[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

 

[Music & Interview]: Abyssal Chaos

 

Music & Interview
Abyssal Chaos

 

Introduction:
Abyssal Chaos … Greek based in Berlin and man behind the Advanded Group

 

Interview:

Hi Alex, welcome to your personal edition of „Music & Interview“. Let‘s don’t waste time and start right now. Please tell us something about your childhood & youth. Where were you born and how did you grow up? Into what kind of music did you fall in love when you started listening to music (being a teenager)? When and how did you discover techno? What situation/event had such a strong impact on you that you started to dj and produce?
Hello dear Jurgen. Thanks for the invitation – I love what you do through NovaFuture and that means a lot to me. I was born in beautiful Crete, the big island in Southern Greece, however I moved to Athens when I was still very young. We had a very tough life financial-wise but yet fulfilled with love when I was a kid. When I was 15 I lost my beloved dad in a terrible accident (whose details I don’t want to share publicly) and that in a way led me being homeless. I lived in the streets for quite some time which was nightmarish but yet the biggest school in life. It showed me the very depths of darkness so I can appreciate much more the light now. People who haven’t experienced darkness take some very valuable things for granted and therefore it is way harder for them to become happy. I feel happy everyday for the fact that I have a roof over my head, food to eat and so lovely friends/family. I feel so happy that -maybe as dark techno DJ in Berlin I shouldn’t say this as I’m supposed to be always angry and sad (joke)- I regularly catch myself even singing on the street. That period toughened me up and brought me so much darkness that I now can take this ‘darkness’ (through raw dark techno) and produce light and smiles on the dancefloor.

After I somehow managed to return to “normal” life after living on the streets, and being slightly more mature from other kids at school, I learnt to play drums and I joined a street-punk band called “Τα Αρχιδια” which in Greek means “The Testicles”. That was my first touch with music. I liked punk and classic rock music. A while after my cousin (the son-in-law of my mother’s sister) showed me electronic music through psychedelic/trance. He was the leading member of a psychedelic band called “Space Odyssey” (they had appearances at Transistance and all those big trance compilations). I explored psychedelic/trance for a while but it wasn’t exactly my cup of tea. I wanted something let’s say in between punk/rock and psychedelic/trance. And there the greatest love of my life (alongside Liverpool FC) came: TECHNO!

I was almost 18 when I started going to raves and techno parties. My first ever club night was 14 years ago when I was 17 to 18 at Athens’ most underground club at that time “Luv” which had invited DJ Hell. He blew my head off and that was the start of everything. I started digging techno record labels and artists, started going to more and more techno events and meeting people from clubbers to promoters, and very soon started working first as a PR to techno events. I remember I was getting 1,50 euro for every person I was bringing in my “pay-guestlist” and I was making some bucks. I was doing well and then I started climbing up the Athenian techno scene and by 20 years old I was already a promoter together with some partners. Meanwhile I was focused also in school and I got into a good university where I had started studying business management and marketing. And that’s how I started managing artists and record labels. We were bringing big international names to Athens and some became clients for artist/record-label digital services. The very first one I worked for was UMEK and his label 1605. Then more and more followed with some such as my brother Marco Bailey and his label MB Elektronics (and now also MATERIA) being still with me until today, without stop. At age of 23 I went to UK to take my master and one year later, I moved to Berlin where my music management agency (Advanced) started expanding and my dream kept unveiling itself more and more everyday.

So yes, I started and I was for a long while just label/artist manager, booking agent and event promoter. It was a bit more than 5 years ago when I started exploring DJing/producing and I created the Abyssal Chaos alias. I received some judgement at the start which I understand and accept. Most people were like: “look – the booking agent and promoter who became a dj”. Especially in Berlin, with so many artists existing around who unfortunately see you as “rival”, it can become really toxic. That however made me work harder and harder, and I believe by now, I have made most of them to shut their mouth when it comes to the “Abyssal Chaos” matter. Having said that, I’m having my 30-tracker album out in March and I’m beyond excited to show it that to you!

 

Abyssal Chaos 1
(Abyssal Chaos 2017)

 
Let’s talk about producing. What are your general inspirations for starting the production of a new track? How do you start with a new piece of music? How looks the whole production process?
As stated above, I’m still quite “new” with producing. Just 5 years which for me is still not much. It could be for someone else but for me, that I have to do office work 10-12 hours per day, I haven’t invested that much time as 5 years might imply. Due to my office work I listen to insane amounts of music and every little thing is an inspiration. Sometimes a demo from an unknown artist can be an inspiration. Or a track that I will listen at a club. I get some ideas in my head and then try to make something in the studio. Sometimes something else pops up in that process. So, let’s say that I just “go with the flow” when I work on something.
 


