, it’s very important to give myself a day off now and again and make some noise, ambient or whatever else feels right.

You’re largely inspired from the local scene in Copenhagen and North Europe in general. 
How do you feel the music from the region reflects the social context? In what ways?

I’d more so say I’m inspired by finally having a local scene to be part of and not having to travel so much to interact with peers. There are people trying to establish a Copenhagen sound but to me the idea of geographically anchored electronic music is rapidly starting to loose significance.

What are your current thoughts on the Danish scene? Who are some of your biggest inspirations at the moment?
I think the danish scene is as good as it’s ever been and I’m also very happy that it’s taken on a unique character. I’m in general inspired by how a lot of the local artists are working hard to develop their own personal expression. Some of my current favourites: Bjørn Svin, Søs Gunver Ryberg, Anastasia Kristensen, Repro, Solid Blake, Riesenfeld, Martin Shacke and a whole bunch of up & comers who are getting noticed on the global scene.
Your music can be very much geared towards being experimental. How do you find the balance between creating music that is raw and intriguing but also fitting for a dancefloor?
It could be argued that I don’t always succeed in finding a middle ground. The short answer is that I try to stay curious and try not to repeat my own ideas too much.
You were also part of Northern Structures project together with Lasse Buhl, can you describe us the feeling of those years and why you decided to disband and approach new challenges?
Meeting Lasse at the time was very inspirational. Northern Structures was my first project with proper subversive elements and I’m still very proud of the releases we did and some of the live performances we pulled off. But after a while we just grew into different musical ambitions and decided to go our separate ways.
During the years you’ve been able to keep a high quality standard in your productions.
In your opinion how difficult is it to continuously improve yourself?
Learning about yourself is probably the main thing for me about being involved in music, so it’s a constant process. If things were to stagnate I don’t think I’d be interested. And if I wasn’t interested the music wouldn’t come out with any quality to it. So I guess the main point is that gauging if you’re on point was never easy from the beginning and I’d probably have been hard pressed without the outside world interaction from labels, other djs and general listener and dancefloor reactions.
Token seems the best platform to release your stuff at the moment, which moments from the beginnings do you remember the most?
The first release stands out the most, obviously. The Shifting States EP also has a special place in my heart. The general reception of Modular Framework (shoutout to Repro for helping me out with the synth work) and the way Sleeparchive fit so well as a remixer was extremely satisfying.
What have you got planned in terms of releases and gigs for the rest of the year?
I just put out my first track of the year, a piece called “The Storm” on Propaganda Moscow, an inhouse label of a brilliant club of the same name. I’ve also just finished a remix for Electrorites, due to be late february/early march if the pressing plant gods are with us. Our first EP from the Historical Repeater project with Solid Blake should be out in a couple of months as well, which I’m very excited about. There’s more solo stuff and remixes coming later in the year but I can’t reveal too much about that yet. Gig wise I’m playing a lot at home. Et Andet Sted and Culture Box have been very good to me in 2017 and I’m looking forward to getting back into the international game more this year.
Thank you for having spent your time to let our readers know more about your music and thoughts!
Thanks for having me!

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