[Music & Interview]: Newa

 

Music & Interview
Newa

 

Introduction:
Newa, female shooting star from Tbilisi, Georgia

 

Interview:

Hi Ana, nice to have you for our “Music & Interview” series. You are one of the main characters of the young Georgian techno scene which is also important for the political development of the country. But let’s start with the very beginning. Your childhood and youth. Could you please tell us a little bit about where and how you grew up? And what was your first favourite music? What kind of music did you listen when you were a teenager?
Thanks for having me for this interview. I grew up in Tbilisi, in the capital of Georgia. During my childhood Georgia as a country was having a lot of difficulties. As we had a civil war and war with Russia. So the situation was not good, we had shortage of electricity I remember learning on candle lights and doing “concerts” for my family as we were gathering in one room to economy the candles I was in the center of attention. As a child it was fun for me. But when I look at it now it affected me a lot and not in a good way. My favorite music when I was kid was jazz, because my grandmother was a piano teacher, she had her jazz band and I was singing in the band. Occasionally playing drums and piano. My father and grandfather had a huge collection of vinyls from frank Sinatra, Earth Wind and Fire, Steve wonder, Keith Jarrett, and lot more. Also rock bands like pink Floyd, led zeppelin and many many more. So I grew up listening to this music and I remember when I first heard Keith Jarrett playing “the wind” I felt so much love and disappointment in it, I cried a lot.
 

Newa 1
(Newa, live pic)

 
You are a classical trained musician and have a background as Jazz musician. What exactly did you train? How did you become a Jazz musician? Did you play in a regular band?
As I told you in the beginning I was playing in my grandmothers’ jazz band. She is a piano teacher and teaches classical jazz and classical music. She had a small jazz band and I was singing there, was playing piano and drums occasionally. We were having concerts around Georgia and it was fun for me. I earned my first salary from singing in the band and I was 8 years old.
 

Newa 2
(Newa Pic)

 
After performing Jazz you decided to spin and produce techno music. When and how did you come up with the idea to switch the genre? Was there a special moment that you impressed? Who are your musical influences/role models/heroes?
I started producing experimental music at first, I wanted to learn more, find out more, it’s a part of me that is always looking for the answers so I found techno and acid techno particularly. It felt really pumpy and playfull and interesting to know so I started making techno. I remember the first techno track I’ve heard and it was acid. It was from Datacide ‎– Datacide II album from a collaborative project by Tetsu Inoue met Uwe Schmidt. It’s a mix of ambient and techno music and it impressed me a lot and I started digging deeper.
 


(stream of “Turtle” from “SUB.REC.5” on Subspiele Records)

 
As mentioned you are vital part of the Georgian scene. So you play regularly at clubs like Khidi & Bassiani. Could you please describe these 2 clubs and say why you lile them? Please also tell us something about the scene itself in general (parties, producers, audience etc)?
Both of the clubs are very special for the Georgian scene, they have different souls, although they are both techno/house clubs mainly. Both have their own unique soul and for everyone they are different experience, some find their home on Khidi others on Bassiani. I just recommend to visit this clubs, and have your own opinion about them. The scene is getting bigger and bigger day by day I just wish the quality to be on a higher level amongst producers and for me artist who has followers and people who like their music has a great responsibility towards them, we have a power to change so we have to use it wise. Because you can kill with music, and why not do the contrary?!
 

Georgia
(Flag of Georgia)

 
Both clubs got some attention from the “European” club scene because of amazing line-ups etc. So many people here were shocked by the (temporary) shutdown of Bassiani and another club by the Georgian police earlier this year. This led to protests in front of the parliament building. Also Khidi supported the young demonstrators who also expressed the political views there. Could you please tell us something about the background of the closing, the political situation in Georgia and your personal thoughts about it?
I was there for two days, first day was happier then the second. We were nearly attacked by fascists and nationalist groups who came up there. Dance is a political act in Georgia. There are a lot of people who were tired of this war and just went to leave in Europe or somewhere else and I understand them it’s tough. But we are here to defend it and we will dance together and fight together till the end. Political situation is in hand of pro-Russian government and Russia for us is a cage, is a monster who is tearing us apart everyday taking our citizens from their houses, during many centuries this country was causing controversy amongst Georgians. We are for freedom we won’t take this any longer and we will win this war.
 

(BBC video)

 
Enough politics – let’s get back to your music vision. You released e.g. EPs on La Chinerie & Subspiele Records and tracks on Semantica, Ben Klock’s label Klockworks & Bassiani’s label. How do you start with a track production? What are your inspirations? Which equipment do you use? How is the production process?
Track production process starts very early in my head. I get inspired by people, nature, music, books, I get those emotions in me and process them for a while, before that I’m just a librarian, who is gathering sounds and training the skills, and when the right time comes I just sit next to my equipment and everything just comes out of me like I’m giving birth to something that has a soul and you can’t touch it but it’s in there. I’ve been making music in my computer but now I can afford to buy machines, it’s more fun with them.
 


(stream of Newa’s remix of Dold’s “Version”, out on Interstate Records)

 
But you don’t just release stuff on several labels, you are also involved in running the label Icon Trax. In total three samplers were already released – including two tracks by yourself. What’s your idea / philosophy behind it? What’s your task there? Any special image you want to create?
Icontrax represents light in the darkness. As the world leaves in the darkness unfortunately we want to discover the light in it. We want to focus on light. We want to avoid releasing “regular” mainstream music. We focus on Georgian artists and their soul through music. We always listen together with Berika he’s labels boss. And when we feel it we understand instantly. We want icontrax to be a truly Georgian label, represent Georgian soul and our feelings
 


(stream of the third release on Icontrax)

 
You support the local scene e.g. with your label mentioned above. Could you please name 5 Georgian artists who we should check out and have an eye on? What’s the reason for you to like them? What makes them special?
Skyra – he’s also released on icontrax, he has two tracks in two different released. I love how he looks at music, he’s way of thinking is totally different. We are now releasing Ep consists of 4 skyras track.

