|Interview with Dan Klarskov
|1. How did you start playing the blues?
- I started out playing the guitar
when I was 11 years old. My father played the guitar,
very good but not professional. One day I heard someone say,
he was very talented and he should have done more with this talent,
later I was thinking that no one should say that about me.
|2. Why the blues?
- I listen to
all kind of music, but found out that the
part that pointed to the blues music was the
one that really moved me.
|3. Who are your influences?
- The list of
musicians is very long. To me, some of the
most important recordings are Aron “T-Bone”
Walker from the 1940's where he
revolutionized the way of playing the
guitar. Buddy Guy’s “DJ Play My Blues”
(1979) and “A Man and His Blues” (1968).
Otis Rush’s “Any Place I’m Going” (1998).
The Swedish musician Svend Zetterberg is
definitely worth listening to, as well. In
fact, he’s my European favourite. The old,
seasoned musicians have always been a strong
support and encouraged me to hang on to my
music... I hope that one day I can do the
same for the next generation of blues
|4. Did you study music as a formal education?
- No, I am
autodidact, learning by listening to all the
|5. What gears do you use? (Example Guitars, Gadgets etc)
- I like a
clear and dynamic sound on my guitar so I
use thick strings like 0.12s on my Fender
Stratocaster from 1971, no pedals, just
directly into my Fender Vibro King
amplifier. My pick-ups are almost level with
the guitar body to make the guitar sound as
dynamic as possible to me.
6. How many albums have you released so far?
- This is my
third one. The first was: Dan Klarskov & the
Honey Drippers (1998), second one was: The
Blues is a Feeling (2001) and the new live
CD & DVD: Blues at Dexter was realised late
|7. What is music to you?
- To me music
is a communication, and a chance for me to
give some of my heart felt feelings to the
audience. I always loved music, since I was
a kid. The way the music has been moving me,
I try to move other people, the same way. It
is the same as if you have tasted some real
good food, and want other people to try that
|8. Where do you see
yourself a few years later from now?
- According to
music I believe that this is my life. I will
play music to enjoy myself, my friends and
the audience as long as I can, maybe till
the day I cant move my fingers and sing my
songs anymore. The love for the music can
follow all live, the same as the love for a
woman and the love of good food and wine.
|9. What do you think is
question, I think The Blues is a feeling.
You can go and see a movie, and get moved by
the blues in the movie, you feel a little
better after the show, maybe you start
asking your self, what happened, but you got
hit by the blues and now you left them in
the cinema, and feel better. It could be a
painting too. The deep feelings that the
blues is expressing can be all kind of deep
feelings. But the blues is a personal
feeling. Always. Feelings for a friend,
feelings for your family, the one you love.
Kids have the blues too. Kids’ might see
there parents fight and arguing, the kid got
the blues, I can tell.
|10 Did you struggle?
- Yes, I have
struggled maximum. A person can only
struggle max, and I believe that every body
have been struggling maximum with something.
My parents used to argue and fight when I
was a kid. Man I got the blues. They left
and I grew up with my mother. They where
good people both of them, but not together.
I love them both very much. Today I only
have my father. My mother died of cancer
2005. Man` one of the classic blues from the
40`s and 50`s was TB Blues (Tuberculosis)
Today it is the Cancer. Man, a lot of people
all over the world fight with this problem.
I wrote Cancer Blues to my second album: The
Blues is a Feeling (2001). You don’t get
right singing about the deep blues, but it
is a good help for you and many of the
audience. I have talked to one person who
really got hit by the blues from me and had
to cry and afterwards he told me, Thank you
I feel much better now.
|11. When you started out,
did you think you would be musicians?
- Well, Not
when I was eleven years old, but in 1985 (16
years old) I had the experience to see
Champion Jack Dupree (Piano and vocal legend
from New Orleans) and he was over 70 years
old, and I felt so good. He could play that
good and enjoy audience like that, I felt
that I could try and do the same, maybe all
|12. Message to the young
- If you play
blues related music it is very important
that you feel good playing the music. As
long as you guys feel good, and get better
in your heart by playing music you should
keep on, keeping on. If you don’t feel like
give it away, don’t keep on doing it, take a
break and maybe later you feel like doing it
again. If you don’t have anything inside you
can’t give it away, if you know what I mean.
And don’t forget the tones you need to play;
to express the feelings of your music is
right for you, not more or less. It is the
same as when we talk to each others. Some
times you don’t need many words to express
what you got to tell. Don’t play more than
you need to express yourself.
|13. How is the music
scene there in Denmark?
- The music
scene is Ok. The audience like blues, the
best thing is to play the blues for audience
that haven’t heard it before, and the after
the show they would say: If this is the
blues I like that. And keep coming back for
more. It is not like there is big money in
it but as we sometime say: I live the life I
love, and I love the life I live.
|14. What differentiates
your music from the rest?
- Well we are
some musicians in Denmark who play deep
blues in the blues music, if you know what I
mean. You can entertain and only entertain
with this music, but you can also entertain
and move the deep feelings of the audience
at the same time. That’s the real blues
music traditions. You entertain and you
touch the deep feelings too. When the
audience is moved by the deep feelings in
the music, they start dancing and relax
after that. It is like having a natural ball
as T-Bone Walker sings in T-Bone Shuffle.
|15. What is the most
memorable moment to you as a musician?
- The live
concert at Langelands festival was very
After playing the slow blues all the
audiences were standing on there feet and
clap there hands as you can see. (There is a
clip on my web site and the live DVD).
|16. What is your next
- I play and
give lessons about the blues history at the
blues festival in Odense, April the 27.
|17. Are you just a
musician or you have other jobs?
- At this
moment I am a musician full time, but maybe
some times I need to get a job and get some
more money for the family, I want to tell
good musicians in Kathmandu that many very
good musicians all over the world get money
from many kinds of work. Like teaching or
|18. What do you like
doing apart from music?
I like to go fishing, nature; I like good
food, photography, and my family; my wife
and two small kids. (Laura born 2002 and
Rosa born 2006)
|19. What is the best
compliment you have received?
- Very good
There are many. Here is some of the most
important for me:
- Bruce Iglauer, Alligator records:
“you sing the meaning of the words in a very
unaffected and warm style…………You play with
very good taste, lots of confidence, and
very good attention to tone and dynamics"
- Some of the old and real experienced
musicians in Denmark have told me: Dan,
you sound like Dan Klarskov. That’s the
best compliment I can get. If some one
can recognize me as sounding just like
me if you no what I mean I would be more
- I have to say that I am VERY
happy of these nice words from Mr. Samik
"……in a place like Europe it’s hard to
stick to the root music like the blues.
In this very era, an exception like Dan
Klarskov has devoted, achieved and
glorified the name of the blues."
|20. Message for
thank you for keeping the blues alive and well
in Kathmandu. It shows again that the blues is a
feeling, all over the world.
|-interviewed by Samik Kharel.
>> Dan Klarskov