Fourth guest mix is by a Polish techno producer – Larix.
E: Hey Larix, how did you end up in this techno world?
L: I used to listen to a radio show on Radio Dla Ciebie, where dj’s were mixing up records, this has fascinated me. I was 16 years old, laying down at home, without internet at home, no streams. I was thinking how they are actually doing it?, how is it possible that 2 tracks can be blended in together, they can be synchronized. Thanks to those radio shows, I got very involved and started to find out more about this topic.
E: It’s not like you were watching YT channels, seeing guys mix, instead you had to imagine what is happening over there while just listening right?
L: Exactly, I had to figure out what’s happening, what are they actually using. I started to go to internet coffe shops or browse at school and dig deeper in search of answers about this.
E: Ok, so that triggered your curiosity, what happened next?
L: Then I bought a magazine called Techno Party, there was a mix of one of the djs featuring all the Primate records material and I didn’t like all the tracks there except for one track that I have even bought recently on vinyl, thanks to which I have fell in love with techno – it’s a track by Gattek (Gaettano Parrisio). It was this track that have directed me towards techno music.
E: How was it back then with buying records?
L: Internet existed already, but with limited access at internet coffe places or school. I came across Juno records through browsing on the net. I tried to search their catalogue at least one time per week, compiling a list together and then sending it to a record shop in Warsaw, which would order them for me. Then I had a guy from city of Koszalin in Poland, who would go to Berlin and deliver records all over Poland. It wasn’t easy to get records back then but it was possible just took a bit more effort
E: How about your first ever played gig. Do you remember that?
L: I remember, it was not an official gig, It was a friday, I just packed records, which I had at the time, I went to city of Olsztyn in Poland and I told the bartender of a venue if I could just play at this club, He replied no worries, this dj over there is just finishing off and you can play right after. So I did, afterwards, the bartender told the owner that I have played a great set and during the next year I was a resident of the club until the club closed off and then came a difficult period.
E: Yes, as there were not many techno clubs or venues in Poland back then right?
L: Exactly, and it was quite difficult to promote yourself. So what we used to do is record dj sets, and put it onto different forums, chat rooms etc. and if there was a spark somewhere, somebody booked you one time then your name started to spread out..
E: How did promoting look back then?
L: Gig promo was mostly done through posters and word-mouth. Everyone was spreading good news about an upcoming gig or even sending text messages and eventually others would forward the info.
E: You have mentioned Techno party mag, I also remember this mag called Plastik, did anyone ever talk about you there?
L: No I don’t think so.
E: Ok, generally it was hard to get “inside” such mags, they were mostly dominated by a group of djs, promoters and clubs, and if you were not there mentioned it’s almost like you have not existed on the scene.
L: Yes, our scene functions very similarly nowadays, you have T-mobiles and other services, channels that promote certain group of artists (usually same faces) and access for most of unknown dj’s is very limited.
E: I know what you mean, let’s turn into something more positive:) do you remember those times when dj’s were playing records and you would look over their shoulder to check, which tracks they are playing? Did you compile lists like that too?
L: Yes of course, that happened quite often. In fact, I still do that, except now is a bit easier with apps like Shazam to check what the dj is playing. On the other hand I support this idea that the dj should tell a person what is the name of the track that they are playing when they are asked for it. If anybody asks me I always share that as I believe its important to help spread, support and promo tracks in this way too. I don’t keep this information to myself, as these are not my tracks and I want people to buy more of this music, as its important for our scene. I heard that at Berghain there is such a culture that if you approach a dj then they will tell you what track they are playing or may even pass you a record to show you which release is it from. I remember one time, I wrote to a guy about a track that was hard to find as it was only pressed on vinyl in limited quantity, I asked this guy on a fan page if he could send it to me and he did send me a white promo copy. I don’t play this record as im afraid that, everyone would think that I have ripped this record illegally (like a pirate) as it was only pressed on vinyl.
E: Like a pirate?
L: Yes, there is still this mentality that even though you may have the record at home and you play it digitally, people think that you are ripping music.
