[Music & Interview]: AVION

 

Music & Interview
AVION

 

Introduction:
AVION … head of the label Crossing

 

Interview:

Hello Carsten. Great to have a new instalment of our series „Music & Interview“ with you including an exclusive mix. A already established start for our interviews is to ask for your childhood and youth. So please tell us where you were born and grew up. Also let us know what kind of music made you a music freak, what kind of music you listened to being a teenager.
Hello Jürgen thank you for inviting me here.

I was born and grew up in Rostock. I was very lucky to live my youth in a small village some metres from the beach (Baltic Sea). Having your home where others doing holidays was something special and it is still what I always miss when in Berlin.

As I was 11 or 12 my older brother brought many records from Bonzai, Depeche Mode, Front 242 or Mokum Records at home. He did that ingnition for me to have a deeper look into rhythms and music. To be honest I also loved that Eurodance sound which came up and I am still pumping up the volume in my car when I hear a 2 Unlimited song in the radio. But that was only a small part for me.

The bigger part were these ealier Hardcore sounds (3 Steps ahead, Salami Brothers or DJ Dano) also the live broadcast from Mayday was something I always watched and had on video. I still remember that fantastic set from Carl Cox. I was totally impressed what he is doing there. And then I got this CD from Jeff Mills in my hand. It was the mix at Liquid Room in Tokyo. He opened a new world to me. Paired with Depeche Mode and Nirvana that shaped my musical taste in general.

 

AVION 1
(Promo picture of AVION)

 
As told us you came from Rostock to Berlin. Assuming you still have some kind of connection to your birthplace we would like to know more about the political and cultural situation there (Rostock, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Baltic Sea) especially the techno scene – also compared to the past (key word: Gerberei in Schwerin). We just attended an amazing night at UKW in Rostock and were happy to see a lot of like-minded people there. Is there a scene or does everybody attend the club nights in Berlin? Any new talents from this area?
Rostock still owns a big part inside my heart. The scene in Rostock is not compareable with Berlin. It is obvious much smaller but also very intense and not so anonymous like Berlin. Both have their advantages. In Berlin you can be more by your own in the nightlife but in Rostock in that scene you have a smaller group of people who are going out and enjoying the night like we do.

For Clubs like UKW in Rostock it is very tough to exist as the authorities are still ignoring that institution. The owner of the UKW are longtime friends of mine and we are all playing music and shaping the scene more than 25 years together. I am super proud that I am still a part of that scene and playing regularly in this outstanding location.

The UKW is not a moneymachine. The people who are running this are doing it for the scene and to support newcomer and music from town. They are music nerds and –lovers. It is a similar feeling as it was for Gerberei Schwerin. We are all connected and value our roots. Some kind of a special family and their bonds.

Same as in the Gerberei the people built that clubs by hand and not a big investor with loads of money to only book the next hype. The bookings for UKW and also for Gerberei are/ were handpicked with much love to the music.

It’s a shame that the UKW is still ignored and unpriviliged by the political authorities as they are doing a lot for the cultural education and the music scene in Rostock.

The Gerberei showed all of us how it should be and what feels right. What Ron, Stefan and Zacha built in Schwerin was unique for so many people and the guests were coming from everywhere around and found that place where only music and its history existed not following any hype.

There are lots of talents connected to the scene in Rostock but for Rostock they are definitely not new. DJs like Subjacked, Yavin or Micha Lieb are wonderful selectors same as the growing number of other residents in that club. They all do it out of passion without having a focus on fame, money or whatever is toxic for our scene.

 

AVION 2
(Promo picture of AVION)

 
We talked about your favourite music during your youth. Had this music any impact on your own way of getting a DJ, musician and label owner? What are your musical influences? Which topics/issues/situations from other areas of life inspires you for making and playing music?
Oh yes. As mentioned the record collection of my brother and the Jeff Mills mix as well TV Shows like Housefrau on VIVA TV were a big influence.

At some point I wanted to understand how this all is happening. Where do all these sounds, noises and melodies come from and how can I do my own? To be honest I still have no clou and as the universe is continously expanding the music is doing that too. So nearly everything around me inspires me.

Also the exchange with other artists is giving me a lot to create something new and look deeper into. I am trying to stay open minded and not to be fixed on genre. This is also how I DJ. Trying to get out of the box and working out the moment for something new.

I am a big fan of noises any kind and not that classical melody maker. Sure this can be related to my engineering metal industry job where these noises are all around me. For me this is kind of melody. You do not need a synthesizer or a piano to create a melody. My melodies are maybe a bit different and I see this world with different ears.

Like I have seen Martin L. Gore throwing that stone on the balcony of the Hansa Studios for their album „Some Great Reward“ in 1984. Sound and melody is all around us.

 


(snippets of the first Crossing release by AVION)

 
Actually knowing it already you are a Depeche Mode as we are. So we would like to know which 10 songs/tracks/remixes are your favourite ones and why they are important for you (which meaning do they have for you)?
Some of the songs have a very special feeling related to challenging but also beautiful moments to me. It is hard to explain for what reason each song is special.
I remember being with my wife at the concert in Rome of the last Tour (Global Spirit). It was very hot and the sky was totally clear as the second part of „Cover me“ went around the stadium and the feeling of the nearly 65.000 people there was like being able to grab for me and everyone around. Dave and Co. created a very special moment.
My favorite album is „Violator“ therefore I picked some more songs out of it and I am pretty sure it is the most played record in my collection. So the picks from that Album are „Enjoy the silence“, „Clean“ and „World in my eyes“. Especially Clean is one of my favs from producer side. It has everything it needs and not too much or less. A raw Bassline which gives that EBM feeling paired with outstanding synths and an unregular songstructure. The lyrics of Enjoy the silence are outstanding and for me relevant every single day.
From that time my favorite B-Side Song is „Dangerous“ from the Personal Jesus Single EP. I love that more rusty country/blues paired with the reduced synth feeling in it.
More songs from my favs catalogue are Precious, Leave in Silence, Only when I lose myself and the wonderful Things you said which Martin L. Gore finally performed at their last concert here in Berlin. A Goosebumps moment for me. And the 10th Song comes from Martin’s Solo Album „Counterfeit“ and is „In a manner of speaking“. And I need to mention one powerful addition „The Dead of Night“. It was the opener song at my first concert I had the chance to visit in 2001 Berlin Waldbuehne. What a killer!

01. Cover Me by Depeche Mode
02. Enjoy The Silence by Depeche Mode
03. Clean by Depeche Mode
04. World In My Eyes by Depeche Mode
05. Dangerous by Depeche Mode
06. Precious by Depeche Mode
07. Leave In Silence by Depeche Mode
08. Only When I Lose Myself by Depeche Mode
09. Things You Said by Depeche Mode
10. In A Manner Of Speaking by Martin L. Gore
11. The Dead Of Night by Depeche Mode

 


(official video of Depeche Mode’s “Clean”, taken from album “Violator”)

 
But let’s get to your own music. Your artist name is AVION. Could you please explain what it means and why you chose it? As we know it should be written in capital letters. Is there any reason for that?
I didn’t want to use my real name and wanted in first instance keep it more secret who is behind this small label. AVION is the french word for Airplane but I also learned it is the same in romanian language. It is close that it can be related with my normal job as I am an engineer for aircraft engines but it has nothing to do with it.

It is simply one of my alltime favorite tracks which is from Damon Wild called Avion.

The reason why it is in capital letters is that I found out that there was/is another producer called „Avion“ who is doing more that Trance/Progressive stuff and I didn’t want to confound with him. That’s the whole secret behind.

 

AVION 3
(another picture of AVION)

 
You are a DJ and musician – and also a label owner of the imprint „Crossing“. After mostly releasing your own music you also signed other artists like The Automatic Message and Milton Bradley with a new alias. What is your philosophy for the label? What image do you want to create? What‘s the idea behind the label and how do you select the music for it?
Crossing is just my musical view.

Artists like The Automatic Message, Pfirter, Doka or Milton Bradley are my taste of music and I really love their work. The Doomsday Device alias from Milton Bradley was not completely new. He already released one Single EP I think approx. one year before I met him. He said that he has more stuff at the moment which is DD and if I would be up for that. Of course I was as I bought this previous record some weeks before. It is not so easy for me to find like minded artists for Crossing and I only want to release artists who 100% present sound and label.

