Talking Shop With Innervisions

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Welcome to the fifteenth edition of our series of interviews affectionately titled Talking Shop. The majority of media and fan attention gets showered on the artists who create the music we love to listen to/DJ with/dance to, and for good reasons. But without the hard work, keen ears and business savvy of label staff, we’d be stuck only streaming tracks on Myspace. We’re happy to report that the subject of our latest interview is the spectacular Innervisions label. Born under the auspices of Sonar Kollektiv, Innervisions ventured off on its own with founder Steffen Berkhahn aka Dixon (and later Frank and Kristian of Âme as well) at the helm. Although there is no one Innervisions sound, it’s fair to say the label releases deep and innovative house music from a stable of in-house artists including Âme, Henrik Schwarz, Marcus Worgull and Tokyo Black Star. Forward-thinking 12″s from Laurent Garnier, Château Flight, Stefan Goldmann, and Culoe De Song are further signs of the label’s stringent quality control; compilations like Muting the Noise and the Innervisions-curated The Grandfather Paradox (for BBE) underline how their vision extends beyond the dance floor. And with the recent launch of the Innervisions web shop they’ve begun sharing their taste-making insights with fans directly. Dixon was kind enough to let LWE pick his brain about filters, how to best present a record and the label’s unusual birth before playing live at DEMF as part of A Critical Mass.

So let’s just start at the beginning of Innervisions, when you guys were initially a part of Sonar Kollektiv, and then you guys split away. So, I was hoping you could tell me a little bit about that period of time and what happened.

Dixon: Ah, that’s top secret (both laugh). Basically, Sonar Kollektiv was a great label guided by Jazzanova; but in my opinion, the problem was it was guided by Jazzanova, in the terms that they love everything and nothing, so they didn’t really stand for anything other than good music. I experienced it very often that there was good music released the people that they were trying to target didn’t check out. So there was this, whatever, house track and the house people didn’t realize there could be something good house-wise on Sonar Kollektiv. And I said “OK, even though I want to focus much more on a certain genre, that I basically stand for, which is house, in whatever direction. So I started the sub-label, and after doing this for a couple of months… actually, after two or three releases I realized ‘Hey, wait a minute. You’re signing the artists, you’re making the contracts, you’re deciding how much you press, you’re sitting there through the mastering, you decide who’s doing the mastering, actually you’re doing everything and then investing money.’ It felt like, I don’t know, it’s not science to do a record label these days anymore, so why not do it myself? Then I was hooking up with Frank and Kristian because they are very much like my taste, and we started on our own.

Now what’s the breakdown between you and them as far as who does what on the label? Are you mostly just A&R?

Yes, we have one other person, Matthias, he’s doing the day-to-day business. Since I started the label without [Frank and Kristian], I was involved in everything so I was doing this for quite some time. They are the artists and gave opinions, and then at a certain point it switched to that they were more and more involved and I finally had less work. So nowadays days Kristian is very much involved in A&R and design and Frank is very critical. He’s doing whatever he’s asked to do, let’s say that. Maybe I’m still a little bit opinion leader but it comes down to not just me doing everything now, but instead I try to split it up.

What kind of considerations do you have in mind when you are deciding whether or not to sign a track?

We have in-house artists, and we have in mind that we have four EPs from them a year. So we basically calculate on an Âme release per year or one release by Âme, Henrik, and me. Now Henrik is also really an in-house artist. Before he was releasing on his own label, Sunday Music, but he doesn’t really want to focus on the business side of things that much anymore, so he more and more releases with us. Marcus Worgull is the fourth in-house artist, so we basically calculate on them having one release per year. We don’t want to release that much music, which means not more than five or six records. And then it’s very much based on what comes around. So knowing that, we have one or two spots per year for something that is not done by us. It just gives us the feeling somehow that we sign whatever feels…strange, actually. Maybe that’s the right word — something that is not ordinary, not normal, and maybe makes people think.