E: Did it ever happened to you to rip a track from internet then?
L: Maybe something happened like that in my past:)
E: I’m asking this because, in the times when I was starting to dj – 1989, ripping was something very much different. The cassette tapes were very popular and we used to record radio sets or full tracks straight to tape. Then we would play it as when the record was coming out in Detroit or some distant place and you were in Poland for example, you couldn’t just find that track online, buy it, and dj with it. Man do you remember actually old games? played through a radio at night, these crazy beeping sounds that were broadcasted and you could record it and then load it into an Atari 1040 via that cassette tape to play a video game.?
L: Yes totally. I remember those times, recording dj sets, then listening to them many times over and over. Even recording things from Tv programs on Viva channel to a VHS tape to listen and watch the videos again. I guess pirating was very different back then as we were doing out of necessity not comfort.
E: How did you pass from the phase of being a dj to producing your own techno?
L: I think there were many things that led into this. I remember my friend from high school, who made hip hop who showed me this program FL studio and told me to try it out. Then I heard that another friend makes techno on it, I asked him if we could make something together. Of course he has not agreed to it, which have motivated me even more to really try to make tracks. Everyone was djing all around, mostly not producing at that time, and I couldn’t really compete with them so I needed to add something extra so that led me into production. I got sucked into it fairly quickly, as it’s a very enjoyable thing to do.
E: What was that first record you have ever produced, that you were satisfied with?
L: Till this day, I’m not satisfied with my productions (laughs) When I try to compare myself to other producers I say to myself, where am I, how much I still have to learn..so im still waiting for that record that will really satisfied me.
E: Let’s talk about your djing now. Do you prefer much smaller, more intimate places or larger events like Uptodate, Audioriver, Revive festivals etc.?
L: I have played twice at a very large festival, I think smaller clubs have their magic, when you come out to the dancefloor and everyone remembers you, that you have played a cool set and people will give you a high five etc. At a large festival I think people would forget about your very quickly and they move forward, so I think I prefer smaller clubs.
E: How do you prepare for dj mixes?
L: I try to make a research about the place I’m about to play in terms of type of venue, kind of party, time of play etc, just so I play accordingly. For example when doing a warm up set, I want to build energy rather then take energy away from people. I try to do this all within the boarders, of what I like to play. I think about, which tracks would be best to play at that gig. For example I know that the crowd at the Schron club in Poznan likes a hard, fast and energetic techno, so accordingly to that I compile a list of tracks and play around with it.
E: Which producers do you like to play currently?
L: I like Lewis Fautzi, whenever I play his tracks, it just sounds good and creates a cool atmosphere. His tracks are not making you think too much, they just let you mix in other track and get lost in it. I like Jonas Kopp, Planetary Assault Systems aka Luke Slater, Nihad Tule, is also very specific, and creates cool mood. Ben Klock, Developer, some of his tracks are really good to play out. Troy, like him also, one of those artists that I would play, when everything else have failed.
E: Why have you decided to feature a mix from your gig at Schron in Poznan. Mix, which was recorded in a live situation not a professional mix recorded in a studio environment?
L: I generally think that a mix recorded at a gig, really shows all your mistakes, all the lacks of your skills, as you can’t fool anyone here, In a studio you can always stop, do another take, go back, edit, cut and paste, layer and at the live gig you simply need to flow. Sets recorded at clubs are more authentic, showing your full energy, full of emotions that you are trying to share.
E: Great, so why this particular recording? as I undertand you could have passed any recorded set?
L: Because, I remember the energy that was flowing through from people to me and back. There was no time that I have actually thought oh no, I have messed up this mix. I have enjoyed this set very much and I wanted to share this set with others.
E: Have you played any of your tracks in this mix?
L: Maybe, but I try not to play my own tracks when djing as I tend to stop in that moment and start to analyze how they sound, how they are in comparison to the previous and the next track. I analyse too much then, so when there is a cool flow on the dancefloor, I tried to avoid playing my own tracks.
E: Yeah, cause at some point a kick is not sounding right and then you get angry haha?