Nicole – she had a boiler room debut on Bassiani couple of months ago, she was making music in a duo named by body thrills but now she’s making music alone. She hasn’t released her music yet but I’ve listened to couple of her tracks and she will take you away for sure.

Phonothek – he works in the field of dark ambient and uses his horn delicately in his music, he has several alias and plays horn professionally in a Georgian philharmonic orchestra.

Octachoron – it’s a duo from Georgia and they released their first album this year “Octachoron – Land Of Meta” you should definitely check out their spacey sounds.

 


(Electronic Beats feature about “Photon”)

 
Getting closer to the end of the interview let us talk about your DJ career again. Beside releasing on Klockworks you have another connection to Ben Klock – you played 3 times at his “Photon” show. What is so special about it? How did you experience these nights? Any other gigs you kept in mind because of special moments and experiences? What happened at these parties?
I feel very honored to take part in Photon nights, which are combined with the amazing lights that creates the atmosphere along with the music. First one was at Berghain, and it was absolutely thrilling for me because I knew I would play there 6 months before so as the date was approaching I felt more and more anxious and nervous, we went there by 8;30 as I had to start at 9 and as soon as we entered I felt at home, Sterac was playing before me with his warm vibes and when I stood there I saw all my friends around the world standing very close to me it was such a special moment. I don’t remember what I played which tracks I played it was going simultaneously with the people with the lights and I felt that connection which was unforgettable and I’m thankful for ben and Klockworks that I can be part of those amazing nights.
 


(snippets of “Split One” by Newa / Mariska Neerman on Semantica)

 
This is already the last part of our small chat. So what do you plan for your near future? Any releases coming up? Or some new special gigs?
Releases are mainly V/A-s, also just released on split Ep on Semantica and I’m really happy about it. My schedule is getting busier and busier day by day so I’m trying to stay in shape and continue loving music as I did before. Thank you
 

Recommendations:
“Split One” by Newa | Mariska Neerman on Semantica
Dold’s “Version” w/ Newa remix on Interstate Records

 

Exclusive Mix:

 

Tracklist of Exclusive Mix:
soon

 

Booking:
Outlined AM

 

Websites:
Newa

 

[Music & Interview]: Hioll

 

Music & Interview
Hioll

 

Introduction:
Hioll, young talented man from Cuba & founder of the first techno label in Cuba

 

Interview:

hi Hioll, welcome to our „Music & Interview“ feature which is also another part for our ABC series because you play only Abstraction tracks in your delivered mix. Let‘s start with the interview and your very beginning of being a music lover. So please tell us where you were born and when. What’s your profession? Or do you study? What kind of music did you enjoy at first and how did you become a techno fan?
Hello guys and thanks for the invitation. I was born on August 26 of 1990 in La Habana, Cuba. I studied Accounting and finances and I started enjoying music at the early age of seven, when my stepfather shows me artists like Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, The Beatles, Queen, Michael Jackson, Lionel Ritchie and also a lot of American songs from the 70’s, while my mother was more an 80’s kind of fan. So I grew up around all this fantastic music and when I was like eleven years old I became to interest in more contemporary pop, like Backstreet Boys, Aqua and stuff like that. By the time I began high school I was more involved with metal, becoming fan of bands like Korn, Limp Bizkit, Godsmack, Slipknot, Papa Roach, System of A Down, Rammstein, etc. But my first contact with electronic music was when my uncle showed me a video of Tiësto playing Trance on a big venue, I liked a lot. At the age of 16 i discovered clubbing and raving with my school friends and also house and techno music, i started going to different events like the infamous Rotilla Festival, sponsored by Exit Festival, the only house and techno Festival so far in Cuba (No longer exists).
 

Hioll 1
(Hioll, live pic)

 
After listening to music you mentioned above … was there a special moment or situation why you started with own productions and djing? What influences you?
I have a friend who was deep into Rap/Hip-Hop and he was making his own beats and rapping, so, one day I went to his house and he was working on something new in this weird software called Fruity Loops and I found that very interesting, so i took it and that’s how i started making music. The Djing stuff came lately, I was attending regularly to every electronic music event in the city and watching a lot of local djs playing like Djoy de Cuba, Kike Wolf, DJ Dark, Diemen, Duff and i wanted to be part of this movement, so i started practicing with a really cheap Numark setup, NDX200 cd players and I can’t remember the mixer model. What really influences me when im producing techno is fresh music, every time i download a promo, search in Beatport or Bandcamp or just simply recieve music from friends and i found something that i really like, something that really moves me, then a lot of ideas come to my head.
 

Hioll 2
(Hioll Promo Pic)

 
What equipment did you use for producing? How does a typical process look like when you make a new track? do you spin vinyls or do you use files for you dj gig? I can imagine that it is not easy to get the equipment for both in Cuba? In Europe there are sometimes heavy discussions if it is better to use vinyl or digital equipment. Are there similar „fights“ in Cuba?
I used to have a small studio setup, but i sold everything to make possible the launch party of Abstraction, so right now my studio resumes to a late 2011 MacBook Pro, a pair of Beyerdynamic DT880 Pro headphones and a Traktor Audio 6 interface/Sound Card. When i start a project I always go first with the kick and the sub bass, for me this is the soul of the track, then comes all the other, good sounds and sequences, good textures and nice hats.

I play with usb sticks, no vinyls. The equipment issue is very delicate in Cuba, we simply don’t have a place where you can go and buy some dj equipment, it doesn’t exist, so people buy it outside of Cuba and then bring it in; but is very hard to get a dj setup here.

We don’t have the vinyl versus digital equipment fight because, as I said before, we don’t have the possibility to choose one or another, so it’s mostly digital here.

