Archives for posts with tag: Germany

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I welcome new energy. It’s a chance to keep things interesting, and push towards a collective evolution. Very recently, I reached out to the new Kremwerk club in Seattle. I asked about booking, sent over my mixes, and subsequently starting talking with Austin Stone. I enjoyed my interactions with him and was very intrigued by this new place. He has kindly asked me to play this week with fellow DJ/Producer Møss on February 27th. After seeing the club for the first time and getting a tour from Austin, I knew that his words and actions should be shared with more people. So here we are.. 

DD What inspired you to move from Berlin to Seattle?

AS Berlin had the art, music and lifestyle I dreamed about, but I had an opportunity to contribute what I loved and bring something to the Seattle community instead of just feeding off of a vibrant oasis in Europe. Several of my mentors and heroes inspired me to make the move, a chance I wouldn’t get again, and a path that would yield for not only me but a greater network of artists and people.

I had not lived in Seattle for more than a few months before, but I have several family members who live here so there was a great foundation of support to cushion the move and grow once I planted my own roots.

DD What was the process to build this new club called Kremwerk? I talked with you about it the other day, and it’s been quite the journey yeah?

AS The original space was about six dingy apartments that had various anarchists, night-crawlers, and moles in a windowless low ceiling basement. The other partners of the club, Nicole Stone and Henry Waltke leveled the entire floor about six feet to redo the plumbing and lay a new concrete slab. They wanted a fresh start for a new vibrant space. Everything is a new build and design, provided by Nicole and Henry of Kremwerk.

I came in May 2013 to help with the build, design and concept of the club. We went through various designs and concepts, but decided an electronic venue with my recent Berlin inspirations would be pragmatic, and tremendous amount of fun to create and prolong. Nicole built out the space, Henry handled running the business, and I helped with networking for bookings.

There were several challenges to overcome through the city, family/personal illness, and unknown logistics to open the venue. But Henry, Nicole and I all kept our cool and patience to wait for our announcement in Winter and start events. Now that we are up and running there is a shift for all of us to adapt from daytime build into nightlife management. It has been a tremendous endeavor, altruistically inspiring, and so much joy to be here. I would do it again in an instant!

KREMWERKxDD#2

DD How would you describe the aesthetic of the place?

AS Kremwerk is an industrial German electronic nightclub; there is minimal form and color that accents our robust concrete, steel, and wood build out. Kremwerk looks tough but feels soft. Color is big part of the space, everything is indirect lighting that builds on our textures and surfaces. The space is also modular; every light and object moves or changes to fit the theme of the night, we want every event and experience to be special.

Kremwerk makes extensive and complex behind the scene development look simple, natural and effortless. There is a feeling of awe and freshness throughout the entire space.

DD I’m curious about your own artistic background. Stuff you do/have done with music..

AS I started writing contemporary chamber music and then incorporated electronic elements to further explore abstract listening. This lead to creating multimedia works with generative programming and complex electronic synthesis. While studying music production at Berklee College of Music I began throwing events off campus with a collective of other artists called ElecSonic. Eventually I pursued mastering and high end production for film and surround. At that point I moved to Berlin to write and experience music, and worked at a new media arts venue currently at KunstWerk called FEED. I also worked at Scape Mastering with Stefan Betke aka Pole and focused on serious electronic music production.

Currently I am keeping a few high energy dance tracks on the outgoing, and I always take on a few mix down edits or mastering projects for others. Eventually once the heat rises we will be aiming to start releasing material from Kremwerk.

DD Who are some artists that have influenced your expression the most?

AS To name a few of many: Monolake, Pole, Bronski Beat, Motor City Drum Ensemble, Emika, Tarik Barri, Hercules and Love Affair, Os Mutantes, M.Constant, Wheez-ie

* Austin will have new self released productions in March

Kremwerk – Facebook

Austin Stone – Soundcloud

– Jimi Jaxon

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When I listen to Phon.o, some wonderful things happen. The stable, confident sense of rhythm invites me to move, and the emotional vulnerability calls for a deeper experience. His productions meld with my sensitive personality and my desire to feel something real. It’s a combination of approaches that I find most impressive, and this man has it down. We talk about his newest release on 50 Weapons (Modeselektor’s label), his thoughts on channeling emotions as a producer, his free Live Pack for Ableton and my favorite track of his, “Fukushima”..

 

DD Hello Phon.o. Thank you for taking time to talk with me on Disco Droppings.

P.O Hi Jimi. 

DD You have a new release on 50 Weapons. It’s a nice balance between the dark, emotional “Schn33” and the more fun, upbeat “Go”. What goes into choosing which tracks get released? Did you know these were the ones you wanted to put out, or was it more of a collaborative effort with Modeselektor (heads of the label) sorting through a lot of your productions and deciding these were the ones?

P.O When I work on songs, I leave the sketches for several days and go back to them to check if they’re worth arranging into a full-length. In this case I was very happy with these tracks and was sure they’d come out great if I arranged them well. So in the end, I did these 2 songs and gave them to Modeselektor. They liked them immediately which was great. There were just a few hints Gernot gave me concerning the levels of the rides in “Schn33”. But that was all he had to “criticize”.

