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Catch up with Ja Ja Ja in Berlin!

Linus Lassus


Thirsty for new Nordic talent, many music fans and professionals have showed up at the second Ja Ja Ja night this fall at Musik & Frieden in Berlin. On the menu are Danish, Finnish and Norwegian specialties: Lowly, Lake Jons and Apothek.

MXD met up with Anna Àsthildur, the new project manager for the Ja Ja Ja Nordic showcase nights in Hamburg and Berlin, produced by NOMEX (the joint-venture between all Nordic music export offices, including MXD). Anna took over after Jonas Vebner, who installed the whole Ja Ja Ja concept in Berlin a couple of years ago. Anna is originally from Iceland and is still taking care of her Iceland Music Export duties on the side of her role as project manager for Ja Ja Ja.

The November Ja Ja Ja events in Berlin and Hamburg are the first Ja Ja Ja events totally planned, coordinated and set up by Anna. This season’s first event, held on September 1st and including shows by Ary, Shy Shy Shy and Erik Jonasson was already planned and scheduled when she took over.

The Ja Ja Ja brand relies on consistency and quality, but Anna still thinks there’s room for some fresh thoughts and ideas:

“An issue that we need to deal with constantly is the question of which bands to book, and why. We have to find the balance between bands that can benefit from the platform but still pull audience to the shows. Creating variety with bigger names could be good for attracting new crowds and strengthen the brand.”

The Kreuzberg venue Musik & Frieden has been hosting the Ja Ja Ja nights in Berlin since March 2016. The club includes several stages and bar areas and even the Fräulein Fritz radio studio.

“As nice as it is here, we’re looking for a new space to host the event at”, says Anna. “There is no immediate connection between the bar and hang-out area and the stage here. I think starting from fall 2017 we will host the shows at a new venue.”

Tonight’s Danish act is Lowly, one of the most successful Danish indie bands during recent years. The single ‘Words’ was just released and the band has got their first full-lenght album coming out in February on Bella Union.

Lowly live at Ja Ja Ja at Musik & Frieden 24.11.2016.

Lowly live at Ja Ja Ja at Musik & Frieden 24.11.2016.

Soffie from the band: “The record deal with Bella Union meant very much to us. Working with them opened many doors and we’re quite happy with the team we have now.” (Read more about Lowly’s road to Bella Union here).

So what do you hope to get out of tonight show?

“We’ve got a lot of friends in town, and we’re really looking forward to play for them!”

Have you played other showcases this year?

“We played Eurosonic, which was a bit chaotic, and Mama in France. We also played by:Larm in Norway, which was really fun. We’ve got our team set up and we’re working with a great label, but there are always festival promoters and bookers looking for new talent who come to these kinds of shows.”

Steffen, Lowly’s manager, tells MXD:

Our plan is to get our media partners and the festivals we’d like to present the band in 2017 to attend the showcases for us to develop the awareness of Lowly in Germany. The debut album, “Heba”, is being released February 10th, so there’s plenty of planning and groundwork being done at the moment. It’s a very important territory for us to maintain.

Any future plans for Germany except for the tour in March/April?

Besides the three headline shows, which are already planned, there’s a few summer festivals we’re going for as well as a few more shows during the autumn.