 


(exclusive download “Substances ” by Hioll for NovaFuture Blog)

 
Apropros Cuba. Let‘s talk about the techno scene there. You are involved in running the label Abstraction (we will talk about it later). This first issue we would like to know is how the party scene looks like. At which places/clubs/cities do techno events take place?
Right now we don’t have a techno scene, is sad but is the true, there are some djs that defends techno music in their gigs, but I don’t think that’s something to say: -“Hey we have a small techno scene” -or anything like that. There are parties, but very diverse, very eclectic in terms of genre, some djs prefer house music, other ones techno or both or maybe more than two in the same dj set. Recently some friends of mine started a party called Rusty Nails Ravers (RNR) that truly defends techno music and they have some followers and also they are discovering very good locations, i hope it gets bigger and bigger with time.
 


(streaming of “Impedancia” by Hioll taken from his EP “HIOLL002”)

 
What about the Cubian DJ scene? Are some DJs who are popular in Cuba so people come esp. to the events to hear them (please name a few)? What about booking international DJs? Which international DJs are popular?
Right now people don’t come to the parties for the djs, they just came for the event and to see more people and socialize and also to enjoy music in some particular cases I think. We don’t book internationals because there’s no money to do that; I hope in the future we can. There have been some international djs that played here for free like Ellen Alien because they want to help the scene to grow up and we appreciate it a lot. People don’t know about the international names because our Internet access is very limited and expensive, but is getting better.
 

Hioll 3
(Hioll Promo Pic)

 
Another vital part of the European techno scene are the labels and producers. Could you please tell us a little bit about the labels and producers? How are they organized (promotion, distribution etc)? Any stuff we should have an eye on?
Abstraction is the first electronic music label we have in Cuba, so there’s no much to talk about it haha. But we have a lot of talented producers waiting to be discovered by a great label, like Åre:gone, Different Age, Dvazz Brothers aka Srav Zerbothz, Dian aka Naid, Egrod Pher, Thellus, Kidsue, MNO, Oaled Sixela, Sun Over Me and many others.
 


(snippets of “Abstract Weapons Vol. 1”, the first release on Abstraction)

 
You are involved in running the label Abstraction. Please tell us something about the label in general – who founded it when, what kind of style is presented on it and who released there. And what’s your task there? Do you enjoy label work?
Abstraction was founded by Åre:gone, Dvazz Brothers, Egrod Pher, Sun Over Me and myself, a year ago. At the beginning the idea was to release the best techno stuff we had in our hands and make events to spread the word and build a small scene in the island. With time the family grows and more names like Røttar, Kidsue, Oyiyi, Naid or Chimachine came in. My task, right now, is to choose the music we release, and when, and also to search for remixers we like and ask them to collaborate with the project; so far we have worked with Earthscape and Eonan from Germany, Laurent JC from France, Juan Trujillo from Argentina, the Canadian artist Kloves and Vegim from Kosovo. And yes I do enjoy label work!
 


(stream of “Ars Goetia” by Sun Over Me, taken from “Conducto EP” on Abstraction)

 
Cuba is a popular tourist spot for European people. Many of them know the music of Buena Vista Social Club. Perhaps you can give us also a short overview about what kind of music is popular in Cuba especially among young people.
At the moment the most popular music here is Reggaeton, and also something called Trap; the youngsters are listening to this all day in the streets. There is a small group that enjoys electronic music as something exotic and mostly they listen to mainstream EDM artists.
 

Cuba
(Flag of Cuba)

 
We already asked you about your favourite music in your youth. So what about nowadays? Could you please name 1Q0 records/tracks (of any genre) that are still important for you and you play again and again. Please also let us know why you love them.
Nowadays I must say I’m listening to a lot of techno and discovering new artists and labels everyday, but there is some tracks that i return always to, because they bring me good memories:
Queen – Bohemian rhapsody
A-Ha – Take on me
Rage Against The Machine – Killing in the name
Papa Roach – Last resort
Rammstein – Du hast
System of A Down – Aerials
Korn – Thoughtless
Godsmack – Awake
Incubus – Drive
Deftones – Change
 


(stream of “The Ancient Notes” by Hioll, taken from “Lights” on Abstraction)

 
A few days ago Inhalt Der Nacht returned from a visit of Cuba which included a gig you attended. We will have an interview with him later but would like to hear more about it from your point of view. Was you involved in organizing it? Could you please describe the venue? Who played there except Inhalt Der Nacht? Tell us how the event was for you. Did you talk with Christoph aka Inhalt Der Nacht (about?)? Any plans made with him?
Inhalt Der Nacht was here recently playing for my friends from RNR; they organized the whole event with the support of the German embassy and Danza Contemporánea de Cuba. The venue was an abandoned old bicycle factory in Vedado, one of the most popular neighbourhoods in Havana, Åre:gone and J-Lawton played alongside Inhalt Der Nacht that night. And in my opinion it was the best party, possibly, of the last 5-7 years. I never had the chance to talk with Christoph, mostly because my own fault, my friend J-Lawton called me several times to meet him, but i was not able to do it, but, I enjoyed his set a lot, and not just myself everybody there was really touched by the music he played and I’m pretty sure that it made a difference, and the most important thing is that it was a difference for the people who went there, and changed the way they see techno music. I hope that more parties like that keeps coming in the future and, of course, I also hope to meet Christoph in his next trip to Cuba and play with him too.
 

Hioll Fracture announcement
(Fracture announcement of signing Hioll)

 
Already coming to an end of this interview we would like to ask you about your future plans? What‘s coming next? New releases? Nice gigs?
Right now i’ve just signed with Fracture Agency, which I am very happy with, I’m also preparing the Abstraction’s forthcoming releases and looking for a nice location to throw our next party, celebrating one year of existence. As a producer I have several releases: an upcoming EP on H.Paul’s Induxtriall Records from Spain, more stuff on Vegim’s TMM Records from Kosovo, another EP on Dolma, a label from France, Something on Bipolar Disorder too (with amazing remixes), another EP on Trau-ma from Portugal, which is the label from Robert S, another one on Florian Meindl’s Flash Recordings, a remix for Dykkon on DkN Selections and new stuff on Abstraction too, so, yes, I’ve been quiet busy.
 

