James Huxley, London - United Kingdom - on 3/8/12
One of the headliners for this weekend's Stop Making Sense, Deetron, has remained at the forefront of the techno scene with productions that can equally work big dancefloors as while keeping techno purists happy. And with a DJ set that involves a LOT of vinyl across 3 decks, he's clearly as comfortable behind the turntables as he is behind a studio desk. We catch up with him to speak about global clubbing and the production of his recent Balance compilation.
Your recent Balance mix has received much praise in the music press thanks, in part, to your concept of dividing the 2 CD’s by medium; one digitally mixed and one analogue. How important was it for you to approach the mix with a concept of some sort? Since I was given the opportunity to use the double CD format I wanted to come up with something special rather than just two mixes and I wanted to separate them clearly both in terms of technical approach and musically.
Do you feel that the commercial mix CD still holds relevance since the birth of the likes of soundcloud and the growing popularity of free podcasts? Did you make extra effort to ensure the mix was of an exceptional quality? I definitely think it holds relevance but it also needs to provide that little extra as opposed to a free podcast, for instance the cover design, a product, which can stand the test of time and with a different conceptual approach.
Were you nervous about following on from the much lauded mixes of say Lee Burridge, Joris Voorn and Will Saul? Not exactly nervous but challenged for sure. The series itself has such a great reputation. The most interesting thing about them is that they don't really stick to a certain style or trend for that matter.
You’re playing in Croatia at Stop Making Sense Festival in the summer. The country has emerged as a go to destination for electronic music lovers; n your experience as a touring DJ how much does the birth of new clubbing destinations keep the electronic music scene healthy? Do you think that that the more well known destinations like Ibiza and Berlin have to compete harder to keep their scenes in a state of growth? I do think that new and upcoming destinations are definitely of help in order to keep the electronic music momentum going but I think Berlin is in some sort of its own league really. Most likely it would be Ibiza which'd have to be worried, if any place.
Have you played in Croatia before and do you have a different approach to your gigs depending on the setting e.g. festivals compared to underground clubs? Or from country to country perhaps? Croatia has had a very healthy Techno and House scene in the early to mid 2000's actually and I used to go there very often, sometimes once a month. The scene has diminished for a while and seems to be back in full force, with a lot of British help obviously.
What is the most up and coming/exciting city or country that you have played in recent times?Taipei and Guangzhou were rather special I must say. Both places felt kind of isolated and far away but clubbers are well aware of the music, especially in Taiwan, where the Japanese influence can be felt.
As a producer who DJ’s (and vice versa), how do you manage to maintain a sustainable level of focus between each aspect of your job and how much are the two interlinked? During the past few months I have played so much that I didn't get nearly as much work done as I would have liked to. Usually it's about 50/50 really and the two are interlinked in the sense that I'm testing a lot of things out in the clubs and get inspiration from the gigs and travels as well.
As a professional musician do you feel there is an emphasis or pressure to play as often as you can? And at what point, if at all, do you have to draw the line and take time out? I think it's important to focus on touring during some periods but time outs are just as important as well, especially in order to be able to also produce new music.
And to finish on an all too often asked question, give us a track that never leaves your box... Wbeeza's A116 is always with me, it's not a super spectacular track but a very reliable and energetic piece of music - a workhorse so to speak.
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