Because I think especially in times where there are no filters anymore, everybody’s able to release music whatever way. We really want to just concentrate and focus on certain things that stand out in our opinion, sometimes in a musical way, sometimes in a production way, sometimes artistically, it doesn’t really matter. It has to have something that is not the sound of the moment, and sometimes it’s even surprising is. For instance we released this record from this young kid from South Africa, Culoe [de Song]. The sound it was actually… I was a little bit over it, with all this percussions, whatsoever, you know, but then this came, and there was a certain feeling in this record that I said out loud, ‘Hey, this is how Louis Vega should still produce to be relevant in the dance community.’ He either lost his interest in this or simply lost the Midas touch he once had. Too bad, but hey there is always fresh blood coming. So I thought, ‘This is the right moment for this because there’s nothing else like this around. If we don’t push it, no one else is doing it.’ And this is also maybe like the little bit of praise, like we want to push certain things that have the feeling… no one else would do this right now. It’s good and we need someone to push that certain specific sound.

Do you get a lot of demos?

Yes and no. I think it was much worse last year, two years ago or something; and the funny thing is, there are always demos saying ‘We have something that fits into Innervisions, that really has the Innervisions sound,’ where we don’t think we have any Innervisions sound. For us it’s really like house and house is… We always basically say that, you know, back in the day Lil’ Louis was producing this screaming vocal cheesy record one week, and in the next week he was producing an acid track. This is how we look at our label too, you know. It’s not about following up “Rej” or following up the success of the Laurent Garnier track or whatsoever. It’s about releasing something that we believe in and then, next step.

Along the same lines, the Secret Weapons compilations, which are one of my favorite parts of Innervisions… tell me a little bit about how those things come together, and how long you spend looking before you decide ‘OK, now it’s time for another Secret Weapons.’

There’s a specific time where we always do it, which is always the end of January. That’s because the initial idea of Secret Weapons was to release something from last year that were overlooked, that we played a lot and was released on a small label that no one knows or on a compilation, like this Kalabrese record we released on Secret Weapons 3, that was available on a world music compilation. I don’t know exactly the term, something like this, and people just couldn’t find it. We were playing it constantly and people were asking for it and we were like ‘Let’s license four tracks that need an audience, because they were somehow forgotten in the last year.’ This was the initial idea, so we started like this, we did this. And then over the last two years, maybe also with our success there are all these videos from live shows and mp3s of our mixes on the Internet, and all these questions like ‘Dixon played this record, what exactly is it?’ and it goes all over the forums because one person wants to know it and therefore he’s posting on ten different forums and hopefully he gets an answer in one or two. With that, the so-called “secret weapons” aren’t a secret anymore. We thought that’s good because it means the instinct to support something that is overlooked has appeared, because in our opinion they are really great records, and we’ve got an audience, so that’s cool. But we wanted to go on with this, so we decided to now include one or two classics that are hard-to-find tracks we took out of the box again last year and then release it. So now it’s still every January/February, still a sum-up of what we played the year before, maybe a classic, maybe a record that came out last year.

You were talking before about how you like to get a sound out and then move on. You aren’t holding on to one thing as “the Innervisions sound.” 2004, you guys were already on the deep house tip. 2009, deep house is pretty big again. I was wondering if there is a future beyond deep house, or is there an openness to go in different directions as far as individual singles go?

Especially Ame, Henrik and me, we are working in different concepts of album formats now, and in that context we are not thinking about house. It’s about advanced music fundamentals, and then including, I don’t know, maybe Paul Weller or working with Can or working with whatever — something that is interesting for us to take a step to the right or to the left. When it comes to the label we are still thinking about the dance floor. Therefore, we’re thinking on house. I think there’s enough space in house to just do something that is fresh. If you maybe listen to all the Ame records at the moment they are really powerful, really dirty really, maybe aggressive, which is the complete opposite to all this nice, Ableton-sounding, very clean stuff. Maybe they’re great records, but since other people are doing this — and that’s fine — but it’s like ‘Why should we do this too?’ It’s always a surge of going in a certain direction that surprises people but still is house, and this may be a little bit forward-thinking.

On that note, you guys don’t make the compilations that most people make. No one else makes a Muting The Noise or The Grandfather Paradox. Do you guys think in concepts when you do your mixes? Is this generally what informs the compilations you do?