Recommendations:
Hioll’s “Hioll 002” on his own imprint
Hioll’s “Paranormal Activity EP” on Knowledge Recordings
Hioll’s “Lights EP” on Abstraction
Sun Over Me’s “Conducto EP” on Abstraction
“Far From Noise EP” by Åre:gone & Røttar on Abstraction

 

Exclusive Mix:

 

Tracklist of Exclusive Mix:
01. Hioll – Second Intentions
02. Åre:gone & Røttar – Far From Noise
03. Sun Over Me – Ars Goetia
04. Sun Over Me – Conducto
05. Kidsue – Histeria
06. Åre:gone & Røttar – Init Board
07. Sun Over Me – Network Bruxism
08. Chimachine – Mente Ácida
09. Hioll – Elemento Neutro
10. Røttar – Dark Energy
11. Sun Over Me – Gravis
12. Åre:gone – Asgard
13. Åre:gone – Rå
14. Hioll – Lights
15. Hioll – Codename
16. Hioll – Impedancia
17. Hioll – Acelerador lineal
18. Hioll – Teorema
19. Hioll – The Man From Outer Space

 

Booking:
Fracture Agency

 

Websites:
Hioll
Abstraction

 

[Music & Interview]: Fiedel

 

Music & Interview
Fiedel

 

Introduction:
Fiedel – Berghain resident, Ostgut Ton artist, founder of FiedelOne & FiedelTwo …

Artwork for the feature and mix is based on a photo by Paul Krause

 

Interview:

Hi Fiedel. Great to have you for our “Music & Interview” series including an exclusive mix. We met each other at Berghain over 10 years ago. For me you were always the underrated Berghain resident – first the people asked “who is Fiedel”, later they focused on Ben Klock and the two Marcels. But let’s start at the very beginning of your music life. What kind of music did you like when you were a teenager and discovered music as a hobby? How did you start with djing and producing? Was there a special event that convinced you to start with it? Did you have bands or other projects before being Fiedel?
In my teenage years, which was in the mid and late 1980s, I was into Hip Hop (Mantronix, Egyptian Lover, Ice T, N.W.A.), Synth Pop (Kraftwerk, Depeche Mode, Off, Yello) and various kinds of Dance Music that were produced in the studio, using samples and loops (Bomb The Bass, MARRS, S-Express, Technotronic) and whatever Acid and House Music came to my ears ( Tyree, Farley Jackmaster Funk, Lil Louis, Phuture, Mr. Lee).

I grew up in Eastern Germany and I used to listen to the radio a lot (Monika Dietl’s Heartbeats Per Minute, Hey Music, Maxistunde, Duett – Musik für den Recorder) and I recorded tracks I liked on tape, because records weren’t available.

Eventually I started playing those tapes at school parties, sometimes together with friends. After the wall came down, I started buying and playing records. At Hard Wax I met DJ Niplz, who invited me to play at a the queer Monday night event at Subversiv he organized with some friends. This became my first public gig playing records. In my hometown we used to throw parties as a small collective and Shed was part of it back then.

The first proper gear I used when I met Erik „Errorsmith“ through Niplz. They were producing a track together for a Bunker compilation. That was 1994. I was impressed by the way Erik tuned his analog synthesizers. Cables came out of the devices and were connected to some electronic circuits hanging in the air. We started to jam with his stuff. I thought the music was good and I definitely wanted to play it out. We released our first record in February 1996.

 

Fiedel 1
(Fiedel Promo Pic 1 by Danny Croucher)

 
As mentioned above you are resident at Berlin’s most famous techno club Berghain. Please tell us how this happened. How did the situation/relationship change over these many years? What’s special for you when you play there?
I used towork at Hard Wax together with Cora S. She played at Ostgut already and she proposed me to them, because they were kind of looking for DJs. They liked it and that’s how it started. I play there regularly since Summer 2000. Marcel Dettmann, nd Baumecker, Boris and Nick Höppner were also playing there at that time.

When Ostgut had to close, everybody was kind of sad, but a new venue was found soon. I saw it a couple of times, way before it opened. I was asked for some technical solutions, for instance how to rig the light above the Berghain floor, because I have a degree in Theatre and Entertainment Engineering and could apply my expertise that way.

When the venue first opened in September 2004, there was only the new Panorama Bar, and all the regulars were playing there. My first gig at the actual Berghain floor was the incredible b2b closing with Marcel Dettmann at NYE the same year.

It was quite tough for the club in the beginning, I remember. But with excellent bookings and the rising interest of the younger crowd for Techno it became the famous place it is now. I saw one of my all-time heroes, Egyptian Lover, for the first time there, when he played at Panorama Bar in 2006, probably his first gig in Germany.

The whole DJ thing developed into a big business over the years and Berghain also became more complex and more professional. My gigs at Berghain are still very special to me. Taking the fact that I play there for about 14 years by now, I have to re-invent myself all the time to stay fresh. Part of it is to explore all the other floors the venue has to offer. Last year I played House at Panorama Bar, which I didn’t do for a long time, a Bass set at the new floor Säule and an Ambient closing for NYE at Halle, which is opened only for special occasions.

 

Fiedel 2
(Fiedel Promo Pic 2 by Paul Krause)

 
At the beginning of 2018 you also started a residency at Khidi in Tbilisi, one of the important clubs outside of Europe. Another one is Bassiani. A few weeks ago there were police razzias at Bassiani and another club, so both had to close temporarily. This led to demonstrations and protests in front of the Georgian parliament. Khidi supported the actions and took part in the demonstrations (read here and here on Resident Advisor). But back to you. Who had the idea for your residency and how did they/you get in contact? When did you travel to Georgia the first time? Many DJs going to Khidi and Bassiani were flashed and liked it very much. How was your first DJ experience there? What do you think about the situation in Georgia? What about the country?
My first gig at Khidi was in May last year. And yes, I was flashed. The venue is amazing and the energy on the dancefloor was the kind I felt back in the 1990s: raw and genuine. In Summer last year the promoters asked me, if would like to become a resident there. And of course I wanted to!