(full length streaming of the EP “Illusions”, Abyssal Chaos’s debut EP on Advanced (Black))

 
One track seems to have a very special meaning for you with a strong message: „FCK NZS“. Could you please tell us something about your reason to compose this one? What is the story behind it? Usually techno is not very political but in the past few months there were several demonstrations in Berlin eg against the right-wing party AfD. Do you think more producers & DJs should stand up and articulate their opinions?
Techno is an expression – of acting/doing/being. I want my music to mean something about me in many ways. And the whole part of me is all the way against fascism, racism, sexism…

Indeed more DJs (especially in rave scene) should stand up for especially a matter like this but honestly I do believe not many want to lose potential fans. Getting out any message like this limits down the target groups of an artist. I knew that releasing this track, right immediately all the techno-lovers who happen to be racists or sexists (oh, the irony…) immediately stopped being my potential fans. In the madness of social media and in an ocean of artists, where artists go hysterically crazy for the numbers of fans, almost everyone wants to get the maximum possible and therefore don’t want to limit down anyone. They just make techno hoping as more as possible people will like it and like their facebook page – no matter who.

Personally, I want to really and intentionally filter my fanbase. I don’t know if it’s right or wrong, in a way techno should be for everyone and some people tell me that I can’t say “far-right party voters are not allowed to listen to me” because it might make me appear one of them BUT I show my middle finger and here is why: The term of democracy is created for and based on high values such as freedom, human rights, acceptance, self-expression and equality – those values are absolutely broken by what the nazis/fascists/racists/sexists represent – it’s the ultimate contradiction. They can’t play a game if they don’t accept/follow its rules, right? That way I exclude far-right fans from my music and that track is there to shout it out loud for me. Techno supports the actual spirit of democracy -freedom, acceptance, equality and unity- way more than any political party. Fascism has no place in the world and I want to shout that out through everything I have – my techno included. In my opinion techno is very political and whoever can’t see this, is ignorant. My personal humble (but maybe wrong) opinion.

 


(Video for Abyssal Chaos’s “FCK NZS”)

 
… back to music itself. You just announced the release of an album for March. What is the idea of it? Is it an album with a specific topic? Is it a bundle of single tracks or did you produce them with the knowledge that they will be part of the album? Is there a difference between producing tracks for an EP and tracks made for an album? Which? A different process? Tell us something about your album please.
Yes my album “Dark Fairytales” will be out 4th of March and it will have 30 tracks. 16 new and 14 of my most-favorite old ones where I will include in the package for a special offer through bandcamp (all 30 tracks for 15 euro). I didn’t try to actual create a “story” in this album even though eventually a story got created. I started creating tracks for the album as I decided to do it over a year ago and those tracks will vary (some more raw, some more hypnotic, some ambient) but no, I can’t say that those tracks have any specific relationship or continuity between each other. As stated above, all track-titles are specific and dedicated to something/someone: to my best friends and to the dog I would take a bullet for, things I love (wolves or ayahuasca), to things I hate (nazis, clowns, system)….
 

Abyssal Chaos 3
(cover artwork of Abyssal Chaos’s album “Dark Fairytales”)

 
You run the Advanced label with the sublabels “Advanced Black” & “Advanced White“, a booking agency and many other music-related services. What is your job at these different companies? How do you select the artists you release on your label and these ones you sign for your booking agency? How important are services like you offer for a young artist in times when you can easily start your own business? Is it necessary to release on a label or sign to an agency to get booked?
My company Advanced Music Management offers all kind of office services a label and artist needs. I do everything needed to help the product (aka label or/and artist) be created such as mastering, distribution, press, PR, promotion, social-media management and then trying to sell them (through booking agency). Some clients I just create (do the management/promotion part only) and I have them at other bigger shops (aka booking agencies) so they can be sold more effectively – some I sell also myself being the booking agent.

Unfortunately (or not – that’s relevant to someone’s success) in our era image does the work and not the music only by itself as it used to be back in the days. Social media image and numbers are highly important for an artist to get bookings and in many cases in the less underground (mainstream) and therefore kind of less educated techno scene it is the only important. Promotion and social media are a necessary evil for someone’s success in our days. I can’t say if I agree or not with this (as underground techno artist possibly not), but yeah – I will be honest, my company makes money out of it.