It’s 100% concept. This one weekend we realized, ‘What exactly is it we are releasing with vinyl?’ I just said that we are thinking on house, we think of the dance floor, which means we are thinking on us as DJs. This is what we love, this is what we’ve been supporting for the last 15 or whatsoever years, and this is what we still want to push, you know. So we still actually want to use it, we want to play it out. So now we are coming to the CD or album format and we basically wanted to do the same, we wanted to use it. I don’t want to release an album, a CD I would never listen to, so a compilation of the best tracks of Innervisions, I would never listen to it. I personally would just not use it, so therefore the concept is to produce something that we would use, we actually would listen to. Even a label compilation wouldn’t make sense, because even though there are people out there buying CDs and haven’t heard of us or are not shopping as DJs, they would maybe buy it. But it would be a move just for the money. The mood is always set by us, so doing this ambient compilation, Muting The Noise, this is what we are listening to. Basically, it really comes down to this: producing albums that you actually want to listen to and we aren’t listening to house when we’re not in the studio, not at a party, when we are not at the weekend. When we are eating, when we are driving cars, when we are having discussions, when we are just listening to music, it’s just something else.

What’s your favorite release on Innervisions so far?

Umm… I think Château Flight.

Château Flight, really? Interesting. It seems, and this is something I notice with a lot of label heads I interview, they often pick the records that are not as popular as far as things go. Do you notice that? Or are you people more attached to records that are not the big tracks? I mean, no one picks their biggest single to date or anything.

I mean, it’s like, maybe it’s two things. The first thing is that if it’s big, you played it a lot, you support it a lot, and you heard it a lot. Therefore, maybe it takes time to, you know, relax from it. Even if you are living in these super-fast times that tracks that are over two years old are forgotten already, still, I don’t want to just to “Rej” anymore. It’s cool, it’s a great, great track, it was a very important track for us, but when I look for my favorite, the Château Flight is three tracks and all the three tracks I’m still playing; and even if I don’t play them for four months I hear them somewhere and I’m like ‘Fucking hell!’ (laughs) In every way, the quality of the music, the quality of the production, and also the success of the record, because it was successful — it was really selling good — the cover, I love the cover of this record, so it’s like everything is just… I love it.

How much control to the artists have over the total presentation of the record when it is all said and done?

It’s us… no control for the artist. Mostly we offer them and then tell them at the same time what we want to do. (laughs) Stefan Goldmann did some adjustments and there was one or two other people. Marcus Worgull once came up with this idea and we were like, ‘Let’s do it.’ I think artists should do what they do best. We have a vision for the label, a graphic vision. It helps them if we keep to and follow this vision, it just makes this better product and it helps the artists. I realized even great artists I admire, they don’t even know what of their music is good. There’s the first problem that most artists have: they are great at whatever, they produce 10 records and they show three of them they love and I’m thinking ‘Yeah, that’s cool, but there’s this one other — this is the one,’ and they’re like ‘Yeah, really? OK.’ I mean, they produce it, so they like it, but they don’t really see the importance of that record.

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As Innervisions has grown and your reputation has grown a lot with that, how does that reputation as a label impact the decisions you make when you’re developing newer things? People have certain expectations and what-have-you, how does that impact your decisions?

Maybe it’s very proper to say ‘Hey, we don’t give a fuck, you know, we just do our own thing.’ I think it is a little bit like this, you follow what is around, of course. But we are not living for the label, its not that we need to earn whatsoever money to survive, and we only release five or six records a year. With that in mind, you carefully choose what you’re doing depending on your own feelings. So the expectations of the people are… sometimes you fall into that, you know, you release one or two records where the feedback is not as crazy and you think, ‘Oh, did I do something wrong?’ But then you look back at the records and you think, ‘No, no, no, no, this is exactly what I was feeling, so this is right for the label.’ So this is one thing. The other thing is that we have nearly only in-house artists, you go with the way the artist develops. It wouldn’t make sense to ask Âme to release a “Rej” again. It’s just not their intention anymore, you know. They have totally different things in mind now. It’s much more art, and just a completely different view on the release. Maybe everyone in the beginning, you try to copy certain things because you’re inspired by your heroes, and you come up with something nice in the meantime that is maybe a little bit different, you release it, you’re overwhelmed by the success and maybe do it once or twice again. But then you move on to other things you’re interested in.

