Nearly two decades since sending Adam Beyer his demo, UMEK finally gets Drumcode debut.

Hailing from Slovenia, UMEK is a well-loved techno luminary. Having pioneered his label 1605, since 2008, for his new release Footmachine UMEK is in unchartered territory as he’s making his Drumcode debut.

It’s a story of persistence as Footmachine comes approximately two decades after
first sending Adam Beyer a demo for the label. That’s right, kids, two decades. So don’t ever give up!

As you might expect from UMEK it’s a peak-time floor filler and interesting UMEK used AI to create the vocal line.

Footmachine artwork

Why music?

Music moves people, and it’s a miracle.

If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing?

I don’t want to imagine this. Making music is the biggest part of my life.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Good things take time. Always be patient.

What inspires you?

All forms of good electronic music.

What’s the next big thing?

My new release ‘’Footmachine’’ on Drumcode.

Best club experience?

I’ve had so many over the past 30 years… I would never try to decide, haha.

What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?

I was moving furniture as a summer job before I became a professional artist.

Since I had only these two jobs, the furniture was by far the worst…

How do you know when a track’s finished?

When the track creates the right energy on the dance floor.

There are too many covers and reinterpretations of songs my age. Having fresh versions of those songs is nice, but you cannot build your career on other artists' compositions.

What was your last day job, and when did you realise you could give it up?

The furniture thing. But I always knew that music and techno would be my life so I quit as soon as possible.

Which song do you wish you wrote?

“Footmachine” by UMEK (oops, I did, haha!)

What’s the easiest way to make it in the music industry?

Keep on releasing good music!

“If you pick a crappy sample, or let’s say, an average sample, no magic in the world’s going to bring it up to the level you want” – UMEK

What’s the worst track you’ve ever released?

I can’t remember releasing a bad song.

Recommend us a film.

Wolf Of Wall Street.

Recommend us a book.

Honestly, I don’t read that much, so I have no recommendation from my side.

What or who is underrated?

All Drumcode and 1605 artists!

What or who is overrated?

Artist careers that are built only on cover songs.

What are you addicted to?

Sneakers and techno.

What do you lust over?

Making good music.

What is your greatest regret?

Nothing. I would do everything the same way again.

What one thing would most improve your life?

Also, nothing. I’m totally happy with my life!

What’s the worst gig you’ve ever played?

Every show is unique in its own way. If there has been a bad show, it must have been back in my starter days.

Collaboration: rich creative experience or pain in the ass?

Depends on the collaboration artist. But most of the time, it’s a great experience.

What’s the secret to a great mix?

Choose quality samples.

If you could only listen to one more track, what would it be?

’Footmachine’’ for sure!

How do you relax?

In the studio or at the beach with my family.

What one piece of software/kit could you not do without? Why?

Obviously, speakers, otherwise I couldn’t hear what I was doing haha.

Art or money?

Both is important.

Ronaldo or Messi?

I’m not a big football fan, but I’d say Ronaldo.

Strangest place you ever wrote a track?

I guess on the plane. I like to produce in my studio, so everything else feels weird.

Must-visit record store?

I can’t decide, I’ve visited a lot!

What’s your single biggest frustration in the music industry?

There are too many covers and reinterpretations of songs my age.

Having fresh versions of those songs is nice, but you cannot build your career on other artists’ compositions.

What’s your favourite label? Why?

This must be Drumcode haha! But honestly, I’m a big fan of Adam Beyer, so Drumcode. And for sure, my own label 1605.

What’s the worst thing about making music?

If you’re stuck with an idea and don’t know how to proceed.

What’s your motto?

Quality over quantity.

Name something timeless

Techno. It will always be there for us.

Tweet us a tip. What’s the best production advice you can give in 140 characters or less?

I’m going to extend the advice I gave you up there. 

Everybody is looking for perfection in the mix and asking, where did you do the mastering? Where did you do this? Where did you do that? 

And they don’t realize that mixing and mastering starts with selecting the samples. 

So if you pick a crappy sample, or let’s say, an average sample, no magic in the world’s going to bring it up to the level you want. 

You can always, you know, fix it. Maybe you can take it to a higher level. Let’s say bring it up a notch or two, but that’s it.  

It’s not going to be perfect. So, pick the right sounds and how you do it. It just takes time and practice.  

Complete this sentence: At heart I’m just a frustrated …

Techno lover. But not frustrated at all.

If someone saw a performance of yours in 1000 years, what do you think they would they say?

I mean, not that I’m trying not to value what I do. But I would say we’ve been that stupid in a thousand years, right?  I think so. Even though, to this day, I don’t think so. But you know, a lot can happen in a thousand years.

Can music change the world?

I‘m sure that music has already done that. 

I don’t think it can end the war, but it can make you happy. 

It can take you from a really bad mood to a really good mood.  And that, to me, is a miracle.

What are you listening to right now?

A new plant43 release. It’s an amazing record.  I’m always buying some new electro vinyl.

What should you do before you die? Travel more and more and more

I actually think you should have a big, big, big bucket list and try to fulfil as many wishes as you can.

’Footmachine’ by UMEK is out now on Drumcode.

Find UMEK on Instagram.

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20th July, 2023

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