Our guide to techno at Sonar and off-Sonar, Barcelona 2013
Sonar is on the horizon! It runs 13th to the 15th June and with it comes a huge amount of electronic acts to the city for the festival itself and the unofficial off-Sonar events… here´s our pick of what to go to in Barcelona that weekend….
Wednesday: Moog Club is without doubt the beating heart of our city´s techno scene, open every night of the week with techno, (proper) electro or acid house guest DJs. Its well worth a visit any time, but especially during Sonar Week which kicks off with a Clone Jack for Daze session on the 12th. More info at https://www.facebook.com/events/123938297810270/
Thursday daytime there´s an R&S Party ( http://www.residentadvisor.net/event.aspx?467560 ) headlined by Juan Atkins amongst a huge varied line from the R&S roster. It´s in the north of the city in Forum near the sea which allows for a Chiringuito (beach bar) crawl back to the city centre in time for the evening, rude not to.
Thursday night sees Spanish techno heavyweight Oscar Mulero headline Pullproxy´s party with Developer, Patrik Skoog and Underground Resistance´s Dj Skurge at the infamous, intimate Moog Club. This will no doubt sell out early, luckily on the same night Tresor are putting on a showcase at a warehouse in Poble Nou (a short taxi / medium walk from the centre) with Basic Channel´s Moritz Von Oswald, Octave One (Live), Dj Hell, Regis and more… for info see http://www.residentadvisor.net/event.aspx?473448.
Other stuff, buying records, drinking etc: If you’re looking to buy records Discos Paradiso is your best bet which is on Carrer Ferlandina near the MACBA museum where Sonar by Day used to be. Subwax is also nearby. Avoid Las Ramblas like the plague, unless of course you´re looking to eat over priced food and get pick pocketed. Barceloneta is a great part of town to stay and its a good bet for booze and seafood by the beach. The best beaches are to the north of the city (go to the sea, turn left!), they’ll certainly be less crowed than the city centre ones.
Got any recommendations of what’s going over Sonar? feel free to leave us a comment below or tweet us @technopodcast
For our third Youtubing feature we´re honoured to talk to Paul Mac, one of the UK’s true techno heroes since the mid nineties, a man with a huge discography, multiple aliases, a handful of labels, aswell as collaborative studio projects with the likes of Ben Sims. We talk to him about current favourites and classic influences as he launches his new label Tactical this week…..
How did you get into music and what’s the first track(s) that made you want to take music seriously ?
As with most people started to get into music seriously at about 13 or 14 I’m guessing. Can quite clearly remember trying to do pause button edits of Electro tracks and the like. Stuff like Cybotron , the Aldo Marin & Jerry Calliste produced tracks on Cutting were huge influences along with Cut & Paste style mixes from Double D & Steinski. For me personally Lesson 3 is the most important record I ever heard. Could go on for ages about records from back then but these are perhaps the most obvious ones.
Please tell us about your new label, what´s it all about, and forthcoming releases…
For some reason I felt it was time I did a vinyl based label again and wanted to have a fresh start rather than just carrying on with one of my older labels. So Tactical is the result of that the first release out April 22nd is by myself with a remix from Kamikaze Space Programme who is someone who’s music I have really been playing a lot of recently. The second release is from Nubian Minds who is something of a personal favorite of mine so to get him to release music for me seriously puts a smile on my face.
What’s your top three dancefloor tracks at the moment?
So much good stuff about at he moment it’s hard to just give 3 but these are all killing it right now.
What classics never leave your bag/hard drive?
Just recently some of my older re-edits have crept back into my sets as I tend to try and play edits of classics if I’m going to play classics in a normal set but these nearly always work on some level :)
What’s happening for you next, in terms of projects, gigs and releases?
A ton of stuff on the horizon as well the launch of Tactical I’ve also recently reactivated my old House pseudonym Jorge Zamacona and there’s some material forthcoming on Tardis records for that. Also a Retro House sounding EP on BoomChick plus a bunch of remixes. Have finally managed to get back in the studio with Ben Sims to get our Fokus Group project up and running properly but more on that nearer the time.
What´s your favourite track from your own back catalogue, and why?
Normally I’d say the latest ones as a producer your always trying to improve and look forward so I tend to favor my newer bits over old stuff but I do have a soft sport for these tracks. They basically mark a certain period of time or when I thought I had got a sound right or something along those lines. Generally I find it quite difficult to listen to a lot of my old stuff but still like these ones so must have done something right :)
There are lots of new producers and fans coming into techno now, what tracks should they listen to to educate themselves with history of the genre?
That’s a difficult one although it’s important to understand the roots it’s still healthy to have your own reference points or else we run the risk of getting stagnant but there’s also some very definite records people should know once they have found there way. This could be a very long list but I’ll try and keep it short
As a producer, what other producers and productions do you really admire from the technical side of things?