I like Georgia a lot. The people there are generally friendly and I enjoy their hospitality. The country itself is in the process of opening up towards the rest of the world, especially towards Europe. There are still traditional elements in culture and politics that will work against it, but I guess that is quite normal in such a process. I also link the recent events to this. Hence it was very important that the nightlife community in Tblissi presented unity and went on demonstrating for their future. Khidi even closed their doors to show solidarity with the otherclubs and took part in the protests with their artists.

End of August I will play on the Khidi stage at Echowaves Festival in Anakli on the Black Sea shore and also for Khidi season opening after the Summer break in September.

 

Fiedel 3
(Fiedel Khidi residency announcement)

 
You are responsible for the latest instalment of the famous mix series from Berghain. How did you select the tracks and work on it in general? Did you need a lot of time for preparation? What are the main differences when you prepare for a recorded mix and a club DJ set?
The preparation of the Berghain mix took a few months. There were many things that we needed to pay attention for, like the production plan for the 12“ that came out along with the mix, licensing issues and more general questions.

When collecting the music, I had a special vibe in mind that represents my very own Fiedel-style: a good portion of funkiness, a bit of roughness and the inclusion of various styles. So I approached artists I liked for their music. I chose older tracks that represented my musical history, new tracks that I played out recently and also unreleased material. Some of the artists had tracks that I wanted right away and some especially made tracks for that purpose. Step by step I had a nice selection to choose from. First task was to get the Berghain 08 E.P. together. On this 12″ I wanted to create a balance between female and male artists, and so I chose two female artists to be the first tracks on each side. Plus, all of the 4 tracks needed to be featured in the mix.

For the mix itself I realised my early idea: since it is a club related mix series, why not record it live at a Klubnacht? I wanted to take the audience on a little journey and try to give them a little taste of the dancefloor. Since the format has changed from a CD to a downloadable podcast that also could be streamed, the only limitation was the filesize. Given that information I knew, that the mix could be about 2 hours long. Enough time to tell a little story. That story was important to me, because people would listen to it everywhere but in the club. So I tried to keep it interesting for the listener and yet danceable.

 


(mix “Berghain 08” by Fiedel)

 
The mix was for sure not the first recording for the Berghain’s inhouse label Ostgut Ton. You released there the EP „Substance B“ and contributed to 4 samplers/compilations. Was it a natural step for you to release for the Berghain label being resident at their club or was it necessary to convince you? How did you work with label guys on a release? Did you produce on request or did you have a bunch of finished tracks and you just selected the ones best fitting?
In the past I did tracks and if I thought they might fit to the label, I sent them in, so they could decide wheater they take it or not. That was also the case with “Substance B”. They found it fitting to the label and so they released it.
 


(the29nov video of “Track 432”, taken from O-TON 102)

 
One of your latest releases is the track „Troll Bait” on the second Seelen compilation. Could you please tell us something about that track and the compilation? How did you get in touch with Janein, one of the guys behind the Seelen label? You also played at their record release party for Seelen.001 in Leipzig earlier this year. How was it?
I met Jan at Sation Endlos a couple of years ago. This was a nice litte world of it’s own like in a fairytale. We stayed in contact and he asked me if I would like to contribute a track to the first compilation, but I had no time for it, because I was preparing the Berghain mix back then. It worked out though for the second compilation. When I heard the tracks of the first edition I immediately liked it. A very diverse techno compilation, which incorporated a quite spooky touch. That mood gave me inspiration for my track “Troll Bait”. The party at IFZ was great. I liked the location and the flexibility of the crowd. I play in Leipzig for over 20 years every now and then, and is always nice to be back in that wonderful city.
 


(full stream of “Troll Bait” by Fiedel, taken from “SEELEN.002”)

 
Together with Errorsmith’s Erik Wiegand you release under the moniker „Messe der Meister von Morgen“. How do you work together? Who is responsible for which part? How looks the production process? What are main differences between working on your solo stuff and on tracks together with Erik? Which equipment do you use (solo & on collaborations)? You also contributed to the Kilekill „Megahits III“ with a MMM track. How did this happen? What is your connection to Killekill?
Me and Errorsmith do music together since 1995. As MMM we are selfreleasing artists to keep the most freedom and control about what and when to release. This is the first time we gave an original track to a another label. I know Nico from Killekill quite a while and he is a big MMM fan. He was looking for tracks for his new compilation which featured some really good and not necessarily mainstream artists in the past. Our track “Infinity Crash” with its rather dark mood fitted perfectly to this compilation. In production we don’t have a fixed set-up that we work with. Most of the times our tracks start with just a tiny piece of an idea, a melody, a sample, a beat, and we develop the track around it. Sometimes we have loops that we jam live and we do a studio version of it later on, like it happened with “Nous Sommes MMM”.
 


(stream of “Syncro” by MMM)

 
You also run the two labels FiedelOne and FiedelTwo. FiedelOne is for your solo stuff and FiedelTwo for collaborations in different ways – like the „Appendix“ release with many tracks you used for the Berghain mix. How do you decide if a solo track is more fitting on Ostgut Ton record or for FiedelOne? Or will you release on FiedelOne again (the last one was released in 2015)? What about the collaborations on FiedelTwo or the track selection for this label? How comes it to these gettogethers with other artists? o you just create something new and then decide to release it there or is it more a „let‘s make a new FiedelTwo record? What do you think about label work in general (organising a pressing, doing promotion etc)? Do you like being a „label boss“? Is it difficult for you to “survive“ nowadays when a record is out-of-fashion one month after his release?
Ostgut Ton released only one 12″ along with the Berghain mix and the tracks were already selected for that. So I released some of the new tracks on FiedelTwo. I think, we have kind of a collaboration here, in terms of creating together a special flavour for the mix.

