Over the past ten years, Áskell Harðarson, aka Housekell, has made a name for himself as one of Reykjavík’s most prolific house DJs. He is currently working on releasing The Organ Grinder’s ‘Delicate Din’ EP, the third release from his own label, Rotterdam og Borg. To hear him spin, turn up to Paloma or Kaffibarinn, where he’s one of the resident DJs.
When did you start DJ’ing?
I started DJ’ing approximately ten years ago, when I was in my first year of secondary school. Then I mostly played party tunes and indie electro stuff. I had my first “official” DJ gig in 2009 at the legendary Karamba (RIP). Back then my DJ name was Dans-Hans and I was a proud member of the Raf-Hans “supergroup” along with Unnsteinn Manuel. It took me a couple of years to figure out what style I wanted to represent so to begin with I played everything from old school soul and funk to the latest super hits. In 2011 I started my Thursday night residency at Faktorý (RIP) as Housekell. I went knee-deep into the house genre under the influence of my friends Yamaho and Maggi Legó. I’m still exploring the house sound and all its beautiful subgenres, except now I’m representing it under my own name, Áskell.
What styles do you play?
The umbrella term would be house music but house music is so much more than just house music. Therefore I like to play house music with influences from disco and garage, techno or acid, depending on the gig and the venue. One of the things I love about house music is its diversity and how constantly surprising it can be when I go digging for new tunes. If I like the music I will try to find a place for it in my sets, creating a nice and diverse mixture, not depending on one specific genre, style or sound.
What’s your favourite Reykjavík venue to play?
At the moment the Reykjavík house scene has two homes: Kaffibarinn, the legendary grandfather of the scene, which hosts a big family of friendly faces and is always there for you, and then Paloma, the naughty teenager who does whatever it wants, isn’t for everyone, but once you get over the griminess you’ll love it. I enjoy them both as they offer a great variety of styles of music. At Kaffibarinn I love to play more disco-ish music and at Paloma I love to hit it hard.
What kind of gear do you use when playing?
My favourite setup consists of Pioneer decks, SL turntables and a good (rotary) mixer with a nice delay pedal. But most of the time I’ll use what’s available at the venues. I’m really pleased with the improvement in the bar scene here over the last couple of years when it comes to the DJ setups and the sound systems, which is finally getting to a professional level, primarily because of Óli Ofur’s “super” ambition.
What kind of crowd is the best crowd in your opinion?
An open-minded crowd consisting of all kinds of people who are ready to be a part of the journey you’re taking them on. A crowd which comes together to dance and have a good time and lets go of their ego for a couple of hours, listens to the music, embraces it and enjoys it.
What are your five essential tracks of the moment?