A Sit Down With DJ Bro Safari

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 Over the years, technology has transitioned from samplers to multiple instances of digital judder, but Weiller’s appetite for the sonic fringes is no less voracious. His pitch-bent sound design has established him as a forward-thinking producer of cathartic, harmonics-enriched bangers, while his dynamic sets have made him a North American mainstage mainstay.

“If I could say one thing, I would say don’t look at the status quo and think that that’s what you need to be”.

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Can you tell me a little bit about your musical background before you started as Bro Safari?

 I started DJing and producing around 1998 or 1999 and I was in a group called Evol Intent and we made drum n bass with two other guys and I’m still a part of that group actually. That’s what I mainly did leading up to launching Bro Safari. Before that, growing up, I mainly played in bands. I played guitar, bass guitar, and drums growing up.

How do you balance all of these projects and not get stuck with a bunch of half-finished ideas?

I just try to keep things moving. I can’t say that I’m afraid of a song not getting finished; I have thousands of unfinished songs on my various hard drives from over the years. Sometimes, you have to scratch away the dirt on the surface to find something valuable. If that means that I have to make 173 terrible track ideas just to make one that turns into an actual song, then that’s fine with me. I know other producers that absolutely must finish everything they start, and I admire that. For me, that just doesn’t work. I am constantly changing my workflow, and it’s always a party for me in the studio. As far as balancing everything? WORK HARD. Simple answer.

Do you have any standout moments?

 There’s always those shows that will really surprise you. Last weekend we were in Grand Rapids, up in Michigan, and none of us really knew what to expect having never played there before. Maybe because it’s up near where Electric Forest is and there’s just a lot of people into that music out there, but it was just a completely packed house and a really great show with excellent promoters. Just everything across the line was awesome at that show.

When producing, do you spend much time considering live sets and crowds? 

I spent a lot of time thinking about the crowd too much, to the point I felt I lost sight of what I was doing for a while: Was I trying to please myself, my fans, my peers, or just trying to become a better producer? Now that I had the realization… I’ve put that aside and made very intentional tones and sounds to inject in my songs.

 What do you find hard about collaborating with other people?

Not doing it in the same room is always weird. I think when you’re in the room with somebody, you have a good idea and you can bounce it off of them a lot quicker. Right now, Party Favor and I are trying to get a collab going, but we haven’t quite hit it yet because we’re all set on an idea and he’s like, yea that’s cool, but then without being in the same room together, it’s just kind of hard to brainstorm around the original concept. So it’s basically up to one of us to kick it all off and then we can go from there. That’s probably the hardest part.

Do you think it`s different perfoming for a solely colledge-based crowd?

For a college-based crowd, it’s definitely different. Everyone is there to party, that’s just the nature. On top of that, the venue is typically smaller, which I love. I love to perform in 200-300 [person] capped rooms. It’s fun because it’s more like a house party. It’s also refreshing coming off of festivals. It’s a completely different experience because of the massive crowds. It’s difficult to connect because you can’t see if everyone is into [the show] because it’s intimidatingly large. I definitely like smaller shows and college towns.

You were talking about Evol Intent… How do you keep up with that project and simultaneously maintain your very busy solo career?

The best way to do it is to not play the shows. I don’t really play the gigs, but I work on the music because drum ‘n’ bass is just something I can’t stop working on. 

What tracks and artists are the current weapons of choice?

I’d say Dion Timmer is a sick producer, and we have a collaboration on my EP. His production reflects his sensibility of catchy, off-kilter, heavy, dubstep-trap hybrids. Barely Alive is another set of versatile producers with technical abilities that are amazing. And another I’d shout out is Tisoki—he has an interesting vibe and is a technically gifted producer.

Do you see the bubble of electronic music bursting or do you see it continuing to rise?

I honestly have no idea.  It’s a movement in it’s own and it seems to have already lasted longer than most fads in the music industry going back to the 90’s with grunge which as an example was huge for a time but than slowly petered off. Now you have artists like Skrillex who have been relevant for 5-6 years and have been making it happen for themselves consistently staying as big as he was. Obviously, if the music stays stagnant, the genre is going to die. However, like we were just talking about, people are really pushing the boundaries right now and whether the fans will follow and get a little more weird with us remains to be seen at the moment.