You can imagine all different types of collaboration on FiedelTwo, doing remixes, working on a track together, or adding ideas to tracks. I am looking for music that I can relate to and don’t go for the big names. FiedelOne it is more my own little world, with the freedom to do what I want.

 

Fiedel 4
(Fiedel Promo Pic 4 by Danny Croucher)

 
As we know you are also involved in organising the event series „Wax Treament“ that is strongly connected with the record store Hardwax. Please tell us something about your involvement.
I am part of the small team that organizes Wax Treatment since 2009. I am also responsible for the Killasan sound system since it came to Berlin in 2001 and do the sound engineering at events. This sound system is the trade mark of our Wax Treatment series. It is a Jamaican style sound system which comes originally from Japan. It has a powerful bass section and we usually set it up as a wall of sound, because this is the way they do it in Jamaica ever since. It looks and feels best that way and our guests are facing the speakers rather than the DJ. Wax Treatment features bass heavy music like Reggae, Dancehall, UK Funky, Dubstep or Drum’n’Bass. Two years ago we found a new home base for our quarterly events at Grießmühle.
 

Fiedel 5
(Killasan sound system)

 
In your eyes you are a DJ with a diverse repertoire. Could you please name 10 records that are very important for you (and your musical development) and why they are?
Let’s take my alltime top ten here as featured in a mix on Soundcloud (see below).

01. Bug In A Bass Bin by Innerzone Orchestra
I love Jazz and this is a wonderful combination of loops and jazzy elements.

02. Blackout (Phase I) by Lil Louis
My favourite when I was a teenager. So powerful and ahead of time. I still play it.

03. Sonar 123 by Anthony “Shake” Shakir
One of the most beautiful spacey Techno tracks by my favourite electronic producer.

04. What’s On A Moog’s Mind? by Redshape
Pure analog synth power. The youngest entry into this list.

05. Altered States (Southside Terrace) by Ron Trent
Is it House or is it Techno? It doesn’t matter.

06. Un, Deux, Trois by Idol Making
A rough and funky track from early Detroit. Just like I love it.

07. Alleys Of Your Mind by Cybotron
I love the vibe of this superb mixture between Electro and Techno.

08. Mentok 1 by LFO
This reminds me on my rave experiences in the early 1990s.

09. High Energy (Instrumental Dub) by Evelyn Thomas
High Energy is Disco in beast mode. Very driving track from this genre.

10. Ghetto Blues by Ghetto Brothers
Funky breaks in fine Detroit style.

 


(Fiedel’s all time favourites in a mix)

 
Oh already 1 or 2 questions over the limit but for sure we have to ask you what’s coming next… What are your (near) future plans? an album on Ostgut Ton?
Right now I work on different projects, prepare events or develop ideas also for a live set and for DJing, but most of them are not ready yet to talk about.

Some music will come out later this year, so keep an eye and an ear open. For now I would leave you with my/our recent appearances on the following compilations, all released in June:
– MMM „Infinity Crash“ on Killekill Megahits III
– Fiedel „Doors To Manual“ on Night Slugs Allstars X
– Fiedel „Troll Bait“ on Seelen.002

In early 2019 there will be a new piece of comtemporary dance by Frederic Gies with a live performance by me. We work together for five years now and our last performance was at Malta Festival in Poznan in June:
http://www.artstationsfoundation5050.com/dance/wydarzenie/dance-is-ancient/3395

You can catch some sound here at the following events in the near future:
10.08. Ostgut Ton Nacht at S舫le/Berghain, Berlin, DE ・ Bass Set
19.08. Wax Treatment at Grie゚m・le, Berlin, DE ・ Killasan
25.08. Khidi Stage @ Echowaves Festival, Anakli, GE ・ Techno Set
31.08.-02.09. Killasan @ Carhartt booth at Bread & Butter, Berlin, DE
09.09. Dance Is Ancient ・ performance at the Museum of Contemporary Arts, Porto, PT
14.09. Season Opening, Khidi, Tbilisi, GE ・ Techno Set
22.09. Klubnacht at Berghain, Berlin, DE ・ Techno Set

 

Recommendations:
EP “Substance B” on Ostgut Ton
split EP “Distances” w/ Fiedel tracks on Pure Traxx
sampler “Appendix – Double Mixpack EP” on FiedelTwo
sampler “Berghain 08” on Ostgut Ton
Fiedel’s mix “Berghain 08” on Ostgut Ton
compilation “SEELEN.002” w/ Fiedel track on Seelen Records
compilation “Various” w/ Fiedel track on Ostgut Ton
compilation “Fünf” w/ Fiedel track on Ostgut Ton
compilation “Zehn” w/ Fiedel track on Ostgut Ton
compilation “Megahits III” w/ MMM track on Killekill

 

Exclusive Mix:

 

Tracklist of Exclusive Mix:
01. Velocette – Bell Du Jour
02. Forest Drive West – Show Them
03. Andy Mac – Asteroid Belts
04. DJ 3000 – Prawler. Motech 004
05. Rose & Ulysse – Mother Earth (Philippe Petit Remix)
06. Sugar Experiment Station – No Wonder She Hates You
07. Four Tet – Jupiters (Happa Remix)
08. Ennio – Giza
09. DBX – Losing Control (Ritchie Hawtin Remix)
10. DBX – Beat Phreak
11. Purveyors Of Fine Funk – This Is A Track
12. Bastien Carrara – The One (Drums Mix)
13. Gladkazuka – Futuro Caos
14. The Untouchables – Yeah C’mon
15. Gerd – Freedom
16. Mike Dunn – Set Me Free
17. Robert Hood – Untitled
18. Shake – Simpatico

 

Booking:
Ostgut Booking

 

Websites:
Fiedel
Fiedel @ Facebook

 

[Music & Interview]: Oliver Deutschmann

 

Music & Interview
Oliver Deutschmann

 

Introduction:
Oliver Deutschmann, founder of the labels Vidab and GKNSTR, who plays irregularly at Berghain

 

Interview:

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 1
(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 2
(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 3
(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 4
(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.

