Finn Johannsen – Sweatlodge Show January 2011

Posted: January 30th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Mixes | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments »

Mix recorded for Artist of the Week-feature @ Sweatlodgeradio.com

Interview (by Elie Eidelman)

You are a well respected music writer writing for publications like De:Bug, RA and your own blog (among others). Has music writing always been part of what you do, and what came first? The writing or the djing?

I write about music in public since the mid-90’s, and I started playing out in the late 80’s, so definitely DJing came first. My output as a writer has also been not as prolific as it turned out to be after I moved to Berlin in 2003. I knew Jan Joswig, the fashion editor at de:bug at that time, from former days in my hometown Kiel and he asked me to contribute. I started out writing reviews and then turned to features and especially interviews, some of which got quite some attention. So that eventually led to writing for other print and  web publications too, like doing the “Playing Favourites” series for Resident Advisor, my “Rewind” series for sounds-like-me.com, Groove Magazine, and a lot of other media. The Website you’re referring to is not a blog in the sense that I write about everything that goes through my head, it is more like fragmentary online archive of my activities from the 90’s until now. Writings, Mixes, Gigs, the label, and a plethora of other things. It is not that I’m that vain to want everybody to know what I do and did, it is kind of a reminder for myself that others can follow if they like. Excuse the irregular updates at this point, but I slowed down all said activities a bit to have more time for my lovely wife and daughter, and I took up working at Hard Wax, too. Consider me well busy.

Can you please tell our readers what is D*ruffalo and who stands behind it?

I can’t possibly tell, at least not anymore. When D*ruffalo was unleashed 4 years ago, it was some sort of a media experiment initiated by a semi-anonymous collective of writers, producers and DJs based in several German cities, intended to be a platform to share love for what should be loved, free of any conventional restrictions. Soon some lack of love for what was deemed not as loveable showed up as well, but basically it was conceived to be the Fort Alamo of sincerity. Decidedly non-ironical, accidentally post-cool and fiercely anti-hype. At some point The D*ruffalo Hit Squad and the according Druffmix series was brought to life, to shine a light on music no light shined upon. But it totally spiralled out of control. I don’t know what it is right now, or if I am still a part of it even. But apparently D*ruffalo celebrates its sheer existence and the 50th Druffmix with a party at Berlin’s Soju Bar on February 11, and there are negotiations about a regular residency there. If the unpredictability and confusion of the D*ruffalo members allows. Which is probably unlikely, maybe. I can’t possibly tell.

You are running Macro Records together with Stefan Goldmann. How’s the process been running a label and what can we expect from Macro in 2011?

When we founded Macro we decided to only release music we find worth releasing, at the potential risk of longer stretches with no releases at all. But then the label took up so much momentum that we now have more releases lined up for this year than in the years before. March will see a new EP by the rather sensational Elektro Guzzi and Stefan’s magnificent “The Grand Hemiola” 2×12″, you can hear excerpts of both in the mix I recorded for you. We will follow that up in April with a live album by Elektro Guzzi and a compilation of the late works of the composer and conductor Friedrich Goldmann, Stefan’s father, who sadly and much too early passed away in 2009. We are also in the process of preparing several other projects for later this year, which are not yet ready to be unveiled, but well worth waiting for. We worked very hard to achieve a position in which we can do whatever we want, and as long as this strong support will stay with us, we will do just that. Expect the unexpected.

You’re known for your eclectic dj sets. What can you tell us about this set you prepared?

My sets, be it in a club or radio context, can be quite diverse, that’s true. But I don’t believe in eclecticism per se. Meaning, I don’t want to attract opposites just for the sake of it. If you neglect a certain coherence, structure and narrative you will end up sounding like a jukebox, however interesting it might be musically equipped. I like thinking of a concept when doing a mix, as subliminal or not it might be. With this one, I just intended to combine an experimental streak with a dancefloor functionality, while providing a glimpse of unreleased Macro material and tracks of artists I consistently admire, and tracks I still find as interesting as the day I first heard them. Which in the case of this playlist, was not too long ago. At any other time the set would probably have sounded differently, but this was what I then had in mind for this purpose and I hope it makes as much sense to the listeners as it made to me when I recorded it.