Any  advice for up-and-coming producers?

Don’t look at your favorite artist and say, “I want to be them,” and then follow their path and think that’s gonna get you there. The only thing that’s going to bring you success as a producer is sticking to your guns and making the songs you want to make… If you start thinking, “It’s about branding, it’s about this, it’s about my merch, it’s about how I interact on social media,” … You’re fucked. You want to make sure that you’re always making the music that you want to make and playing the DJ sets you want to play, or else what’s the point? Are you just doing it to be popular? My point is to assess where you’re at and think about what you want. Do you want to be a producer who has longevity? Do you want to be a DJ who’s popular? You know what I mean? Because now being a producer means being a producer/DJ if you really want to make it big. One thing that I can say for sure is that, if you don’t keep it up and if you don’t keep putting out original music that you’re really proud of, it’s gonna go away, it will disappear, and you won’t have anything left. It’s important to be humble, be good to the people who book you to play shows, who want to work with you… Just be good to everyone around you, stick to your guns, and focus on making good music.

 

A Sit Down With DJ Ben Klock

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Klock’s underlying motivations for DJing are as strong today as ever. There is an insatiable hunger when he talks, an underlying passion that can stem only from a profound love for what he does. He sits up and smiles as he describes the feeling of “goosebumps” when he “drops the right track at the right time’ and forms a “deep connection with the crowd,” before pausing to bask in the moment, as if revisiting it in his own head.

“I still see DJing as about 20 percent as a job, but 80 percent as doing what I love—or trying to achieve a vision.

 Of course, there is a business side to it, but I still need to feel the core of it; I still need to feel the passion for it, If there are times where I don’t really feel the energy then I have to adjust quickly because then my role as a DJ won’t work. I have to have passion for it otherwise I cannot be good. Criticism is far more common today than it used to be, but I have had to learn to deal with it because if you get too much involved in this it drags your attention away from what is important. But I do not doubt my ability to be a DJ because I know that I can be amazing; I have had so many amazing shows and special moments, like magic moments—but there will always be times when it doesn’t click.

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How was your daily life in recent years? You did not really produce, it was more a matter of being ready and fit for each date?

When you travel so much, it’s almost impossible to make music. If you play four days in a row, then you have to get back, take care of the mass of emails, meet your agent, and then you’re back on the plane. For a while, I also thought that my musical creation was DJing and I put everything in there. You can sometimes see it as arrangement, almost production, and I also edit a lot of pieces. But it’s time to change and find a balance with production, and by the way take me a few weekends of rest.

What did you do before you became a DJ?

My first job ever as a kid was handing out flyers for clubs on the street, followed by being a Santa Claus for Mars and Snickers. I did many things: sold Olives at a market, did factory work, was a call center agent, I did child-minding, was a street musician with a guitar, a bartender, all kinds of things. As a serious, full-time job, I was graphic designer for a couple of years.

You have become, perhaps in spite of yourself, an icon. It’s interesting that you talk about responsibility. 

Sometimes I do not think about it, especially right now. I was on vacation six weeks, completely cut off from it all. It’s a bit strange for me because I see techno as a community: we share an idea, it is not about stars. But I must say that it makes me think more, and that I sometimes do it twice before choosing certain directions. When you become better known, you have more opportunities to go right or left. It is therefore necessary to choose well. It starts with the collaborations, the festivals where you play or not. Sometimes there is more money in some but the place does not match.

What do you do to keep your stamina up for those kinds of sets?

Nothing really. A bit of champagne and some coffee. When the flow is there, I just enjoy the long sets. Others can sleep for 13 hours, I can play for 13 hours.

Do you practice meditation, yoga, that sort of thing? 

I do yoga, but it never lasts long. Meditation, however, I do practically every day, I think it helps to maintain a balance. It also helps to get to the bottom of things. I think we must try to go beyond superficiality, try to find meaning in one’s life, and realize one’s potential.