 

Abyssal Chaos 3
(Advanced logo)

 
In 2018 you started organizing a fetish & sex positive party called “Sweat“ at Polygon in Berlin. Additionally one of your EPs is called BDSM. What is your special interest in this topic? How did the idea of running a fetish party come up and what was your idea of organizing such kind of party? How did you start the organization of it? What things are different in comparison to normal techno parties?
To me, techno and open-spirited sex, are really tied. Techno is hedonism and hedonism is techno. Techno –at least the style I like and play- is very very sexual to me. I want people to let loose and explore all the dimensions of hedonism. I want them to explore the freedom that techno represents with the maximum of their bodies too. I want them to dive in a sphere of hedonism – both acoustic and physical. My first couple SWEAT events in 2018 took place at Polygon but now in 2019 they are moving to another, bigger and more fitting place. I have big plans for it with stellar line-ups and erotic performances, erotic cinema, erotic shops and more surprises (I have the idea of everyone before gets in the club to be given an elegant erotic masquerade mask at the door as long as he pay so the event be more anonymous for those who want). I’ll announce news about it very soon!
 

Abyssal Chaos 3
(facebook banner for “Sweat” party series)

 
Techno sets contains often the tracks of the last 3-6 months. Do you have some favourite tracks/records that inspire you so you play them again and again? Please name 10 of them and tell us why they are important for you.
I do actually a hybrid set so I play tracks that I like as “base” and with ableton I add on top loops or effects or vocals from other tracks/samples, my own kicks or hihats with roland tr8 drummachine (connected with a distortion pedal so I can make usually the kicks even more aggressive) and a roland tb3 to add some (mostly acid) effects. But yeah – you are right indeed, the tracks I use are 80% of the last 3-6 months and plenty of promos that I am lucky to get because of my business. I like to play some old EBM or techno classics (such as from Thomas P. Heckmann or The Horrorist or Front 242 or Front Line Assembly or Nitzer Ebb) and usually towards the end of my sets some new-wave, synth-wave or dark-wave gems that I love.
 


(Video for Nitzer Ebb’s “Murderous”, released in 1987 on Mute)

 
Let’s get more personal. Before being a musician, label manager and booking agent, what did you want to do for your daily living? Did you study a certain profession? You also identify yourself as a wolf. How and when that started?
When I was young I wanted to be a football player. I was in a young team of a big club of Athens. That was going on until I go homeless at age of 15. When I “returned to normal life” I started partying and to enjoy booze/junk-food so I dropped the football-player dream. I wanted for a while to study football science so I can become a coach but that was during my first days exploring techno and eventually techno won 😉

About wolves, I just love them with all my heart. It’s something way beyond than just my spirit animal. Call me crazy, but I really do believe that I have been a wolf in a previous life. I had this attraction since very young kid. If I would see a wolf on TV I would run to hug/touch the screen with a big smile on my face. It’s a kind of recognition. I can’t really explain it. Words can’t describe how much I value and connect myself to the personality/spirit of this animal.

It’s in the wolf’s nature to be kind, sweet, honest, gentle, loyal and loving but when it comes to matters of protecting himself or especially his loved ones, he can be the most relentless wild beast you’ve ever seen. I love that. He can actually be the most cuddly and sensitive creature but also the most wild one – within seconds – depending how anyone treats him. Same with me. Not everyone gets the same version of me. Some will tell you that I’m the sweetest and generously kindest person they have ever met. Some others will tell you that I’m an aggressive asshole. Believe them both. I’ve been giving my everything to the ones that I love but I’ve also fought and took down without mercy or hesitation some very powerful people who tried to harm me or the ones I care for. A wolf is a mirror of someone’s energy/behaviour towards him. Be nice to him and he’ll be 10 times more nice to you – the most loyal, supportive and protective friend. Try to unfairly harm him, and he’ll instantly jump to rip your skin apart. Freedom is my and every wolf’s greatest virtue. I highly value freedom of others so it’s always someone’s choice what will get from me – cuddles or bites. A wolf has two very contrasting sides – white and black – good and bad. It’s wrong to choose just one side as life isn’t only good or only bad. The white wolf and the black wolf inside me are polar opposites and therefore the perfect pair. I have to feed them both so I can survive life.

