The German techno and house DJ and producer Alex Niggemann is coming back to Australia for his fourth time next week. When it comes to producing tracks he is a big perfectionist, which you can really tell on every single release he has had. Not only has he been releasing music on big record labels such as Watergate Records, Tsuba, Poker Flat Recordings and Get Physical, he is also founder of the two labels Aeon and Soulfooled who has artists like Fur Coat, Davide Squillace, Matthias Meyer, Thomas Schumacher and Danny Daze. Sundelin from Whono’s got the chance to chat to him prior to his Australasian tour.
Your sound has gone from a deeper tech house sound on your debut album ‘Paranoid Funk’ in 2012 to a darker minimal tone on your last EPs ‘Materium’ and ‘Earth Symphony’ from last year. How would you describe your musical progression?
In very easy words… I’m always changing. I don’t really like to repeat myself, and although this makes it a bit harder for me in a lot of aspects, I do like the challenge. I guess my followers like me for being diverse and not too repetitive, and I would say my music gets more mature with each track that I am releasing. Although I’ve been producing music for over 15 years now it feels like I’m still learning.
I’ve heard that you’re somewhat of a perfectionist, how does this affect your music making?
Well, it keeps me working! Other artists usually finish their songs quicker and I’m constantly told that I spend too much time with things that 90% of the listeners won’t even pay attention too. It also lets me freak out at times because I think a track isn’t good enough, so I had to learn to distance myself from projects. Leaving an unfinished track unfinished for a while is a very helpful, and returning to it after 2 months of not listening to it gives you a fresh perspective. After a break I usually listen to a track and decide that it is good enough!
How do you get creative when producing music, do you have any special tricks?
I only produce usually when I’m relaxed. Meaning I need to have all other life stuff already sorted so my head is clear for producing. Then the only thing I need to start is a loud kick drum!
You have released music on several highly regarded labels such as Watergate Records, Tsuba, Poker Flat Recordings and Get Physical and you’re also running two record labels, Aeon and Soulfooled. It seems like you’ve done it all! Do you still have music dreams yet to achieve, and what are they?
Oh yeah, a lot to be honest. Most of the music I have done is electronic dance music, so I’d love to do projects with artists from all different kind of styles. I’d also like to produce the musical background for a movie, like Daft Punk did for Tron Legacy.
What are your top 5 tracks at the moment?
- David Durango – Calimbo
- Denis Horvat – Cedevita
- Andre Hommen – Battery Park
- Stephan Bodzin – Singularity
- Alex Niggemann – Stellar
How does your DJ set up look like, and what’s your take on the live DJ vs ‘normal’ DJ debate?
I play with USB sticks when touring. Easy to handle, no bugs or glitches, no computers to collapse and control, and it is all mixed by myself. To be honest, I’m fine with every DJ finding their own unique way to entertain people and send them on a journey. I sometimes feel though that playing digital files with Ableton or any other form of synced ‘DJing’ is not really something to be proud of, as the computer does all the work for you. It is the same as being on a quiz show and being allowed to use Google! Mixes that are too precise don’t sound right in my eyes – it’s the human touch that gives house/techno something special. Otherwise, we can replace DJ’s in future with jukeboxes that have pre-recorded mixes (done in Ableton or maybe already by them computer itself) on it. Where is the fun in that?
I’m excited to see you perform at The Railway Hotel in Melbourne on April 24th. This will be your fourth time touring in Australia, how was your first time around and what are you looking forward to on this visit?
The first time was really, really exciting in the way of not knowing what to expect. Since then Australia has become part of my annual touring schedule, but it’s definitely not less fun! I love the people and the crowds, the beautiful landscape and the great multicultural cuisine.
Alex Niggemann will be touring Australasia starting April 16th. Catch him at any of his gigs to get a good dose of techno!
Thursday 16th April – Hu’u, Bali
Friday 17th April – Geisha Bar, Perth
Saturday 18th April – The Imperial, Sydney
Sunday 19th April – Parkside, Wollongong
Thursday 23rd April – L’Endroit, Caledonia
Friday 24th April – Darkbeat @ The Railway Hotel, Melbourne
Saturday 25th April – Zouk, Singapore