How do you assess your creativity?

I hope that I can bring a few colors into the music world, not more. I think it’s all there, we’re not inventing anything new, just re-assembling elements, or combining them in our own, unique and special way. My color is definitely deeper and darker, but always somehow sexy. I’m not particularly interested in trends. For me, it is important that you find your own voice and what you really want to do. I am happy when I see that I can inspire others to find their own way. 

Why don`t you have a manager?

I work with people, but in the end it’s me making decisions and stuff. When you have a manager and they’re deciding for you—I never really got that. I have an assistant who does some of a manager’s job, but I want to be in charge of my profile or artistic direction. I’m not the kind of person who can give that away to someone else.

Name a track that always seems to work on the dancefloor.

At the moment, it’s Robert Hood’s new version of “Never Grow Old.” To be precise, it’s Hood’s alias as Floorplan. I love it, and it lifts the energy to a strong emotional level.

Club residencies seem like they’re becoming a little less popular around the world. What do you think about it?

I think it teaches you a lot if you have a residency—I always think I can go deeper and more intense because of those longer sets, and you read the crowd better and learn things you couldn’t if you just play quick two-hour sets all over the world. You maybe learn something different [with shorter sets], but [don’t have] that intensity. You also learn to present something new every month for people who always come to see you. If you just travel all the time, you can kind of play the same sets everywhere because there are new people everywhere. Residencies challenge you, definitely.

What do you make of the so-called ‘Berghain sound’? Are you glad it has become known over the world or…  is it more of a curse?

I think the term is limiting. The Berghain sound is something to be experienced, and encompasses much more than how it’s often described – that is, heavy bass drums, a dark atmosphere and drone sounds.

What do you think about the state of techno right now as a whole? 

There are always eras where things are copied and everything kind of sounds the same, and it gets a bit mechanical. I think you just have to have authentic artists and unique voices that have their own style, and not care so much about wanting to sound like this and that. As soon as you have that “copy, copy, copy” thing, then it gets boring and is dangerous for the techno scene, because at some point it gets stuck without any life in it anymore. 

Was there someone who mentored you a little bit?

Not really. You have to learn on your own in a way.

A Sit Down With DJ Nick Curly

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“…electronic music is on it´s highest level at the moment”.

With a signature groove-based sound, moving through deep and tech-house to techno and back again, Nick’s reputation now stands as a guaranteed stamp of quality for DJs and dance-floor devotees worldwide. As a Producer, he has released recently on the likes of Drumcode, Mobilee, and Second State, while his own 8bit imprint continues to be the backbone of a prolific production schedule (including his forthcoming “Amnezia” EP). As a DJ, Nick Curly is a globe trotter with upcoming appearances at Fabric, Pacha Ibiza, Fuse Festival, Off Week, and Sonus Festival.

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 What’s you’re opinion on the current state of House music?

On one point i would say, house and electronic music is on it´s highest level at the moment, but on the other side I must say I miss the real house music , like the old good house tracks, that we had on Strictly and Defected back in the days.

How do you construct a year in Dance music given your hand in multiple aspects of the industry? Do you have a template for dividing up your year?

If I had a template for my year I think I would I would end up missing all the fun! The thing with dance music is every year is different and there are so many new parties and new ideas the scenery is always evolving. My team and me take our time to assess the right options of course but there is no template to breaking up the year. We go with the flow and enjoy the diversity of the industry and it`s ideas.

What are your thoughts on the change of popularity towards techno music and where do you see the industry today?

I think the industry is still growing, especially overseas. EDM is past its prime and more people are turning towards techno as an alternative. The European festivals are getting bigger each year and the music is more sophisticated, Adam’s imprint plays a big role in this. It’s great to have released on both Truesoul and Drumcode and I hope this trend goes on for a while. 

You have a substantial worldwide tour coming up to promote your album, are there any personal highlights on that long list of events for you?