Finn Johannsen – Sweatlodge Show April 2009

Posted: July 22nd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Mixes | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Mix recorded for Sweatlodge Radio.

Interview (by Elie Eidelman):

As a respected journalist, in many ways you educate your readers. Would you say that this comes across in your DJ sets as well?

To a certain extent. In the days before the internet made all sorts of musical knowledge easily accessible it was more important, because apart from what you could gather in the print media and some specialist TV and radio programs, the DJ at the club was the one to offer the glimpse of what was going on. I have benefited a lot from the skills and taste of DJs like Klaus Stockhausen and others back then, who knew what music really mattered and who also knew how to best spread their knowledge as an intense party experience. If that works, it is the perfect way of learning about music. I was always interested in the historical context of culture and I like to connect the dots between prototypes and later developments and so in the past I felt the need to adopt that, playing a lot of records I felt missed out on the deserved recognition along better known stuff, in order to make people wonder and dance at the same time. I still do that, but now a lot of the rare records I would say are worth discovering are very likely to be discussed on specialist boards anyway, and you can easily gather the information with a few clicks that once took quite a while of digging and research. But this inevitably led to DJing with a mere collector’s approach, which often results in a showcase of rare items and not in a good party. I also don’t like when such sets are presented like the real deal and authentic, as I have been around clubs for a long time now and DJs playing whole nights of just obscure music were the absolute exception. I am very aware of the privilege of having been there when some the music people still dance to today was in early progress, and so I like to play older records like I remember them being played at the time they were introduced. And of course I use the web myself to learn how pioneering DJs played certain records in certain clubs. That is not obliging for how I choose the records for the night, but it satisfies my curiosity. I always make a few steps forward and a few steps back with what I play, and I reserve the specialist program for radio shows and mixes I make or get asked for. For gigs, the way I put my record box together has always been the same, I just pack the tracks that I would like to dance to if I was attending the club the same night, and that’s it.

Tell us a bit about Macro and the label’s plans for the future.

Macro was conceived by Stefan and me to be both a platform for his productions and other music we like, with no artistic and stylistic restrictions apart from a high quality standard. We just wanted our label releases and identity to stand out via artwork and concept from other output we deemed interchangeable and risk-free. Thankfully our ideas caught on so quickly that we got approached by other artists and producers we admire who like the idea of releasing on a label that is laying emphasis on individuality and some lasting impressions instead of just exploiting the trends of the season. You can hear some of the results in this mix. There is a track from our first release this year by Oliver Ho as Raudive, Stefan’s stunning remix of Santiago Salazar’s “Arcade”, which is about to hit the shops, and a track from the forthcoming 12″ Peter Kruder produced for us. Furthermore Stefan’s edit experiment with Stravinsky’s “Le Sacre du Printemps” is going to be released in early June and later this year we will unleash a very special album project with an accompanying series of 12″s, the preparations of which have kept us well busy and buzzing with anticipation since last year. We think it is quite a sensation.

You are known for fusing Disco and Classics in your DJ sets. What changed in your approach for the Sweatlodge set?

I still play a lot of sets where I combine Disco and other related older genres with modern electronic music, but I don’t want to do so per se. I like to treat every set as a new position, be it topical, stylistically or based on a certain purpose. This is basically an excerpt of some favourite sounds I play at the moment as a DJ representing Macro. A hopefully coherent mix of old and new. On another day it could have turned out to sound completely different, but this is how I felt it should be at the time I dropped the needle on the first record. Generally, I have a lot of records to choose from and I try to make good use of that.

Where have you played in the past that you would really want to re-visit again?

We just had our first label night at Panoramabar, and that was predictably an experience I very much look forward to repeat. I also did a nine hour plus back-to-back Disco set with Hunee last Summer at Picknick’s yard which was quite immense and shall happen again. Berlin is buzzing with great clubs, partys, DJs and devoted dancers at the moment, but I have no preferences but a good night out, and I have no doubts I will have some of that for the rest of the year. I’m also looking forward to some gigs lined up beyond Berlin, because I like to travel around and witness some other cities and the according scenes. We’re also working on taking the label out for some dates, and I happily await some fine experiences lying ahead of me with that.

Your message to the world?

Love is the message, of course!