 

DD My recent feelings of loneliness and introspection have helped me connect to your “Black Boulder” album. It sits right between coldness and things shifting towards the positive..

P.O Somehow, I am always suffering when I am doing music, because I think “oh damn… that’s not good enough” or “is it worth releasing?” and so on. I guess this kind of fight with myself has an affect on my music. It’s a good and necessary struggle you find yourself in as a musician. I love to make songs and not just tracks especially for an album. That means I always use melodies or harmonic progressions to create songs. And for sure, I love melodies :] I need to get an emotional moment in the studio while I am working on songs. I can’t just do a rhythm. It would be boring for me.

 

DD I’m really enjoying the sounds included in your free Live Pack for Ableton. You mentioned in your Ableton interview that about half of the sounds used in “Black Boulder” are included here. Some artists can be very protective of the sounds and samples used in their tracks, what to you is the benefit of being more open-handed?

P.O Yes, it’s true that a lot of artists protect their samples. I don’t understand, because with drum samples you can’t make songs or create impressive ideas. And that is what matters in the end. I see the drum samples just as a tool and I am happy if people can use a sound here and there. I was never interested in creating a blue print sound for myself. I just do what I like and if people come afterwards and tell me that it’s a typical “Phon.o sound” I am happy. I guess this comes how I do the songs, the beats and how I mix them at the end.

 

DD I opened a recent set of mine with your track “Fukushima”. It is refreshing to see dance music reflect society as this track does. The emotional and dire intensity you’ve created, matches the real life events surrounding the title. Was this a deliberate connection? 

P.O When I did the sketch for this song this big disaster was happening at Fukushima. I just saved the project with “Fukushima” as a working title. Months later I opened it up and realized that there was some drama going on and that the name fit really well. I added the sample “save me” to emphasize this dramatic feeling of the synths and it was done. I am a political or better yet quite critical person, but I don’t often put political content in my music. Here and there but not too often.

 

DD What do you hope to accomplish in the remainder of 2013?

P.O I start working on my album after my holidays and hope to finish it in autumn. Besides that, U am working on a great project with a singer and musician called “Born in Flamez”. I am doing co-production for it. It’s very interesting to me, because its musically very different and more arty. I will learn a lot.

 

Phon.o – Facebook Twitter Soundcloud

50weapons.com

– Jimi Jaxon

As you’ll read below, I got the opportunity to talk with a major influence of mine. Alex Bau overseas the evolution of the techno sound, as one of Germany’s most intriguing exports. A few years ago, Alex made his way to my ears with his End Of The Bleep release on Credo. I’ve carried those songs with me ever since, along with the absolutely brilliant Red Chromosome release on CLR. When I think of techno that gets me hyped, Alex Bau is at the top of the list. In my interview, we cover clubs to visit in Germany, his huge output of new music in October of this year, why he calls his remixes “repaints” and what “The Holy Bassdrum” means to him. Listen up..

 

DD Greetings Alex! I’m honored to have you on Disco Droppings. You are my favorite techno producer. I’m amazed by the style and energy of your productions. How’s it going? 

AB I am fine, the year comes to an end soon and it was again very exciting, time flies…

DD I’ve never been to your home country of Germany. Where would you send me for good music, if I traveled over there? 

AB Hm, tough question. 99% would expect me to probably tell you “You have to visit Berlin…” blablabla… but to be honest, in terms of electronic music there are so many nice places to visit, but also a lot of chances to end up at shitty parties – also in Berlin. I can only speak for myself, and I’ve had amazing nights in lots of places all over the country, but let’s make it short and easy to follow: if you like real techno you can find good nights at Cologne’s “Kunstpark” or “Arttheater” as well as for example at Stuttgart’s “Lehmann”, but of course, also in Berlin at spots like “Tresor” or “Berghain”.

DD During this month of October 2012, I see you appearing on 7 releases (many of these are Beatport exclusives). Three of these contain originals (Gamma Connection EP, Unsquare, No Destination EP), one showcases an original collaboration (Brood Techno002 – Brood Collaborations, “Ripples”) and the rest are remixes (Opulence Repaint). Was this huge output of releases in a short period intentional? 

AB To be honest, it went off the plan a little bit! Almost all of the stuff you mentioned was produced throughout the whole year, including some stuff to come, but it ended up being released at the same time in fall. I don’t know if this is good or bad, it’s just as it is. I am 100% behind all those productions, no matter if they’re originals or remixes. Of course, my own label Credo with the Unsquare EP as part of the Credo Black Series is my special baby somehow!

 

DD I see you calling many of your remixes “Repaints”. Does your approach as a producer call for this other kind of description? Or is this just for fun? 

AB Haha, actually you are the first to ask me this question, and I am really happy that there is someone out there thinking about it! There is a story about it! My label “Credo” stands for techno in a classic sense, which means for me to have always danceable, but at the same time interesting and emotional, colorful music. Simply the sound I believe in – as the latin name says: credo! I ended up with a subtitle for the label which says “Colors. Not Shades.”, so in this respect I always try to repaint others tracks with my personal colors. Call me crazy, but that’s the story behind it. 