The tour looks really good, I’m super happy about that and I think my agent did a great job. There are always some gigs that are special – Time Warp on home turf, and I’m really looking forward to play China and Japan again. Colombia and Peru are definitely highlights too.

Speaking of travelling, sometimes I feel that the aspect gets a bit lost in the touring life, especially given the multi platform approach to success in nightlife these days. Do you feel like you view it differently to when you first started?

Travelling can often be the hardest part of the job. Going straight from the club on no sleep to an early morning flight, averaging 5 flights a weekend it is difficult. On the flip side though its one of the best parts of the DJ lifestyle. I am so lucky to experience the places I have. When you arrive the promoters look after you and often take you to the hidden gems of the city where the locals not the tourists enjoy and you et to see and experience so many different things. I guess what it really comes down to is this; no one likes sitting on a plane or a train for 14 hours but the pain of being crunched in a tiny Ryanair economy seat, squashed between the incredible Hulk and King Kong is worth it when you touch down and get to explore something new.

What do you think makes his Labyrinth concept so unique in comparison to others on the island?

I think Labyrinth will mark another big step in his career and will bring another outstanding night to the island that will give some of the heavy weights a run for their money. Daley has done well with the line ups getting in Techno titans at the top of their game alongside some house legends such as Sasha, David Morales and John Digweed.

What is the meaning behind the title of the album, ‘Between The Lines’?

I think it represents how I see myself fit in as an artist. Of course I am German, but not perhaps 100% German orientated in terms of the work I put out, or my general mentality. I spend a lot of time touring and playing in the UK, the US and around the world, and sometimes I feel that I don’t really belong in one particular place – and the same goes for my music.

Tell us a little bit about you & Defected.

 Defected had signed and re-released my album “Between The Lines”. Since that time we have a good relationship which I feel very happy about. Also I’ve played some great gigs with them in Ibiza, Ministry and some other cool clubs around the globe.

Actually, what is the idea behind TRUST? 

The idea behind Trust is that we use our many years of experience of clubs to create our idea of the perfect party. For sure it’s a work in progress but the reaction so far from people is great, especially during our off-week event in Barcelona every June. This party is the definitive Trust event.

What part of the production process did you find most difficult?

For me, the most difficult task is making sure the track or the loop that started the whole process is still interesting at the end. You don’t want it to become dull or boring after the second or third listen. The best tracks you can hear 10, 20, 100 times and they still sound new and fresh. It is very important that you can feel the track and the idea from start to finish.

Tracklist:

Nick Curly – Reverie – 8Bit Records
Gorge – It´s Time ( Nick Curly Remix ) – Mobilee
Nick Curly – Libero – Cocoon Recordings
Nick Curly & Steffen Deux – Phasor – Knee Deep in Sound
Nick Curly & Dubnitzky – nach eins kommt 2 ( Andomat 300 Remix ) – SDL Music
Nick Curly feat Yaccelil – Perpetuo – 8Bit Records
Nick Curly – Rack and Run – 8Bit Records
Nick Curly – Amnezia – 8Bit Records
John Creamer & Stephane K – Ah Whey ( Nick Curly Remix) – Stereo
Nick Curly – Second Lick – 8Bit Records
Nick Curly – still not sorry – 8Bit Records
Nick Curly Helter Skelter – Truesoul

A Sit Down With DJ Blank&Jones

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The chart success of Blank & Jones is partially based on their club-gigs, radio shows and other live-performances including events such as Love-Parade, StreetParade and Mayday. The success is further boosted by their activeness as moderators on Eins Live-TV and by being the Co-host on Viva-Clubrotation.

When asked about the key to their success, their response is:

“We do everything digitally, on the basis of Final Scratch, which allows us to use our own edits and mixes, nothing comes straight from tape. Every set we play is unique, not only sound-wise but also in terms of what we play and how we play it. Roughly 60% of our set consists of our own repertoire, as where better to present our own material than via the DJ decks”.

