Kjaerbye: EL feels like my first event
Dust2.dk have conducted an interview with Markus "Kjaerbye" Kjærbye about his new home in Astralis as well as his tomorrow's debut at ELEAGUE and more.
It is only about half a year since you showed up on the better Danish CS:GO scene and now you are playing for Astralis. Can you even believe how fast your career went?
I don't, actually. It isn't often I sit at home and think about how long my career actually took me and how satisfied I am about my personal development as a player. I do think though, that I am that type of a person who instantly put up new goals, which often makes me more self-critical, but in the end, I think it is a better quality to have than the opposite, because I never take a position as satisfied. Instead I put up new and even bigger goals for my future.
"Saying goodbye to my friends in Dignitas was harder than I thought," says Kjaerbye
When you suddenly play for Dignitas and then Astralis, it has to change something about your personal life. How do you feel about this change?
It is actually mixed feelings if I have to be totally honest. It is harder than I thought initially – to say goodbye to your good friends, whom I had on the Dignitas team, is hard. With that said, it was my own decision and first of all I took it from a career point of view. It is very few people who get this chance and even make themselves deserved enough to it, so I am very honoured to get the chance. I am very happy for the fast process of the negotiations, which first of all is a result of my former teammates, who supported me in the change as they would have done the same. So I am just very excited about this new adventure the Astralis offer has given me, and I look forward to try something new and get some new challenges.
It isn't such a big change when you look at practice and stuff. In Dignitas we were used to pracc a lot all the time, and we worked very hard, so I am pretty used to it, and I love to see how our teamplay evolves from day to day. The biggest change from Dignitas to Astralis is all the new tactics. In Dignitas I used to have a big insight in our tactics so it was pretty easy for me to give my suggestions during a match.
How have your friends and family reacted to the fact that you are suddenly one the the best Danish CS:GO players?
Everyone reacts as expected. People support me in my choice and they are actually even more hyped about it than I am. So I am just really happy that my friends and family can be so delighted, because it's going pretty well for me and my career. If I have to be honest then I have to say that it can be a little bit tiring when I have to tell everyone about my new team etc., but I am getting used to it because it is such a unique job. Most people actually go crazy when they hear that I actually make quite a lot of money from my job. It is sad that I don't really feel like talking about CS:GO and my career, but I already use a lot of time on the game so when I am actually free, I just want to act and talk normal just as when I was this normal schoolboy.
Do you want to unveil how much you earn per month and how can a 18-year-old boy even use all this money?
Yes, I want to unveil this, just like my new teammates did when Astralis was launched back in January. I will start out with a smaller amount of money than the other players as it was necessary to complete the exchange of me and cajunb. I knew about both that and the exclusion from ESL One Cologne, but I think it would be a silly excuse not to join a better team because of that. I think it is very few players who generally see this as a normal job and just play for the money, as it has started as a huge hobby. It is most likely also a dream for many to actually live off playing what you love.
On the other hand, there is also money from tournaments, which is also a big part of our income, so I got many opportunities to show my best play and therefore be in a great economic situation when 2016 turns to 2017. Right now, I just save up most of the money as I am going to invest in a home soon.
Your ELEAGUE debut is right around the corner. What do you think of the ELEAGUE concept so far?
I think it is a very exciting project, which gives some renewal and tension as it is the first real TV-league. It is going to be interesting to see how many "normal" people will actually get interested in esports and how esports actually can contribute to entertainment for the viewers. So far, ELEAGUE has delivered what I expected – also from the view of a player it seems that nothing is left out, so it is very satisfactory to participate in such an event.
Kjaerbye will play his LAN debut with Astralis in less than 24 hours
ELEAGUE will be your debut as Astralis player. Even though you most likely feel ready, you must be a little nervous?
To be honest, I haven't really felt it yet, but there will probably be something at some point, but hopefully not anything significant. I do think though that it is some kind of excitement, which is always good. It actually feels like my first international event again as I am playing with a new team. Therefore, it doesn't feel like just one more event as it sometimes does when you travel from event to event all the time. So I am really excited, not just for ELEAGUE, but also for June, which also takes me to DH Summer and ECS LAN Finals in London, where my family most likely will come and watch me play, even though they also went to DreamHack Malmö where they saw us face EnVyUs in the quarterfinal.
In 10 years you are probably in an age where you have to consider stopping your active playing career. Do you then hope for a job in esports or do you have an education behind you?
Right now I just take the days one by one and I try not to think too much into the future. Honestly, I don't have any idea about where I will be in 10 years, but I just hope that I am enjoying my life and that I am happy about whatever I do for a living at that time. No one can predict esports' future and say how big it will grow, so I don't think anyone can predict what happens in esports over the next couple of years.
Many young players out there are probably dreaming about a career like yours. Do you have any good advice for them here at the end of the interview?
I have been asked this question many times before. I actually don't feel that I answered it perfectly before, so here comes my opinion on how you can get the chance as I did.
First of all, there isn't any 100% formula on how to be professional because it also takes some luck to even get the chance in the first place. Then you have to take the chance when you get it! Furthermore you need to have fun when playing and you need to put in the time in your own level and development. I also think it helped me that I didn't plan to dedicate my life to CS:GO or didn't even plan to be professional. It helped me make some good decisions like studying and playing at the same time. I didn't put a lot of pressure on myself, I just had some fun playing Counter-Strike, often on the Danish gather channel, where I most likely took it very seriously like it depended on life or death :D.
In my opinion, it is also very important to find the balance between confidence and humility. You have to admit your own mistakes so you can actually change them instead of denying them. Then try to find what you are good at and what you aren't, so you can get a role on your team which fits you. The lurker is a good example because it is often best, that it is the more experienced players who got this role, because it is very hard to read the opponents and find the perfect timing.
It is just some small advices about how you, in my eyes, can become a better player and then get a chance to become pro. But as mentioned before, there isn’t one formula and everyone is different, so you have to create the road for yourself and don’t be afraid to have big dreams.
Astralis, who will likely have to use Danny "zonic" Sørensen for day one, are set to play their first matches in ELEAGUE tomorrow, beginning with NRG at 18:00 , followed up by CLG in the last series of the day.