You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to view this site.

Test Pressing
INTERVIEWS / READ / Uncategorized

20 QUESTIONS 020 / LEXX / CLAREMONT 56 / PERMANENT VACATION

Test Pressing, Interview, 20 Questions, Dr Rob, Lexx, Claremont 56, Permanent Vacation, Originals Volume 8

Where are you based? Zürich, Switzerland.

Is this your home town? No but Yes. I grew up in the suburbs of Zürich about 20 minutes away from the city.

When did you move to the city?At the age of 22.

What brought you to the city?I started going to Zurich on a weekly basis when I was 12. A couple of years later I spent a year in school, started an apprenticeship, got to know a lot of new people and started going to clubs. I enjoyed growing up on the country side with all its beauty but I fell in love with the rhythm of the city.

What is your first musical memory? Listening to the Beatles “A Hard Days Night“ in the back of the family van on the way to our summer holiday in the southern part of Switzerland.

Were / are your parents music lovers?Not in particular. My mom used to listen to a lot of radio and a couple of French chanson records. The best thing I found in my parents collection was a K-Tel compilation with James Brown “Get On The Good Foot“ on it. At the time I had no idea who he was but it sounded very different from anything that I`d heard before.

What was the first record you bought? That must have been a 7 of “View From A Bridge“ by Kim Wilde. Before that it was all about the weekly charts on Swiss national radio and a couple of tapes.

Test Pressing, Interview, 20 Questions, Dr Rob, Lexx, Claremont 56, Permanent Vacation, Originals Volume 8, Kim Wilde

What was the last record you bought?Elmore Judd & Bullion “Petrol Laughs” on Honest Jon’s.

I have not heard this yet, but I am a big fan of both artists. I used to DJ with the guy who initially signed Elmore Judd (before Giles Peterson got wind of them)(hi Matt) and Bullion I believe is poised for great things. Both of them reference the past but make something clearly modern. What is it about this record that you like? Where did you hear it? Where do you buy your music?I`ve followed Bullion`s work for some time now and it’s interesting to see how his style develops, almost from record to record. As you said, past references and at the same very modern and unique. I buy music where it is available. I still go to the shops here in Zürich but buy mainly online.

What inspired you to start DJing / making music?I always liked the idea of sharing the music I like with others. It started in school, making tapes for girlfriends, the usual stuff. I was about 12 when I got a small keyboard but I never really got into it. In my early twenties I bought an E-Mu SP 1200, that’s when things slowly started to progress.

Do you play any instruments?Not really. I play some keyboard but I couldn’t perform in front of a crowd without embarrassing myself.

How long have you been DJing / making music?I wanted to get involved for a while but it wasn’t until I got the sampler. My first proper recording dates back to 1996 with a Hip Hop crew called Bonafide. I was playing my first DJ-gig sometime in the early 90s. A friend of mine asked me and Adrian (Honey K) to play at Le Club, a proper and well-respected venue back then. That particular night we played a mix of Hip Hop and Rare Groove. I remember Adrian pulling out Bobby Bryant “A Prayer For Peace“ and the floor was empty instantly. The club owner and our friend were not very amused and it was the only time we got the chance to play in the legendary Helicopter Cockpit DJ-Booth. I started playing regularly around 95, 96.

I can`t see / hear what`s wrong with Bobby Bryant. What kind of music were they expecting do you think?Nothing wrong really, except that it isn’t proper club music. It was one of the places where they played a lot of Garage, Chicago House, Boogie and early Hip Hop. The crowd wasn’t ready for this sound.

If you were initially playing Hip Hop and Rare Groove, can you remember when House first started to become a part of your sets? I had a short but intense phase around `96 / `97 when I started to buy House records and mix them at home. I went to a couple of parties where Oliver Stumm of H2O / Liquid Groove played and it blew my mind but it wasn’t until around 2001 that I started to incorporate House when playing out, mainly older Chicago stuff.

I also know that you make a great effort to incorporate as much new music into your sets as possible, is that hard work?I’m still hungry and there’s a lot of great music out there. The hard work is going through all the bad and mediocre stuff until you find that one tune. It is very time consuming, especially if you’re not only into one genre.

Much of your productions, and the new music you play has a strong Dub influence, and I know you are a big Reggae and Dub fan, be it Sugar Minott dub plates or Dug Out reissues (whatever happened to them?), can you remember how you got into Reggae and Dub?That’s right. I think I first took notice of what a Dub mix is when I bought the Francois Kevorkian mixes of Yazoo`s “Situation” back in the 80’s. Later I got to know where Dub originated from and I started to listen to all the classic artists of that genre. Dub can be an exciting thing but there are also lot of traditional roots Dub records that are super boring. Sugar Minott? Yes, he’s my favourite Reggae singer of all times.