 Piet Blank is also the host of the Club Mix that is aired on international flights by Lufthansa, where he hosts a two-hour radio show that shows different artists such as Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs and Fritz Kalkbrenner. The show is hosted in German as well as in English.Blank & Jones perform at major festivals and raves in Germany, the Netherlands, Poland and Russia. They also travel further afield on a regular basis, to Canada, Mexico, South America and Australia. They released their latest single entitled “Miracle Cure” on May 30, 2008, off their new studio album The Logic of Pleasure which is a collaboration with New Order‘s frontman Bernard Sumner. This collaboration was realised with the help of renowned Berlin based record producer Mark Reeder who is a long term friend of Sumner’s. Blank & Jones invited Reeder to remix “Miracle Cure” and this in turn, brought about their collaboration with him and a new project was conceived. This resulted in Reeder completely reworking most of the Blank & Jones vocal tracks for the successful and highly acclaimed 2009 album “Reordered”.

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How do you guys, feell about the direction the music is headed?

We’re really excited about the fusion of styles that’s becoming more prevalent. We think becoming too entrenched in one style is what can bring about the downfall and in order to be moving forward you have to always be on the lookout for the next big thing.

Did the performance in the cathedral make you more famous?

We are not frozen in awe, but there is a respect. Even before the acoustic events, for electronic music is the acoustics not so optimal. But this challenge was rather inspiring. And it was fun to add new elements like choral singing to our music. It is about experiencing this whole art work on the spot: the light installation, the sound, is supposed to spread a certain magic. We want to make the cathedral appear in a new interpretation.

You are also an expert on the musical decade of the 80s. What had this decade what the others did not have? 

The 80s were a very exciting decade where musically much experimentation was made and a number of very good bands and singers were produced. Since we were able to spend our youth in this decade, it has naturally shaped us strongly. Since we were already very busy with music, we have a profound knowledge of the music of the time.

 What is the recipe of this success ?

We can not judge that so well. Maybe it is because we are the same generation as the other “die-hard” 80s fans. We were teenagers in the 80s and have changed that quite differently and that was simply the defining decade for us. 
Surely the fans notice this. We have the plates really all on the shelf, partially bought then bought, partly later on flea markets, exchanges, etc. The main motivation was always synonymous selfish: We just wanted to have a chic 80s product on the table and there is not much else to this day.

How has advanced digitalization changed your profession? 

One can speak of a revolution, on the production of music, as well as on marketing and distribution as a label. Here too, there are always two sides of the coin: it has never been easier to publish music, but it is much harder to make a voice heard.

What is digital music for you?

It’s just a contemporary interpretation. This music is indeed the classic of tomorrow. The Cathedral has inspired us very much to this music. We have dealt with church music and tried to transfer parts into modern, contemporary music.

You’ve worked with many heroes of your youth like Robert Smith, Anne Clark, Bernard Sumner, or Boy George in the past and for your “so8os” series. Who has impressed you the most?

To be able to work with our heroes of the 80s is of course a very special honor as we are also fans (laugh). Basically one can say that all artists from this time were very relaxed and gave us creatively completely free hand. But Robert Smith of The Cure was the coolest of all, as he has a very fine English sense of humor. We are still in contact today.

 Are there any bands or songs that you want to have on your compilation since the beginning but have not worked so far yet?

Of course DEPECHE MODE . This has so half-folded. There was the great mash-up mix of “Route 66” and “Behind the Wheel” on the digital version of so8os 2 or “Strangelove” in the maxi mix on the so8os 1 . This was because they were released at EMI, which in 2009 was the homebase of Mute Records. There were unfortunately no rights for our CD version on Soundcolours. The same was then unfortunately in 2012 again the case: For Sony compilations like “Formula One” there were the titles, for us not (at the time the Depeche Mode catalog had just changed to Sony). But we do not give up and stay tuned.

Where is your favorite place to play?

We love playing Poland, it’s such a young country. The general population there is so young and fun. They work really hard but they know how to play really hard as well.

