Monument loves festivals, techno and nature. This is why we are especially excited about Into The Valley, which is to take place in Dalhalla, Sweden. Founded last year, the festival obtained great reviews from audience, media and artists. Situated in an area from where a meteor fell down from space 360 million years ago, it’s safe to say it’s pretty hard to find a better location for indulging into techno sounds and vibes.
According to their press release – the Into the Valley concept was born through a dream of creating something spectacular – a celebration of electronic music like never before in Sweden. We had Mattias Hedlund; the founder, booker and organizer of the festival elaborate on this dream, techno’s role with the program and how the festival reflects the Swedish techno scene. With an impressing bookings, the line-up was completed just last week with techno Godfather Jeff Mills.
Just as a quick opening question – is techno an important part of the program?
Since we are a non-mainstream electronic festival and techno has one of the biggest stages at the site, it definitely has a big role at the festival. About 40% of this year’s line-up are techno artists.
There are a few names on the line-up that goes without saying will deliver great techno sets, like Rødhåd, Ben Clock, Marcel Dettmann, and of course Swedish hot shot Abdulla Rashim. But also, there’s a few interesting and sound-wise darker, perhaps even more experimental newcomers. Tell us more about bookings like Maya Lourenco and Abelle?
Maya Lourenco is part of a collective that now started an artist booking agency also. It’s called Esperanto and they have some DJs on the roster I had an eye at for a long time. They are so incredibly talented. It feels like this crew will change how Sweden is perceived as a techno country internationally. They are everywhere and they create incredibly nice vibes.
Abelle can probably call the equivalent of the Maya, she is based in Moscow. She helps run the festival Outline in Moscow, where I’m definitely going this year. And as a DJ and artist, she is roughly where Maya is in Sweden; known locally but an international bubbler.
Tell us your thoughts on bringing unknown different names to a line-up consisting of some really heavy, even historical DJ names?
I love placing lesser known acts together with our larger acts. It’s an obligation of both clubs and festivals to book these kind of acts to make the scene change and not just stand still and do what everyone else does. That’s something we at Into The Valley do not want at all, we rather want to feel like we are new and present fresh ideas, still on an international level. Our biggest audience is international and our line-up is focused so that it will feel interesting for them, and at the same time showcase Sweden from all it’s sides.
Swedish techno has been at focus lately, perhaps mostly because of the label Northern Electronics by Abdulla Rashim and their artists. But Swedish techno has been around for a while with older big labels like Drumcode, yet with a different sound. How would you say the techno scene in Sweden has developed, and how does the festival see the local/national scene in the international techno world…?
The techno scene in Sweden is developing slowly but steady. Sometimes you get surprised by how many people comes to the techno parties, but still we are far away from our southern neighbours in Europe. However, it is certainly on the right track lately, and it is largely because the underground scene really has been pushed on to the stage to become larger, which is incredibly fun. I would say that we with Into The Valley has a significant role too. But honestly, last year I was hoping that more than 40% of the visitors were Swedes. But we Swedes are also an audience that wants proof that it is actually good before we visit events like Into The Valley.
The biggest difference to the scene otherwise in Europe is that in Sweden we are so controlled with everything you do. You must not be noticeably drunk, you cannot stay up late in the clubs, you cannot do this or that. In a scene that otherwise preach openness and love, and where criminal offenses rarely occur, it is still difficult to develop it in a legal way. Unlike in many other countries abroad where people are allowed to be themselves more and people can just do their thing, the scene here has become much larger despite this control. Abroad, the underground clubs have now taken the leadership flag and taken further what even legal clubs have struggled to do with all these rules.
I think if we could ease up a little on this need to control audiences today, and also be able to expand the opening hours at the legal clubs a bit, the scene would become larger but many other positive effects would come with it too.
And how does the festival reflect this development and the Swedish scene with acts like Rashim and Maya Lourenco, compared with big names and more classic techno acts like Joel Mull?
For me it’s about to have a variation in the line-up, like your question implies. Even though everyone are techno artists that you mention, each have their own expression and that is what makes an electronic music festival interesting. Maya has her own way of contributing to both Into The Valley and the Swedish techno scene, but soon I think even in the international scene. Which is where Abdullah Rashim is really hot right now. He does his own thing and it has paved way for him to become huge internationally. Then there is Joel Mull who has since day one worked enormously hard to express himself his own way. In my opinion, this makes him one of the world’s most respected artists.
Any other recommendations for techno enthusiasts on the program?
Johanna Schneider, still a pretty small DJ name, but boy is she talented. Both in terms of building her name as a brand and her own label’s brand Boss Music. In addition to this she plays really good music. I think she will become big in the international scene.
28-30th July 2016. Rättvik, Dalarna Sweden
Visit intothevalley.se for more information.