Focusing again on Âme, they are very open-minded people and they’re not focusing only on music, so the inspirations come from completely different stuff. It’s not really thinking of ‘OK, what do we have to do now to fulfill the expectations?’ It’s very much ‘on what point are we now? What is it that we really like and we present?’ Maybe that’s the point, to present it in a way that the people will understand. Maybe not make it cheesy or whatever, but like ‘We are on this crazy mood now, this is the right record for that mood, people will not understand it, so we just “whole-package” it a bit. We release, maybe 2 months before, nothing, just to have silence for a little bit, and then come up with a new track which is then important because people think ‘Wow, a new Innervisions!’ And then they listen to it and they are like ‘What the fuck?’ (laughs) Maybe you think it’s shit, but it has importance. You know you can do certain things to give a strange record a bigger impact.

Since you started doing Innervisions proper, what’s changed for you as far how you run the label? From 2004 to now, what’s different for you? What do you do now that you wouldn’t have even thought to do in 2004?

I think one of the main differences is that we are not just releasing music anymore. Well, six records a year. We are four people. That’s not a hard job to do, and especially with the fact that we are releasing what we are feeling, you know, it’s an easy thing. So there’s space for other stuff. I think two years ago we just released, even if we limited it to six a year, but at the same time we basically released tracks. Now it’s a little bit like, what times are we in? Music prices, you know, what do they mean? Everyone is doing house music, so we are thinking a lot more about this than we did before. We are trying to make more statements. Before we just wanted to have a track out, now it’s a little bit more statements. Also, we speak a lot about filters at the moment, with the fact that record shops aren’t there anymore, nobody is selling vinyl, blah blah blah.

There are basically three shops — three digital platforms, and there are three people working at these platforms and they decide how they present the music. Yet there are 2,000 releases there, you know, so it comes down to three people which record is heard and which not. That’s a really bad thing in my opinion. Before that you had a distributor and the distributor was selling to the record shops, so one buyer in the record shop decided what they’re selling. Then you have the person in the record shop trying to sell his favorite records to the people, so you have the next person that wasn’t involved in this whole process, and this is all cut. So we basically decided we want to be a filter now. We opened up our web shop and we decide what we want to sell. Maybe it’s like the Secret Weapons, where we decided we want to present music to people we liked last year that was never heard. Now do we do this with the web shop. We pick two records a week or something that we offer to people. We think that with all the digital platforms, there is no fucking filter anymore. They sell house, and then it means they sell everything that is released. There is no one saying anymore, ‘This is just shit.’ This is what we are trying now, we are trying to just release stuff that in our point of view is important and should be presented to people. So, a lot of things are at play here. Fast times — the deconstruction of time, and losing filters.

Couple follow-ups on that. You were talking about how there are no filters, and that’s partially piracy — digital piracy has become a big thing. I was just curious to get your thoughts, not on music piracy because I’m sure you could talk for days about it. What sort of considerations does that add to your day-to-day operations, or how does that change how you feel about the work that you go through to put out a record?

We think the value of music is plummeting. So therefore to give it some value we just have to make nice products. You have to focus on what you’re doing. I know some labels that are– we are, what four years old now? And we are on number 23 now? There are other labels that started at the same time and they are number 100 now. So if you release a record every month the records are losing their importance. With the whole piracy thing, you have to give the people a reason to buy it. And this reason, you have to establish a strong brand and you have to have control. That’s why are investing a lot of energy and time in our web shop right now. For instance, I don’t know if you heard this, we have the subscription pack where we try give the music a face again. This is lost, you know; there are no covers anymore in the digital world. There’s so much there you cannot you cannot focus on anything anymore, so we actually try to give it a face again, to give it a certain feeling. We try to do this by selling it directly to the people. Answering our forum. Being there. You can ask. Maybe you don’t like my answer, but I still answer, you know? And being there for the people to have a contact with the director, this is very important in these times.

Now your subscription package, has that become popular for you?

Yes.

That’s great. Do you think that’s something other people are going to catch on to?

Yes, I think so. I think the future is very much in the direct contact between the label and fans, and therefore I think it makes sense to do something. But, you need to have a company that people are, I mean, it’s a big trust that people have. They paying 140 Euros or something in advance and they’re getting 7 records, 3 CDs, one t-shirt, and one limited edition, and they haven’t seen everything, they haven’t heard everything. Being in this position, you need to put in a lot of work to keep people’s trust.

