With this week's mix series addition, comes another accompanying interview. Our good friend Jon Snow sat down with one of Berlin's best fist-pumpers.
You are an up and coming techno producer, sitting in the studio of Josh Vox in Berlin. Give us a little intro about yourself.
I started making music from quite a young age; I started drumming when I was 9 and had my first school band when I was 12-13 years old, we were all doing typical high school punk rock shit. After a while, I came back to other music like jazz and funk, so I started playing in a 50-person big band when my teacher saw I was interested. We did covers of Glenn Miller and stuff. I recognised the electronic aspect when I started playing with different bands and we started going to clubs like Tresor, even whilst I still played in metal bands. It was quite cool to see that one person would be able to influence the music, instead of a whole band.
It must’ve been wild growing up with all these influences in Berlin, and the whole early techno scene. I never had that growing up.
Yeah, at that time you didn’t have as many expectations. You just went to the club and wanted to rave. I already had my own projects on my computer, just making electronic stuff, not necessarily techno. I was using Cubase. My teacher at school gave me 20 diskettes to install it cause there wasn’t enough space on each diskette. It was very important for me to mess around with samples, I was never a synthesiser guy. When you work with samples, you have a lot of noise to work with creatively. Surely you have more parameters with synthesisers, the dirty character and signature sounds...but I like manipulating a sample to the point where you don’t recognise what it is.
Are there any specific artists that helped influence you to find your sound? Any current artists?
My releases are quite different. On Animal Farm, I go for more minimalistic drums and percussion, but with a focus on the synthesisers. On ARTS, it’s more about bringing forth the warehouse sounds and grooves. I like doing concept EPs and albums with specific directions.
Tell us about your own label.
I was getting sent a lot of demos, but at one point it got annoying to have to wait for other people to have to put out music. I wanted to take things into my own hands, basically. We got a nice distribution deal at Hardwax, and a friend of mine said, “hey, do you wanna celebrate with a party at Tresor?”
It was all great really, and what I learned from this is that you realise that people that run bigger labels really don’t have time to respond to every demo, especially when some are sent hundreds a day.
How many releases have you had?
Our third release is due to be out on digital. The fourth one is going to be vinyl again.
Do you have any plans to put out more music on ARTS soon?
I’m still quite in touch with Emmanuel, he’s a really nice guy. I’ll often send him stuff but without any expectation attached to it. I get that labels can be busy. My workflow these days lends itself to producing an EP with a concept, and then deciding whether I’ll release it on my own or pursue sending it out.
How do you feel about the mix you did for Loose Lips?
I’m quite happy with it. It’s got some of my own tracks, unreleased as well. I would say it’s a strong mix for me because it’s a hybrid DJ set. I used Ableton, an APC40 and an MK2. I like the freedom of wanting to remove a kick drum and replacing it with one I prefer. Of course, with a Roland TR8 it’s very nice to be in control of the groove. Some people feel more in control with synthesisers, but I feel like I’m a groove guy. That’s what I like about the Fruity Loops layout sometimes.
When you produce music, do you have any personalised templates set up in your DAW?
It’s important that I can get into the writing process immediately. When I open Fruity Loops, I’ve set it up to have 4 master channels, which is something you couldn’t do on other DAWs. I routed every channel to different master channels, and I have a ducking channel to use for side-chaining as well. I use group channels to separate percussion and other elements.
What’s your first step when producing?
That’s a good question. I start with specific elements, so sometimes I’ll start with a synthesiser, or other times I’ll spend hours perfecting the drum loop and eventually saving it to my own library. I like messing with samples as well, I can be on there for hours just putting so many effects on it until you can’t recognise the original.
We’re really excited to see what the future holds for you. We met up with Progression (Blueprint, MORD) and he’s spoken very highly of you when we asked him about the remix he’s doing for you. He says you’re one of his favourite producers at the moment. It’s good to see that you’re almost finished with school and you’ll have more time now.
Yeah, I never felt like this was something I had to rush, you know? I didn’t want to put out release after release and just keep going out and networking. Patience is a virtue, and this way I can have more quality control over what I do.