A lot of the older guys who have been around for a long time tend to inspire that admiration the most so guys like Luke Slater , Jeff Mills , Robert Hood , Mark Broom spring immediately to mind but I’m also digging the newer wave of people like Untold, Kamikaze Space Programme, Blawan and the like those guys have brought a much needed new edge to Techno and it’s no coincidence that where in this great creative time again when all these came along.
And finally, what track do you like that really a techno dj shouldn´t admit to liking?!
It’s a Jazz record from 1964 without question my favorite record ever made :)
In a follow up to our earlier article, Bandcamp reignites DIY culture in techno, here is a list of all the techno labels and producers we’ve found on Bandcamp so far, plus a few more beyond the genre. We’ll add to this list as we find more, so if you know of any more please get in contact with us here.
In the second of our Youtubing feature series we talk to Bas Mooy, the uncompromising Dutch producer who’s recent releases on Mote Evolver and Perc Trax have gotten him some well deserved and long over due attention. He sheds light on his influences, current favourites and the Dutch and Rotterdam scene.
Tell us how you got into music, what’s the first track(s) you bought that made you want to get involved in music?
I started buying records after visiting one of the legendary Strictly Techno parties in ‘De Vlerk’ in Rotterdam, which was this sort of small underground concrete ‘bunker’ in the middle of the city. That’s where I first heard banging techno in a time where most clubs were just programming mellow club music. After that weekend I went to a record store for the first time and asked for the kind of stuff I had heard at the party. Got a shit load of records to check out and went vinyl shopping almost every week from that moment on, checking out stores in Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Utrecht and Eindhoven. Was a really interesting period, when you are going through big piles of records, trying to find the direction you want to take it. The tunes below were some of the tunes that got me into techno and that I bought when I started playing records.
Raoul Delgardo & Eddy Masvoodler – Tall Eric EP
Johannes Heil – Die Offenbarung
Jeff Mills – Berlin
Space DJz – Side on
You’ve just had some big tracks out on the iconic Mote Evolver and Perc Trax labels, how did that come about?
Really happy to be part of the catalogue of both labels. I played a gig about one and a half years ago with Luke Slater and spoke with Heidy from Mote Evolver about sending some tunes over. Luke was playing and charting some of my tracks around that time, so decided to send him some tunes. He was enthusiastic about it and was interested in two of them. Mote Evolver has been one of my favorite labels over the past few years, so I can say I was more than pleased when I got an email from Luke about his plans. Also cool that Chris Finke was taking care of the other side of this chapter in the Parallel Series, since he’s a good friend of mine. Regarding Perc Trax, I was already in contact with Ali (Perc) for some time and he had been supporting my label Audio Assault quite a lot with chart and podcast action, so when I finished some new tunes I decided to ask him if he was interested. Ali really has a vision about his label and what direction he wants to take it, think the four tunes that got selected for the release make a nice diverse package. Got a great amount of positive feedback. I always released on labels within my network (Audio Assault, Arms, Planet Rhythm etc.). Seemed like the time was right to approach some labels outside that network and I decided to aim high and focus on the labels that are on my top 10 list of favorite labels. There’s still a small list in my head of labels that I would love to release on in the future, it’s cool that two of them were already interested in working with me so far.
What’s happening for you next, in terms of projects, gigs and releases?
Working on quite a lot of projects actually. Beginning of 2012 I decided not to take on any new projects for a while. I finished all the releases I was working on and that had a deadline. After that I took some time off, which was really refreshing, made me think about a lot of things and actually got things in perspective a bit more since then. At the moment I am just working on tracks, which might be released on my new label ‘Mord’, but can also lead to an album, which has been in the planning for quite a while. But I am just waiting for things to come together and see where it takes me. Upcoming soon are my new Audio Assault release, with remixes by Pfirter and Developer and my release for Gynoid, with remixes by Xhin and Radial. I’m also working on some remixes again and some projects that I can’t really talk about yet. News on that soon!
Regarding gigs, just had a really busy weekend, we did a Strictly Techno weekender, with Pfirter on Friday and Len Faki on Saturday in Rotterdam’s number one club Perron. Amazing weekend, with two great nights of proper techno. Was playing on both nights myself, warming up for Pfirter and closing down the night after Len Faki. This week I will be spending some time at ADE (Amsterdam Dance Festival), where I will be playing on a Perc Trax labelnight with Perc and my labelpartner Radial. Soon after that I will be back in Prague and a cool warehouse party in Amsterdam. Good things to look forward to for sure!
What’s your top three techno tracks at the moment?
Truss – Hackney
Paul Birken – Acid Youth of Malibu
Rrose – Prism Guard
The Dutch (and Rotterdam’s) techno scene is looking really healthy from over here, what’s it like as an insider?
