Konrad Black has always had a thing about music with robots. It started out as a kid in Vancouver, freaking out to the futuristic vocoder intro on Boney M’s Night Flight To Venus and it’s stayed with him ever since, on a journey that currently finds him holding down a much coverted residency at Berlin’s legendary Panorama Bar.
Time has accelerated ten-fold for Konrad over the last three years in particular, since the dark, shadowy tones of Draconia and Medusa Smile enveloped dancefloors around the globe, not only christening his influencial Wagon Repair label in style but also establishing him as a highly innovative producer and much sought after remixer (just check out his work for Tiga, Snax, Audion and Martini Brös if further proof is required).
His relocation to Berlin has also given him the opportunity to express himself more regularly as a DJ, resulting in a fast expanding reputation for sending crowds into a frenzy wherever the call of duty takes him. Konrad knows it’s about living and breathing the music, it’s not just a question of turning up, spinning a few tunes and then disappearing back into the night, it’s about getting to know the people, understanding what makes the club tick and always delivering a night of memorable tracks and seamless transgressions.
In hindsight Vancouver’s laid back way of life was the perfect environment to patiently prepare for the whirlwind his life has now become. Free from the restraining influences of established scenes and trends, Konrad was able to develope his own individual take on dance music under the guidance of Patti Schmidt’s Brave New Waves late night radio show. Digging through the junk bins in Vancouver’s coolest record stores - Basics & Odyssey Imports - also unearthed hidden gems from artists like Tikiman and Maurizio, along with early Klang and Perlon releases that had been shamefully overlooked by the uninitiated.
Although his initial instincts had led him in a Drum and Bass direction, it wasn’t long before he began transplanting his ideas into a 4/4 context. Hooking up with Swayzak in 1998 had a large part to do with this and led to a string of releases on 240 Volts including the Busting Down The Door With A Shotgun EP and the inspired Swayzak / Headgear collaboration on In The Car Crash in 2002. During this period Konrad also relocated to London, producing both Drum and Bass for Ed Rush and Optical’s Virus Recordings, and Techno (together with March 21st) as Headgear including a remix of In A State for James Lavelle’s U.N.K.L.E. project..
On returning home, Konrad finally met up with fellow Vancouverian Mathew Jonson who was already having massive success producing on his own It Is What It Is label. Together with Graham Boothby and Jesse Fisk they founded Wagon Repair, basically “to do whatever the hell we wanted to do’’ and in a relatively short space of time it’s developed into one of the most respected labels around. Konrad’s own approach to music basically sums up their original mandate – “It’s important to let music mature and resonate. It’s important to know who you are and to embrace the things that drive you forward even if they seem strange to others’’.
...like dreaming darkly on a sunny day. There’s certainly a Byronesque quality to Black, a perpetual struggle between external light and inner darkness that unearths moments of beauty in the darkest corners of our collective consciousness. But fortune seems to favour the brave and it’s with this firmly in mind that he leads the crowd through the night towards another Berlin sunrise.