Do you think that one of the reasons, and maybe this is what you’re getting at, the reason people feel the need to hear a whole record before they buy is because there’s so much stuff out there?

Yes. The problem at the same time is that there’s so much stuff out there, but how do you want to listen to it? But it’s getting better now, the clips are getting longer and longer, especially WhatPeoplePlay.com. There are always four minutes clips or whatever, so it’s getting better. But at same time there’s too much stuff that sounds interesting after a minute, and then you buy it and it’s just not. People want to listen to it before they buy, and it’s very normal, it’s very natural, but they can’t listen to it properly anymore because they just get sound clips. You know when I was shopping in a record store or CDs, it doesn’t matter, I was deciding which part of the record or CD I wanted to listen to, I was deciding if I wanted skip the second or third track of an album after one second or not. But it was me who was listening, who was deciding what to listen to with my experience. Now someone in this whatsoever company is doing this job of making sound clips for one thousand records a day, he’s deciding what I have to listen from this record. I don’t know this person, I don’t know why this person choose that clip. But it’s there now, so I’m depending on this person now, and that’s not how I want to shop for music.

Tell me some labels that you really respect and you revere, either for how they put out music or for the music they’ve putting out, past or present.

Warp, Perlon, and maybe Cadenza. I like two facts. Coming back to Warp, labels that just risking something, and at the same time having a vision. Because sometimes labels that are doing a lot of stuff are just doing a lot of stuff where there’s no connection between record A and record D. Maybe like Sonar Kollektiv. Warp has this, there’s always a certain thing in Warp, when I hear what they’ve signed, I’m like, ‘Yeah okay that fits, that’s Warp.’ Maybe it’s this whatever obscure hip-hop track or album or this whatever strange techno thing, doesn’t matter. For Perlon or Cadenza, for instance — I’m not playing that much Perlon records, but they have a vision and they stay true to it. They have a certain business model that they’re following, I really like this. I don’t like labels that are listening to what is happening and going in this direction and next season they’re the next thing. They can be good records; I’m not saying I’m only buying or playing Perlon records. No, no, no, I’m buying a lot of records from these records that are following trends. But as a respect for the label, that’s not there.

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Was there anyone when you were first getting involved that was instrumental in teaching you the most important things. The values that you put into your label now, who instilled those sort of things in you besides your own personal experiences?

I don’t think I’m very like obviously following someone, unless maybe, I don’t know, all the Hard Wax people. They were doing their vision, they were doing all this Maurizio, all this stuff. It was very influential for me. And at the same time looking back on my favorite labels like Prescription, how many Prescriptions are there in the world? Not that much. I love this label. I love the fact that they were concentrating on what they were doing, doing not too much. So yeah maybe Prescription would be something like this. And at the same I think very influential for me was DJ Pierre when he said, ‘You have to take a risk to be aDJ, to be heard, to make a impact, or to just fulfill yourself.’ And you can take this risk because you have these other records that are just sure shots. I was never really inspired by a DJ Pierre set, but the way he described that was really stuck in my mind, and it was going to other things, to the label. I’s the same for the label. You can risk two or thee releases, we are able to have this weapon again. I’d rather take the risk and be heard then because you are different, than just doing sure shots.

You guys put out 150 copies of that Precious System record from Running Back. I was wondering if you guys are going to be partnering with other labels kind of like that again in the future.

We will; the next two things that are coming up from us. So it’s very limited editions of something that are only available in our shop. It’s coming back to the theory of being in direct contact with your fans. If you like this, shop here. We give you a good price, we give you a good product.

What is it that you’re releasing?

Dixon: The next one is gonna be, I’m doing a mix CD that’s coming in September or something, and on our label. And for the mix I got not just tracks, I got the files from all the tracks and basically remixed all this stuff. So there’s tons of different versions of tracks that people know. Right now I’m thinking we’re gonna release four of these edits, I call them edits, and two on each release. So it’s two releases with edits from my compilation.

