She’s been working with music since her early years, and became persuaded to start a career as a DJ and quickly made her a name. Today she runs one of the most profiled nightclubs in Stockholm. We met Pauline Högberg to talk about what’s going on in Stockholm, culture and of course - denim.
NEUW: You’ve been a name for years within the Stockholm club scene and we’re probably a bunch that can say we visited your gigs more than once, but where did your career as a DJ actually start?
PAULINE: A friend of mine was working on a club called East back in 2012. And she knew that I’ve recorded some songs and that I produced a music video. She mentioned this to the owner of the place and he later asked me if I would like to have a release party for the video at East. Back then there were also a debate in Stockholm regarding men occupying the DJ decks. East therefore arranged special Thursdays that featured women as DJ:s, and I had just premiered a music video at their club so they asked me if were interested in DJing. At first I was a bit skeptic since I didn’t considered myself a DJ, but after some convincing I said yes. Two weeks later I had my first gig as a DJ, and it went great. People were dancing all night even though I had to play all my songs twice since I didn’t bring enough records.
NEUW: And this was back in.. 2012?
PAULINE: Yeah! I started to record some songs back in 2010. Produced the video in 2011 and had my first gig as a DJ on my birthday 2012
NEUW: Six years as a DJ. It’s some time! Do you have any nights that you count as your favorite gigs?
PAULINE: There’s a lot of’em actually. The unique thing about when you DJ is that all of the nights differ from each other. There’s no particular consistency. But I remember one fantastic gig I played in Mexico. It was on a small club called Gitano. Everything there was surreal even though it was a small venue. Everybody there was dancing like crazy when I played a house-set and when I ended the gig with Queen – I want to break free, the owners and all of the guests started to sing along and dance. It was almost like performance they’ve been practiced for.
Everything with the gig at Gitano was truly an experience thanks to the crowd that was fantastic, and I forgot to mention that Gitano is located in the middle of the Jungle in Mexico. There were no roof or anything, just a discoball they mounted over the venue. That was it.
PAULINE: Yeah. That was something. Another night I played at this underground club outside Stockholm. I remember I was a bit nervous just before the gig because the rooted techno crowd can be a bit hard to please if you mix house with techno like I do. The gig went great and the cool streetwear kids loved it.
Some of them actually approached a couple of days later just to thank me for my set and to ask me about my soundcloud and stuff. Unfortunately I’m not very tech-savvy so I don’t have a soundcloud account..
NEUW: Must have been great to get that kind of response. Maybe you should get on soundcloud?
PAULINE: Yeah maybe. But I really don’t have time for that these days. Im focusing on everything happening around Hornhuset (link) at the moment.
NEUW; Since you have been around for a while – what’s the major differences if you compare Stockholm 2012 and Stockholm 2018?
PAULINE: Divided. And that’s probably because of the growing culture around the underground scene. Up until some years ago there were only a few major clubs that everybody went to and the underground scene is probably an anti-reaction to those major players owning the market. For a couple of years ago you only had a handful of clubs that you visited regularly, and that was Spy Bar, 2:35:1. And that was it. It was those clubs you went to all of the time.
Today is different. It’s divided. And it’s good.
NEUW: And then you have the rave scene exploding during the summer nights..
PAULINE: Yeah, exactly. I think that scene thrives just because it’s so laid back and people feel free. There’s no typical context, there’s no rules and there’s no social structures that matter.
NEUW: It’s almost like there’s no ”social hierarchy” on those types of events..
PAULINE: Yeah, maybe. But hierarchy still exists everywhere unfortunately. And the hierarchy game has always been a pillar of the club scene in Stockholm. But one thing has changed: Girls are tougher. We don’t accept the things we used to. Now there’s room for a girl like me who loved music her whole life and been working my ass off throughout the years with arranging clubs, developing concepts and filled dance floors. Today I’m managing a three-store nightclub. Hard to say if that would’ve been possible six years ago.
