Music & Interview
Invia … member of the Voitax crew
hi Martin. Nice to have you for a „Music & Interview“ feature. Let’s talk about you, your DJ career under the moniker Invia, your crew Voitax and the life in general starting at the very beginning. Where were you born and where did you grow up? How was your youth? What kind of music did you listen to when you were a teenager etc.?
Hi Jürgen. Thank you for the invitation to do the mix and this interview. I was born in 1987 in Thuringia and grew up in a small town near Erfurt. I was introduced to music pretty early on – my mom happened to be the music teacher at the elementary school that I was attending. She also enrolled me at a music school, where I learned drums and piano. I quit music school after only a few years – something I know really regret. Around the 2000s I came in touch with electronic music. Initially it was all pretty random stuff, mostly through videos on MTV and VIVA. However, after a while I got really into it and started watching the HR3 Clubnight shows on the weekends and got deeper and deeper into the scene. My older friends supplied me with mixtapes – those were heavily influenced by House and hard Techno (still called Schranz at this time). When I turned 16, after I had already attended some Techno parties, I finally bought my first records and turntables and started practicing mixing.
Five tracks/records that had a major impact on me and led me to electronic music:
01. Sandstorm by Darude
02. Silverscreen by Felix da Housecat
03. Emerge by Fischerspooner
04. La La Land by Green Velvet
05. 1982 by Miss Kittin & The Hacker
(video of Green Velvet’s “La La Land”)
Can you tell us more about your home town? How is your relationship to it nowadays? How is/was the techno scene there?
My hometown was in a rural area, pretty much in the middle of the “Thüringer Becken”. It was basically the perfect place for a happy childhood, but once you get older it becomes pretty boring there, there wasn’t really anything to do as a teenager. But to this day I still enjoy going back there to see my old friends and family. Sometimes it’s nice to leave the stressful life in Berlin and breath some fresh air back in your hometown. The Techno scene in Thuringia, however, was pretty big around the 90s and 2000s. There was a good party somewhere nearly every weekend, sometimes legal, sometimes illegal, in old warehouses or industrial buildings, clubs, or just outside. We had great DJs from Germany and abroad coming to these parties, so they drew quite big crowds with people sometimes travelling far, even from other states. I used to put on some illegal open-air raves with some friends throughout the years and got involved in some clubs, for example the WolkeZwo4, which sadly had to close a few years ago. Today the scene is much smaller. There are still some clubs and collectives who put in a lot of effort, but it is not comparable to the 90s and 2000s.
You studied musicology in Giessen. Did you already graduate? What is your daily job? In 2013 you moved to Berlin. What was your reason for it? What about your spare time? Do you have any other hobbies? Tell us something about your non-music life please.
I moved to Giessen in 2008 to study musicology. After my graduation in 2013 I changed location to Berlin for an internship at Groove Magazine. It was a really nice time that I remember fondly, in which I learned a lot and got to meet a lot of great artists. But when the internship finished, it was not as easy to find a job in the music industry as I had hoped. After a year of worked all kinds of random jobs and gigs to keep myself afloat, I decided to study social work. Since my graduation I have been working as a social pedagogue at an elementary school, which I do not regret at all. If I have any spare time between work at the school, my work for Voitax and making music, I usually go play table tennis or fishing. Especially fishing is a great way to counter stress at work.
(Promo picture of Invia)
You play under the moniker Invia these days but you had another DJ name in the past. How would you describe your style today and in the past? What was the reason for renaming? What are your inspirations in general?
After I started DJing in 2003 I had to decide on a DJ name for a DJ contest. I didn’t have much time to think and from then to 2016 I performed as Ebi. From Schranz to House and other styles of Techno I basically played whatever I liked. But eventually I got really tired of that name and I felt like it was time for something new. Since my involvement with Voitax, I have been performing under the name Invia. I still like all kinds of electronic music and my sets reflect that. It depends on when and where I am playing, but in general you can expect anything from Techno, dubby, broken and moody tracks to Acid and Electro. I am very inspired by partying as a clubber myself and the musical exchange with my friends.
(Promo picture of Invia)
As mentioned you are part of the Voitax crew. So let’s talk about it. When was the label founded and what was the intention? When did you join them? What’s your task? In the past the records were hand-stamped and you didn’t announce the producer behind it. Later the optical appearance changed and you used colored photos with a strong relationship to the artistS who were part of an exhibition during your Asia tour. What kind of image you guys want to create for the label?
The label was founded by one of our partners, Benjamin, back in 2012/2013. Our paths crossed the first time on one of the Open Airs I was organizing around 2006 in Thuringia. We’ve hit it off straight away and basically have been friends ever since our early teenage years. Back in 2012 I wasn’t part of the label yet and it was only until two years later, when Benjamin moved back to Berlin, that the rest of us got involved. Christoph and I joined forces and the three of us started running the label together. We were motivated to turn this platform into something special, gathered lots of ideas, met plenty of new people, visualized future collaborations and projects and the whole thing became more professional with every year that passed. I wouldn’t say that I am playing a very specific role as all of us like to work collectively on every aspect of our label. Our work goes hand in hand, and we update each other daily about what’s going on. Of course, everyone got their specific tasks to deal with, but we regularly sit down, talk about ideas, potential projects, issues that need to be solved and so on before we turn things into action. We very much rely on each other within the label and are basically best friends outside of it – that generally makes things a lot easier.
