BURN Residency 2014 winner Charlie Dont Surf on what it’s like playing with Richie Hawtin

06 April 2017

Being a well-known figure on the local scene in the very south of Sweden for his electronica-esque Techno, Charlie Dont Surf is anartistic in the truest sense of the word. After bursting onto the scene after becoming one of the five winners of BURN Residency, Charlie spent an entire summer on the mythical island known as Ibiza. Soaking up knowledge everywhere he could from all the greats and DJing at legendary venues including Cafe Mambo, Beach House, Ushuaia Beach Club and Privilege, he also earned a monthly one-hour slot on Ibiza Sonica radio station. In addition, the Canadian godfather of Techno Richie Hawtin’s fondness for young Swede grew the point where we invited Charlie to play at ENTER., Richie's experimental Space Ibiza club night. Following a debut album on German label Einmusika, a remix for Jeremy Olander on Vivrant and a brand new EP on Josh Wink’s Ovum, Charlie was kind enough to share his wisdom with us leading into this year’s edition of BURN Residency.

Q: You were a part of BURN Residency 2014 and represented Sweden. Why did you decide to apply to the competition?

A: It was really by chance. I read an article about it, checked out some of the mixes that had already been submitted and really liked what I heard, but felt I could do better.

Q: In 2015 you released your debut album on highly regarded label Einmusika. It’s really an amazing piece of music. Tell us how it came about.

A: The album was initially meant to be 4-5 separate EPs, but the label really pushed for me to release it as an album. I didn’t really mind it and felt like all the tracks blended together and made up a nice body of work. A few tracks were deducted and a few added and pretty quickly we had what we felt was the final thing.

Q: What has changed in your life as far as music since being a part of BURN Residency 2014?

A: The foundation is the same as before the competition. Music takes up most of my life. The difference is that everything has been elevated to a higher level now. Before, it was more like a hobby. Now I make music with the specific purpose of releasing it. The labels I have my sights set on are higher caliber now than before.

Q: What was the best moment during the competition?

A: After we found out who was staying and who was going home we all went up to Dalt Villa. Sun was shining the view was breath-taking. We all just took a minute to enjoy the moment and let the fact that we were staying on the island the entire summer sink in. Unreal!

Q: You have played ENTER. alongside Richie Hawtin several times since the competition. How did it felt to be personally invited by him?

A: Richie Hawtin has always had an enigmatic and legendary status in my world. I think I’ve watched videos of him explaining his DJ setup at least a thousand times. I’m not kidding. Of course it felt like a great honour when I was asked, but more than anything I just felt a lot of pressure and got really nervous. I was happy and scared at the same time, just the way you’re supposed to feel.

Q: What kind of talents do you want to see in the competition this year?

A: The kind that do their own thing, don’t copy others and put in a lot of heart in their music.

Q: Do you have any good advice to share?

A: What I said before I guess. Do your thing, believe in your ability, be open to influences and development but always stay true to whom you are.

Q: Lastly, what do you have going on music-wise and where can we see you play next?

A: On March 24th I released my new EP “Svart” on one of my favourite labels; Ovum Recordings. Josh Wink is one of my heroes so this feels like a really big deal. It will be the first release under my real name, Charlie Thorstensson, which I will be focusing on from now on. It’s more club oriented, whereas Charlie Don’t Surf is more experimental. I’m also working on a new live set and I hope to play some shows with that this summer!

Do your thing, believe in your ability, be open to influences and development but always stay true to who you are