Stockholm, early 90s. 13-year old Axel has just graduated from the notorious Fryshuset Deejay Academy – the teacher had all students visit Pitch Control, the local record store, to buy techno records to practice mixing with, rather than the hiphop 12-inches they all brought themselves. The discovery of this new energetic music sparks something in Axel, setting him off on his life’s journey.
Soon enough Axel was carrying crates of vinyl around town, to any party that would have him, if he wasn’t throwing one himself. It would still be a while until he started producing his own music, but when that moment arrived, a volcano of songs erupted and by chance one of the demos caught the ear of DJ Koze. The release of ”Purple Drank” on Koze’s Pampa Records in 2010 couldn’t have been better timed: The same year Axel graduated with a Master of Fine Arts from Gothenburg University, with empty pockets and big dj dreams. Around that time he also moved his studio equipment into a basement on Barnhusgatan (“Orphanage Street”) in Stockholm, together with Petter Nordqvist and Kornél Kovács – the beginning of Studio Barnhus.
Today Studio Barnhus is arguably the most important label for independent dance music in Scandinavia, with over 100 releases from a broad spectrum of artists like Bella Boo, Sofia Kourtesis, Jimi Tenor and of course the trio themselves. Axel does A&R and creative direction work for the label – he also released his celebrated debut album ”Family Vacation” through Studio Barnhus in 2013. Since then, he’s kept a steady flow of releases on other lauded labels like the aforementioned Pampa and Tokyo powerhouse Mule Musiq, garnering nominations for Grammis and P3 Guld (the two most prestigious Swedish pop awards), as well as being named composer of the year by the Swedish songwriters guild. 2022 will see Axel returning to Studio Barnhus and the album format with ”LUZ” and ”Quest for fire”, by far Axel’s most ambitious project to date with guests like Off The Meds vocalist Kamohelo, saxophonist Kristian Harborg and Baba Stiltz.
Axel’s collaborative work has always been a part of his success. He’s one third of Man Tear – a project with Petter Nordqvist and Johan Jan Jonasson released by James Murphy’s DFA. He’s half of Talaboman with John Talabot, adding releases on techno institutions R&S and Cocoon to his catalog. Their 2017 album, The Night Land, came with much fanfare – the duo has two EPs scheduled for 2022, to be released on their newly formed Night Land Records imprint.
Axel’s impressive work ethic might be what best explains his popularity. He manages to tread the fine line of a prolific release schedule and extensive touring, giving headline performances at international music events like Coachella, Burning Man, Sónar, Circoloco and Art Basel as well as myriad clubs and festivals around the globe. Axel has also contributed mixes to respected outlets like BBC Radio 1’s Essential Mix (with Studio Barnhus), Dekmantel, Boiler Room, KCRW, and more, in addition to being a regular at Tim Sweeney’s esteemed Beats In Space radio show as well as The Lot Radio in NYC. In addition to all this he’s also leant his style and charisma to brand campaigns with Adidas, Fila, Vans, Absolut Vodka, Red Bull, Mini Cooper, and Happy Socks.
With his first live shows booked (as well as a continuation of the never ending dj tour), two solo albums dropping on the same day, and the busiest release schedule yet from Studio Barnhus in 2022, this year is set to galvanize Axel’s position as one of the world’s leading forces and most unique voices in electronic music.
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