 

Recommendations:
Oliver Deutschmann’s “Lost In A Loop EP” on Mote-Evolver
split EP “The Source 1/4” w/ Oliver Deutschmann on Her Damit Tonarchiv

 

Exclusive Mix:

 

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

 

Booking:
Sweat Lodge Agency

 

Websites:
Oliver Deutschmann

 

[Interview]: Matrixxman


© Photo by Paul Krause
 

Interview

Matrixxman

 

Introduction:
We interviewed US guy Matrixxman from San Francisco who released on labels like Dekmantel, Ghostly etc. and just recently co-produced the Depeche Mode album “Spirit”.

 

Interview:

Hi Charles. You are a busy man. You released several EPs on labels like Manhigh, Dekmantel Records, collaborated with different people, worked on the recent Depeche Mode album “Spirit” and for sure you are on tour for djing. So let’s start our small interview with your youth. How was it growing up in the US during the 80ies? To what kind of music did you listen when you was a teenager?
Growing up in the US during the 80s was a crazy time in retrospect. Naturally I was too young to experience nightlife during then since I was just a kid. I didn’t have my first club experience until the mid 90s but I still have very fond memories of the 80s as a decade. There was a certain romantic perspective of the future at this time that spread all across the musical landscape whether it was rap, latin freestyle, synth pop, or whatever. Not sure why but there was this epic or perhaps transcendental quality to the futurism back then. I think the combination of new technology (like synths and samplers) in tandem with a shift in the collective unconscious towards visions of the future somehow created the perfect storm. Songs like Moments in Love by Art of Noise could only be possible during a time like this.

I went to elementary school in a rather rough part of town at the height of the crack-cocaine epidemic so it was a bit scary at times, but looking back I am grateful to be exposed to inner city culture. Particularly, inner city music. Exposure to rap and hip hop culture was certainly life changing as a kid. I somehow naturally ended up getting involved in the elements of hip hop: writing graffiti, breakdancing, (and even rapping a bit) but this all paved the way for DJing ultimately. Along the way there was no lack of wild adventures and I’m actually lucky I didn’t get into a lot more trouble to be honest. The climate back then was ruthless if you were running around as kid on the streets being a vandal. The places my friends and I would go paint were deep in industrial ghettos and usually had some dangerous people around so you seriously had to watch your back. It was hellish actually. Some of the other graffiti writers were literally crazy criminals who took pleasure in beating up other artists for little to no reason, not just because of territorial stuff but because I think they enjoyed it. Cops would fuck with you too. It was an intense part of growing up to say the least. A friend who mentored me (his alias was Myer) died while writing graffiti on the highway. We bombed (tagged) the same location several years before so it was scary to think that could have also been my fate. You might wonder what all this has to do with music so I have to stress the importance of the original impetus: graffiti was a pillar of hip hop culture and this provided my first artistic outlets of expression.

Growing up in Virginia, on urban radio you would hear a regional genre of black music that only exists in the DC metro area and that’s of course Go-go music. Go-go basically consists of a band usually with a couple vocalists, instruments and a big emphasis on heavy percussion with lots of drum solos. My first club experiences were at these go-go functions and it was out of this world. The drum solos would go on forever and people would really lose themselves in the dance. They had parties at rec centers but the downside was they were also quite frequently plagued by violence. One time at this particular go-go party, a gang from a rival district in Alexandria showed up and started brawling with the Green Valley local gang known as 24 Mob. It was like some gnarly fight scene out of a movie. Me being the only white kid, I somehow go overlooked and no one bothered me because they either didn’t know what side I was on, or they were confused. Anyhow, it escalated so much cops showed up in riot gear with a helicopter above the location. I think I stopped going to go-go parties around this time.

Around then I also started skating and one of my skater friends gave me a mixtape of the perfect music to skate to: hardcore. Since I was mostly listening to rap and urban stuff up until this point, this tape had a profound impact. It had a bunch of tunes from Minor Threat, Fugazi, and even some obscurer punk stuff like Tsunami on it. It was an interesting direction for the pendulum to swing for me however it made sense as it was similar aggressive in attitude to rap. Previously I shunned most rock related music so this was turning point. I guess I was around 15.

Fast forward 2 years later, I discovered Jungle which was starting to morph into Drum and Bass. I had always been mad about music and obsessed in my own way but D&B marked a new period of fascination. I think I started to realise my love of music wasn’t just something casual but something very deep and spiritual. During this time I befriended Paavo Steinkamp (the other half of 5kinAndBone5) and James Hainer who played a crucial role in taking me to underground parties. At one of these parties we were all rolling (and probably tripping) nevertheless we had this realisation we wanted to make music for real. We made a pact to make the most futuristic shit ever, and to never give up that pact. It was a very serious moment for Paavo and myself. It was life defining actually and we started to make all of our important life decisions based on how to best facilitate this pursuit. Shortly thereafter we started buying our first synthesizers, samplers, and digging records and what have you. It was a point of no return.

 

(Promo photo Matrixxman, © Paul Krause)
 
As we know you started djing and releasing records in 2012. What inspired you to enter the DJ booth and spin some records? Where did you play your first gigs and how was it for you?
My very first gigs were at shitty places probably around the year 2000. I played some student party in San Francisco and then some awful bars in Japan when I lived in Kyoto around 2001. They weren’t what I would consider proper though and as you know, things didn’t start to really happen until 10 years later. I had long had a desire to play music in front of people but it just took a really long time to come to fruition. Vin Sol played an instrumental role in seeing this drive in me and pushing things. In fact, I wouldn’t be where I am today without him. I was a bit nervous and didn’t know how to navigate the scene initially and Vin just tossed me up into the mix, like throwing a baby into the water. It worked out.
 

