Few producers and DJs navigate the depths, textures and nuances of 4/4 techno as deftly and elegantly as Berghain resident, Marcel Fengler. As mainstay in one of the world’s most respected clubs, the Berlin-based artist has carved out a sonic niche for himself, which is as singular as it is instantly recognizable. It’s no secret that banging techno is back with a pounding vengeance, and with mixes and increasingly high-profile appearances at Resident Advisor, XLR8R and Boiler Room, Marcel would currently seem to be reaping the rewards of his enduringly uncompromising creative stance. We had a chat with the talented techno stalwart ahead of his gig at London’s preeminent clubbing attraction, the ever-excellent Fabric.
Thing are afoot in the city of Copenhagen. Soulful things. Melancholy things. Grimey, UK Garage-y, house and techno things. At the outermost forefront of all these things you’ll find Rare Nights, a young, intimidatingly switched-on crew of DJs, producers and promoters, operating out of the Danish capital whose bookings, productions and DJ sets are gaining them quite a bit of attention on the Copenhagen club circuit.
Channeling a wealth of delectably disjointed influences from the classic, krauty machine-funk of Kraftwerk to the downcast post-punk of Bauhaus, Radioactive Man’s latest release on rising imprint, Reinhardt Records, sees one of electronic music’s most vital creative forces doing what he does best: provide the analogue-hungry public with pulsating, impeccably crafted, many-sided electro jams. We sat down with the London-based artist for a chat about his new EP, sound engineering and his favorite hardware.
House/techno duo wilma are Jeppe Willumsen and Dan Madsen from Copenhagen, two local boys who recently got handed the best possible start to their new house musical venture; after sending a few tracks to German, bearded dance music giant, Prosumer, they were suddenly informed that wilma would be included in his upcoming Fabric mix and get signed to his new label, Potion. Things never happen that straightforwardly in an industry where people will often do questionable things to get ahead and you have an infinite number of aspiring DJ/producers all clawing their way to the top (vinyl clenched in teeth) for that coveted spot in the big club DJ booth. In this particular case, however, it just plain did. We went to wilma’s Nørrebro-based studio to get the inside scoop on Copenhagen’s latest, rising up-and-comers.
Wedidit member, LA-based producer and dance music powerhouse Groundislava recently released ‘Frozen Throne’, a deeply conceptual LP filled with icy, trance-tinted, synth-laden RnB, and inviting retro-futurist leanings. This complex electronic album steeped in dystopianism tickled our sci-fi fancy and we couldn’t help being intrigued by its overt nostalgia for times that never were – which meant that we had to fire some questions at the American producer to find out what it was all about. Step this way for Groundislava's views on cyberpunk, what kind of equipment he uses and a top 5 of his favorite 90s trance hits.
Our affable friends at the Let’s Play House label are up to their old New York tricks again. This time they come equipped with Emperor Machine, and a slew of NYC collaborators for an EP that’s quintessentially New York.
Trevor Jackson is a man who thinks about his place in the world. The London-based creative's output, whether that's music, large-scale interactive projects at London’s ICA or subtly subversive record covers, actually tells you something meaningful about the current state of things. It has that all too rare ability to make you think. As the head of legendary imprint, the very aptly titled, Output Recordings, his constant compulsion to push the envelope within music and graphic design has influenced a generation of young creatives despite the absence of a discernable recurring aesthetic. The consistently uncompromising conceptual approach to his art would seem to be what has the up and comers paying attention. As you might imagine, he has a million projects going on all at once. When we met him at his East London studio for a chat, it was actually hard to know where to begin; we detected more than a few interesting topics when Trevor started talking. In the end we decided to focus on his arresting latest artistic venture: ‘Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow, Forever’ and went on to discuss physicality in music and today’s transient convenience mentality.