I receive a lot of Demos every month but many of these are only general mailouts without that they keep themselves busy with the label and its output. This is definetely not my way. Whenever I feel that it is not a general mailout or the 4th time I receive the same mail with the same text in 4 months I am listening and answer to the artists. But at the moment I am not looking for new artists as my plans for Crossing are fixed for a long time ahead.

To explain the philosophy is not so easy. It is a platform for me and other artists who inspire me. I am not following any hype. To be honest sometimes I’m feeling I’m doing everything to get far away from the actual hype. From economic aspect not clever but if I would do different and always trying to sell out the next Technobomb it would be wrong and I am sure the listener will notice it.

Music must be authentic and maybe this is the main philosophy of Crossing – to be authentic.

 

(snippets of The Automatic Message’s release “Crossing 009”)

 
The latest release on your label is your debut album „Untrod“. It includes a collaboration with Emika. How did the process of producing it look like? How did you start with the album production? What was different to making EPs? How was it to work with Emika?
Oh it was a long process. It took more than 3,5 years to get the final result. The last Track „Nebul“ was the first and some kind of kick off for the production. The direction of the album was always clear to me. No concept just clear me.

With having the draft version of Nebul I thought this Track can never be on Single EP so I need to do an album. And so it started.

Some of the tracks were created in my older homestudio in Friedrichshain, some in my new home in the woods and the finalization was completely done in my new studio room. That was important for me as I shaped that new studio room with some acoustic treatment instead of having my couch disassembled on the wall.

I do not see a real difference to producing a Single EP. I always have a bunch of tracks in several folders which I would like to release. There is never a special concept behind neither Single or Album.

I am always producing what comes up to me and not for a special order. It was the same with the collaboration with Emika. She is a brilliant and very creative producer.

Of course I wanted to work with her for a long time but I never had that special sound which made me confident that’s it until the draft version of Streetlights. But as I started with Streetlights I never had in mind or the goal that next track must be with Emika inside.

Luckily the sound of Streetlights felt like it was just made for this. So I sent her a mail and included this draft version and very short after she replied that she is touched by that sound and would like to work on it. So I finished and mixed that pre-version and the finalization was done by Emika.

It was a very easy and harmonizing working together and I am thankful that she said Yes on that. So I included it into my Album.

 

(full stream of “Street Lights” by AVION feat. Emika, taken from CROSSiNGLP01)

 
Beside the collab with Emika you already made one track with Thomas Hessler (btw the second person featured in our mix series). Also the names Marcel Fengler, Ron Albrecht and Stefan Rein appear if we look at your musical output. What are the connections to these guys and how came it to these strong relationships?
I met Ron and Stefan for the first time when I was 14 years (My first visit to Gerberei Club Schwerin on Christmas day). They always have been a big influence on sound I play and reflecting the history of music. Especially in DJing Ron was always one of my favorite DJs and I learned so much from him about reading the crowd, and working out the perfect moment. I remember one night at Gerberei when we were sitting and talking about new releases for a while in my brother’s car (I was 15 years). In the radio one of my very first mixtapes was running. As the Track „Balance“ from Acid Scout was mixed in Ron said great selection of music but the one who did this mix needs to practice…. He didn’t know that it was me but it was a little kick off for me to work and practice harder.

Stefan and me started doing a label nearly the same time and we always had a good connection and are friends since more than 18 years now. We highly value each other as artist and friend and it is always a pleasure to work and play with him.

The friendship with Thomas is special for me. We first met at the IMF Event at Berghain. He already did a Remix for the Crossing 004 which is still my favorite Crossing Release. I think we both felt a connection in what we are doing and felt like minded. We are exchanging loads of sounds and ideas nearly every week so we took the chance and made a Track together. It was a rough start but the finish was great and we created something diverse and special for us with our collaboration on that. It will not be the last one where we will work and jam together.

I am superhappy that Marcel got some of my Track ideas into his hands. Marcel is an outstanding artist for me and always has an open ear for new things and ideas. It is a pleasure for me to work with such great artists and friends.

 

AVION 6
(AVION, another promo picture)

 
Let‘s talk a little bit about technical evolution. Djing with vinyl is still something that a few people see as „basement” for being a good DJ (also for labels it has still image advantages to release on vinyl) but if you watch DJ most of the stuff come from USB sticks. Beatport and Soundcloud just launched services that can be connected directly to the mix equipment in clubs etc. What is your opinion about it? And from a label owner’s point of view: is it still worth to make vinyls? What’s your reason for doing it?
I learned to play music on belt driven turntables and a very simple mixer. I am thankful that I had this chance and it gave me more feeling for music, sound and haptical things.

I still play and buy records. Of course I also play digital music. It is always a mixture and I never liked that debate on what is better. I only can say these are my roots and I learned everything I have with vinyl. Everyone should find out his/her way to get the best out of it.

For the crowd it mainly makes no difference if you play with vinyl, CD, USB or only laptop. In the end the only important fact is the result, the music people play and what they can make out of it to present their signature and sound.

Due to my roots it is a part of identity for me to have Crossing Releases also on Vinyl. The market is very hard and from economic aspect it mainly makes no sense but Crossing is not only one label of many for me. It is my signature and work of more than five years as well playing vinyl is part of me of approx. 25 years now.

The possibilities are great today especially by natural technology evolution. I would never say no to evolution (I am also too much an engineer) and the way I am producing music in the studio is mainly on digital basis. Evolution is important to create different minds.

 

(snippets of AVION’s “Dispersion EP” on IMF

 
Yeah. We are already at the end of our interview. So we would like to know what is coming next? Any new stuff on your label or produced by you? Gig-wise something special coming up?
I really look forward playing this summer again with Marcel (Fengler) in Schwerin. We last time played one year ago at the wonderful MMA Club together and had a funny night with loads of good music. On Crossing will be as follow up to my Album „Untrod“ a Single EP with Remixes of two Albumtracks from Answer Code Request and Marcel Fengler. That was on my wishlist for a very long time and I am superhappy that both directly said „Yes“ after I gave them my Album. This Untrod Remixes EP will be released due to a little delay on 29th May 2019.

And in October I am part of a very special project together with friends and wonderful artists. Still at the moment I cannot say more but it will be very different. So keep our eyes and ears open more infos about soon.

At the end I would like to say thank you for having this interesting conversation with me, the continous support of my beloved label and I hope that you will enjoy the mix I did for you.

Thank you!

 

Recommendations:
AVION’s “Untrod (Remixes)” on Crossing
AVION’s album “Untrod” on Crossing
AVION’s “Dispersion EP” on IMF
compilation “IMF10” w/ AVION track on IMF
“Crossing 011” by Milton Bradley presents Doomsday Device
“Crossing 10” by Thomas Hessler / AVION
“Crossing 009” by The Automatic Message

 

Exclusive Mix:

 

Tracklist of Exclusive Mix:
Tracklist will be revealed soon.

 

Booking:
Outlined AM

 

Websites:
AVION
Crossing

 

[Music & Interview]: Lifka

 

Music & Interview
Lifka

 

Introduction:
Lifka … young DJ and producer based in Hamburg

 

Interview:

Hi Luca. Very happy to have you for the special “Music & Interview” feature with an exclusive live set. The first time I met you was at a Staub party taking place at PAL. You were introduced by a common friend of us: Mike Fly, DJ and party promoter from HH (Thanks a lot for this, Mike!). A few months later I heard one of your live sets at another Staub. But let’s start with the very beginning: your childhood and youth 😉 So please tell us where you were born and raised. How was your childhood? When did you discover music and what kind of music did you like being a teenager?
Hi Jürgen, I’m glad we finally get to do this. Thanks for having me! I was born and raised in Munich. Growing up in a creative environment with my mum being a very gifted tailor/textile conservator and my father working in photography I spent most of my childhood/early youth with skateboarding and doing all sorts of odd hobbies like collecting Warhammer 40K, archery, making huge bonfires and building tree houses in the gravel pit next to my place. I always liked to put my focus on more than just one thing at a time, so I always had an alternative, when I was bored with one of the activities. The first song I remember liking was „Hey Bulldog“ by the Beatles played on my father’s record player at age 5 or so. When I got a little older I discovered most music through skate videos. Lots of old school hip hop, psychedelic rock, punk rock and other gems. Not really knowing about music history and genres I never really drew borders between different styles, I just collected what appealed to me. During my youth I was more focused on metal music due to playing the guitar. A little later I found my way into electronic music with artists like Gesaffelstein, The Hacker, SebastiAn, Surkin, and Mr. Oizo, combining harshness with funky grooves and heavy beats. That was also the time, when I felt the urge to buy two shitty turntables and a mixer to teach myself DJing. In Munich, I only played a few bar gigs, because, being a little shy, I didn’t really get to know anyone working in the electronic scene, so I rather just went partying and listening to DJs I liked. Despite having had a great time growing up in Munich I always knew, that I didn’t want to stay there any longer than I had to, I just wanted to make new experiences, visit new places and from there see where it takes me. So after finishing school, I applied for graphic design studies in Hamburg and eventually got the place. So it was clear, that this would be the next step for me to take..
 