DD I recently included your “Red Chromosome (Flashback Mix)” track in my set for Decibel Festival 2012 in Seattle. That’s my favorite production of yours, and I layered “Azealia Banks – Fierce” over it. This is a dark, sexy house track with some tough rhymes. Do you step outside techno as well, both as an influence and in your sets? 

AB I am kid from the 80’s, my first musical influence is the typical sound of the 80’s, and this includes a lot of early electronic music too of course! Different stuff, from Anne Clark, John Foxx, Nitzer Ebb, Front 242, Tears for Fears and of course also Depeche Mode and The Cure. Very dark music as you can see, but also “exotic” music from Jan Hammer, his soundtrack for Miami Vice was very influential for me. I experienced that the farther you play outside of Germany, DJ’s are more wildstyle, which can be kind of fresh, but sometimes also cruel. I have to check out the track you mentioned, I can tell you afterwards if I consider this to be innovative or cruel :-]. Even though I play techno in my sets, I am always happy when I find good tracks from other genres, though I think house became a little bit boring over the last year, due to the inflational output. All the same grooves, all the same sounds. I love good sound, so… Jack had a groove, in the beginning there was house, but there is a reason why house became techno one day! ;-]

 

DD I read this quote from you, “The search for The Holy Bassdrum drives me all the time, so be sure, it’s not over until I’ve found it”. How much of this search is a technical one, and how much of it is an emotional/spiritual one? 

AB As I said, I am addicted to sound. I love to create my special sound, always trying to make even common samples sound special. The bassdrum is the key, it determines where the track is going to, so there is no general rule, it’s a very emotional thing. On some track you better use a more soft-sounding 808 Kick, on others it has to pound and hit hard with a distorted 909. That’s what makes it that difficult! There is no “holy bassdrum”, there is only one holy bassdrum for one single track.

DD What’s helped you stay focused? 

AB I am very focussed on what I try to represent with my music, I am like a little kid as soon as I finished a new track, I can’t wait to play it out – really loud! This music comes from the danecfloor and is done for the dancefloor, so it has to work well on the dancefloor. This is what I keep in mind all the time. I also love dubby techno and even chillout tracks, but there are loads of producers who are much better on this than me. On the other side, I am getting more and more secure with what I do and the way I do it. And this is techno!

DD What’s on the way for Alex Bau?

AB Right now I am working on my second DVD, coming out in December, which includes some new music. It’s about my Australian tour in September. Very exciting film material and a truly authentic insight on the real touring life, not acted scenes, just true life on tour and great pictures from the spots I have been to. The first DVD last year was about Buenos Aires and was anticipated very well. I discovered my love for the movie stuff, so I thought Australia would be a nice opportunity to repeat this. It’s a lot of work, as I decided also to distribute it on my own; no other company involved except the label. This helps me to keep control of everything. There will be a new release on Credo shortly before the DVD, the “Austrapop” EP with two tracks “Sydney Acid” and “Melbourne Dub”. The idea came when I was standing in front of a traffic light waiting to cross the street in Sydney, and the traffic light did some really nice sounds, so… :-]

 

Alex Bau – Facebook Twitter Youtube

alexbau.de

– Jimi Jaxon 

Goin hard tonight. This young producer is crafting a massive techno sound. Welcome to his world..

 

DD When I hear your tracks and Gesaffelstein’s, I get similar feelings. Which is rad because I feel he’s one of the freshest dance producers around! Who do you feel influences Etnik the most?

E I like listening to every genre and I get influenced by all of them. Over the last months I remixed songs for rock bands, pop acts and fellow techno producers, and right now I‘m working on a track that has a typical hip hop beat.

DD This “Summer” remix got the Skrillex bump a little while back. And I’m sure your plays skyrocketed immediately. The 8-bit, high pitched synth melody is growing on me. I feel it’s a distinguishing feature of yours. Is this your first interaction with Skrillex? How are you enjoying the new boost in fans? 

E Well, yes it’s my first interaction with Skrillex, although we’re both signed to the same label and booking agency in Germany. But I was thrilled when I first heard about his post on facebook, because it allows me to reach so many new people, that had never heard of me before. The track on my soundcloud page now has over 100000 plays.

 

DD Is there a community of producers you’re connected with in Germany?

E Yes, they are called friends. Two of them are Mendoza and Shakes Milano – it’s kinda cool, because they also do electronic music but more releaxed stuff then I do.

DD Do you have any releases planned for 2012?

E There are many things planned for 2012. I’ll have a free EP coming out in the end of March via Australian label Trashbags and I’m working on the next release after that right now. Also, I have a couple of festival gigs confirmed. 

 

DD Would you say there are certain themes associated to Etnik? Are there any major non-musical influences? 

E I’d say fashion and art. I like it when these two components come together

DD How would you encourage all the young producers out there like yourself, that are trying to establish themselves? 

E If you produce your own music everyday you can’t get worse over time, you only get experiences so keep making music, don’t stop.

 Etnik – Soundcloud Facebook Twitter

– Jimi Jaxon