(full stream of Cyan85’s “Astral Stream” taken from VOI016)
Last year the Voitax crew made an Asia trip for several gigs. Can you tell us something about the trip? How does it happen?
I can’t say much about it in detail because I couldn’t be part of the Asia tour last year due to work related reasons. I know Benjamin, Christoph and the guys shared an amazing experience together that can all be read in the Asia Tour Story on our website
– definitely worth a read!
(full stream of Cressida’s “Deserter” taken from the compilation “X”)
At the moment there are no releases by yourself. Are you into production or are you interested in djing only? Do you work on some stuff? If yes, please tell us something about it – how your working process looks like, what inspires you, which equipment you play around etc.
Really, I have been into producing for as long as I have been into DJing. If I remember correctly, I started making beats in Fruity Loops even before I started DJing. At some point I got a Groovebox by Korg, which I later sold to buy a better Laptop. Basically, I had been producing with Ableton only for ten years, but only occasionally. Sadly, I never had enough time to arrange any of my thousands of unfinished projects on my hard drive to a level that I was truly happy with and would have felt comfortable releasing. But since around two years I am finally spending more time on producing and my studio is growing again. By now I only use Ableton for recording and adding effects. The sounds are almost exclusively analogue. My two Elektron machines are the centre of my setup. I make my drums and percussion with the Analog Rytm, I also use it for sampling and resampling its internal tracks. Most of my synth sounds like pads and leads come from the Analog Four, which also triggers a semi modular system, where I usually create basslines and experimental sounds. Lastly, I have some effect pedals and another Korg synthesizer.
(full stream of Umwelt’s “Faceless Power” taken from VOI014)
Since a few years there is a “little” dispute about DJ equipment: does a good DJ have to spin vinyl or is it ok to learn it with digital equipment. What do you prefer? What’s your equipment? Do you see any quality differences between vinyl DJs and digital DJs?
I am getting really tired of this discussion. In the end, the result is what matters, and the result is all about the music and selection. You can be amazing at mixing, but if your selection does not fit the vibe, your set is not going to sound interesting. I find it much more appealing to here a transition that might not be technically perfect, but the DJ still tells a story with the selection and draws the audience into it. I personally prefer Vinyl, because this is what I started with and I find it nicer to dig through a crate of records than to scroll through digital files. At home I mix with vinyl on a pair of 1210s and an Allen & Heath mixer, this is also how I made the mix for this feature. When I’m playing at a club, I do use digital files on an USB occasionally to play unreleased tracks or stuff that I couldn’t find on vinyl. When it comes to quality, I think there are advantages and disadvantages on both sides. Vinyl sounds a bit more charming with its crackles and its warm, full sound, it has nice haptics, the covers look great, and you can easily see how much is left of a track. However, it could be possible to face slightly irregular playback speeds, feedback due to insufficient isolation of the booth is also pretty common. And of course, the needles must be in good condition to really enjoy playing. If you play digitally, you have none of these problems. At most clubs though, the sound engineers put in a lot of effort, which is why I’m still sticking to vinyl.
(Promo picture of Invia)
Let us know something about your favourite music nowadays. Could you please name 5 techno tracks/records that you love and regularly listen to? Please also tell us why they are important for you.
Not easy. I bought a lot of records in the last weeks from all kinds of genres, hard to decide on only a few. The ones below represent my current taste in electronic music quite well and I really enjoy playing them at the moment. They are in alphabetical order, since I value them all the same.
01. Another Day by Clouds [Headstrong]
02. Bay Of Sampieri by Cyan85 [Voitax]
03. Reversing Into Tomorrow by O/V/R [Downwards]
04. Adequate Force by Stenny [Ilian Tape]
05. From Sorrow To Darkness by Trudge [10 Pills Mate]
(promo pic of Invia)
We are already at the end of our small interview. What‘s coming next? Any nice gigs? Other plans?
First of all, I am very excited for my holidays, which I will spend at the Algarve. I can finally relax, go swimming and get some sun. When I’m back I will go to Nachtdigital before everyday life kicks back in. I will also spend more time in my studio to finalize some tracks. On the 21st of August I will play at the Killekill Summercamp at Griessmühle. Other than that, there will be a few more interesting releases on Voitax, but I won’t give away too much about them yet 😉
Thank you for this – hopefully interesting – exchange and have fun with my mix!
Translation by Felix Ansmann
all featured Voitax releases
Tracklist of Exclusive Mix:
01. Trudge – A
02. Gian – LAX
03. 214 – Synthesizers Made Of Paper
04. Jeals – Crash
05. Pearson Sound – Rubble
06. Amato – Puissance Industrielle
07. ESS – Trigger My Sequencer
08. Trudge – Tool
09. The Exaltics – Skyway Chase
10. CEM3340 – Shadow Of The Blondie
11. Cyan85 – Astral Stream
12. Shedbug – Aciidmuzik
13. Jonas Palzer – Scenes
14. Luz1e – 4/5/20/18/15/9/20
15. ESS – Thermo Drive
16. Ryan James Ford – Slown Ridel