Lifka 1
(Promo picture of Lifka)

 
Living in Hamburg you are a vital part of the scene there with gigs at clubs like PAL, Rote Flora etc., but also with releases on labels like Ohne Kommerziellen Wert & Snork. Please describe the scene there for us.
I had my first contacts with the Hamburg techno scene, when I went to the monthly party series called SubspAce. I was immediately blown away by the vibe, sound and impressive light concept. Since then I got more and more involved as a DJ and with my crew Vinka Katt.

The core of the Hamburg techno scene is quite small but there is a really strong bond between the participating artists and crews. Basically, it’s one big clique with a large variety of very talented, interesting characters. There’s a lot of support and exchange like collaborated parties and label projects such as Ohne kommerziellen Wert, a label run by Stute and Strathy, where vinyl production costs are split between the corresponding artists of every release. We often meet and plan upcoming events, have listening session, when a new release is out, make music or just hang out in the park. It’s very cosy. Another vital part of the scene are techno clubs like PAL, that stands for its top notch booking, open minded party series like NACKT or guest parties like STAUB.

 

Lifka 2
(flyer of the first “Nackt” party)

 
You’re part of the collective Vinka Vatt. What is the crew about? Who is part of it?
Vinka Katt is a Hamburg based DJ-Collective and mostly non-commercial party series. On my first week of university I met Matvrak and we quickly noticed, that we had a lot of mutual musical interests, so she asked me if I would like to play at a studio party for their party series called Vinka Katt. That was basically the start. I was really happy, that I had such a good start, moving to a new city, knowing almost nobody. Thinking back, I don’t know where I would be now, if this had not happened. The Astra Stube was the first regular location for Vinka Katt partys, followed by Kraniche bei den Elbbrücken, and currently Gängeviertel. Same as choosing rather small locations for our parties, our booking mostly consists of locals or befriended DJs. It’s more about capturing and cultivating the Hamburg underground scene and attracting people that exactly want what we provide, than booking headliners and just luring masses. With the founders Matvrak, in:research, Konglomerat and Jeremy Liar, there are 5 (more or less active) members: Oiko, acp, Haiko Nahm, Union Versus and me. Each artist has his or her own recognizable sound and style. In order to keep it interesting and to have enough time for guest-acts we often do b2b sets.
 


(full stream of Lifka’s “Ubu Roi”, taken from VFR057)

 
We already mentioned your releases and live sets. Which equipment do you use for the production? What do you have onstage?
Within the last years I went from solely using Ableton live to getting more and more hardware equipment until I got independent from using a computer for production about 2 years ago. My main source for percussion and drums is the Analog Rytm. I’ve got a 303 clone for the most obvious acid sound, the Blofeld for pads and atmos or sometimes additional synth parts and my beloved modular synthesizer, the center piece of my setup, which I use for almost all lead parts of a track. The equipment I use on stage is pretty similar to my studio setup at home, except a few things that are too big to carry or that I rather use for experimental purposes like an old 70ies tape delay or the Moog DFAM I recently got. Another important feature of my setup is the Octatrack. I use it for sampling and processing unique synth parts of a track, that would be too difficult to reproduce in a live environment or sounds that I spontaneously come up with. Also, it makes me more flexible, when playing live. All the machines are synced with midi and get mixed on a 24 channel analog mixing desk. I’ve got a few pedals for delay and reverb. After finishing the recording of a track I process and, if necessary, edit a few parts on the computer in order to get it ready for mastering.
 

Lifka 7
(Lifka and the shining machines)

 
Talking about the equipment leads to the question how your production process looks like. What inspires you? How do you start the production of a track and how do you continue with it until you have a satisfying result? How do you select the label for your tracks? Do you bundle them at that point or are they already a complete EP during the production process?
Usually there is nothing concrete in my head, when I start a new track, although I admire the skill of starting a track with a specific direction. At the moment I rather build the elements of a track by experimenting and figuring out what suits, both sonically and mood wise. Hardware and especially modular is perfect for finding things you would never have thought of. Sometimes I know, that there is just one missing part and I get stuck trying to find it, so it’s really important to have sources of uncertainty, which surprise you in the right moments and drive you to go in new directions, when being lost. All my productions are live recordings. I like the feel of it and the progression of a track is much more natural and organic in my case. When producing with Ableton, I often struggled with the arrangements and was just too impatient to sit on Track4_FINAL-2.3, drawing automations all day until I had a satisfying result. It’s more like entering a dialog with your track and trying to figure out and feel how it wants to be played. You could call it machine empathy.

Since releasing my first EP on Cirque Du Minimaliste last year, I’ve been working on finishing requests. My plan now is to finish a new EP and send it to a few labels of my choice.

When compiling a new EP I try to use harmonizing tracks that fit the overall concept of the release and sound of the label. But sometimes it’s that forgotten demo track, that suddenly works in a new context. In my opinion the cover art and track titles also play an important role in adding a semantic level to the music.

Talking about inspiration, since last year Lucinee, my girlfriend and partner in crime, also started producing her own music. She’s very talented and already released her debut EP and another track for a VA this year. It’s really inspiring to see her progress and to have a partner with the same passion and interests.

We met a few years ago in the techno scene through DJ gigs, co-hosting events and our crews.

Also, I often find inspiration in non related things like movies, art exhibitions or theatre visits. When I’m unmotivated I have a few go-to YouTube videos that somehow give me immediate inspiration like Benjamin Damage’s “Against the clock”, some gear demos or a few boiler room live-sets. It’s always nice to realize, that there are so many more things to learn and paths to take!

 

Lifka 2
(another picture of Lifka)

 
Besides making and playing music what are you doing? Are you a student? What do you study/work and what are your non musical dreams for the future?
As I mentioned earlier, I’m studying Graphic Design. I’m doing some freelance work from time to time, but I am not that active at the moment. Besides this I’m having a regular part-time job. I always try to keep enough time for music. To be honest, there aren’t a lot of non music related wishes for the future at the moment.
 


(full stream of “Mechanical Skin” by Lifka & Lucinee, taken from SNORK98)

 
Do you have some all time favourite records/tracks? Please name them and let us know why they are important for you.
Ouff, there are so many – that’s difficult to determine. I’ll focus on stuff I normally wouldn’t play in a techno set. You can listen to my technoid favourites in my DJ-sets. 🙂

01. Carrier by Rhythm & Sound
02. Dark River by Coil
03. Loner by Burial
04. Secret Garden by Susumu Yokota
05. Wildcard by INIT
06. Tour De France Étape 1-3 by Kraftwerk
07. Beige Eyes by Easter
08. Feed me by Tricky
09. Amo Bishop Roden by Boards Of Canada
10. Strom by Atom™

 


(official video of Atom™’s “Strom”, taken from r-n155)

 
Let us talk about the mix/set you delivered with this interview. How did you work on it? What was your intention?
Preparing a live set can get really intense sometimes, because there are a lot of things you have to prepare in order to get a fluid flow. I always like to set contrasts, I tried to keep a nice mixture between melodies and sound textures, light and shadow, soft and hard, full and empty, the beauty and the beast. It gives a good overview of what inspires me and what drives me. I like bold changes in mood and maneuvering through different emotional passages during my sets. This particular mix contains a few tracks, I always like to include in my live sets, some previously released ones, and some new stuff, that hasn’t seen the light of day yet.
 

