Music & Interview
Oliver Deutschmann, founder of the labels Vidab and GKNSTR, who plays irregularly at Berghain
Hello Oliver, it was cool to meet you again at your Berghain a few weeks ago – a real pleasure to listen to your powerful set. So we are happy to have you for our „Music & Interview“ series. Let‘s start at the very beginning of music life. What kind of music did you listen to when you were a teenager discovering music as a hobby/love? When did you start the first time to spin some vinyls? What was your reason to start with playing records to an audience and producing own stuff? Any other projects like being in a band etc before that?
Thanks a lot! I listened to a lot of Hard Rock, all kinds of Metal and Hardcore as a teenager. We also organized parties where I was responsible for the music. So first I was a more a ‚Rock‘ Dj. On those parties I Played stuff like RATM, Tool, Ignite, Pennywise, Slayer and so on. I started then to go to Techno Parties around my hometown in South Germany. Sometimes we drove to the Omen club in Frankfurt to see Sven Väth at his friday’s parties. I became a Techno DJ a bit after I moved to Berlin in 1998. Producing my own stuff was just a normal development for me then. I started with a Korg ESX 1 Sampler. Even did my first Live sets only with that little machine.
(Oliver Deutschmann Promo Pic 1)
You played very often at Berghain. You also played there a few weeks ago. What is special for you playing at this club many clubbers speak about? What was your relationship to the crew in the past? What changed over the years? Any other clubs you like because of some special experiences there? You also play some festivals this summer e.g. Her Damit Festival (you also contributed for their first EP). How do you prepare a set for a club night and what’s different if you prepare something for a festival? Please also tell us some of your strangest experiences being a DJ?
It’s always special because its just still the best club in the world for me. They are simply professional on all levels. Plus the crowd, who can be super enthusiastic and willing to rave. There are a lot of other clubs or promoters around the world I really like of course. UKW Kraftwerk in Rostock, Rottweiler Bar in Gothenburg, Forum in Bielefeld, the Überhaus crew in Beirut for example. It’s just too many to mention. And, I never prepare for a gig. I only know 5 minutes before my sets what will be my first track. Strangest experience? I had a lot. Good and bad ones. But one time a guy offered me a blowjob while playing. On a 2 meter high stage with no curtain hanging from the booth table. Not really discret, haha.I found this really funny. Gig was amazing though!
(Oliver Deutschmann Promo Pic 2)
One of my first records you were involved was Gowentgone, your project with Stephan Hill released on your label Vidab. What was initial moment to create this project and found the label? How did you work together? Which equipment did you use? The latest Gowentgone release listed on discogs was released in 2010. Is that project finished?
We created vidab because no label wanted to release our gowentgone tracks. It was really frustrating trying to get into that business as producers. So we decided to set up our own label. We asked some friends to give us their music, did some kind of application with artwork, music, our ideas and sent it to Kompakt. Luckily Michael Mayer loved the stuff and so we signed a distribution deal with them. Finally we were able to release our and our friend’s music. Best decision ever. And a big thank you to all the labels that didn’t give us a chance. Without you this would have never happened! We used mainly Korg hardware to do our gowentgone stuff. Our track ‚Love & Respect’ that was sold very good got finished in three hours. That shows that you just need a good idea to do a great track. Which or how much expensive equipment you use is secondary. And btw, we just released a remix for Faltin a few weeks ago on the vidab X series. You can definitely find it on discogs now.
(the29nov video for Oliver Deutschmann’s “Darkness Falls”, Vidab 2013)
Vidab and the sublabel Falkplatz was also one of the first labels for Ed Davenport – with a housy sound. He also released there an EP called “Inland”, a name he used later for his techno moniker (first record “EP X” on Vidab too). You also produced a few EPs together. How did you discover Ed in the first place and what was the reason for signing him on your label(s)? What was the difference between working with Ed and working with Stephan on a record? Did you use similar equipment? Was it a total different way of producing?
I met Ed around 10 years ago when he moved to Berlin. He did a remix for my second Ep on Konsequenz that I did with Koljah. We got friends and met in our studios from time to time. Ed is a great guy, a very good friend and an amazing producer. All these criteria led to all those releases. I’m happy that I had the chance to release his first Inland stuff on Falkplatz and vidab. And he definitely gets now the attention he deserves for that project. With Stephan the production process went a lot faster because the gowentgone stuff is so simple, but effective. With Ed I set a bit longer on each track, diving a bit more into the production process. I like both ways of being creative. Using your instinct and also being analytical in the production process is very important in my opinion
(the29nov video for Ed Davenport’s “Living Rooms”, Slim Audio 2012)
On Vidab you also released our album “Out Of The Dark”. How do you work on an album? Is it something like a collection of lose club tracks just tied together? Or do you follow a concept? Is the composing process different? As we know this is your only album. Any reasons for that? Is it easier to produce a solo record or do it together with guys like Stephan and Ed? What about the process and the equipment?
I wanted to release another album since quiet a time now. But I didn’t feel pretty inspired to do one. Don’t know if it should be a couple of clubtracks or something more arty. I wanted to release a bunch of good Eps on good labels before I do one again. So, now could be the time to work on that. Let’s see.
(Oliver Deutschmann Promo Pic 3)
Besides Vidab you also run the label GKNSTR where you release under the alias Orion. Why did you set up a new label? What does it mean for you running an own label? Who is Oliver Deutschmann and who is Orion? What characteristics make them different?
