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Interview: A Look at Code Elektro’s First Live Show

Earlier this month, beloved synth musician Code Elektro played live for the first time — filling out a venue called Radar in Aarhus, Denmark, with about 300 people pumped to see his new three-piece live setup of drums, guitar, and synths. Chances are you weren’t there, but that’s all right. Now you can sample the official live video from Code Elektro himself. Vehlinggo also has some words from the artist, who takes us through this inaugural show.

“The decision to play live as Code Elektro has been under way for a long time,” the artist otherwise known as Martin Ahm told Vehlinggo in an email exchange recently. Although this was his first show under the Code Elektro moniker, Ahm used to play out a lot as a bass player in other bands.

“People have been asking me to play since I released the first Code Elektro album, Superstrings, and I just felt that now was the right time to go live,” he says. “I chose to have a real band with a drummer and guitar player, because I wanted that live band feel — magic happens there and nothing beats that.”

One of the challenges for Ahm is that although he’s been in bands before, he’s never been the front person.

“Luckily Mikkel (drums) and Niels (guitar) are both very skilled musicians, so that took some of the pressure from me,” Ahm said. “And they happen to be great guys, also.”

Let’s dive a little deeper into Ahm’s experience playing live as Code Elektro for the first time.

Martin Ahm plays live with a new three-piece Code Elektro at Radar in Aarhus, Denmark. Photo by Peter Krogsøe.

Vehlinggo: Can you tell us a little more about the show?

Code Elektro: This was a quadraphonic concert, which means that there were two speakers at the stage (a standard setup) and two speakers behind the audience. That meant that I could send sounds out in the hall and move it around the audience — kind of like a 5.1 surround system, but with four speakers. Quadraphonic is an old ’70s format for vinyl/Hi-Fi that never made it big, but in a live setting it works great and can give the audience a more immersive experience.

We also had video visuals for the entire show and my friends from a production company called Soundwise made a cool light show with lasers. That’s always an crowd-pleaser, but it worked really well for this synthwave/cyberpunk/sci-fi setting.

What are some favorite moments from the show?

The moment before I entered the stage was magic, and I will never forget that. I was nervous and excited at the same time — in a good way. I felt that so much was at stake: Standing on stage, the music, the band, the audience. But it all went by so quickly. It’s kind of hard to remember now.

“… It all went by so quickly.”

The moments after the show were great, too. People came up to me and congratulated me on a well done show. I was just grateful the audience showed up. I have been working on this for almost six months, so it’s nice that people liked it.

A thing that I first discovered after the show was that how adding the drums and guitar gave Code Elektro a broader appeal. The music went from “super niche” to only niche, so to speak. So maybe I will work with that in the future. It was definitely heavier.

What’s it like playing synthwave live in Denmark?

Synthwave is a very small genre in Denmark, so I was really happy that so many came to hear the concert. It’s kind of strange that the scene is so small here, because we have so many great artists — Dynatron and Daniel Deluxe just to name a few. We have met, talked about the scene, and drank a lot of beers.

Where do you plan to play next?

A few venues have asked me to play some more shows. More info is coming soon. Also, I’m trying to get a booker and play some festivals here in Europe. That would be awesome.

Get Code Elektro’s music here, in addition to your usual ways.

(Feature Photo by Peter Krogsøe.)

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