Lifka 6
(Lifka behind the machines)

 
Already the last and final question: what are your future plans? Any new releases? Some special gigs?
My remix of MSKD’s track „Hypnotic Circle“ just got released on Vector Functions Records, definitely check out the whole EP!

Matrheim, a meanwhile really good pal, invited me to play my first foreign gig in Paris at New’s Cool invites Eradys Records, a label I’ve previously released on. I’m really looking forward to finally meet the crew and spend some time together.

There will be a Split EP together with Valura on Space Trax, an upcoming record label by Philipp Drube and Frank Heise. Also, you can expect me on one of the next releases of Ohne kommerziellen Wert. In addition Lucinee and I are working on a split Ep.

 


(snippet of Lifka’s remix for MSKD, taken from VFR058)

 

Recommendations:
Lifka’s “Ubu Roi EP” on Vector Functions Records
Lifka’s “Otherworld EP” on Cirque Du Minimaliste
sampler “OHNE001” w/ Lifka track on Ohne Kommerziellen Wert
sampler “VAcid” w/ Lifka track on Eradys Records
sampler ” Lost Gems (Part One)” w/ Lifka track on Vault Series
sampler “Black Moon” w/ Lifka track on Snork Enterprises
MSKD’s “Solar System EP” w/ Lifka remix on Vector Functions Records

 

Exclusive Mix:

 

Tracklist of Exclusive Mix:
this is a live set

 

Websites:
Lifka
Vinka Katt

 

[Music & Interview]: Nendza

 

Music & Interview
Nendza

 

Introduction:
Nendza … young DJ and producer discovered by Ressort Imprint’s A&R Ekserd

 

Interview:

Hello Nicolaj. Nice to meet you for this small “Music & Interview” feature. Let’s start at the very beginning: your childhood & youth. Where were you born and how have you been raised? What did you want to do after finishing school? Do you work or study at the moment?
Hey Jürgen, thank you for having me, I really appreciate it. I was born in Bremen. It’s a wonderful small city in the northern part of Germany. In 8th grade ,I changed from a normal school to a boarding school in North Rhine-Westphalia because my childhood wasn’t the easiest. I finished school after two years, moved back to Bremen and I started to work right away. At that point all I wanted to do was music, so I just started working as a bartender to pay my rent, which I have been doing ever since. While working a promotion job I saw Berlin for the first time. This was in 2013, I was 18 at the time. I moved to Berlin in 2016 to do music, but left after half a year because of the very stressful and expensive housing situation. It just spontaneously happened that I then moved in with my best friend in Leipzig, which is really close to Berlin, so I thought it would be an easy way back to Berlin. Since then I‘ve been living in Leipzig.
 

Nendza 1
(Promo picture of Nendza)

 
With what kind of music did you first fall in love? When did you discover techno? As there any pivotal, special moment that made you go “wow that’s it. I love it and wanna be part of it”?
My first musical love was Boomfunk Mc – “Freestyler”, it was during my kindergarten time. I bought the single. My wonderful mother, who raised me mostly on her own, always listened to Grunge and Heavy Metal/Cross-over like Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, but also Rage Against The Machine and some other stuff, so I like this kind of music as well, because it was the music of my childhood.

But electronic music always grabbed my attention the most, wherever I heard it, for example in movie soundtracks like the Matrix or Blade. But in Bremen electronic music is not that popular, so my „that’s it“ moment was in Berlin in 2013. During the promotion job I told you about, I met a guy I already knew from school in Bremen. We became friends and he told me about „real techno”. His voice always had something mysterious when he talked about it. In Bremen, most of the people call anything from plastic/minimal Tech House to Electro Swing „Techno“ – but „Techno“, so he told me, would be „different here“, meaning in Berlin. I was intrigued and very anxious to experience it and so I asked him to show me what he was on about – like Berghain and his vinyl collection. After that there was no question – techno completely caught me, I was hooked and I knew immediately that I wanted to do this. This was where I can live out the more „unconventional“ side of myself. It felt like where I always wanted to be, where black and gloomy is natural, it’s not that much about emotions, it‘s more like atmosphere-over-emotions for me, it’s my personal definition of what it does and means to me.

 

Nendza 2
(promo picture of Nendza)

 
Some of your family members are artists and musicians. What kind of music/art do they make? Were you involved with your family artistically? How did they influence your decision to become a musician and to produce techno?
My mother is an artist, shed starts her career as a tattoo artist and illustrater the year I was born (in 1994). My father played bass in different heavy metal bands and also was a singer songwriter. Because of that I‘ve been singing and playing guitar since I was a child. I actually started producing with guitar riffs, vocals, and simple beats quite early, at the age of 15.

My uncle made movies and then there is my little sister. That’s all, no more people in my family. Small but very special and very good. So my family had a very significant effect on me, because there was art and music all around me, everyday.

My mom also lives life her very own way. From her I learned that there is no good without bad, I think the music I make, which often originates from the bleak shadows of myself, is the best therapy one could get and in the end it promotes the bright, shiny sides of live.

 

Nendza 7
(promo picture of Nendza)

 
You are about to release your first record on Ressort Imprint, the label run by Ekserd and Głós. How and when did you get in touch with them? A common way for young artists today is to release their stuff on their own label or at least via bandcamp. Did you ever think about releasing it yourself? Why did you choose RSI? Are these tracks the only ones you had on the shelf, or are you a busy producer with tons of stuff that never saw the light of day? What are your inspirations and how do you make an idea into a finished track?
Yes and I am really happy about having chosen RSI as the label I want release my first 12inch on. I have been working 24/7 on my productions and DJ skills since 2013, I listen to as many new releases as possible, so I had a good overview of labels to send my demos to. I wanted my first release to be well planned and on vinyl, so I waited and waited and worked and worked a long time until I found RSI.

I listened to every single track on the label and simply knew „that’s it, I will send my first official demo to this label.“ Fortunately it worked! I wrote a little letter about myself and my love for music, accompanying some of my tracks. Tim aka Ekserd wrote me back and asked me to make some more tracks.

When we had the first version of the EP in early 2018, he told me that it will at least be about a year until the actual release, so I asked him if I may work on the tracks until we reach the time-limit – so we could have the best result and tracks that fit the labels sound perfectly. That brings me to the question about my workflow. I produce literally every day. I breathe records. So I am definitely the producer who has tons of unreleased stuff, but I also delete a lot of it to have the most space and room for new ideas and to not be stuck with an old idea. The way I produce my tracks changes from day to day. I love experimenting. Sometimes I start with just noise and try to sequence it in an interesting way, sometimes I start with a kick drum, which I guess is the more the conventional approach.

If you don’t have a good financial background or start as a DJ, you likely will not have access to a big studio and you have to learn how to get the most out of the very little tools you have. like cheap plug-ins. You have to be very creative and well-versed in sound design to get a great result. Fortunately, from time to time I was able to buy a great synth and a drum machine while I produced the EP, so just at the right time. I felt as if I had wings with the new gear, so much more bandwidth and these gourmet, raw, more organic, vibrating sounds. But I learned in the years of having nothing more than a laptop that you can create masterpieces with nearly nothing – it’s about the emotions, not about the gear. I bought the Arturia Matrixbrute and the Analog Rhythm mk2, which I heavily used on my upcoming release. Because of this background I prefer a hybrid of digital and analogue equipment – sound design and so called „designer-techno“ fascinates me a lot.

I enjoyed the process of creating my own interpretation of a labels sound, but there will soon be a label of my own, for sure. It’s one of my main goals to simply do what I want. I set myself high creative standards when it comes to releases, which I think I can only fulfill on my own label.

 


(snippets of Nendza’s EP “Divulge”, out soon on Ressort Imprint)

 
Being from Bremen and now living in Leipzig you surely have a little insight into the techno scene in both cities. What can you tell us about the scenes there? Do you go out there often?
Well, in Bremen, good, quality events are really rare and hidden. There is no real marketing, promotion or anything. You have to know the people. It’s still mostly little paper-notes that you only get at the party, like in the old underground days. But if you enter the rabbit hole it’s a lovely space. It’s not this utopian vibe that you have in Berlin. It’s a lot of noise music, bass music, newbreak, garage-house and UK stuff, as well as a lot of really raw self produced stuff, but it’s lovely! Just like the city. A established artist playing there is something really special, but there is a breath of fresh air now with crews like Delusion, who book really nice acts to their venues and run their own label. That‘s great for the city.