Well, of course we have quite a lot of stuff going on in Holland, but Rotterdam was off the map for a while and totally is back on track now, mainly because one amazing underground club, called Perron. There were some years that there were only clubby tech housy programmed clubs, no room for dirty driving underground techno at all. Now there seems to be a new generation that is really openminded and actually looking for some darker more banging stuff instead of the ‘high-heel house’ beats, I am really pleased about that. It was so frustrating for quite a while: living in a city that has this Industrial vibe and no small parties with banging underground techno. Viva Perron! The last year there were so many great artists playing at Perron: Speedy J, Ben Klock, Jeff Mills, Marcel Dettmann, Ben Sims, DVS1, James Ruskin, Oscar Mulero, Perc, Tommy Four Seven and the list goes on and on. Proper banging quality techno all the way. Besides Perron there’s still not a lot going on techno-wise, accept some parties every now and then at Maassilo and a couple of small local initiatives. We got a great festival season in Holland, with a lot of amazing festivals, such as Awakenings Festival. But the club scene seems pretty healthy, when you compare it to some other European countries, most cities got their own clubs and nights that usually work well, Amsterdam has some really cool concepts, but also more outside the center of Holland we got parties like the legendary Planet Rose nights in Nijmegen.
What other producers and/or productions do you really admire from the technical side of things?
Planetary Assault Systems and Speedy J. I think they are the two artists that have influenced me most from the start. So many great productions and never afraid to reinvent themselves.
Speedy J – Pannik
Planetary Assault Systems – Sucktion
There are lots of new producers and fans coming into techno now, what tracks should they listen to to educate themselves with history of the genre?
Almost impossible to pick, but here’s a couple of tracks that really inspired me personally and have been important for me from the start and I think they should check out.
Robert Hood – Minus
Public Energy – Three O Three
Polygon Window – Quoth
F.U.S.E. – Substance Abuse
Surgeon – Optic
Jeff Mills – DNA
Dave Clarke – Red 2
Planetary Assault Systems – In from the Night
Fix – Flash
What’s your favorite three non-techno tracks of all time?
Joy Division – Disorder
The Cure – Faith
Stone Roses – I wanna be adored
If you were going on a long drive tomorrow, what tracks would be essential for the car?
When I am in the car I prefer to listen to loads of different styles of music, Ipod-shuffle mode…might be something like this:
Sonic Youth – Teenage Riot
I-F – I do because I couldn’t care less
Pennywise – The Unknown Road
Lastly, what’s your guilty pleasure, the track you love, that you really shouldn’t?
Well, I guess some of the people checking out the non-techno tunes I selected for this interview probably already think I answered that in some of the previous questions, hehe. I have always been honest about what I like and don’t like, without caring about what people think of it. The stuff I like outside techno is mainly stuff I was listening to when I was a teenager and I still like a lot of that kind of music. Will probably have something to do with all the memories that are connected with it. Besides that raising a 4 year old girl gets me in touch with music I would usually never really listen to, but I even catch myself humming a cheesy billboard tune every now and then, I confess…Anyway, used to be really into Eek-a-Mouse when we were still smoking trees for breakfast. Is that a guilty pleasure or still acceptable? ;)
Eek-a-Mouse – Ganja Smuggling
thanks to Bas Mooy for this, more info on the mnn and him music at :
Perhaps its the freedom to set their own prices and have more control over their music and features like embeddable artwork players with the ability to preview the whole track instead of the measly 1 minute you get on some stores. Perhaps its the huge amount of formats its supports (audio is uploaded uncompressed and can be bought in many formats including FLAC aswell as wav and various mp3 qualities). Maybe its just that other download sites are clogged up with music irrelevant to independent techno labels and their fans.
Whatever the reason it seems to be taking off, and its not just for digital sales – labels including 2 of the most popular underground techno labels to emerge in recent years Semantica and Perc Trax are selling vinyl and CDs direct to the collector, while Orphx even sell t-shirts from theirs.
The flexible pricing allows not only the labels to set prices, but in some cases customers to name theirs – I Love Acid’s compilation which includes artists like Ben Sims, Luke Vibert and even the mighty LFO can be picked up for whatever you want to pay (yes, really) here. Going beyond that labels can give away tracks for free or for an email address, as Dispired Industrials are doing currently. Re-issuing past music is also popular including oldskool sampled techno from Player, Arne Weinberg’s archives, and Paul Birken whose early 90s productions, that were recorded in one take straight to cassette, are now re-issued digitally here.