 


(full stream of Abyssal Chaos’ “White Wolf” from the EP of “The Wolf”, out on Advanced (Black))

 
Originally from Greece you now live in Berlin which is still famous for being cheaper than other cities, for a long and heavy night life, for being a creative city. You don‘t speak fluent German as I know. So please tell us something about your daily life as a foreigner who became a citizen of Berlin. Is it easy to handle all the small things like shopping (I know many of the shop assistants at German supermarkets don‘t speak English fluently)? Always trouble with German „Bürokratie“?
I am coming from a very conservative place in Greece. My hometown is just an island.

Imagine that in my hometown Crete, if you sleep with a girl, he has to marry her otherwise her brother/father will hunt him with a shotgun. I’m not joking. That wasn’t the place for the free-spirited, open-minded and polyamorous me. In Berlin I found my true home. Berlin is not Germany. It’s an utopian magic bubble where everyone from every nation/culture/background/race beautifully co-exist and enjoy the ultimate freedom of acting, doing, being. That’s the magic of Berlin. It is full of colors and contrasts. It’s not a german city and that’s it’s beauty. Before any angry Germans get triggered and start yelling at me things I don’t understand, I mean this for every city/country. Athens misses magic because it’s just mostly a greek city, Rome misses magic because it’s mostly an Italian city, Sydney misses magic because it’s mostly an Australian city and blah blah blah (insert every city here but Berlin). Berlin has no specific identity – it’s nothing and therefore it’s everything. That’s what I love here – that at actual “Berlin-y” parts of city everyone feels accepted and not judged. Personally I don’t feel comfortable at any other metropolitan city in the world. I’m 7 years here and exploring something new almost everyday, still falling in love with this city. Of course I’m aware that it’s located in Germany with german bureaucracy (not a fan…) but I manage do right the things that must be done. Not a biggie. I don’t know if I want to “die” here. My dream is to get a beach house somewhere in the Caribbean side of South/Central America (I’m not far than getting a land in Ecuador which is incredibly cheap) but comparing to city-life which is something I want in the foreseeable future, I can’t change Berlin. Nothing else is not even close. I love being here.

 

Abyssal Chaos 3
(Abyssal Chaos on tour)

 
And already coming to an end of our small feature I would like to know more about your future. Except the album: are there any releases planned? Any special gigs or parties? A new edition of „Sweat“?
The highlights so far are:
My album which is coming in early March, an “album remixes” release where 10 great friends/artists will pick a track out of the album and remix it (I did a similar release recently with my productions so far – it’s out since last month called Abyssal Chaos – The Remixes EP), some planned album-release label nights in Berlin/Stuttgart/Rome/Amsterdam/London/Athens (and more to be confirmed), my south/central America tour in October through our new project Klubnacht which aims to promote Berlin club culture/sound at other places in the world with already confirmed gigs in Brazil-Argentina-Colombia, my SWEAT events and some other extra nights in Berlin. I have in general several gigs lined up at places that I was looking forward to play such as ://aboutblank, Tresor and Sisyphos.

Follow my facebook page to be updated with news 🙂

 

Recommendations:
Abyssal Chaos’ album “Dark Fairytales” on Advanced (Black)
Abyssal Chaos’ “Unicorns On Acid” on Advanced (Black)
Abyssal Chaos’ “BDSM EP” on Advanced (Black)
Space DJz’ “Hidden Systems LP” on Advanced (Black)
Kevin De Vries’ “We Are All Prisoners EP” on Advanced (Black)

 

Exclusive Mix:

 

Tracklist of Exclusive Mix:
01. Abyssal Chaos – Through Darkness Comes Light
02. Rezystor – Shut You Down
03. SNTS – Violence and Force / Loyalty and Devotion
04. Abyssal Chaos – Unicorns on Acid
05. Abyssal Chaos – Litany Of Curses
06. Corroid – Wenn Eine Maschine
07. Mayeul – Allnite
08. Ethan Fawkes – Forget The Sunrise
09. Delectro – Mechanic
10. Adult. – Irregular Pleasure
11. Crystal Geometry – Social Injustice
12. Kotai – BA3 Breathing (Len Faki Hardspace Mix)
13. Halo Effect – Melt My Brain (Abyssal Chaos Remix)
14. The Horrorist – The Hell You Love

 

Booking:
MainFrame Artists

 

Websites:
Abyssal Chaos