The problem in Bremen is, that the local government doesn’t exactly make it easy to start a club or even rent space for parties, that‘s one of the reasons why many young people move to other cities.

In Leipzig, the scene seems more advanced, both musically and in terms of promotion and selection and bookings. There are also a lot of underground parties – in basements, houses or open airs. It’s kinda easier to network. The people are really open-minded and happy to take you through the night. Maybe it’s because there are really a lot of venues for this size of a city – many young people come to Leipzig because of the good club scene. It is huge relative to the size of the city and if you look at the line-ups at Distillery, IFZ or Mjut, you will see that the quality is very similar to bookings in Berlin. In Leipzig, „awareness clubbing“ also seems to be pretty much established. Most clubs and partys create a safe spaces for the LGBTQI Community and promote these policies, which is in turn reflected in the mindsets of the audience. So in clubs, politics are an important issue – just like the music is. It‘s 50/50. „Saferclubbing“ is also part of most club concepts in Leipzig, which means that you will get help from trained personal who known exactly what to do if you have taken the wrong pills, someone bothers you or if any other problems occur. They also promote these ideals in local politics.

 

Nendza 4
(artwork of RSI013’s B side label)

 
You are not only artist and music consumer but also you worked at Leipzig’s famous techno club IfZ. What was your job there? What is it like to work at a place where most of people enjoy their lives? How is it different from a „normal“ job? Did you find the time to enjoy the music a little bit there?
Yes, i worked there at the bar. The job was fun. I became acquainted with a lot of interesting people and listened to a ton of good music. It‘s great if your bar-guests after their gig are Freddy K, Henning Baer, Rrose or other grandmasters of Techno. I also really love the architecture, the crowd, and the soundsystem. They do a good job. I think people should check out their bookings. It’s an interesting filter.
 


(full stream of Nendza’s “Anvil”, taken from RSI013)

 
Many musicians and artists move to Berlin – a creative metropolis. Also your label Ressort Imprint is based in Berlin. Do you visit Berlin regularly? Is it an option for you to move back to Berlin in the (near) future? Do you understand the hype about the city? What does Berlin mean to you?
I understand the hype and I love Berlin very much. It‘s raw, it‘s dirty, it’s honest and direct. The main reason is the kind of „stepped up“ attitude of life that I feel when I‘m there. Every time I visit Berlin I am extremely excited. Maybe I will move to Berlin again when the time eventually feels right. Leipzig is a wonderful city, it’s also cheaper than Berlin. Many streets, the parks and all are just very romantic and provide a very creative and inspiring atmosphere, but Berlin has this “everything can happen antime-vibe” – I love both.
 

Nendza 5
(promo picture of Nendza)

 
But let’s get back to music and your musical output. The accompanying mix for this feature is your first official mix/podcast. Please tell us how you get started and how you mixed it. Will you become a DJ now?
Since I started producing, I also dj with vinyl for myself. My plan is not to play the big bangers to get attention. I want to do it in my very own and individual way – with the most expression possible. The mix was recorded digitally because I couldn’t find all the selected tracks on vinyl. I started to select the tracks for the mix a few months ago.
 

Nendza 6
(promo picture of Nendza)

 
Personal music taste often changes a bit over time – or sometimes completely. Please name your 10 all time favourite tracks (of any genre) and tell us why they have a special meaning for you.

10. Stratosphere by Thomas Hessler (IMF)
This brilliant Track touches me in a euphoric way. I just feel confident when I listen to it, it gives me courage. The virtuous rhythmic patterns, the impressive, aspiring vibe.

09. She Showed Me Heaven (Radial Remix) by Luke Slater (Mote-Evolver)
Driving, surprising laser sounding clubtool what energizes my to the limit. And I have to say it‘s just cool.

08. Calm Down by Answer Code Request (MDR)
It‘s impossible to describe what I feel when I listen to it and that‘s one of the reasons why it‘s that great for me.

07. Gospel Two by Johannes Heil (Odd Even)
Groovy dubby track, kind of ascendental atomshere, just awesome.

06. Dust (Tessela Remix) by Alex Smoke (R&S)
Heavy breakbeat, for me that‘s timeless, cutting edge

05. Tubular Bells (Oldfield) by Levon Vincent (Novel Sound)
Touches me in the deepest sense and the arrangement is really interesting.

04. Phantom Studies by Dettmann | Klock (Ostgut Ton)
For me this is just genius and not just a techno track, it‘s a techno song. I really enjoy this one while drinking my coffee, smoking a cigarette and just listen, but it also works in clubs, that‘s something I appreciate a lot.

03. Yasur by Fixeer (Tsunami)
This is the kind of ecstasy I need during a long, dark night , drives me crazy.

02. I Against I by Massive Attack feat. Mos Def (Melankolic)
A lot of trip-hop hooked me in my young years, this one has great lyrics and a killer-flow.

01. Edouard (Kareem Rework) by Blind Delon (Oraculo)
Very charismatic kind of techy darkwave track.

Well, it‘s not really a Top 10, I couldn’t do this chronologically. These are important songs to me that I often listen to to get certain emotional benefits.

 


(the29nov films video of Answer Code Request’s “Calm Down”, taken from MDR018)

 
Coming to the end of our small interview, I would like to ask you about your future plans. Are there any releases except for the EP on RSI planned? What about dj gigs? Or anything in your private life?
The main focus at the moment is to start my own label. There are also some remixes coming soon for an upcoming artist from Berlin and I have a lot of ideas, but I will take my time. My goal is not to produce an EP every day, just to stay on peoples radar. Time will tell, but I am diligent and obsessive, so there will be new stuff from time to time. Thank you for these exciting questions, Jürgen, it was a pleasure.

Photos by Maike Nendza (Nendzart)

 

Recommendations:
Nendza’s “Divulge” on Ressort Imprint
all stuff on Ressort Imprint

 

Exclusive Mix:

 

Tracklist of Exclusive Mix:
01. Isorine – Introspektiv Indeldning
02. Conforce – Black Mesa
03. Ntogn – Samten
04. Antonio De Angelis – Incrisis
05. Svecra – Nida
06. Bastian Balders – Rabea
07. Jamaica Suk – Pan Oramance
08. Groof – Empatico Iim
09. Viels – Rhyuski Grhosour
10. Izaru – Refused To Be Found
11. Luis Flores – Negative Pressure
12. Roll Dann – Intencion
13. Silvershower – Ice Fractions
14. Temudo – Longe
15. Juda 931 – Sleep
16. P.E.A.R.L – Infinite Stars
17. Strck – Type Type (Hector Oaks Remix)
18. Juan Sanchez – Morcilla
19. Kill Ref – His Sequenced
20. Hiroaki Lizuka – HH2 (Endlec Remix 1)
21. SVT – Subterrane A Realm
22. Dark Matter – Crystal Geometry
23. D-leria – End Of Line
24. Jokasti – Nek Pulsar
25. Fixeer – Yasur
26. Chris Shape – Shidevar
27. Illnurrse – Rubber
28. Uncrat – A Present For My Plant
29. Ontheground – Eternal Beings
30. Advanced Human – Swallowtail
31. Linkan Ray – Amok
32. Dold – Shutdown
33. Nimmo – Contradiction
34. Kareem – Hinrich
35. Asymptote – No Truth
36. Farizio Rat – Lupu
37. Borai – Dark Of The Sun
38. H4l – Disc 2 Dysnomia

 

Websites:
Nendza
Ressort Imprint

 

[Music & Interview]: Elad Magdasi

 

Music & Interview
Elad Magdasi

 

Introduction:
Elad Magdasi … Israeli DJ & producer based in Berlin

 

Interview:

Hi Elad. After many years seeing each other it’s nice to have you for our “Music & Interview” feature. Let’s start at the very very beginning. Where were you born and how did you raise up? What kind of music did you love in your teenage years?
I’m so happy we get to do this. We do know each other very long so it’s about time. I was born and raised in Israel in a city called Rishon Lezion. I moved to Tel Aviv when I was 22 and then moved to Berlin in 2013. Growing up I listened to pop, rock, indie, new york house, I was into many genres. Later on I was into artists like The Knife, Soulwax, Groove Armada, Goldfrapp, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Moby, Royksopp & more…
 

Elad Magdasi 1
(Promo picture of Elad Magdasi 2017 by Sylwana Zybura)

 
As mentioned before we met a lot of times in Berlin’s clubs. You and your friends mostly danced in the special corner of special dancefloor. What does clubbing mean to you and your friends? Why did you choose this corner that’s becoming a little fame now?
Going out dancing is something very special and crucial in my life. The combination of music, good friends and dancing is what makes raving one of the most amazing experiences I go through in Berlin. Dancing to good music in high volume is so powerful, it makes me really happy and keeps my musical gears running. I didn’t come up with the concept of the Front Left corner, it was there when I started going out, I just joined it because my friends adopted it before and I fell in love with it. There is a curtain free minded, “all is welcome spirit”, in that corner. It happens in other areas too i’m sure, but there I met so many new people that had a similar friendly party vibe.
 