NEUW; Yeah. Couple of years ago almost all of the clubs were runned by different guys.
PAULINE: Yeah. Dudes surrounding themselves with much, much younger women around them. Or can I say that? Sounded a bit harsh. However. But there’s always been that hierarchy within the club scene. I’ve seen a lot of misuse of power throughout the years and I’m happy I didn’t started clubbing until I was about 22. But yeah, there have been a lot of dudes arranging clubs..
NEUW: Since Stockholm changed a lot over the years there’s a lot of new players out there. And it feels a bit refreshing..
PAULINE: Yeah. With many new players there’s competition. And to really compete you need to be eccentric and to go all in when arranging. Sometimes you have to risk it all. The big challenge lies always within to surpass people’s expectations. To create something new and different. You have to do that to compete. And the competition will also will also generate more interesting events and that’s nothing but great.
NEUW: Sounds like this year will be an interesting year. Do you expect something special in 2018?
PAULINE: Hard for me to say since I don’t consume the nightlife the same way I used to. Nowadays I’m more of a creative and the one that should spot trends and the one who should know what’s the next big thing within the music scene. And to keep an eye out for promising DJ’s and so on. I’m always looking for the ones that are able to create something new.
NEUW: Since you running a club these days, is it something in particular that you want to change. If you could name one thing to implement – what would it be? Anything!
PAULINE: Hm. I want to see more girls arranging theme nights. I want to see that arrangers encourage more girls overall. And that every club or bar or whatever keep working with gender quotations. And I want to see more events where live acts are mixed with other forms of performances… so there would be something more happening than just getting a tattoo when being drunk.
NEUW: Getting a drunken tattoo. Seems familiar..
PAULINE: Yeah. It’s a weird trend isn’t it? Well. I want to see more creativity around everything happening around Stockholm’s nightlife. Something more than to have a tattoo artist in the house or.. Some guy playing saxophone. And those restaurants with burlesque themes – please stop. Put on some clothes!
NEUW: Speaking of clothes and all of the things happening with trends right now. You spotted any particular trends within the club scene?
PAULINE: The main thing is probably that people prefer to dress comfortable and functional. Compared to a couple of years ago when you weren’t allowed to enter a club if you wore sneakers. Like what the hell?
NEUW: And today when dadsneakers and runners are trending everywhere..
PAULINE: Yeah! Exactly! People are dressed in Nike when going out. You really don’t see those typical high heels that much anymore. Nowadays people prefer comfort and functionality when dressing. Because it’s versatile. And the club scene have always been synced with fashion of course. Today people are much more in to things like to live a healthy life and with that comes training and so on.. And the brands picking up on that and create other forms products that are more aligned with the lifestyle of today. Nowadays people rather dress functional than anything else.
NEUW: You see many brands picking up unisex-collections as well..
PAULINE: Definitely. I think the way people dress are more ”unisex” than ever before. And it might have something to do with the house/techno-culture spreading all over Europe. Within those scenes there’s no things like a masculine and feminine side really. Compare that to back in the early 00’s when men like Justin Timberlake were portrayed like a cool god while Britney Spears were portrayed in a completely different way.
NEUW: To continue on the subject around fashion. Since we are a denim focused brand we talk a lot about denim and the culture around it today. Does modern denim culture mean something in particular to you?
PAULINE: The Marlboro man! Nah, haha! Modern denim culture.... I think it’s great that the silhouettes of the 80’s and 90’s are coming back. The silhouettes of those eras were just amazing. Jeans culture for me has always been about functionality. And not so much about the imagery of the Marlboro man or 90’s supermodels with their 501’s… you wear denim because it suits your lifestyle. Like.. You work long hours and get home late and for that jeans are perfect. It’s socially accepted to wear jeans in almost any situation because of its versatility. And that’s probably modern denim culture – You wear it through everything and through life.
NEUW: I think that was all. Any last words?
PAULINE: Yes! Life will happen, make sure to be onboard and love this shit all the way through.