It kinda reminds me a little bit of how Ostgut Ton does the two EPs per mix CD. Mix CDs are really something that interest me right because they’re in competition with podcasts, they’re in competition with sets that people record and stuff like that. What’s the strength of a mix CD right now? I mean besides the fact that you’re editing it so much, what’s the benefit of a mix CD that you can’t get in something else, in a podcast or something else like it?

First of all, I’m trying — and it’s not working always — but I’m trying to make sure that no sets from me are appear in the Internet. I’m really much believing in this aspect of the show now. You are there, you like it or not, but you cannot listen to it again. Like you have your favorite group and they are playing live, and then they are playing different versions of the tracks that you know. And that’s great for that moment, and that’s what you’re gonna remember, that moment. So I really don’t like when someone is recording the sets. It happened two or three years ago that it was like every week there was a set from me online. No one knows why I play the records like this. Was it empty? Was it a shit sound system? Was I tired? Was the crowd not getting it? Where was it, the beginning of the night? You don’t know why I’m doing this like this, so you cannot judge it, firstly. The other thing is, people got like expectations from it for when I came to town, they wanted to hear that song, you know. I don’t like that. You come here to be surprised by what I’m doing, and I’m pretty sure people will exactly remember this.

Because of this, when I do a mix CD it is special because there’s not a hundred other sets from me around. So that’s the second aspect. The third thing is that, as you say, everything becomes so available that it doesn’t make any difference anymore. So therefore I’m trying to make it not available, except… I wanna sell the mix CD on the same point. I’m trying to reduce my availability in the Internet and at the same time make a really great product that is strange and different. I’m just finishing a mix CD now, and let’s say it’s 50 tracks on it, I think 10 of them you cannot hear anywhere else like this. Saying it’s edits doesn’t just mean there’s another hi-hat. It’s really a reconstruction of it. Therefore I think this product is gonna have an importance. And the last thing, we did The Grandfather Paradox compilation and for us at the time, the approach was to do a timeless thing. The mix CD series we started on Innervisions which I’m gonna do the first one and Ame is gonna mix the second one is called Temporary Secretary, meaning it’s not timeless. It’s that specific moment — this is what I’m feeling right now. Maybe I don’t like it next year. (both laugh) It’s not an approach of timelessness, doing a wise music collection. No, this is exactly here, this year it is right now.

You don’t really have much in the way of solo releases, so I was curious if you were ever going to consider doing one; and also why you’ve enjoyed remixing mainly, or like working with Ame and Henrik on larger scale releases.

I was very often in a position to have people around me who I like work with. And I’m seeing myself more as an executive producer in the traditional way. Working with Georg Levin together and coming up with ideas, but being the one that decides where exactly we’re taking from this. I’m not a virtuoso instrumentalist and I don’t really have that much deep music knowledge, but what I have is — I think I have a great ear for good ideas, and as the other guys say, whoever works with me, I’m very focused on details. Someone is playing a line and adding one other note, I’m like, ‘Wait a minute, four days ago you played this line without that one note, it was much better without that note. I think this is my strength, to hear something and realizing what is great about it. And I think it’s what a lot of artist are missing, they are maybe music genius but they don’t really know what is important about what they have there now. Is it the bass line that is so strong? Is it the sum of it all? The beat is strong? I think this is my strength, and realizing this over the years, it was always really good to work with other people and give this to them. I have a good studio and equipment knowledge. For instance with Georg Levin, he didn’t really have this, so I could offer him to work with me in my studio, my producing this. And over the years he learned more and more, now he can do it, now he is using my studio while I’m in Detroit. He’s doing it by himself. The new Georg Levin album he’s going to release soon on BBE is all by himself. Nowadays he’s sending me his song and just asking for my opinion. Before it I worked with him on every detail.

The last point is, tell me a little bit about A Critical Mass. One, why you chose to do it in this format, and B, what you’re actually doing?

What I’m doing or what we’re doing?

What you’re doing as a whole.

When we did the BBE compilation we connected our computers for the first time ever. Which means we could have real time work as musicians. Like as band everyone has instruments and is playing and you can somehow create something in real time. Before we were always like in the studio and there was one computer and someone was doing something and the other was waiting until he was finished with hi-hat. And this feeling of like doing it in real time we never had before, I was never in a band before. It was something really new for us and we had a lot of fun on this compilation with that concept and we felt like, ‘OK, there actually is a way to perform live.’