Elad Magdasi 2
(Promo picture of Elad Magdasi 2018 by Mathias Weber)

 
We talked about the “Front Left” corner. It’s also the name of your very own record label. When did you get the idea of founding your own label? What’s your purpose/intention of your label? Do you have a strategy or concept for it? The releasing artists at the moment are friends I know from the front left corner. One special thing about your label is that you always offer a digital bonus track that can be downloaded after the purchase of the physical release. What’s the idea behind that? As we know FLR01 was your very first output. Did you ever send your stuff to other labels before founding your own label?
Back in 2014 when I just started going out in Berlin, I used to give USB sticks to DJs I admired with my music on it. One morning I gave my favorite DJ one of those sticks, after he finished his closing set. Nothing much happened after, until he played again maybe 3 months later. All of a sudden, I was hearing my track on the dancefloor, without any warning or expectations. I was blown away, and that made me realize my music might be worth releasing. Releasing via other labels was a very hard, an almost impossible task, so I had to form my own label.

The concept is releasing music from artists who share the front left vibe. Often they are friends who dance together at the front left corner, sometimes it’s friends who are like family to us and share the same mindset. The digital bonus track is there to add some surprise to each release and to give back to the vinyl collectors who support the label. I indeed sent my music to other labels, before doing FLR01, without any results. Inboxes from famous labels are so full, most of them don’t really accept new artists and I get it. I had to take matters into my own hands.

 


(video of Elad’s track “Finger Trip”, taken from FLR01)

 
The third release on Front Left Records features a very special artist – your boyfriend or better said your husband Mathias. How did you work together? Was it different to work with him instead of working alone on your stuff? Was it hard to stop thinking about the tracks when you want some private time?
Making music with my husband is super fun. We share a similar taste in music and he has a very good ear for rhythm. I always consult with him about my own tunes, he gives me amazing feedback. The production process is similar, just involving two minds. We just start a session and mess around with ideas, until something clicks. Then we evolve it by adding detail and more development.
 


(video of track “Magnet” by Elad Magdasi & Mathias Weber, taken from FLR03)

 
Already from the start (of the label) you worked with established techno “stars” like Matrixxman (we interviewed him a few months ago) or on the latest release with Kyle Geiger. How would you describe the way of getting in contact and the way you worked with them? Can you tell us something about these collaborations?
I think more than 80% of the people I met in Berlin I met in Berghain. Sometimes through friends & dancelfoor moments, like with Kyle – we just clicked and got closer and closer throughout time. I love Kyle!!

With Charlie (aka Matrixxman), we met during his first gig in Berghain, for a brief moment. Later on, I sent him my track “Finger Trip” from FLR01. He loved it so much that he offered to remix it, I was so thankful. Right there I knew this person is a friend for life.

 


(video of Kyle Geiger’s “Neverends”, taken from FLR05)

 
After releasing your own tracks there will be some remixes made by you (e.g. on Verschwender’s EP “Face Of Silence” via Seelen Records). How do you decide if you want to make a remix? After you agreed to work on it, how do you start with the creation? What’s different to your own production? What’s the process of working on a remix and what’s the process of creating an own track?
What Charlie did to me for FLR01 was so noble, it inspires me to give back to the community and to people I love with the same gesture. Verschwender sent me a bunch of his tracks long ago. I loved one of them so much that I was super happy to contribute a remix for his release. Same with Eònan’s first release which just came out. I like those people personally and I love their music, so it made total sense to jump in and make remixes for them. The process is also very similar to my own tracks, I just know I have to use one element or another, not always. It’s also nice to have a remix that doesn’t sound at all like the original.
 


(full stream of Elad’s remix of “Face Of Silence” on Seelen Records)

 
Beside being a techno producer and DJ you are also known for creating your music videos. You’re a visual artist – an art director. Is that your “real” job? What inspires you for the music and what for the videos/visual art? Can you tell us something about the way you create a visual art like a graphic and a video?
Yes, my main job is making videos & animation. I love the abstract world, shapes & lights, but my work is all over the place – I do whatever is needed. Inspiration comes from the depth of my brains I guess, but also from the outside world. Sometimes when I dance in a club and watch the light show ideas come up – it’s a nice combination between music and visuals.

Being able to direct music videos for my own releases is a lot of fun, the final creation is unique. Normally I would start by writing the ideas, forming a script, producing the shoot itself (with the help of my great friends). I usually film all the videos with friends (or friends of friends) – people who love the label and the music. Then I will do the first edit, then move on to coloring & visual FX.

 

Elad Magdasi 3
(example of Elad’s work)

 
I saw cute pictures of your marriage with Mathias. If I remember right we met at Berlin’s demonstration after the bomb attack against the club Pulse in Orlando. Is the gay movement a political thing for you or more something private?
I am not involved much in politics, but it is important to me to support diversity, equality & open mindness. Love should unite us all – if you open your heart to people, you will be loved back. I surround myself with people who believe in that way, and try when I can, to spread the message. Before LGBTQ marriage was legal in Germany, I posted my marriage video publicly with a text about equality – it was important for me to use my experience to show all that love is love.
 

Elad Magdasi 4
(promo picture of Elad & his husband Mathias)

 
You are often back to Israel, right? Could you please compare the club scene there with the one in Berlin? What about the queer scene? Israel is a popular country for holidays within the gay community…
I visit Israel about 2 times a year to visit family and/or play in local clubs. The club scene has changed a lot since I left in 2013. When I was living there techno was non-existing. Now you can find great techno parties in places like Alphabet or The Block. One of the best gay/queer parties in town is called PAG and they play techno, so i’m happy to see people like it there as well.

Tel Aviv is very open minded. With a beautiful beach and amazing food – I can see why it’s a popular destination, I love it there.

 
I am really interested in the music you inspired, you love since ages and you still play from time to time. So please name 10 records/tracks and tell us why they are important for you.
This is a hard one. Techno-ly speaking, these ones are some of my alltime favs:

01. How Is Your Evening So Far by Josh Wink & Lil’ Louis
02. Luvsucka by Monika Kruse
03. Number In Between by Adam Beyer & Jesper Dahlback
04. See The Light by Roberto Bosco
05. Minus Orange by Richie Hawtin
06. Groove La Chord by Aril Brikha
07. Inland by Ed Davenport
08. Schöneberg by Marmion
09. Oraganon by Ignacio
10. X-Trak 1 by Percy X

 


(full stream of “Schöneberg” by Marmion)

 
It’s already the last question (one more than planned) … so we have to ask you about the things coming up. Any nice records planned? Some special gigs (e.g. your second appearance at Berghain)?
Next up is a split EP, between me and a very special friend (hint: he runs a dutch label). EP will be out in May, with 4 music videos.
 