Nikolaj Manuel Vonsild and Kristian Finne Kristensen AKA Cancer are two talented, thoughtful men from Denmark. Nikolaj is the lead singer with the soaring voice in When Saints go Machine and Kristians’ solo project Chorus Grant has been making waves with its earnest and affecting folk-tinted rock. Together they are Cancer, a duo which provokes thought and delights ears in equal measure through its remarkable name and piercingly delicate, stripped-down melodies where production value and good, old fashioned musicianship take center stage alongside ethereal lyrics and a raw, emotionally charged sound palette. We caught up with the Copenhagen-based band in their practice space for a chat about the beauty in grief, their creative process - and their fondness of 'gross' soft rock.
In 2013 FaltyDL released his album Hardcourage, with a real concern for what people would think about his music. Now only a year and a half later, the New York-based producer and label owner has dropped his fourth album In The Wild - a rich voyage through sample-based jazz, hardcore, and unorthodox drum & bass. This album was apparently the easiest album for FaltyDL to make, the most challenging for some people to listen to, and the favorite of many reviewers. Dunkel Radio’s Najaaraq Vestbirk caught up with FaltyDL last week, prior to his gig at the STRØM Festival for a talk about transit fans, Japanese drug culture, and his experiments with science fiction.
In this series we'll be asking a variety of names from the scene to point out who and what they believe is being overlooked, so they get a chance to big up the stuff that deserves more attention. For this edition Najaaraq caught up with Benjamin Damage who delivered an impressive techno set at this years STRØM Festival in Copenhagen. The Welsh producer, who releases on Modeselektor’s imprint 50Weapons, unveils some strong selections in this installment of Overlooked.
Our New York-based contributor, Sabrina, digs deep into the inner workings of Joakim's creative process in an extensive interview, focusing on the gifted French producer's ambitious, challenging and ultimately extremely rewarding new album, "Tropics of Love."
When Nathan Fake released his game-changing debut at the age of 19, it was a genuine moment in electronic music. Signaling an ethereal, new direction, the then upcoming talent knocked the wind of out electronic music fans and critics alike with his incredible, wide-eye-inducing wall of overpowering synths and forward-thinking production. And 2012’s ’Steam Days’, a gloriously crackling mess of electronic static swept generously in grand soaring melodies, proved, once again, that there really isn’t anyone quite like the Norfolk-native known as Nathan Fake. We’ve been fans of Nathan’s for quite a while and saw fit to send him a few questions, which he was nice enough to answer. Here’s what he had to say about inspirations, 'good rave synths' and his new label, Cambria Instruments.
Annie Hall is a DJ, producer and vinyl cutter based in Windsor, Canada. She lives in Detroit Underground HQ, and from her home she can look down on Detroit, a city that has evidently shaped her output as a producer; whether she is making complex IDM, possessing techno, or lush classic electro. Three years ago Hall and her partner Kero invested in “the machine”, as she refers to it, the invention that allows the couple to cut vinyl from the comfort of their own home. Dunkel Radio’s Najaaraq Vestbirk caught up with Hall for a chat about her love for classic electro, her business with producer E.R.P and this rare vinyl cutting machine.
Dunkel Radio will welcome DJ Richard and Anders Vendelbo into the studio to talk about their experiences running their respective labels, White Material and Nord Records.
There’s a new kid in town. More specifically, Berlin. His name is Max Graef, he makes the city's densest, dustiest, most mood-altering, jazz-influenced beats - and he is actually sort of still a kid at the tender age of 21. We had a chat with the promising young wunderkind about jazz, the inspirations that went into creating his delectable new game-changer of an album - and paying for beers you didn’t necessarily drink.
When Glenn Branca, one of the most prolific and prominent voices to come out of New York’s late 70s - 80s musical avant-garde, speaks you really should listen. Not only because his uncompromising attitude to musical experimentation is considered to be one of the main forerunners of bands like Sonic Youth, but also for the reason that his singular, wonderfully winding and fucked up take on the guitar sounds as fresh and relevant today as it did some 30-40 years ago. Provinding an insight into the artistic subconscious that contributed significantly to tearing open the fabric of popular music, this short but sweet interview with the Louisiana Channel is also good for a few shrewdly perceptive, creative truths along the way.
