Amidst the influx of electronic music producers claiming Berlin as their new home, Sasse Lindblad is what you might call an early adopter. The 33-year-old producer moved there in the late '90s to take advantage of what didn't exist in his native Finland: low rents, great clubs, and a thriving, diverse culture. "The most important thing is the chilled surroundings where I work," he says. "Prenzlauer Berg, where my studios are, is more like a village inside a huge city. Very nice and relaxed, but still very productive."
Sasse has no problem keeping busy. Alongside the releases he's put out under the monikers Freestyle Man and Mr. Negative (the latter with Olivier Spencer and Holmar Filipsson), Lindblad reels off the names of the many labels that he runs effortlessly: "Mood Music and Mood Limited are pretty straightforward electronic house labels; Must! is for disco and Italo jams and some Chicago stuff (usually edits and re-works); Sunday Music is basically [Henrik Schwarz's] baby; Rave Your Mummy is self-explanatory; and Futuro is our retro Chicago/Detroit/Turku label, where we release music from Mono Junk."
Funny enough, Sasse's actually had it with all the pseudonyms. "I just want to make music that I like and release it under one name [that] people know. If one day it is jacking house and the next day jazzy downbeats, it doesn't matter to me. It's music–fuck the rest!" he exclaims.
If you need pigeonholes, Sasse's latest LP Made Within The Upper Stairs Of Heaven belongs firmly in the '70s and '80s Italo-disco and electro racks; its instrumental burners ("Do Robots Have Soul," "Legacy") are smothered in thumping synths, the Moroder effect cranked to 11. On "Loosing Touch," [sic] Sasse crafts a dark pop backbeat and enlists Bpitch Control's Kiki to guide the track with get-low sung/spoken vocals; others, including Losoul's Malte, also sparingly lend their voices to Made Within.
Sasse's quick to point out that he's not the only one influenced by the city's varied musical landscape. "A few weeks ago, Ice Cube was at Bar25 at an afterhours [party]. Everybody was kinda checking him out like, 'What the fuck? Is it really him?' He and his bodyguards were cool... They were amazed by the music and probably just wanted to check some new flavors."