Börft Records & Jan Svensson (part 1)
Even though I am a bit late in the game with my initiation into the world of Jan Svensson & Börft Records, the guy is already practically a hero to me. Based in Sweden, Svensson started the label 23 years ago along with Joachim Nordwall (who no longer runs the label, but is involved in a ton of other great things), releasing cassettes of his own projects, Frak and Alvars Orkestra. From there, it just grew and grew and grew. Svensson is still at it after all these years and dozens of tapes and records and is still creating some of the best experimental synth-based music on the planet. I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to Jason Anderson (of Gift Tapes & Brother Raven) for tipping me off, but now that I'm fully enmeshed in the Svennson's Börft world, I am never leaving. This is as essential as it gets. (Part 1 of 2).
It was back in 1987 and me and Birre were a couple 13 year old guys. We were listening to a lot of synth music such as Severed Heads, DAF, DEVO, Tangerine Dream and also industrial things like SPK & Throbbing Gristle, Test Dept etc... and a lot from the Swedish cassette scene. We started two bands with two directions (FRAK & ALVARS ORKESTER). We read alot of Fanzines and there was those small ads where you coud buy directly from the small independent labels and we wanted to do the same thing, making tapes and selling them in fanzines. From idea to reality we started Börft Records and released our first tape, FRAK "Raggarslakt." Most of the songs where made solely by a Korg Mono/Poly I bought and some where recorded in a small studio with a C-64 computer and old synths. The studio was owned by a classmate's parent.
For me (that alone runs the label today) it has become a lifestyle. I don´t have to prove anything and I´m not following any trends. In the end it is fun releasing small music. The motivation is that I love experimental music and all this makes me feel good...
The first 7 years we were selling almost all tapes and records by ourselves and to a few record stores. In the 90s when we did alot of weird techno/house/acid releases we allways had a distributor that helped us selling our stuff. But then it was bigger editions and more money involved and I learned that you can´t trust people. I am slowly going back to my roots. Carrying all by my self with the help of internet. The internet IS the difference, for good and bad...
Mostly positive but there are things that was more fun with the fanzines, the trades and the suprises that internet don´t give you.
From the start Börft had no initial red line but just to release experimental music. In the mid 90s, Börft started putting out experimental dance music, and so people would have stop buying our music and lost their respect for us if we suddenly started releasing crazy noisy dadaistic electronic music and that was what I wanted to start with again.
Same here, I wanted a plattform to release electro pop, synth music.
But today I see all releases as Börft-releases but with different codes so you know what you get.
On the main label Börft, I have almost stopped releasing club/dancemusic, but a few tapes like it was in the beginning.
Yeah, the importance of compilations has really changed. It is just like you say. But if, say, I would do a compilation today it could be in two ways: To show people new talent or doing a theme compilation. The "Most Unwanted" compilation on UFO MONGO was both... New bands/artists but also more known acts and together show in music what the most unwanted is...
I´ll problably do it as long as my mind is okay (and it´s pending...) Don´t know if anything really could stop me, lack of money probably, you know, it is expensive to put out vinyl. Well, everyone making music wants to run a label these days (and does) and that´s making the volumes smaller on the releases and therefore it causes the price to rise. Thats just one thing...
Börft is like a family network, I´m (not always) just releasing people I know and have met there´s so many other labels for other stuff. I get demos everyweek but 99% do not result in a release.
Keep on synthing!
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this interview that will focus on all of Jan's various projects and guises
-- Brad Rose (30 June, 2010)