Gloomy, cold, inspiring, artistic and open-minded. The superlatives to define the city of Berlin are unlimited. The city offers inspiration to her residents as well as to thousands of visitors. Berlin is a melting pot of inspiring surroundings and artistic personalities, which results in an ideal decor to explore and create art.
Besides the positive elements Berlin contains a darker side. The dusky environment, which reveals itself during the winter period, affects the emotions and thereby the artistic expressions from artists such as musicians. This environment also has its influence on the club scene; the countless locations where raves take place seem much more connected to the music as anywhere else.
‘Berlin nights‘, a concept organized by Tim Chapusot and Rolf de Bruijn introduces the characteristic Berlin techno sound to the south of the Netherlands. The boys invited Rødhåd and Zadig to deliver on the second edition. Berlin based artist Rødhåd, famous for his marathon sets in the notorious Berghain, will introduce the public to his raw and edgy sounds. Sylvian Peltier aka Zadig will play alongside Rødhåd and perform an intuitive live set with his hardware gear.
Zadig is based in Paris, another city with a flourishing electronic music scene. In collaboration with Berlin Nights, we set up an interview with both artists, to find out more about the possible influences a city and a vibrant scene could have on musical careers or in musical expressions. Which factors create an inspiring soil to artists and what specific elements create a strong club scene?
Rødhåd / Berlin
What specific factors do create a club scene full of authenticity and innovation?
As you already mentioned in your question – only when you have innovating and inspiring moments, a so called “scene” can develop, but “scene” is not the correct word. I know numerous people that are producing music here in Berlin since years, and they never go out, they never visit a special website or try to catch the latest gossip. They just work and love what they are doing – and that’s the most important ingredient for a healthy subculture; people who LOVE what they do. That is the best authenticity you can get.
Thousands of tourists visit Berlin for the popular club scene every year. In what way is the scene being affected by these tourists, and is it a positive or negative development?
Everything has a positive and a negative side. Of course, it’s great to notice that so many people come to Berlin and enjoy themselves in the city. It plays a vital role in the economy which for a substantial part relies on the tourists. On the other hand, big successor’s and global attraction are directly linked to the reasons why healthy subcultures and clubs fail; too much exposure. You really need to handle this carefully. On the other hand, Berlin offers enough possibilities. I’m still impressed when I explore the party agenda for a normal Berlin weekend. The city is packed with clubs and open air locations during the summer.
Several cities are ‘hot’ for short periods of time, but in Berlin the flourishing electronic subculture is holding on for an impressive amount of years. Which elements do keep the scene alive and ensures it’s renewing itself again and again.
The first big mistake which causes the downfall of a ‘scene’ is: talking too much about ‘what’s keeping the scene alive’. The second big mistake is; telling your secrets concerning ‘keeping it alive’
If we ask you to describe a typical Berlin club night or a story that defines Berlin, what would that description or story be?
The great thing about Berlin is still the richness of the culture and history which you can find everywhere. The city is incredibly versatile due to the different areas and districts. I would say the city offers options for everyone and that’s what I like about it. If you’re in the mood for visiting galleries, you can visit galleries all day long. If you want to do some record shopping, you have more than 10 record shops you could visit. If you want to relax – you can go outside and walk thru the forest or swim in a lake without having to travel a substantial distance. If would like to combine all these exercises, you could visit everything in just two hours. That’s really unique for me.
How did your label Dystopian got arise? What is your vision on the label and its future development?
It’s going well which makes me happy. We’re still motivating artists from our crew to release more music, and we try to push each other a lot. We also want to invite befriended artists and try to feature them on the label. DYSTOPIAN 005 will be released soon and will be a little bit out of our regular context.
Can you tell us about the state of mind you’re in when you’re playing a 7-10 hour set at Berghain, what benefits are the result of the possibility to play for a longer period of time?
If you’re playing for such a long period, when time is passing by, and you don’t have to consider which record to play next, you automatically move into a certain flow, a timeless hole. When I’m playing a long set and stop, it feels like waking up from a dream, and other times I feel my feet and back hurting.
Zadig / Paris
The Parisian club scene is being highlighted by many as one of the upcoming scenes in Europe. What’s going on in Paris the last couple of years?
By observing art as a whole, we easily find the idea of cycles, which invariably refer to periods of the past, being used as a base for the concretization of what an artist sees and feels in the present moment and sometimes predicts the future of art. We can observe the same constant process in electronic music and in the French scene. What occurs is like a fresh spring. During the autumn and winter, the ground rests, it recovers and it creates a new possible start of the cycle. It is the same for our scene, after a long period of introspection, it seems ready to offer something powerful and colorful; an abundance which I had not seen in a long while.
In the same manner, some artists have periods of silence, and even if they appear to be inactive, they are often preparing for the future, even if this is unconscious. I cannot explain this phenomenon which exceeds me, but I tried to sum up my feelings related to this booming scene.
What sort of influences has Paris had on your musical development?
Artistically my music rather finds its roots in the US scene, even if it’s not limited to that country (many artists who are meaningful to me come from elsewhere). I cannot say that Paris influenced me a lot artistically. On the other hand, this city gave me a strong basis, friends, partners and collaborators. This city plays a key role in my development, I also met the majority of the artists I collaborate with here. I can say that Paris is a springboard for all my projects.
Which specific elements do create a club scene which is full of authenticity and innovation?
It is quite simple; the authenticity of people acting in the scene. No matter which role you play in the field, a sincere approach will always be beneficial, even if we have individual interests. I am convinced that if we consider the general interest, the scene performs better and allows us to be more creative and productive.
If a club scene is being highlighted as an upcoming and interesting one, it attracts lots of tourist. Is this something Paris benefits from? Is this a positive next step?
It’s a good thing that people from over the whole world enjoy our parties, it allows us to do many meetings and set up new connections. When you perform at home, it’s more exotic. When we go to parties abroad, most people are glad to exchange views with us, are curious to know more about us and our scene, and even if these meetings are often ephemeral or superficial, they are positive and sometimes lead to solid relations. Today, everything is in reach and people can move easily. When I am abroad, it often arrives to me, to meet people whom I know directly or indirectly, almost by chance. I find that amusing.
If we ask you to describe a typical Paris club night or a story that defines Paris, what would that description or story be?
It’s difficult to describe a typical Paris club night, currently a lot of things happen on boats and it is striking. Concrete, the Katapult parties and Batofar. I don’t know if that’s typical Paris, but you can start your evening on a boat with a dinner, then go dancing on another boat until early in the morning and finish on an after party on another boat all the day until the night falls. In France, we do not have clubs which remain open without interruption during the weekend, but you can have continuous fun, when one party stops, another one starts.
Can you tell us more about you label Construct Re-form, why did you start the label and what is your vision on the label and its future development?
For a long period, I wanted to start a label. I had no specific purpose, but I knew that it was a stage in my life. But I did not feel ready for it, because for me, it was essential to be able to do some serious producing before I started to sign the music of others. Even if the artistic aspect remains the most important point of my choices of signature, the technical side should not be neglected.
Sometimes it is necessary to know how to correct certain small elements in a track, in the mixing or in the arrangement, and I needed a lot of time to feel comfortable with these techniques. I finally decided to launch the project in June 2011 with some very solid feedback on the first release. Then I met the other artists like Antigone, Voiski and Birth Of Frequency and we got on very well, everything is very intuitive and easy and that’s what I expected. Construct Reform is not destined to sell thousands of copies but to remain honest, authentic and able to deliver the best possible music. I believe that people appreciate this simplicity, which emerges from the label.