How would you describe your sound? I wouldn’t want to really. People need to take the time to listen and make up their own mind. I know genres can help with getting an idea but it’s really hard to nail it with just one term.

Which production / remix are you most proud of? I still quite like “Sirocco“ and “Serenity“. From the remixes, Cantoma`s “Gambarra“ and the ones I did for Steve Lee’s Above Machine Label. 


The Cantoma remix will go on to be a classic I think. “El Sueno Lucido” is also pretty special in my book.

Thanks.

Which production / remix would you most like to have done?I think I should rather focus on the one’s I’m going to do. I need to step up my game.

The last time we were in contact, at the beginning of the year, you mentioned that you were going to try to focus on production this year. How is it going?Haha. Yes, it’s basically the same every year. I’m still trying to focus but real life brings a lot of distractions if you’re prone to it. I do have plans for next year.

What are your favourite places to play / hang out in?This year my favourite place to play was an off location in Zürich called Spunk. It was open sporadically during the last 12 months and closed its doors about three weeks ago. The place had a real special feel to it. Other than that, Club Zukunft where I have been a resident DJ for seven years now, and the Longstreet Bar, both in Zürich. I also very much enjoyed playing the 3 Kings in Clerkenwell last April.

7 years is pretty bloody good going for a residency. How many nights a week do you play at Club Zukunft? How do you keep your enthusiasm going?I usually play about twice a month at Zukunft. Honestly, my enthusiasm was at an all time low last summer. I had some general issues with the whole night-life scene and just got tired of a lot of the stuff that’s going on. I’m good now. I had to get away for a bit to free my mind.

I can understand if you don`t want to go into more detail, but what were the general issues?I put too much energy into things that didn’t pay off the way I expected, struggled with the fact that a large percentage of people who visit clubs aren’t there for the music, and I felt like I was getting stuck. As always, it has a lot to do with the way you look at things. I just had to set my mind straight and focus on the positive again.

Do you get to play abroad often? Would you fancy visiting Japan?Not that much, for various reasons. I generate at least half of my income by playing here in Zurich and get more or less decent fees. If I have the option to play here, get paid, go home and be able to spend the next day with my girlfriend, why should I travel for 36 hours to get the same amount of money and get home exhausted? Don’t get me wrong, it’s always a pleasure to meet new people and my main motivation is still the music, but since I earn my pay this way, it matters to me. Also, I’m not 23 anymore. Of course there are things you don’t do for the money, but then the setting has got to be right. Japan? Yes, I would love to go back. I was there in the summer of 2009 with my mate Ianeq (Quarion) and we played a hand full of gigs. I enjoyed it very much.

Where did you play in Japan?La Fabrique and Bar Bonobo in Tokyo, Cafe Domina in Nagoya, and a party in Osaka called Raku but I don’t remember the name of the venue.

What is your favourite place outside of a bar / club / record shop? Home. Also somewhere where the temperatures are nice, preferably by the sea with a nice beach. I also like the forest to get a breath of fresh air.

Do you see yourself as part of any scene?I don’t know if one can call it a scene, but I certainly feel a connection between likeminded people from all around the globe. I think it’s a beautiful thing to be able to do that.

What is the dance music scene like in Zurich? How about the music scene in general in the city?There are a couple of smaller scenes, mostly based around the various venues, some mingle, others don’t. In general I think there’s a lot of talent out here that’s hopefully going to make some noise for them selves in the future.

Would you like to name any names, people we should look out for?My friend Kalabrese is about release his second album this spring on his own Rumpelmusig Label via Compost. CCO who’s a very talented young man with releases on Mathematics Recordings and more recently a live recording on Lux Rec. Wavetest, who he’s also part of, who hopefully will be able to transform the energy off their live gigs into a proper recording. Then there’s also a bunch of interesting singers and bands around, Fai Baba, Evelinn Trouble, Demolition Blues, The Legendary Lightness and some more.

Is a visual identity important?Yes, I’m very much into the visual aspect of things.

