LWE Podcast 151: Ian Pooley

Photo by Marie Staggat

With a career that spans three decades and boasts more than 50 singles, 370 remixes and seven studio albums, calling Ian Pooley a veteran is somewhat of an understatement. The German producer started releasing in 1991 with his schoolmate DJ Tonka under the name Space Cube, his first solo release coming two years later on Force Inc. Limited. Early tracks ranged from hardcore techno, acid, and even jungle. His first proper club hit was “Celtic Cross”; hard hitting techno delivered with a subtle touch, which was a mere precursor for what was to come. The Chord Memory EP explored this sound further and saw Pooley’s star ascend higher again, following this up with his debut album, The Times. Coming out at a time when full length electronic albums were largely hit and miss affairs, Pooley showed he could deliver more than just a clutch of floor fillers. As time went on the producer turned his attentions increasingly towards house music, favoring Latin influences and a more organic feel to his work, continuing to score massive hits in the process. After twenty years, it is his latest album, aptly titled What I Do, that finds Pooley at his peak. Representative of the different facets of Pooley’s sound, it’s his first album in four years and is arguably the finest of his career. Little White Earbuds got in touch to find out more about the album, the early years, and what his vast wealth of experience has taught him in an industry that is ever changing. We were also lucky enough to have Pooley put together our 151st exclusive podcast: a masterful collection of house and techno from one of the true masters himself.

LWE Podcast 151: Ian Pooley (63:49)

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01. Borrowed Identity, “Faith” [Foul & Sunk]
02. Ian Pooley, “Swing Mode” [Pooledmusic]
03. Jovonn, “Satisfied” [Kult Records]
04. Marcin Czubala, “Funktion” [Mobilee]
05. Boris Dlugosch, “Knalldrang” (Show-B Remix) [Poker Flat Recordings]
06. Freak Seven, “Surreal” (Sebo K Main Version) [2020 Vision]
07. Ian Pooley, “I Got You” [Pooledmusic]
08. Ripperton & Agnés, “It’s Time” (Agnès Thursday Take 1b)
[Sthlmaudio Recordings]
09. Delano Smith, “What I Do” (Reconstructed By Mike Huckaby [Sushitech]
10. Dusky, “Resin” (Midland Reshape) [Anjunadeep]
11. Jimpster ft. Jinadu, “These Times” (Dixon Refix) [Freerange Records]
12. Ian Pooley, “CompuRhythm” [Pooledmusic]

You’ve been releasing records now for over twenty years. When did you first fall in love with electronic music?

Ian Pooley:I was very little. My mum had a very eclectic taste in music; besides rock, jazz and classical she had two Kraftwerk albums that I would listen to at the age of 8/9. When I started buying my own records I was a huge fan of Yello, I bought everything they released including the U.S. remixes. A year later, around 87-88, I was 13 and I switched to Chicago house and Detroit techno.

Your first records with Thomas (DJ Tonka) came out in 1991 when you were still in your teens. I understand the two of you went to school together. Did you discover dance music together?

Yes we did, so you can imagine us two in breaks between class talking only about new records. Our friends thought we were weird!

What equipment were you using for those early Space Cube/Outrage/T’N’I records?

Some analog gear: 909, 202, 101, Juno 60; an Akai S 950 Sampler and an Atari 1040ST with Cubase.

Did either of you have any formal music training or were you having to learn everything as you went along?

Tonka had piano lessons and his family are all very musical.

Your style varied at this stage from breakbeat, acid, hardcore and then even quite ethereal pieces of techno like “Dolphins.” Which DJs and producers were you listening to?

Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson, 808 State, Juan Atkins, and Underground Resistance.

What made you choose the last name Pooley for your productions?

My normal German surname is really complicated to pronounce for an English speaking person, so I decided to use my mum’s maiden name.

When you started releasing solo material in 1993 it was still largely hard acid and techno though around 1995 you started releasing deeper records, incorporating house too. Your production skills really seemed to jump at this time too. Was there anything specific behind these changes?

No, not really, I think I just got more and more into producing housier stuff.

Your first album, The Times, cataloged this direction, but then by the time Meridian came out a couple of years later you had evolved again, incorporating elements of downbeat, disco and generally more musical elements. This kind of paved the way for your love of Latin music too. What was it that turned you on to Latin rhythms?

I discovered the Brazilian sound (I never liked the term “Latin” that much) when I was in Porto for a gig in 1996. We went for drinks in a bar and the DJ was playing stuff from Marco Valle, Astrud Gilberto and Tom Jobim. I was going totally crazy because I remembered the songs from my childhood and finally I could ask someone for the names. After that I started collecting all the 60’s/70’s classic Brazilian albums and they had an influence on my productions too.

Let’s fast forward to the present. Your new album is called What I Do and is your first in four years. Can you tell us a bit about the recording process and how you approached the album.

I officially started working on it in late summer 2011 and I wanted to focus more on my old machines rather than sitting in front of my iMac all day. I didn’t know exactly how it should sound like, just that it should be tracks that I’d definitely play anytime and anywhere.

How much has your studio changed over the years and what are some of your favorite pieces of hardware/software?

I got really late in to the computer business, around 2004. I always try to use Logic the least possible, meaning I do all the programming and harmonies on my machines and use Logic only to arrange with very little use of plug ins.

In a career that has spanned three decades, hundreds of remixes, scores of singles and seven albums what have been some your personal highlights and achievements?

Working on album tracks for Yello, being the second person ever to ask Daft Punk for a remix, releasing on Transmat, and my album, Since Then.

I know there are a lot of techno fans out there who love your more Detroity stuff. Any chance we’ll see more work under the Quiet Daze moniker in the future or further Silvershower releases?

For sure, but details are secret so far. Had a blast playing a techno set at Trouw, Amsterdam!!

Production and DJing must take up a lot of your time. Do you have any passions outside of music you like to indulge in to wind down?

Nothing in particular, I love my job!

With so long in the business what are some of the important lessons you have learned in doing this for a living?

Keep it fresh for yourself but always remember what is the core of your sound. And don’t forget to visit your local record dealer on a regular basis.

What can you tell us about the mix you’ve put together for us?

Just a new mix with some album tracks and some of my favorite tracks at the moment.

And what can we expect from Ian Pooley over the next year?

More releases on my label, Pooledmusic, and the techno stuff too.

Ryan  on February 6, 2013 at 1:44 PM

What is the track playing at about 10:15? The one before it is Ian Pooley – Swing Mode. The one after it is Jovonn – Satisfied. There is an error in the track listing.

jesse  on April 18, 2013 at 11:24 PM

Yeah great cast, gonna go look for the album. i see the vision.
Great cleaning music.


ALBUM REVIEW: IAN POOLEY – WHAT I DO « The Techno Kittens  on February 1, 2013 at 10:05 AM

[…] can get a sneaky peak at 3 tracks in this ace Podcast for LWE here and here’s one of our favourite tracks, play now! […]

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