Some are offering their content on Bandcamp exclusively with no other distribution at all – Rob Booth recently launched his whopping 60+ track Electronic Explorations compilation this way taking in artists from Neil Landstrumm and Perc to Milanese, Radioactive Man which topped the sales charts for the entire site, see http://electronicexplorations.bandcamp.com/
With a lot of techno labels and artists struggling with their place in today’s oversaturated market, Bandcamp has allowed techno to get back to its DIY roots, connecting artists and labels direct to their fans whether they sell vinyl, mp3s or even give their music away. http://bandcamp.com/
“Bandcamp re-ignites DIY culture in techno” published on http://www.technopodcast.com/ 1st August 2012. Check our own Bandcamp page out at Pareto Park.
In the first of a new features series we talk to Atomic Jam’s resident Chris Finke as he drops a joint EP with Bas Mooy on Luke Slater’s ever impressive Mote Evolver label.
what’s the first track(s) that made you want to get involved in music?
The first time I consciously thought about it in any way was when i first heard “We are i.e.” by Lenny De Ice. It was a total game changer for me. When the break drops for the first time with that vocal sample and baseline its carnage:
how did you get in to techno and what was it about it that made you want to take DJing seriously? and do you still see that in the scene today?
To cut a long story short(ish) I started getting into techno as a ‘genre” when rave was splitting off into dark/jungle stuff, techno and happy hardcore. Derrick May, Dave Angel and Laurent Garnier were incredibly influential to me and going to the first Tribal Gathering where there was a techno tent was a big eye opener. Fast forward a few years to 2001 when I changed my career and wanted to DJ, so I started the Flux parties with Andi purely to get some gigs, started getting booked outside of the UK and and it just went from there. For such a long time nothing has come close to what things were like when I started out, but in the last year or so things have started getting exciting again.
what track(s) most represent the Atomic Jam at the Q Club to you?
Atomic Jam has a pretty knowledgeable crowd and when you drop tracks they surprise you sometimes with their reaction which is good. There are so many but classic tracks like Dave Clarke’s “Red 2″, and the ridiculously heavy Mike Dearborn’s “Birds On E” never fail to smash it. On the personal side of things, my “Petrolbomb” track always does the business which is nice.
what’s next for atomic jam?
Onward and upward – after leaving the best venue in the UK we are going to be coming back somewhere new which I think is going to be perfect for us. We are looking at putting together a tour as well so lots happening. Im going to kick start the “Chris Finke pres. Atomic Jam Podcast” series again soon as well.
You dj around the world, what’s the craziest place you’ve djed at, and what are the new scenes to look out for?
Japan is a totally mental place – I’ve never been anywhere else like it, its bonkers. For a traditionally reserved country they love letting go in clubs it’s just brilliant. As for new scenes, the UK bass/future music side of things is really interesting, I’m doing a few of those clubs these days and they are pure party people, I love it. For someone like me who plays a mixed bag its like Christmas day!
what tracks never leave your bag/hard drive?
My current favourite which will be in my sets for a long time to come is Dense & Pika’s “31″. And no techno DJ should ever leave home without James Ruskin Work (Steve Rachmad Remix)
I’ve noticed you drop a few non-techno tracks in your sets, what’s your current 3 favourite non – techno tracks you play out?
Yeah I reckon i play anything up to 50% non “techno” tracks in my sets these days. Hmm 3 that immediately spring to mind are Helix “Honig”, Kodiak “Stereo Superbus” (best track of the year so far IMO), and I:Cube’s “Transpiration”
and please name a track you own but really a techno dj shouldn’t admit to having?!
Im not too proud to admit that my first record was Shakin’ Stevens “Green Door”. Its a stone cold classic from a fantastic turn, well overdue for an edit. Love that guy! He made crazy acid house tracks after his 80s pop heyday under different pseudonyms by all accounts.
as a producer, what other producers and productions do you really admire from the technical side of things?
I always struggle to answer these. Off the top of my head, Paul Woolford’s stuff is incredibly well produced, i’m really blown away with what he is doing these days. Blawan is wicked, he has a totally different sound, love his stuff. Sorry I always go a bit blank when I get asked specifics!
what’s your favourite studio plugin? synth?
Sound Toys are amazing plug ins and i’ve just got the Omnisphere synth which is utterly incredible. I’ve not even started looking into it and finished 2 tracks using it, both of which have been signed. Thats going to be my best friend I think.
there are lots of new producers and fans coming into techno now, how important it is to you that they understand the history of the genre? what tracks should they educate themselves with?
This’ll be controversial to the purists, but most of the best music coming out at the minute is made by producers who haven’t got any sort of clue about the history of techno and don’t even think about pigeonholing their music as anything in particular. Techno is the one genre above all others that has suffered terribly over the years from being too insular and obsessed with the past which is ironic as the very essence of it is it is music of the future. So at this stage in the game, looking ahead and spending time creating is far more important for music than educating.