Olly Chubb, - on 14/3/12
Puresque brings together the talents of newcomer Michael Kunz (Mocca), and old hand Paul Brtschitsch. The pair both live in Berlin and, since meeting in 2010, have collaborated on an analogue driven project that has now culminated in their debut album, ‘Leitmotiv’. Olly Chubb caught up with them to talk about analog gear, discontentment with the Berlin scene and the arc of suspense. He spoke to them as they recovered from their monthly party at Tresor.
Let’s start at the beginning. How did you meet? Mocca: I needed some assistance with some tracks I was working on so I approached Paul to help. I gave him the tracks and a few days later he came back to me saying, “They’re not too bad… But they need some development”. From then we started to work together.
Paul. The track that we started with, it changed direction. It went on and on and in the end became 001A on the first EP. That was our first track. It felt like more of a project though than a one off.
So how did things develop from there? You mentioned not having an aim when you started. Mocca: It’s always better to not have an end goal. We just produce a beat, a melody, a bass line and let it happen naturally. Often we would think about something that might work in one of our sets.
Paul: We had played some gigs together so we thought about producing tracks that we could use when playing.
Mocca: There is a bit of everything. We play long sets so there needs to be some variety in order to have something for each moment.
Paul. The album tracks are like the ingredients for our sets.
How did you find it working together? Mocca. It was quite easy. We have similar ideas and we developed a friendship.
Paul. Mocca was more of a DJ, then a newcomer to production. I was an older professional with eyes and ears to start helping. I’ve worked on various collaborations in the past, with Andre Galuzzi or Anja Schneider, and I feel more comfortable working with someone else. It’s better to have four ears and two opinions. It’s tough to have to decide what to do on your own.
Puresque intend upon cultivating an up-tempo and dirty sound culture that is anything but digital – analogue sound for analogue people.” Why is this approach so important to you? Paul: Mocca came to me with a typical production, working on the standard programme that most young producers use. We tried to get the sound we really wanted to work with in this way. But we couldn’t. It was impossible. Instead, we rebuilt everything through an analogue set up. It made a huge difference to the approach and sound and gave us what we wanted. And needed.
Mocca. We needed a really fat sound.
Paul. Noise is important. It’s the Puresque sound.
How did you end up working with Tresor? Mocca. Paul played there. We wanted to do our own night so we took a few tracks to them and explained the idea behind what we wanted to do.
Paul. Then Alex (from Tresor) called. He said, “The boss wants to see you.” We met then he said we’d release the first 12” in one month and then put out an album in spring. That was it.
Mocca. We had thought about doing our own vinyl only label previously… But the boss decided that we were going to join the Tresor label family!
So what were your thoughts about doing an album? What were you trying to convey? Paul. The ingredients we wanted to use in a long set. We usually play for about eight to nine hours.
Mocca. Leitmotiv means ‘to lead through’. To lead you on a journey. In this case, through a set.
Paul. There was no specific concept to begin with though. It all happened quite organically. We had some more peak time tracks so we started with them. Then we developed other tracks. We created a deeper, spacier sound that we would want to use at different times in a set.
Mocca. What do we need at 10am? For example.
Did you deliberately set out to be experimental with the album? Paul. Not experimental in a traditional sense. Heady.
Mocca. We were more experimental in the approach and the way we set up. The techniques we used and the way we set about finding sounds was important.
Paul. We didn’t want to work in a clichéd way. Last year everyone was working at 124/126bpm. We wanted to move away from that whilst creating something that was still functional and would work in a club environment.
You’ve mentioned questioning the conformities of techno. What do you mean by this? Mocca. We wanted to bring that “old feeling” back. By this I mean to bring movement back. Adapt it, transfer it and shape it within a modern context. Trying to be inspired, but not replicate.
Paul. You know, not just make the same sort of techno that everyone else was… We wanted to be outstanding in tempo and arrangement, even though we did something which was doubtless there already; we wanted to push things up and create a more energetic feeling.
The Berghain effect? Paul. Yes. But, Berghain, do it the right way. It’s not their fault they’re popular. Success is the problem, not the intention. As a brand it belongs to the people. They turn it into what they want but Berghain let the people get on with it. It’s like an experiment they agree to.
Do you think the art, and appreciation, of DJing has been lost? Mocca. It’s hard to combine the skill of DJ and producer. A lot of people don’t understand or value the difference between a DJ and a live act.
Paul. DJ techniques have changed a lot. There’s a colder style now as there are fewer mistakes. We expect perfection and people get less of a feeling because of it. DJs don’t learn the craft anymore so they don’t get the personal development that comes from learning to be a musician.
Who else do you listen to? Which labels do you like? Mocca. Truncate, Mote Evolver, Blueprint, Skudge. They’re all doing good things.
Paul. Jesper Dahlback.
Mocca. Vince Watson.
Paul. We’re always looking for new stuff.
Where do you like to go out? Where are your favourite places or clubs? Mocca. I tend to go out everyone weekend when I’m not playing.
Paul. I’ve stopped going out so much. I’ve been doing it for fifteen years. More…
Mocca. But you’re playing most weekends anyway!
Paul. That’s true... I prefer smaller clubs now. Conversations. Somewhere cosy and intimate.
Mocca. Asia is fantastic. I’ve been in Columbia recently… It’s great. The samba clubs, the beautiful people. I would love to be a samba singer!
Paul. Argentina too. The Cocoliche club. The people are really open to good music. I still love Berlin as well. It’s nice to have a broad culture here. I like the dirty, basic clubs. That’s why I like Tresor. The DJs and the people make it. It’s a Puresque club.
Mocca. The Propaganda club in Moscow is great too.
Paul. Yeah, it starts as a restaurant then gradually the tables move out and the party builds up through the night. It’s the arc of suspense. You’re with the same people, on the same level all night sharing an experience.
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