Emma caught up with French producer Low Jack before his set at Culture Box for Untitled Tricks. He talks a bit about making an album for L.I.E.S and his relationship with Ron Morelli, his local scene in Paris and his own musical progression. He also gives us some insider info on the inspiration and sound for his next record for In Paradisum.
In this series we'll be asking a variety of names from the scene to point out who and what they believe is being overlooked, so they get a chance to big up the stuff that deserves more attention. For this edition Najaaraq caught up with KiNK, the Bulgarian with an enthusiasm for Detroit techno, who toured so much over the past year that ‘music almost started to feel like work’. Here providing some illuminative tips on overlooked music.
It’s no secret that dubstep has had a hard couple of years amongst music connoisseurs, after the ‘brostep’ branch of the EDM explosion in the states left it with some pretty unpleasant connotations. Many of its former devotees have now switched to more socially acceptable soundstreams in techno, old-school electro and ‘outsider house’. But in Copenhagen we have one young Dane who refuses to abandon his beloved sound. Ruben Dag Nielsen, undoubtedly Denmark’s most prolific dubstep producer, has tossed out records on international labels like Biscuit Factory, Boka, New World Audio and All Out Dubstep and frequently tours outside of Denmark. I stopped by his apartment in Copenhagen NV for a chat about his new imprint Circle Vision, childhood memories of drum machines and his thoughts on the end of the internet.
I first encountered Oracy one morning in Panorama Bar, the house-oriented top floor of everyone's favourite monolithic temple of techno. The first track he dropped was a particularly demanding 90s-sounding rave number, as if to present a challenge: accept it and dance, or disappear. And some did - maybe 30 percent of the floor emptied out, but the brave ones who stayed were subject to something stunning: his set was diverse, soulful and utterly ballsy. Behind the moniker stands German Thomas Wendel, who you may be familiar with as techno connoisseur Don Williams, or the man behind the imprints Mojuba, a.r.t.less and Wandering. On the 25th of October we’ll be bringing this bold Berliner to Jolene Bar, Copenhagen, for our Dunkel Radio party. We decided to catch up with him before his visit, for a chat about where his journey with electronic music started and how he developed his esthetic on DJing. We even managed to uncover some very promising news about a future Convextion release on a.r.t.less...
Picture a guy who graduated university over a decade ago, sitting in the basement of a student dorm. Now picture that guy doing a radio show called Beats in Space. Different image? Thought so. True, Tim Sweeney has America’s longest-running college radio show. But Beats in Space is iconic, so synonymous with the underground dance music scene, it’s easy to forget its humble roots as a student radio show or the fact that every Tuesday you can find the host at WNYU’s studio located below a university dining hall. And when I say every Tuesday, I mean it. BIS recently celebrated 14 years. And Tim has never missed a week. The stuff of legend, perhaps, but urban myth it is not—he once finished the full two-and-a-half hours with a bad case of the flu (I saw it with my very own eyes.) It was then I realized: there are people who love music. And then there is Tim Sweeney. In a rare moment when he wasn’t on the air or in the air, flying to a gig, I had the chance to talk to Tim about upcoming projects and the beloved show listeners keep tuning into, week after week, looking to hear what they know they won’t find anywhere else.
In this series we'll be asking a variety of names from the scene to point out who and what they believe is being overlooked, so they get a chance to big up the stuff that they think deserves more attention. To kick things off, Najaaraq spoke to two of the UK’s most exciting producers right now: techno champions Blawan and Pariah, after their live set as collaborative project Karenn at PHONO Festival last month.
Ever since his childhood, Yosi Horikawa has always been the DIY type. At just thirteen he spent most of his time with his tape recorder, recording and overdubbing different elements onto tape, using his headphones as a microphone. Now, although his setup has changed substantially, the same inventive attitude prevails in his work. Horikawa has more recently been keen on field recording and using organic elements in his music, like creating soundscapes of forest rain to rhythms using the sound of bubbles. We caught up with the Japanese experimental producer after his astonishing performance at PHONO Festival and had a talk about reunion with nature, his home country, and Bento.