GKNSTR I set up just because I wanted to try out something new. Releasing stuff from known producers under unknown project names. Focussing on the music only. Worked pretty well. Especially with Cadency (Hector Oaks) or Hysh (Niereich). Orion i created to do more deeper stuff. Just to unbind from my Deutschmann productions. I’m producing so many different stuff that it is just impossible to release everything under one name. And of course it is also refreshing for myself to create new projects and to surprise people.
(full stream of “Warehouse” by Cadency, GKNSTR 2016)
On GKNSTR there is an unofficial remix of Depeche Mode’s “I Feel Loved” made by you. Why did you use this track for re-editing (not a hit like “Enjoy The Silence”)? What role plays/played this band in your life? What are your musical influences?
I have different vocal samples from Depeche Mode. The ones for ‚I feel loved‘ just touched me the most so I started to build a track around them. I am a big Depeche Mode fan since ‚People are Peole‘. My ,mother bought me the 7“ single back then. Unfortunately I lost it in a moving years back. My influences go back long. Used to sit in my uncles room as a little kid listening to his vinyl collection. Pink Floyd, The Who, Deep Purple, Neue Deutsche Welle and so on.
(Oliver Deutschmann’s remix of Depeche Mode’s “I Feel Loved”, GKNSTR 2015)
Apropros remixing. There are several Oliver Deutschmann remixes? What are criterias to agree on making a remix? Do you enjoy creating a new version of an existing track or is it something you have to do because it is part of the business/scene?
I have to like the original track. That’s it. Then I do it. And, yes, mostly I enjoy to do it. Depends on the samples I get. When the samples sound good and there is, for example, progression in the synth samples it’s pretty easy.
(Oliver Deutschmann Promo Pic 4)
Some releases that also got our attention are the 4 Archive EPs and the mix CD “Futureworld” on Slim Audio – incl. a movie by the29nov films. Slim Audio was a label started by Slim Magazine. Unfortunately not much information about the label and the magazine can be found – also the movie is not available anymore because their website is down. So could you please tell us something about it? How was it to work on releases with such a label (owned by a magazine)? The EPs were named „Archive“, so these tracks existed on your drive already for a while? Are you someone who produce a lot of stuff that never get released building large archives of tracks?
The magazine isnt existing anymore. The label is. I’m running it with James Blonde, who is also doing the Sweatlodge Agency. But I use this only for my own material now. Doing nearly no promotion. I’m only sending the promos out from my own mail account. Its just pretty easy to release my stuff there. Its digital only, I also do the mastering on my own. The artwork photos are shot by my daughter. So we have the full control about everything. Absolutely no compromises to do. I love that. And yes, I do tons of loops and tracks. Most of them will never get released. Some of them on the next Archives, maybe!
(the29nov trailer for “Futureworld”, Slim Audio 2012)
We mentioned the video crew the29nov films above (and already used some of their videos for this feature). They made some videos for your tracks. More and more such crews popped up in the last months/years. What do you think about making videos for techno? Are they helpful while promoting a release? Nice gimmick? Had MTV (and music videos) an large impact on you in the 80ies and 90ies?
I was a big fan of MTV and Viva in the 90ies. So, of course this had a big impact on me. And I always appreciate it a lot when somebody does a video for one of my tracks. Especially the 29nov guys. They are really talented I think. And yes, I think it helps a lot to promote a track or an Ep if you have a cool video.
Your latest release was on Mote-Evolver, the label run by techno pioneer Luke Slater. Tell us please something about this release. How did you get in touch with Luke to get these tracks released? 3 of 4 tracks have strong vocal samples. So how did you produce the EP and where did you find samples like this?
Luke wrote me and asked if I could imagine to release an Ep on Mote-Evolver. No question! I sent him some stuff and he chose 4 tracks. Everything went super easy. The vocals I sampled from youtube. I think I took them from motovation speakers, buddist nuns and priests or so. Cant really remember as I sample so many vocals from there. All those tracks I produced in the first half of 2017. It was a real productive time for me as it was clear that I will move out of Berlin in august and have to give up my studio there. So, I worked like crazy to have a lot of finished tracks before my moving.
(snippets of Oliver Deutschmann’s EP “Lost In A Loop”, Mote-Evolver 2018)
You released on several label – some run by yourself. How do you select a label for your stuff?
Well, mostly I got asked and if I like the guys behind it and the label I do it. Most important thing for me is to work with people I like, with people that are kinda easy going. Just like me.
YWe are aleady at the end of our small interview feature. For sure we have to ask you what’s coming next… Any special gig? New records? What are your future plan?
Playing Shanghai and Bejing the first time in august. Looking forward to ‚Her Damit‘ in september of course. Also my new project S.M.O.D. is going pretty well with upcoming an Ep on Second State. And I still wanna do another album if I find inspiration for that.
Oliver Deutschmann’s “Lost In A Loop EP” on Mote-Evolver
split EP “The Source 1/4” w/ Oliver Deutschmann on Her Damit Tonarchiv
Tracklist of Exclusive Mix:
01. Bylly – Drowned In Time
02. S-File – Escape
03. Andres Campo – No Feelings
04. Hertz Collision – Dwarf Star
05. Blawan – Kalossi
06. Mod3llr – Stationary
07. SCB – Traffic on the Hyperway
08. Helena Hauff – Lifestyle Guru
09. Herzel – Two
10. Blue Hour – Unearthed (Ctrls Remix)
11. Glaskin – Heliosphere
12. Damon Wild – Rotary (Slam Edit)
13. Swart – Devil Within
14. Davinson – Rave Nation
15. Fjaak – Gewerbe 15
16. S.M.O.D. – Trunk
17. Oliver Deutschmann – Seduced
18. Elad Magdasi – Water Damage
Sweat Lodge Agency