ESBEN WEILE KJÆR

TEKST: JASMIN YADA
FOTO: RONJA PEREZ

A little hungover with sleepy eyes and rusty voices, our little group gathers up at Blågårds plads nørrebro, thursday morning after Copenhagen streetfestival ”Distortion”.  A handsome, tall young man meets and greets us with a name most of us have heard before. YAY, today Esben Weile Kjær takes us to his office to tell us about his life, what he’s accomplished so far, and about new ongoing projects.

Very outgoing and friendly, Esben takes a seat in front of us, and starts his story. Esben was born and raised in Århus, but felt the city was lacking something culturally, he wanted more art and new initiatives. After finishing public school, he attended “Frontløberne”, a creative school with focus on art, expression and culture. Here he learned how to develop and host various cultural events and projects. One of his first big projects was making a t-shirt collaboration between American Apparel, and different street artist from Århus. The first couple of times Esben had to contact influential people, he was a little nervous about it, and felt like he was crossing a personal border, “But the more you do it, the easier it gets. After all, people are just a phone call or an email away “.

It is hard to keep track on Esbens life, when listening to him. Because of his passion, energy and enthusiasm he talks fast, has so many stories, and wants to share his experiences. All of us are paralyzed with him as a person; you feel his strong energy and become blown away by it. It is unique and fascinating how such a young person can be so productive, brave and just throw himself into one big project after another.

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At the age of 17, Esben moved to Copenhagen and studied music management. Since then he has been very active in the nightlife scene, arranging various parties, DJ-ing, and playing music in the rock group Frankie Teardrop. Being a big part of the nightlife scene wasn’t the motivation for his projects, but he has always found the night very interesting. “I wish to communicate music with a certain quality, a political message or something deeper”. However Esben is very intrigued by the night, “you meet a lot of interesting characters in the middle of the night, the night has potential, people change behavior, realize their inner self and let loose”.

Besides all the creative and musical events he is busy with, there is also another side of Esben. He works part time for the Danish ministry of culture, as a spokesperson of an advisor team for the politician Uffe Elbæk. When talking to Esben it is very clear how intelligent he is, knowing so much and being up to date with almost anything, not only in music and art, but also politically, culturally and society wise. It’s as if this young man has so much inside of him, and he wants to share it with others. It is hard, but very fascinating for us to grasp how a person our own age can be so active in many areas, and still make it all work. But he does.

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The project which occupies Esben the most at the moment is The new 3 day festival “Henrys Dream”.  The festival is happening in an unknown place, people attending will not know where, until the festival starts and they are taken there in big busses. Henrys dream has a big music line up, but the music schedule will not be made public. And hour
before a concert, the performing band or artists will be announced in big speakers from a high tower calling out, just like a mosque calling to prayer. Once you enter Henrys dream, you are not allowed to leave the premises of the festival for the 72 hours it is going on.

When taking to Esben, you feel how much passion he puts into all of his projects. It seems like he is always working on something new, though he has already achieved so much in his life of only 20 years. He knows what he is talking about and has a big potential to do anything he wants in life.

We smoke a cigarette with Esben in the sun outside the office, and walk back to our bikes. It is as if our hangovers have disappeared. We feel refreshed and inspired meeting this young man with a great drive and desire for what he does.

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