A Sit Down With DJ Stanton Warriors

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Stanton Warriors make bass music; intentionally vague and un-pigeonholable bass music. The Bristolian only constant is unbridled heavy low frequencies. Whether that be house, electro or anything between depends on what side of the bed they get out of. They’re also one of the most envied remix outfits having reworked M.I.A., Basement Jaxx, Fatboy Slim, The Streets, Gorillaz, and Daft Punk to name a few.

 Like so many other innovative UK acts, the duo took recognisable templates such as house, breakbeat and techno and crafted something unique, a sound of their own and one that was undeniably British. Over four such compilations and countless remixes they have not so much honed their style as they have explored the furthest reaches of its brash, party-fuelled possibilities. Their music has been called big beat, breaks, garage and UK bass. They have influenced many of today’s biggest UK bass contributors and high profile genres leaders such as Disclosure are very vocal in their indebtedness to the West Country duo.  

“…dance music industry of late has become more about brands, cliques, money and who you know pushing it further from its acid house roots based on music not marketing.”

 

 How did you guys get in touch with electronic dance music in the first place, how did you meet and what made you team up?

I was working as A & R at an early garage label called 51st recordings and Mark was the in house engineer. I had some ideas and we went in the studio there one night and Stanton warriors was born! It was always our intention to have our own sound and from 1997 to today we still strive to keep that ethos.

Who are your musical influences?

Funk, Soul, Jazz, Electro, Disco and all things that came from these sounds.

What do you prefer making, remixes or originals?

Remixes are certainly easier to do but nothing gives you more satisfaction than dropping an original tune for the first time and the crowd going off. We have done a shed load of remixes saying that. It was nice to get recognised by Mixmag in their top 20 remixers of all time list as well.

Where do you guys dig to find most of your music these days?

A lot of digging! The tracks that make it into our sets come from such a wide range of sources from labels like dirtybird through to Black Butter. It’s a great time for broken beats and bass music. There is a lot of cookie cutter type music out there at the mo’ so finding and playing tunes like these loud keeps us engaged. We also have our label Punks Music where we try and sign and support a lot of these tracks.

What was the best and the worst gig you ever played and what was the funniest thing ever occurred during any of your performances? 

Best gig in recent memory was burning man a few years back with a huge crowd of people going crazy in the Nevada desert. The worst has to be a festival in Australia where someone stole my record bag from the back stage dressing room!

What has been your most memorable experience while touring?

Playing at Shambhalla in Cananda one year. The show was outdoors under a meteor shower, illuminated by some kind of northern lights light show up in the sky!

Has experimentation been important?

Yeah, just for our own sanity. You don’t want to sit down in the studio and go, “What’s everyone else doing?” We like making tunes that we wanna hear, try to originate and not duplicate.

 At times, next generation dance music that comes from other parts of the world can sound like updated, but still remarkably similar versions to what’s gone before. What you can say  about the next generation dance music from the UK?

So, for me, dance music has always been about stuff that was really different and not just a drummer and a guitarist moaning about his life or whatever. It’s got radical sounds and the different feel that comes with that. So I’ve always taken that into the studio with me whenever I’m making tunes, let’s try and make something a bit different. When everything went electro-house we were called electro-house, oh look, this dubstep thing’s happening, let’s make some dubstep. We’ve avoided that by going, what do we want to hear today? We can only really talk for ourselves really for the fact that, if you’re gonna try and make some music, you’ve got to try and make something that no-one’s heard before. You might not always hit it, it might not always be the right thing, but at least you’re not just making a sanitised version of something that has already gone before. So I think it’s always important to aim towards that feeling, whether you get there or not. That is the essence of dance music, in my opinion.

And what would you like to get up to outside of the shows?

See some of the sharks… Go to the beach… Drink beer… Put some shrimp on the barbie… Get some sun… Compare my pasty body to all the ripped dudes on Bondi Beach… In reality, it’s probably all about DJing, eating and sleeping, because when you do these tours and you’ve got a gig at night, sleep’s a premium. You’ve got to keep your energy levels up for the gig, so everything does revolve around them, but the gigs are amazing.

 What advice would you give to other young people looking to succeed in the industry?

Be original and you are more likely to get recognised. There is too much of the same out there.