(Dekmantel Podcast 123 by Matrixxman)
 
I heard you several times at Berlin’s famous club Berghain. For many techno lovers this club has a special meaning. Many DJs want to play there. What does Berghain mean for you? Is it a club like every other or do you prepare in a special way before playing there?
It is a sacred space. Like anywhere, it depends on who is playing and what your tastes are. If you are in the right mental space and are hearing someone talented play music in there, it can be a religious experience. Nothing is quite like it, really. You can play stuff there that you would never be able to play anywhere else and that is rather special.
 

(facade of Berghain, © NovaFuture)
 
There is a corner at Berghain called “vorne links”. Some of the guys dancing there founded the label Front Left Records which is the translation of “vorne links”. You made a remix for their first record which contains productions by label founder Elad Magdasi. How did that happen making a remix for a new, unknown label? What’s your relationship to the label guys before that and nowadays?
I became good friends with Elad and Mathias and so of course I was happy to make a remix for his record. It’s a killer tune actually and I still prefer his original over my remix to this day. They helped me get established in Germany in a number of ways so I will always be indebted to them for their kindness.
 
 
Before making remixes for other people there were some nice productions by yourself. Did you have a special moment when you realised that you want to express yourself via a musical output? Did you play around with different styles before making techno? Any bands or other projects before the release of “Wicked”?
I’ve experimented with more genres than I can count. During my 5kinAndBone5 period (a duo with Paavo Steinkamp) I was making a variety of stuff like rap, UK garage, post-dubstep stuff, etc. We released songs with YG and Ty$ who back then were relatively unknown. Now they are superstars but we were a bit too ahead of the curve. I also had brief period where I was making dancehall riddims. One of the riddims I made called Numbers Riddim had some big names like Elephant Man on it but I was never properly credited. I was super broke back then so I didn’t have any option to pursue it legally and I’m not sure how that would have worked out down in Jamaica. A brutal music industry lesson, I guess. But I didn’t let that stop me. Musical diversity has always been an asset for me since most of techno artists can only make techno. My tastes are too broad to ever really limit myself to one genre and I think that is precisely why Depeche Mode sought me out.
 
 
You had EPs on labels like Dekmantel, Planet Rhythm, Figure, Manhigh etc but also released the album “Homesick” on Ghostly in 2015. Is it a different process working on album instead of club 12 inches? How do you start and work on an album and how on an EP?
Most certainly. On an album you can be a bit more creative and not worry about making stuff for the clubs. It’s a totally different experience. An EP can just be a few tracks that are cool whereas an album needs to be a journey. Sometimes dance music artists just lump a bunch of songs together and call it an album but I think you can hear the difference a mile away. You know when someone has taken time to make something that will transport you somewhere, wherever that may be. You know when that sentiment is real and one can’t fake it.
 

(full stream of “Homesick” [GI-245])

 
Some of the EP mentioned above were collaborations like the Figure release with Setaoc Mass or earlier stuff with Vin Sol and Echologist. How did you work on these releases? Who delivered which part/idea? Did you spend some time in the studio together or just send files via the net? What are the differences for you between working with someone else on a production and sitting alone in your studio?
Most of these were made in person. The roles have always changed with each track, it’s not super defined. It would be hard to say “Oh, I made this synth noise here” because we were probably both working on it together at that time. With Echologist on the other hand, we have never met so we have only worked over the net. But it is still super fun to work with someone who is on the same wavelength even if they are across the planet.

When you’re alone you can be a bit more selfish with you pursuits but the fun thing about collaborating is the fact that you can share that experience with someone else. It’s simply fun sometimes to make something cool with your friends. I basically work in a similar fashion if I am by myself, not so much changes in the process.

 
What equipment do you use for your productions?
A TB-303, TR-909, various synths, an 8RAW8 808 clone, and a computer.
 

(Matrixxman)
 
One of your latest activities were the co-production of the recent Depeche Mode album “Spirit”. Please tell us something about that. How did it happen that you got involved? What was your part during the production process? Let us know how it was and felt to work for such a famous band? You are also featured in 2 Videos playing the keys. Any nice anecdotes about making the video?
The whole thing seems like a dream. It happened a couple years ago now so it almost doesn’t even feel as if it is real. So surreal. I’m still not quite certain how it all came about. Martin Gore called me u one day and asked if I would like to work with them and I eagerly said yes. I was mostly dealing with synthesis and drum machine programming although that could vary a lot. Sometimes that consisted of making noises they wanted, other times I’d play something that got used in the song (like the rolling arpeggiated synth that comes in at the end of Cover Me). It was one of the most magical experiences of my life. To hang out with those dudes and jam is just something else. They saw that I could play a little bit of keys in the studio so they asked me to perform in the live video versions of those songs, which was fucking hilariously unexpected, if you ask me. I had never performed with a band before and there I was, playing with Depeche Mode. That’s not normal. lol

Dave is a big Bowie fan so it was definitely a powerful moment after we recorded Heroes. Especially with Bowies relatively recent passing. You could tell this meant a lot for Dave. The moment we finished and faded out was very intense. I felt like crying for an instant so you can only imagine what Dave himself felt.

 

(Matrixxman playing the keys for Depeche Mode’s “Heroes (Highline Sessions Version)”)
 
Already coming to an end of this small interview we would like to know what’s coming next. Any new releases in the pipeline? Some special gigs?
Yes, a double disc vinyl EP of my own music on a new label in addition to several new releases with Echologist among other friends. As for gigs, I believe I am playing Berghain again in the near future 🙂
 

Recommendations:
Matrixxman’s “Sector III: Polyphony” on Dekmantel Records
“Pitch Black EP” by Matrixxman x Setaoc Mass on Figure
Matrixxman’s “Sector III: Polyphony” on Dekmantel Records
Matrixxman’s “Deep Mind” on Manhigh Recordings
Elad Magdasi’s “Finger Trip EP” w/ Matrixxman remix on Front Left
Depeche Mode’s album “Spirit” on Columbia

 

Booking:
Odd Fantastic for Matrixxman

 

Websites:
Matrixxman

 

© Photo by Paul Krause