As a first step we remixed all our hits, or the important tracks for us, and we’re presenting the remixes now so that people listening to us will not hear “Rej” as they know it, they will hear it completely different. They will hear it “Chicago” from Henrik Schwarz, and I think the remixes are so different they will not even realize it’s “Chicago.” One track is somehow prepared in the way we somehow know what to do and then the next thing is free flowing. We know there could be four or five different bass lines to it and the Henrik, Henrik just decides which bass line to play. Or I decide if the beat has to be strong now, or is it just easy nice groove at this moment, and by the fact Frank hears what kind of beat I’m choosing he reacts with what he is doing if he is playing a weird solo, if he is playing you know just a hook on top, so it’s an interaction. Somehow we already know what we’re doing, but in real time we decide what to do when.

And the Critical Mass idea about is like doing something you think has importance and then somehow it’s there but it’s not a finished product. It can always fail. You can do something, and yeah, Frank has to react now to the beat I’m doing and maybe he’s doing shit, you know? Well I can tell him like, ‘Hey Frank, aargh, not the solo now.’ It’s this approach of being on this edge of just completely fucking it up. Because we always have the feeling that, in our set, that was always the moment that was really sticking in our heads. When we reach something we really liked and then it was like blowing up– by blowing up I mean like being super cool or just falling down. We always remember that.

harpomarx42  on August 24, 2009 at 12:27 AM

Great interview. A frank, honest, and level-headed discussion about totally relevant aspects of music, often overlooked. I see things only getting better for Innervisions.

harrison  on August 24, 2009 at 8:21 AM

great interview!

Bjoern  on August 24, 2009 at 8:52 AM

Nice interview. I would have loved to learn more about the process of making, mixing and editing of “Temporary Secretary”, though. Which is a downright excellent mix.

Thinner Pidgeons  on August 24, 2009 at 8:56 AM

very informative with good, in-depth answers.

Peder  on August 24, 2009 at 10:25 AM

excellent interview and a great read. dixon is one of the most thoughtful and articulate people in the music biz today. i’m not sure the phrase “advanced music” and paul weller have ever been used in the same sentence before though 😉

James  on August 24, 2009 at 11:43 AM

Echoing the other comments, this was great to read. Truly inspiring.

kuri  on August 24, 2009 at 1:17 PM

best Talking Shop yet. great to hear such thoughtful answers and questions. good to know they are really focusing on quality and creating a specialist niche to their version of house. not sure I completely agree with his perspective on limiting DJ mixes though.

robert  on August 24, 2009 at 2:33 PM

he is a talented DJ and Chateau, Worgull, Ame and Schwarz are amazing producers, but in this interview he comes across as a very arrogant and self centered individual. I think a little bit of humbleness never hurts.

Raneir  on August 24, 2009 at 2:47 PM

Well he’s the interview subject, so it makes sense that he talk about himself.

What I get from Dixon in the interview is that he’s a very confident, straight-talking guy who finds interesting or innovative ways to deal with what he sees as the problems of the music industry.

aduncan  on August 24, 2009 at 4:40 PM

nice piece, big fan of Dixon. Good effort LWE

frank  on August 27, 2009 at 3:42 PM

i love playing solos 😉

Alex  on September 17, 2009 at 4:27 AM

Brilliant, inspiring interview!

Innervisions is one of the label I truly respect.
I don’t think Dixon comes across as arrogant, but as a true and humble believer in House Music.

More labels should follow the course of not jumping on the bandwaggon whatever is cool at the moment, but to seek the unique and release special music.

Most producers try to copy the existing sound to get popular which eventually will ruin the music genre.
Innervisions always continues to raise the bar and becomes for me one of the greatest innovators and leaders of contemporary House music.

Trackbacks

uNKnOwnCluBbErZ | LWE Podcast 33: Chilling the Do (aka Kassem Mosse & Mix Mup)  on October 26, 2009 at 7:09 AM

[…] I think it has to do with expectations. Actually, I was reading that [LWE] post on Innervisions, and Dixon was saying that he doesn’t give away mixes because he doesn’t want people to have […]

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