Which artists / designers would be an inspiration?Trevor Jackson, Peter Saville, A.C. Kupper, Robert Rauschenberg…

How did you discover the work of Robert Rauschenberg? What do you like about it?I first stumbled upon his name in an art documentary on TV. I like the way he fuses elements form different sources and molds them into something new. It’s pretty similar to sampling and the way I used to build some of my tunes in the past. I’m especially into his screen printed works.

Test Pressing, Interview, 20 Questions, Dr Rob, Lexx, Claremont 56, Permanent Vacation, Originals Volume 8, Robert Rauschenberg, Combine

Which artists / labels are you currently working with?Claremont 56, who just released my “Originals Vol. 8”, next there’s a remix for Woolfy vs. Projctions on Permanent Vacation and at the moment I’m working on my second remix for Apiento.

Is the Apiento track “ESP”? Yes. I remixed the original “ESP” track back in 2010, but Paul`s made a brand new version that sounds very different. We both thought that my old mix wouldn’t match the release. He basically changed the entire track, so there’s loads of new and exciting stems to work with.

The “Originals” really is a lovely compilation. Afro, Deep House, Post-Punk, Psychedelic Rock, in Dub. I can remember Tim Hayter playing me the Band Called O track about 8 years ago, it`s impossible to find now, and that Mariah double pack is something people are always asking me to look for (I`ve only found 2 copies so far). The North South East West and Rexy have gone straight on my Wants List, and I know a probably not very well kept secret about the Dunkelziffer. Any stories behind any of the selections?Thanks Rob, I`m glad you like it. Yes, that A Band Called O tune made some noise when I first had it in a mix. I found it quite a long time ago at work, while I was still looking for beats to sample. The Mariah one is a special record, and only while I was doing research for the notes, I learned that it was on a Prins Thomas Mystery Mix from a while back. I don’t remember how I came across this the first time, probably via the internet. Some of the tunes on the comp are not that rare for people like us, but I was more focused on making a well balanced compilation that one can listen to, instead of going for the most obscure stuff. I think there’s always a point where things get too nerdy and the actual music suffers. I guess you’re referring to the Dunkelziffer EP that is due on Emotional Rescue? That’s actually great news! Stuart is doing a great job, and I’m looking forward to this, as I only have that one Dunkelziffer Album.

Test Pressing, Interview, 20 Questions, Dr Rob, Lexx, Claremont 56, Permanent Vacation, Originals Volume 8, Dunkelziffer, Emotional Rescue

Did you have any thing to do with the Last Generation reissue on Legere?No. It was in my selection for the Originals compilation when I discovered that there was a reissue on the way.

Who would you most like to work with?A good vocalist who knows how to write proper lyrics.

That should be easy then. Haha We`ll see.

Does playing and making music pay the rent?Partially, yes.

What sites, if any, do you regularly check on-line?Soundcloud, record shops, TP, FB and twitter, the-talks.com, and Wikipedia.

What was the last film you saw?I finally got to watch “Broken Flowers” by Jim Jarmusch and a documentary about the life and work of John Cage just this weekend.

I really like Jaramusch, but haven`t seen anything since “Ghost Dog”. “Broken Flowers” sounds good, would it take my mind off my own mid-life crisis?Probably, since it’s about a guy who’s also in some kind of crisis, but aren’t we all? I would also recommend seeing the documentary about John Cage, or do as he did, start to read “I Ching“, the book of changes.

What is your favourite film?I don’t have a favourite one but I’m somehow still fascinated by “Zabriskie Point”, more the images than the story really. I remember seeing it for the first time late one night when I was maybe 13 years old.

Test Pressing, Interview, 20 Questions, Dr Rob, Lexx, Claremont 56, Permanent Vacation, Originals Volume 8, Antonioni, Zabriskie Point

What is your favourite piece of music? If that`s too difficult, what`s your current favourite piece of music?Talking Heads “Remain In Light“ and John Martyn “One World“ are amongst my favourites, but I could never settle for just one record. Currently I’m enjoying the Jamie xx remix of Four Tet`s “Lion“, Secret Circuit`s Remix of Soft Rocks “Air“ and I’m totally into The Velvet Season & The Hearts of Gold Remix of Phil Manzanera`s “Listen Now”. A really great record!

I think Eddie Rushca might be one to watch in 2013.Yes, I like most of his recent output. The remix he did for Soft Rocks is fantastic!

Test Pressing, Interview, 20 Questions, Dr Rob, Lexx, Claremont 56, Permanent Vacation, Originals Volume 8, Talking Heads, Remain In Light

Lexx`s “Originals” is out now on Claremont 56.

Sign up to the Test Pressing newsletter