L: Yes exactly, All is going fine, kick is right and suddenly I mix in my track and has less kick and start to think, god what did I do, you know what I mean.
E: Would you ever like to play live?
L: There was a moment in time when I was trying and playing a kind of hybrid set, I have used a laptop only and it was quite boring for me. I’m still thinking about it, I would need to implement more synths, instruments, which I would like to use, however im still learning the gear to understand it’s maxiumum potential. I could still use the laptop to control the master clock but I would really want to use more gear live and enjoy it more.
E: How about your own outlet. Do you still have a record label?
L: Sometime ago I had – Digital Stereophonic, it was a time when people used to send me lots of demos and I would release lots of records. Then I had to stop that as I was getting less demos. Afterwards, I have started a vinyl label, and now I’m turning back to digital maybe I will come back to vinyl still, but the logistics were quite tricky when running the vinyl label.
E: Logistics? you mean distribution?
L: Yes distribution, as you end up with your back catalogue or the distributor will throw it out. You get 150 records and then what do you do with that?
E: Well, you can always give them away at gigs right?
L: Yes, but that is quite unfair towards the people, who have actually bought the record. If someone buys my record and then I give record away, then the actual buyers may feel cheated as they should also receive a free copy. So I prefer to keep them at home.. Of course I could give them out as a promo to a Dj that I know will play it, but won’t give a free a copy to a total stranger.
E: Is there a place in the world where you would really like to play?
L: I think maybe Berghain or a festival like Awakenings or cool venues I would like to play but generally playing at such places is not my core goal which im driven by. I have observed that chasing a dream which is not achievable in the present doesn’t not make any sense. It is better to focus on a more realistic goal, and then the other goal maybe will realize itself through time.
E: I like your idea, to focus on what is within a reach and leave those other dreams at a side and wait for their moments.
L: Yes, wait for better days patiently. I think I would prefer more to visit some places in the world like for example New York, go there play and get to know such place.
E: What else would like to achieve as a producer, dj?
L: As a Dj I don’t focus so much on it. Of course I would like to continue my career to develop in a more European reach not just local Polish context, however I’m focussing more at the moment on being a better producer, able to make tracks that are sounding better and are generally of better quality so I can reach a wider listener.
E: What do you still need to reach that goal?
L: New ideas, new perspectives on the ways that im making my tracks, I’m very conscious that I make a lot of mistakes and I’m stuck with, so through watching tutorials, going to workshops I can get a better insight into this, look at it from another angle.
E: Having produced so many records already, what would you recommend to somebody who is thinking of starting up production or releasing their first record?
L: The best way is not to send demos to as many labels as you can, but start up your own record label instead. Jumping from a label to a label, trying to figure out, which label would fit your sound is counter productive. What is important is to create your own path and follow through.
E: So have you created such path and you are following it?
L: Yes, I try my best. Nowadays, I would send a demo to a label that I really want my music to be released on. I wouldn’t send it to just anybody like I used to as a youngster just to release anything, anywhere.
E: Speaking of demos, when you are doing a track in the studio, how do you know that a track is complete? Ready to be released?
L: It’s when I know that there is still something missing in it then i finish it because if I add something to it, it would turn out to be 2 tracks in one, it would be over saturated. This is the time when i leave it for a week, come back and is done.
E: So is this because of fear of knowing yourself that you can change it too much and destroy it.
L: Yes, if I spend too much time on the same track then, it may turn out to be 3 or 4 tracks. So there needs to be a time when you say to yourself stop and close it off.
E: Ok, before we say stop here. What’s next for you, any new releases coming?
L: I’m working on a record, I have a comfort, if I can’t find the label for it, I will release on my own label – Brainwash records.
E: Why brainwash as a name?
L: Not sure, one day I saw an image of a guy wearing a TV on top of his head, I liked this analogy to our times. We are brainwashed with agencies, tv and media and I associated this to be a interesting concept for my label.
E: So, you are brainwashing people with your techno? Laughs,,
L: Maybe not so, I want to simply reset their brains so that they can have as much energy to work a week and to survive.