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Copenhagen's Music and Nightlife Through the Eyes of a Local

Sebastian Picture.jpgEach week in our new column, "No Sleep Til...," we'll be talking to cool kids around the globe, asking them to fill us in about the bands, DJs, music venues and night spots they and their friends are obsessing over. Next time you visit their home city, leave your Fodor's and Lonely Planet guides behind and go party like a local instead.


Sebastian Gudmand-Høyer



Where do you live?

Copenhagen, Denmark

What do you do (profession or school)?

I study mediaology at Aalborg University Copenhagen

What Danish bands or DJs are you and your friends into these days that should be on our radars?

Kashmir, Mew and When Saints Go Machine are all Danish bands that make me a little proud to be Danish. Many of the DJs I like are actually not making a professional career out of DJ'ing but just show up at underground raves playing their own favorite music. In terms of the more well known DJs, I really like Mike Sheridan, Lulu Rouge and Anders Trentemøller.

Both Kashmir and Mew are quite original. Kashmir reminds me of Radiohead in many ways but I think it's difficult to say why. Their lead singer Kasper Eistrup has a really masculine voice. Mew, on the other hand, is way more emotional -- their lead singer Jonas Bjerre has a high-pitched, sometimes even girly voice. It's always exciting when When Saints Go Machine release a new album, you don't really know what to expect from them but somehow they always seem to hit it just right. Their latest album, Konkylie, is absolutely fascinating with its changing themes. They have a really unique sound that reminds me of eighties synths, deep house, funk and maybe a bit of opera? The album really expresses a certain state of feeling and I think everyone who's a little open-minded should give it a try.

As for the DJs, Lulu Rouge and Trentemøller are so experienced by now that they can get literally any crowd dancing. If you really want to experience these guys you should see them at a techno club or at the Distortion Festival (when Copenhagen is turned into something resembling a war zone for a week with the Distortion team jumping from one neighborhood to another every day). Mike Sheridan is a musical genius -- he produces blood-rocking techno tracks as little side projects but when you check out his albums you'll get a way more deep and personal feeling of who he really is. His latest album is a musical journey and you can  hear his inspiration [ranging] from classic music to musical masterminds of our times such as Steve Reich and Scott Walker. Going out to one of his live concerts is always an experience -- he's not afraid of bringing an entire orchestra with him or some handpicked jazz musicians.

How did you discover these bands and DJs?

The bands I mentioned are quite well known in Denmark so they are often played on the better radio stations but I grew up with them because my father has an awesome taste in music.

Where are the cool places to see live music in your hometown?

The municipality of Copenhagen is doing a great job with allowing all sorts of musicians to play at the operas, churches, theatres and so on -- going to such places can be an experience in itself and combining it with good live music only makes it better.

Describe your perfect night out in Copenhagen.

I think I had my perfect night out a few months ago. I hooked up with a couple of my best friends around 5pm and visited some art galleries. Afterwards, we went to watch an amazing ballet ("La Bayadere"). After the ballet we went to a bar called Mikkeller, which specializes in all different sorts of beer. You'll find 20 taps and they get changed every two weeks or so. From Mikkeller we went to one of my favorite nightclubs called Culture Box -- they are without a doubt the most dedicated techno club here in Copenhagen and are also working together with the legendary Berghain in Berlin. At Culture Box, DJ Skudge delivered an awesome live set, playing tunes I never heard before all the time. Around six in the morning we left Culture Box to go to a "morning rave" at an empty warehouse in the meatpacking district where we met plenty of our friends by accident. The only bad thing I can say about that night is I fell asleep on the train and woke up in Sweden.

What's your favorite bar/nightclub in Copenhagen?

My favorite nightclub is Culture Box.They are doing an amazing job booking international artists and DJs and you can also feel that the crowd is dedicated to the music in a way you want to find at all places. Another nightclub I like to go to is called Simons. Normally it's quite posh and uninteresting, but there's always a party going on there. Once every month they have an event which is way different -- younger and dedicated to the music instead of the prepaid tables and champagne bottles.

Copenhagen is full of stunning bars, no matter if your want to go pay a small fortune for a cocktail or if you want to go out and drink cheap beers in a packed and smoke-filled place.  One of my favorite places is called Rosengården. It's a small authentic pub/time capsule -- not much has changed there since it opened some ninety years ago. It's sort of a no bullshit place -- the true drunks go there, the fathers who had a long day at work go there and so do younger people like myself.

Bakken in the meatpacking district is also always a winner. If you've been lazy on your [tourism] research, you are guaranteed to have a good time there.

What's a bar or nightclub you would NEVER go to in Copenhagen?

Damn there are many places. Countless bars and nightclubs seem to have one purpose only and that's to get people unbelievably drunk. They tend to play the crappiest remixes of last year's pop-music. Once every six months or so it can be quite an experience though. The worst clubs are in a historic courtyard called Boltens gård.

Check out Sebastian's band and DJ recs:

Kashmir -- "Bewildered in the City"

Mew -- "Introducing Palace Players"

When Saints Go Machine -- "Mannequin"

Mike Sheridan -- "Echoes"

Lulu Rouge -- "Gus Gus, Within You Remix"

Anders Trentemøller -- "Trente's narko-rock mix"

Check out Sebastian's nightlife listings:

Mikkeller, Viktoriagade 8  1655 Copenhagen

Culture Box, Kronprinsessegade 54  1306 Copenhagen K

Simons, Store Strandstræde 14 1255, Copenhagen

Rosengården, Rosengården 11 1174, Copenhagen K

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