Recommendations:
EP “Liquid Dreams” on Anagram
EP “Kinky Kicks” on Key Vinyl
Verschwender’s “Face Of Silence EP” w/ Elad Magdasi remix on Seelen
all stuff on Front Left Records

 

Exclusive Mix:

 

Tracklist of Exclusive Mix:
01. Fluke – Atom Bomb (Atomix 4)
02. Fluke – Atom Bomb (Atomix 5)
03. Oxia – The Night
04. Dax J – Voyager
05. Biemsix – Trip 003
06. Eonan – Eins Punkt Siebzehn
07. Elad Magdasi – Teleport
08. Oxia – Contrast
09. Naas – Shifted Gear (Alexander D’niel Gear Remix)
10. Jeroen Search – Walkers on Water
11. Quint – Dish
12. Funk D’Void – Jack Me Off (Old School Remix)
13. Traci Lords – Control (Juno Reactor Instrumental)
14. Union Jack – Two Full Moons And A Trout (Caspar Pound Mix)
15. Cindy – Did You Ever Bone Your Grandma
16. Fluke – Squirt (The Europicolamix)
17. Elad Magdasi – Glow
18. SOlid Sessions – Janeiro (Lemon8 Remix)
19. Depeche Mode – Photographic (Rex the Dog Dubb Mix)

 

Websites:
Elad Magdasi
Front Left Records

 

[Music & Interview]: Opuswerk

 

Music & Interview
Opuswerk

 

Introduction:
Opuswerk … Hendrik van Boetzelaer aka Opuswerk, based in Geneva, is an artist whose love for what triggers his raw emotions is highly contatigious.

 

Interview:

Hello Hendrik. nice to “meet” you for this short interview. Let‘s start at the very beginning. When were you born and where did you grow up? Which music did you like in your youth (e.g. being a teenager)? And when and how did you discover electronic music & techno as one of your favourite music?
Nice to meet you too!

I’m born and raised in Geneva Switzerland and I still live here. I was lucky to have my teens in a period when it was as rich culturally as it is financially. Back then, the numerous squats offered fantastic opportunities to discover all types of music. Going to those is when i really opened up my ears and mind to a lot of things from music to different ways of looking at life.

It was during my first years of high school that I discovered UK dub (which was and still is huge here). From there it my love for underground and lesser known music simply grew to an obsession. From then on I kept discovering one genre after the other as i was digging my way through.

Techno is such a broad term nowadays, and encompasses lots of music I do not relate to at all. So to call it my favorite music wouldn’t be accurate. However I would argue that its the futuristic and visionary aspect of tracks and songs that get me the most interested, and some of techno has a lot of that 🙂 .

 

Opuswerk 1
(people freaking out during an Opuswerk set)

 
After discovering this kind of music … was there a special moment/event etc that convinced you to start your own “career”?
It was a slow process, music creeped its way into my life to the point where I had to accept it was all i wanted to do.

Over many years, step by step, I acquired some records; one turntable, which I used to learned how to beatmatch while I had a tape deck playing on my hi-fi. Then a mixer (a trusty DJM300) and lastly finally a second MK2. This allowed me to have endless mixing sessions in my parents basement, playing music for hours on end to myself. I never had the goal of being a “DJ”. It was always sheer passion that drove me, and still is what gets me to dig new music and go to my studio. Career or not, I would do it anyway.

As to a special moment where it cliqued; It was after playing at Mosaique in St Petersburg for the 1st year birthday tour of Nikita Zabelin’s project Resonance. After my set, cooling down in a corner of the club, I realised I wanted to do all I could to pursue being an artist every moment of my life. Music was really giving me so much back humanely and emotionally, compared to what I had studied and was doing, that i decided to jump ships and pursue ways of making a living of what is making me the happiest every day.

 

Opuswerk 2
(Opuswerk promo picture)

 
What inspired you to start with DJing and producing?
Coming home from the haze of night outs, I always had beats in my head that i didn’t want to stop. That’s what made me crave to find a way to continue the experience before the next weekend. DJing was the only way to experience the music I liked in the same way as in a club in the form of a continuous mix. I couldn’t find any drum and bass or dub mix cds in the shops here, had rinsed whatever mixtapes friends had made for me and I needed more. Learning to mix with the very same 10 records, allowed me to discover the magic of how a fleeting track appears out of a mix and become something completely new. Combinations seemed endless.

Producing came about from an obsessive curiosity to understand how things work. It was also a way to get my head out of my architecture studies. During those long years, I had very little time for anything else than studying. There was a copy of Cubase on my flatmate, and I ended up borrowing it a lot. I remember it took me a long while to discover what the Amen break was, after I had spent countless hours trying to make my drums sound like this from one shot samples. From there, learning the tools allowed me to find ways to express myself differently, connecting with my inner self and letting go.

 


(snippets of “Kähler E.P.”, released on Knotweed in 2012)

 
You started Opuswerk as duo with Benoît Hamard but he left later. What is the difference working with him and now working alone?
Opuswerk is a solo project since 2010. We had innocently started it with Benoît as we wanted to make music together, and have fun. The first 2 releases were done together without much thought about it. Pretty quickly my obsession outgrew his, so we drifted away musically. I believe every release needs to add a little something to the bigger picture of music. I’m not sure I achieve that, but it’s what I strive for.

Working alone allows more freedom, and more self doubt, but also a more immediate connection to the music and the moment, I find it easier to let go and have my body instinctively build sounds. On the other side, I still love collaborate a lot, like with François X or Ripperton more recently. Exchanging ideas, opinions and techniques is wonderful too.

 


(full stream of the track “Zuev”, released on ARTS in 2017)

 
Where does the name come from? Any special meaning? It reminds me of an Austrian band from the 80ies – perhaps also because the word “werk” sounds German to me.
The name came from trying to find something that sounded cool and had a german consonance too (Benoît and me were big Studio 1 and early Auftrieb / Kompakt fans).

Werk sounded very much like it, and Opus is the latin word used to enumerate every constructive part of a building which touched me as an architect. We understood it as a “part of a work”, although I think it actually translates to work-work. At the time, there was nothing coming up in search engines using that word, and it sounded like Kraftwerk, so we went with it and it stuck since then.

 

Opuswerk 2
(Hendrik aka Opuswerk in action)

 
As mentioned Opuswerk is now a solo project of you but you also work with François X on stuff released under the moniker HISS:1292. First of all: what stands the name for? How do you work together? Who delivers which part?
HISS:1292 stands for the hiss that the music had due to the gear we used on the records. 1292 stands for both our postal codes, 12 is Geneva, 92 somewhere in Paris. The first records happened as a result of studio sessions at my place when FX was living in Geneva.

Working remotely didn’t really give satisfying results. So we stick to getting together in the same room for making music. Unfortunately this has been tough to make happen with our touring schedules and the fact that we live in different cities. Still, we are in touch daily, and do send music to each other all the time.

Collaborating with him was really a game changer for me, we both have very different musical backgrounds, but we click to similar stuff. He has a huge insight on techno and house history which I am was missing. As for me, I’m a bit more of machine and studio geek than he was. With time, those skillset got blurred, although he knows still way more about house music than I do, and how to make a groove groove. There is some sort of magic happening when we make music. We learned to make a flow happen, with no predefined parts and listening and vibing of each other’s ideas. With time I’ve become the one doing the final mixes of our collaborative tracks and sometimes for his solo work too, like his Murky Dreams EP which we mixed in my studio in Geneva.

 


(snippets of the EP “VéVé” by HISS:1292 on DEMENT3D Records)

 
You already had releases on labels like Krill, Arts and now Bipolar Disorder. How did you get in touch with them? Did you send demos or did they find you? How much are you usually involved in the process for the finished product like artwork, promotion etc? What differences do you see in working with several labels?
Those records came about quite naturally, and with not real plans behind them at the start. I’m a believer of having things happen organically and of helping yourself get to the goals you aim for.

As to getting to the finished product; I like to be involved in the whole process. I also feel it’s part of the job to make sure the music I made gets out in the best way it can. Especially as nowadays, there’s little to no money in it for labels. It is the artist’s duty to do as much as possible to help the persons who have put trust, money and effort into getting their arts out to the world.

 


(full stream of the track “Extensum”, released on “Forms Of Multiplicity EP” via Bipolar Disorder)

 
You live in Switzerland. A small country with a few big cities and huge mountains. How is the techno scene there – are there with clubs, Swiss DJs and producers? Any party or club you love and recommend? Any Swiss DJs and producers you like?
Electronic music in Switzerland is pretty healthy despite the small size of the country.

