Hi Troy, what’s up ? How is your year going so far ?
It’s been pretty decent actually, I started the year in hawaii, did a lot of surfing and crossfit with my partner in fitness jesse (heartthrob). Feb/March I was mostly in Los Angeles (more crossfit and amazing food) and finally got back to Berlin in April. I really miss good weather and good food, two things Berlin is in short supply of.
It’s been almost a year since you left Minus in order to fully concentrate on Items & Things. What conclusions can be drawn after this short amount of time ?
It’s been great actually, everyone has been really supportive and encouraging. My personal conclusion, take a chance, step out of your comfort zone.
Regarding the art direction of Items & Things, it must be pretty difficult to take decisions when there are three label heads, so how do you organize for that ?
It’s not so bad actually, luckily we have a great label manager who keep things running smoothly. There is always some back and forth on things but it’s all pretty civil.
You often said that one of your biggest motivations was to put out music that you love on your label, so can you tell us about your musical universe, and what emerges from your various respective influences ?
I have always gravitated towards a more melancholic sound, even the stuff I was into growing up was sort of heavy and dark which didn’t really register at the time… i just liked it. I used to really be into Alice in Chains which seems like crappy grunge metal but recently i went back and listened to some of my favorites from them and I was really surprised how sad/heavy their songs are. That being said I guess my perspective is always a gray cloudy one. In general we try really hard to find unique sounding artist, music with character and a sound all it’s own.
Before this recent shift, we were used to see renowned and experienced artists on Items & Things, such as Click Box, Seth Troxler or Jimmy Edgar. Now the label seems to be more about young upcoming producers, is it a real commitment from you to focus on younger artists and create some kind of « testing ground » for them out of your label ?
Yea totally, we still release stuff from click box and jimmy but we have found a cool group of lesser known artist who are producing what we feel is closer to the sound we imagine for the label so we are happy to push them. Rich really helped push us years ago and it seems only fair to « pay it forward » or whatever you call it… keep our karma golden.
You really seem to have an interest in French producers, as shown by Clement Meyer’s, Darabi’s, Tim Paris’ and Tomas More’s recent releases… Any word on French techno ?
Paris has been really amazing recently, it’s cool to meet people who share similar influences and look and dance music a similar way. In addition to having great taste, they make awesome stuff and are really nice people.
Otherwise we really liked the new visual identity of the label, including the logo and all the artworks. Who’s taking care of it ?
It depends, we have had a few different people coming up with the artwork for each release but at the end of the process it has to go through the three of us and i think thats what has given the identity to the label/releases. Magda, Marc and I debating the fine points of gold foil.
Tell us about the future releases and upcoming projects on Items & Things !
The next release will be our first compilation, Variables. 17 amazing tracks from various artist, some old, some new and some in disguise. Later in the year expect to see some music from magda, danny, madato and hopefully me too!
And more personally, now that you have a « complete » control on your music career, do you have an idea of where you would like to take it ?
I hope to get some more « non » dance music projects going. I like the idea of creating a musical backdrop for film or installations.
Marc Houle recently released his new album on Items & Things… Your first album Gone Astray is five years old, so do you think about releasing a new LP soon ?
Gone Astray was more of a collection of tracks, I don’t really put that in the album category. I will hopefully have an e.p. ready towards the end of the year but a proper album is not in the near future.
How did you get into electronic music, and techno specifically ? What artists or releases had particularly influenced or motivated you to start a career ?
I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. I had friends who went to Detroit/Chicago on the weekends for parties and I just tagged along. I think my single biggest influence has been Rich/Plastikman. From the parties I went to in Detroit to the Sheet One and Consumed albums, those are the things that helped shape my aesthetic.
Tell us about the United States a little bit…You grew up a few hours from Detroit and Chicago, and then I think you lived in New York for a pretty long time. It must’ve been important for your career right ? What can you tell us about the American techno scene ?
I didn’t really have a career when I lived there. It’s hard in the states because there isn’t the same culture of clubbing and dance music as there is in Europe and more specifically Berlin. It’s much different there now, a lot has changed and It’s definitely getting better and better.
No more news from Louderbach since 2009, are you planning to reform the group with Gibby Miller some day ?
We have been working on some new music, I have been spending more time in Los Angeles recently and this has given us the chance to make some progress on things.
And what about Run Stop Restore, is it definitely dead ? One could legitimately think that you would like to revive this project, now that you have your own label with Marc and Magda…
Dead is not the right word, more like taking a super long nap! It would be great but it’s hard enough for all of us to finish our solo stuff. Things have changed so much for all of us since we did the RSR stuff. At the time Marc and I had no gigs, Magda was playing a little bit but we had a lot of free time and very little responsibility. Nowadays it’s the exact opposite, its hard enough for us to all meet for dinner let alone be in the studio together.
At the time of Minus, and especially these last few years, you have experienced large technical installations for your shows with several artists and a lot of material, like during the huge Making Contakt tour for instance… Looking back, it must’ve brought you a lot and opened up new possibilities right ? So in the future, do you plan to work on new live installations with Magda and Marc Houle ?
The Contakt shows were amazing but also huge productions. They were more or less like rock shows with a big team behind the scenes making sure everything runs smoothly. I don’t imagine the three of us taking on anything like that in the near future.
To finish with, what is your best gig memory in 2012 so far ? With the house scene that is constantly growing at the moment, are there any countries in which you particularly like playing, and where people are more receptive to the kind of techno you make ?
I have had some great gigs in Argentina lately, in Buenos Aires at Bahrain and Mar Del Plata. I also have a good connection with Mexico City and Mexico in general. They seem to be into more voodoo than other places.