So Ibiza was an obvious choice given your gigs this summer, but what other things do you think about when deciding where to live? Do you worry about having a studio, perhaps?
That was one thing that was really annoying for a very long time. I was working in my last home in Berlin and had a home studio set up in our living room. I moved, got a divorce, left Berlin and was on the move but didn’t wanna move all my machines ’cause I needed to get out and discover other things. It was clear to me I didn’t want to live in Berlin the rest of my life, that was something I never planned to do. But moving with a studio is difficult ’cause you can’t move it to different cities, obviously.
Then, working with a laptop is something I’ve never tried doing – or wanted to do – so I tried it. I got the newest version of Live or whatever but it’s just not me. I don’t enjoy working on a laptop. The Vienna apartment was too small, so then I decided to find people around the world that I connect and can work with, and that’s what I’m doing now. I’m working with someone in Geneva and someone in Ibiza now, and that’s the best solution.
Does that account for your recent dearth of productions, then?
Does that worry you?
No, I don’t worry about it at all because I’m not making music [just] to please people! I have to have my heart in it and feel there’s a point. I’m starting to feel it again now. I’m not an experiment person, though; I don’t go to play with machines but to express myself. If I do something, I’ll do it – start it and finish it and then it’s done. It’s always productive when I go in the studio, so I’m not worried about it.
I wonder if you have the dancefloor and your own DJ experiences in mind when you make something like the recent Parris Mitchell remix?
Funnily enough, no. I don’t really. I remember having this discussion with [Basic Channel’s] Mark Ernestus. We were talking about how you make tracks. He’s doing different things and not doing techno any more and I guess if you are a producer, and figure out how to do a house track or a techno track or whatever, you might get bored of it ’cause you figure out how to really nail it.
For me I don’t know how to do that. I listen to everything just as music, I don’t know if that makes sense? I know how to use house and techno tracks as tools as a DJ, but as a producer I try to have as little in my mind as possible. I just like drums and sounds. I try to regulate my mind not to think and not to have anything in my head at all.
As a producer I try to have as little in my mind as possible. I try to regulate my mind not to think.
Is that something you do when DJing as well, then?
Yes, I try to as much as possible. I mean, the last years have been extremely hectic and challenging and it’s not always possible. But I try to leave myself alone when DJing as much as possible. That’s probably the only thing in life where I’m completely at ease and not too worried about stuff, not too human.
Has your DJ style changed as you’ve learnt more things and played more places? Your calendar is chock full, so does that drive you to want to change it up from night to night?
Not really. On the contrary, I find the more I play the better. Sometimes when you’re tired or technical requirements aren’t great, it’s difficult to play a great set. But I think the more experience you have, the more variety of gigs you have, the more you can use what you’ve learnt from the various situations.
Yeah, that variation is interesting. You seem to be in a rare position where you can play a massive festival like Global Gathering in Carl Cox’s tent, and in the same weekend play to the heads at Panorama Bar.
Yeah, I’m very happy about that. It took hard work to get there. I get great enjoyment from doing both; I’m a DJ, it’s what I want to do. I always make it clear to myself – what am I doing, why am I doing this, because it’s tough. You always want to enjoy what you’re doing and the more successful I get, that isn’t going to change. You can make more money but the job and task itself is always the same, so I try to analyse and figure out what it is a DJ is supposed to be doing, so when you get to the core of it, it doesn’t matter if it’s for three people or 50,000.
Are you conscious of the crowd’s different backgrounds? The Berlin people are likely more choosy than those in a field in Staffordshire…
Definitely. I mean, yeah, the people can be geekier, but I have it all – people you think will be geeky but who are oblivious at an after hours, and the more appreciative – maybe not geeky – but a crowd really going for it at a festival in Germany. I think you can have both in both camps. What was interesting was Dimensions festival. The floor I played was not as big as the main floor, or Carl’s at Global Gathering, but there was a geeky vibe as well as a party vibe. It was a nice combination and the more people you can combine, the more vibes and tastes, the better it is for your set. If you have people that can rave and enjoy a festival as well as music that gets a bit deeper, then that’s better.
If you’re doing what I’m doing as an artist or creative person, we’re all control freaks even if we seem mad. You have to be in order to live your life every day and travel and get on with it. But it’s extremely important to not get stuck and I guess that’s why I’m also keen on challenging myself and leaving my comfort zone.
The more vibes and tastes, the better it is for your set. If you have people that can rave and enjoy a festival as well as music that gets a bit deeper, then that's better.