The words “atmospheric” and “spacious” aren’t typically used to describe dance music. Neither are comparisons to the ambience of Arthur Russell with accents of Balearic rhythms and drum-machine soul. Good thing Fort Romeau isn’t typical. His music defies categorization, which is paramount to his success. And what success it’s been: since releasing his debut LP Kingdoms on LA record label “100% Silk” last year, Mike Greene, the man behind the moniker, has received widespread acclaim for his seriously fresh take on dance music, marked by smooth hints of old-school Chicago House. 2013 saw the release of singles SW09 on Spectral and Jetée/Desire on Ghostly International, followed by this month’s release of EP Stay True, whose title track is a seven-minute dance odyssey of epic proportions. In a sense, Fort Romeau is bringing house music to the home. He is one of the few artists capable of capturing the raw energy of a long night in a warehouse through your desk speakers, without sacrificing his signature sleek production and dream-like, sophisticated sound. And it’s not just his music that’s provocative: it’s also his opinions. I had the chance to chat with the artist about his upcoming LP, his creative process, and that whole digital vs vinyl debate. He had a lot to say.
"I never really planned this music career, I thought it was impossible..." says Parisian producer, Arnaud Bernard at his Soundcheck. With his unique take on hip-hop, which first ignited his interest in music as a record-collecting ten-year-old, and his ear for unusual samples, Onra has become one of the world’s most sought-after producers. Now signed to Fools Gold Records and after six studio albums, including the game-changing ‘Chinoiseries’ which was crafted from samples of Chinese and Vietnamese records he had discovered whilst travelling, Onra talks Marvin Gaye, playing Budapest, combined with footage from his sell-out second time in Australia.
On the latest episode of Pensado’s Place, the acclaimed online go-to for audio engineering knowledge hosted by grammy-winning engineer, Dave Pensado and music connoisseur Herb Trawick, Young Guru talks about his part in making Empire State of Mind a worldwide hit, ‘matching your skills to the sound’ and how to handle the pressure of the music biz. Mandatory viewing for upcoming and aspiring producers and engineers.
When Steven Warwick, a.k.a. Heatsick, invited me to interview him at his Bella Sky hotel room, I bolted. Arriving in Copenhagen two years ago, I stayed for two weeks at the Danhostel Amager in the shadow of Bella Centre’s strangely askew towers. Rarely since have I had the occasion to revisit this chillingly bland monument to international wealth, tucked away in the back of an island built on the city’s overgrown former floating trash dump. The hotel’s uniquely vertical nature always stuck out in my mind while journeying through Copenhagen’s flat horizontal cityscape.
FACT TV spent last weekend at the very promising Dekmantel Festival in Amsterdam where they soaked up the vibes and shone their knowing camera light on one of the most interesting electronic producers of the 21st century. Tune in for a concise dissection of the Dutch electronic music scene as well as a few truth bombs on the state of Ibizan tech-house.
The capable guys and gals at Slices interview the Berghain resident who is arguably one of the most important techno DJs of our generation. Over the course of the in-depth interview, Slices make Marcel spill the beans on his EBM influences, his thoughts on futurism in electronic music - and the ‘basic feeling’ or ‘grundgefühl’ of wearing leather jackets. Go and ahead and watch, you most certainly will not regret it.
Svengalisghost makes dystrophic, acidic techno, comparable to a more distorted Levon Vincent, but his music still manages to be uniquely jaunty, savage and incredibly danceable all at the same time. This is something he certainly managed to prove during his live set at this year’s Distortion Festival. He arrived to an empty floor, but during the hour-long set managed to pack the tent with enthusiastic Copenhagen ravers. Najaaraq sat down with the refreshingly candid producer from the reputable NYC imprint L.I.E.S. for a spacy talk about his risky existence in the underworld of Mexico City and the essentiality of dancing.