Danish Imports: The DJ

This is the third instalment of my Danish Imports blog posts, looking at the stories behind people’s decisions to live, work or visit Denmark. Today’s story focuses on Danish DJ, Nikolaj Yu Andersen. You can read previous stories about Meriel or Luke if you’d like a quick recap regarding the ideas behind the images and exhibition from last year.

Denmark; Generator Hostel; copenhagen; danish imports; danmark; dj; exhibition; freelance fotograf; freelance photographer; københavn; photography by matthew james; photojournalism; photojournalist; portrait; udstilling

DJ Niko has often found other Danes to be rude and ignorant of his background as a South Korean with a Danish family and up-bringing

Nikolaj Yu Andersen was barely three months old when he first moved to Denmark with his adopted parents. Originally from South Korea, Niko’s upbringing has been 100 per cent Danish ever since and naturally he calls Denmark home.

Niko now divides his time between being a DJ and musician, and previously worked as a night receptionist at Generator Hostel. He’s lived all over Copenhagen (Islands Bryyge; Nørrebro, for example), but classes Vesterbro as his favourite area.

When I asked him what his contributions are to Danish Society, his answer was very blunt: “Same as everybody else: I work hard and pay my taxes.”

Arguably Niko is the most Danish person featured in this expedition, but interestingly he doesn’t think that everybody agrees. “Even though I grew up here, feeling Danish and being raised by Danish parents, I still sometimes get spoken to and treated like a tourist.

“When I visit Korea it’s completely the opposite.”

Including Niko in this exhibition was really important for me, and it made it difficult to find a suitable title that wouldn’t offend him. I was playing around with lots of different ideas, but all of them implied that the exhibition was about non-Danes, and clearly Niko doesn’t fall under that category. Niko has truly been imported in to Danish culture.

You can find out more about DJ Niko Yu via his website at www.nikoyu.com

Getting the Shot

This photoshoot was quite interesting, as it involved a slightly paranoid subject and experimental photographer. It was late at night and I was trying all sorts of different ideas with lights and slow shutters. When I look through some of the other photos they all look really psychedelic and colourful. I like them. But with this picture I caught Niko off guard as he was rearranging the huge medallion that hung around his neck. I quickly snapped one off and the result was completely natural. Niko didn’t particularly like it, but then this is often the case with my subjects.

For the technical amongst you, I used a bit of off-camera flash, which I was holding in my left hand. I used a small soft box around the flash to soften the light. Pretty simple, really.