We have “super clubs”, like audio, d! Club, Nordstern and Hive; as well as music lover havens, which I’m personally more attached to, like Elysia, Zukunft, Folklor, La Coupole, Le Zoo, Klub Kegelbahn. I do feel like we miss smaller clubs with a less than 200 people capacity.

As for DJs and producers, I’ve got to give a shout to Agonis and Garçon who I feel a strong connection to musically. Also worth checking are Pascal Viscardi, Mod21, Ripperton, as well as Eli Verveine, Princess P, Honorée, Mah’Mood and WTF, Androo, Jean Toussaint, Lexx who are all very fine DJs, also record store-wise, Bongo Joe and Plattfon are must visit. I’m sure there are many I’ve just haven’t discovered yet.

 


(Opuswerk remix for Steam’s “The Blacksmith’s Apprentice”, released on Obscuur Records)

 
We just talked about the Swiss techno scene. You are resident at Techno Legends nights taking place at Le Zoo in Geneva. When did you start the residency and how did it happen? What is the special thing about playing there?
Le Zoo is one of the places where I started going out to and it is a staple in the swiss scene for 25 years now. As such, being a part of it means really a lot to me. It was some sort of extra living room as a teenager and party goer, and became one too as an artist later on which feels like a blessing. Playing there is always a pleasure, and it’s very special to think that somewhere on the dancefloor someone like myself many years ago is dancing and discovering this whole world of music.

The residency came about as a realisation after the fact. I had already played many sets for those nights, when the former club booker realized she was always calling me for those nights as she wanted the best local act she could get. I was the one popping to her mind all the time, from then I was officially resident for those nights. To this day it’s one of the best compliment I’ve received as an artist. With the new booker those nights have come to an end.

I’m now pushing an itinerant party concept called OPUS where I act as the curator of the night which is really fun. Some of the previous guests were Sandrien, Iori, Garçon, Agonis, JP Enfant, Ulf Eriksson and Nikita Zabelin.

 

Opuswerk 3
(“Techno Makes Sense W/” … Opuswerk)

 
You travel a lot to international bookings. What extreme or funny situations did you experience?
While touring Russia with Nikita Zabelin, we were in Krasnodar, which is deep in southern Russia. We were heading to the club which is in an industrial complex, but it really looks like in those russian mafia movies, no lights, endless industrial buildings, no roads. Really dodgy. Back then I didn’t know Nikita so well, so I could only trust him, but I was not feeling very comfortable during the ride to the club, as it took a good 15 to 20 min in the industrial area before we got there. Party turned out fine, but I did have a cold sweat on the way. Not that extreme, but a funny memory every time.

I’m going to Colombia soon, so will see what that will bring…

 

Opuswerk 3
(Opuswerk playing with some equipment)

 
I read that you love gear / technical equipment. So what equipment do you own and how do you use it for your productions? Tell us something about your production process.
I recently did a studio feature for Bitwig, which is the DAW I use since the beginning of 2018. Equipment-wise, after being in my living room, I’ve now got a dedicated space for it. Although it took me about a year to get all settled in and too many computer woes, I now feel very comfortable making music there again.

My studio is centered around hardware and software driven by a Sequentix Cirklon and all going to an APB Dynasonics Spectra Ti mixing desk. Everything, synths, FXs, is plugged and accessible at all times. Thanks to several patchbays, I can easily replug whatever I want into whatever else, as well as record everything separately or as a whole.

With time, I’ve learned my process involves hours of noodling until my brain suddenly clicks and tracks get done, and more often than not tracks spawn from a technical idea rather than a musical one. That final process is often very fast and either ends up being a final track or 95% of one.

This jamming / flowing process is at the core of how I work, but I can never know how or when it’s going to happen. Sometimes it’s at the beginning of a session, sometimes at the end, or in the middle of finishing the last 5% of a previous tracks. I’ve lost so many great jams and tracks thinking I would finish them later that I cannot count them no more. So I designed my current setup so that I can record everything all the time and catch the magic of the moment as easily as possible. Interestingly, this way of working has produced much more honest and close to myself music than before.

 

Opuswerk 3
(some of Opuswerk’s equipment)

 
Please name 10 records that were/are very important for you and your musical development and explain why.
That’s a really tough question, so here are some records dear to me, and whose memory resonate with a special moment of my life.

01. Live at Wembley by Queen
This was my wake up cd for many years. Must have done something to my brain.

02. Armagideon time pt1 by Mighty Massa
This was an anthem at the dub parties I was going to. That bassline still gives me goosebumps every single time. It’s also the one track that pulled me over to the dub side, along LPs by Earthquake Studios and Iration Steppas. I got to meet the man behind the music many moons ago in Tokyo and it was really special.

03. Up All Night by John B
This was my first ever 12”. With a copy of Cause 4 Concern Cerberus. I learned beat matching playing those 2 records while a cassette from a recorded radio show was playing.

04. Up Color serie by Studio 1
The first minimal techno project I heard, the whole collection still blows my mind to this day.

05. Inacunabula by Autechre
I remember borrowing this album along with many Warp CDs from the CD library. It blew my mind, and I’ve had it on repeat for so long that the minidisc copy it was on broke.

06. Nek Salanet by Kit Clayton
This album accompanied me for so many long nights drawing architecture plans. It was also the one that pulled me from drum and bass, which was getting extremely dull at that time to the more technoid side of things. It’s dubby feel, and futuristic vibe is fantastic. Was also really interesting to read there was a connection between him and Juan Mendez (Silent Servant).

07. Sandstorms by Carl Craig
François X showed me this tune and it was an instant love affair, getting me deeper in the sounds from Detroit, which I knew very little of at the time.

08. Affenstunde by Popol Vuh
That album opened to me the world of Krautrock and more cosmic music, I’m still on the journey discovering it.

09. Aste by Ø
On the way home from a party, Chaton/19.454.18.5.25.5.18 sent me to explore the Sahko label. Mika Vaino’s Ø project blew my mind. Perfect minimalism and grooves with a fantastic taste of space. RIP.

10. Second Woman by Second Woman
That recent album really inspires me in how it sounds futuristic both in its sound textures and its rhythms. I hope more music like this will come out.

I’ve got to also mention the following who are having a big impact on me recently, Cerrone, Patrick Cowley, Vakula, Oliver Ho, Nina Kraviz, James Blake, Jonny Nash, Forest Drive West, Ma Spaventi, Cosmin TRG.

 


(“Radio Ga Ga (Live At Wembley)” by Queen)

 
Coming to the end of the small interview we would like to know what‘s coming next. Any releases already scheduled? Some special events?
Since 2017, I’ve started curating events called #OPUS, where I invite artists I like, the last one was with Sandrien at the Folklor, and following this it will be with Blawan at le Zoo in May.

Release-wise, there’s a solo EP coming on the new Dement3dXXX labelwhich I’m really happy with, a track on the upcoming VA of Norite and more than I’m finalizing. I’ll be touring Columbia for the first time in March and I can’t wait to be there!

 

Recommendations:
Opuswerk’ s “Forms Of Multiplicity EP” on Bipolar Disorder
BYLLY’s “Mouth Full Of Sand EP” w/ Opuswerk remix on Bipolar Disorder

 

Exclusive Mix:

 

Tracklist of Exclusive Mix:
01. Varg – Kvarteret Helvetet
02. Convextion – Venus In Spurs
03. Vedomir – Dreams (Marcel Dettmann Remix)
04. T++ – Audio1995#8
05. Wrong Assessment – Rebirth Cosmin TRG remix
06. DJ Sodeyama – TEST PTTRN 014
07. Anastasia Kristensen – Donni
08. Marcellus Pittman – Dirty
09. Shadowax – A & B (Buttechno Remix)
10. Nina Kraviz vs Snazzy – U Ludei Est Pravo!
11. Carl Craig – Angel (Japanese Mix)
12. Forest Drive West – Persistence of Memory, Pt. 2
13. Upsammy – Another Place
14. Ploy – Unruly
15. Simo Cell – Ego Death
16. Echopplex – Your Place (A Made Up Sound Remix)
17. Barker – Cascade Effect
18. Solar Quest – Flying Spirals

 

Websites:
Opuswerk