Berlin-based label and artist collective KONFLKT recently released the follow up to dotwav’s debut KONFLKT EP ‘Über Tage / Unter Tage’. The dotwav trio continue their exploration of percussion-fuelled techno with 2 sides of frenzied broken-rhythms and murky piercing tones. ‘Schmerz’, which translates as ‘pain’ in German, lives up to its name with 2 sides of dislocated techno complemented by equally mangled remixes. The EP marks KONFLKT’s entry into the physical market with a vinyl release on January 15th, which is followed by a digital release on February 12th. Here comes a little Q&A with the artists who are currently on tour in South America. While you are reading, check out one of the tracks entitled ‘Panic Room’ as a premier in full-length.
dotwav is currently on tour in South America, how is everything going and what have you guys been up to so far?
It is going great. We started off in Mexico, Quintana Roo celebrating New Year’s Eve. We played a gig in Playa Del Carmen right before BPM Festival, so the people were in a really good mood. It was interesting to see how people interacted with our music as they are used to EDM there. But they liked it. Next stop is Mexico City and Guadalajara. We used to live there a couple of years ago and we are still quite well-connected. We are really looking forward to seeing old friends and playing some gigs there. After that we are heading to Colombia. Upon arrival, we are going to connect with promoters in order to organise some more gigs. The last stop is Buenos Aires, Argentina which has a very nice techno scene, so there is a lot to discover for us.
The physical debut of KONFLKT, the label you run, is out this week. Can you talk us through the story behind dotwav as a collective and KONFLKT as a label?
The idea behind dotwav was synergy. We are three artists with different backgrounds but with the same goal. So we decided to unite. When we produce music, it’s not that all three of us sit together in the studio and produce, that’s rarely the case. We all work individually. If one of us has a track done, the other two sometimes make little tweaks and changes in the arrangement or the mix before we send it to the mastering, but only if we feel like the track needs a little edit. The strongest thing about our collective is that we are all experts in different aspects. One focuses more on sound design, the other one on communication and artwork, and the third more about DJing. All the time we help and inspire each other to get better and better individually. Founding a label was the next logical step. We love to work together with other artists with the same goal and vision. We wanted to create an environment, in which it is easy for us to release music we stand for.
The production process behind the EP, which was recorded in Spain, next to the beach, is in stark contrast with the tone of the EP, its subject matter and imagery which are very dark to say the least…
It may appear weird to some people that such a beautiful environment inspires us to produce “dark“ tunes. But to us the music is not dark. Some people mistake dark with energetic. It is fascinating, in clubs like Berghain or Tresor, which are the clubs that we grew up with, everything is “dark”. The location, the music, the dresses of the people and so on. But the atmosphere is not dark at all. All the people are warm and accepting each other, much more than for example in Hip Hop music where one has to watch every step to avoid being judged. So to us, “dark” tracks, sounds and rhythms are not dark but beautiful, warm and energetic, just like Spain.
Both original tracks are broken and distorted yet manage to remain remarkably deep. Is this the Berlin vibe colliding with your UK influences?
That’s possible. Being an artist means that one has to find oneself, to understand who one is. And that is what we are doing. Generally we listen to a lot of UK stuff like Luke Slater, Regis, Blawan or Shifted, just to name a few; so it’s safe to say that they influenced our productions as well as the Berlin vibe did.
It’s always great to see Martyn Hare’s name pop up in releases. You’ve actually had an interesting set of remixers for your releases so far (Patrik Carrera, Charlton…). What are your connections to the artists that remix your tracks?
It is always a different story with each artist. We have always been fans of Martyn Hare’s work. So one day one of us was listening to his latest set and realised that he played our track called “Tremor” which had been released on Paranoid Dancer not long before. This was a big compliment for us, so obviously we were intrigued. We just took a shot in the dark and asked him if he wants to do a remix for the upcoming vinyl. As it turned out, he is a really nice person and we immediately got along well. He contributed the remix which we are very satisfied with and we hope that there will be more of Martyn Hare’s productions on KONFLKT in the near future. With Charlton, for example, it was similar. We really liked his latest releases on Mord, so we reached out to him, he responded, and found a common ground. After Patrik Carrera signed our EP for his label Paranoid Dancer, we felt like he should be part of our label, too. So he remixed the first release “Über Tage/Unter Tage” and did a great job.
Do you see big-name remixes as a necessity for labels which are just starting?
It’s not a necessity, but it might help. To us, it is very interesting to see so many different artists and styles on our label already. That reflects quite well one of our goals: delivering versatile releases with a broad sound spectrum. None of our releases will sound like a previous one.
What’s on the cards for KONFLKT now?
Actually a lot. We are planning a digital release with some talented newcomers from Italy to be released in spring 2016. There is another vinyl release coming from dotwav in summer 2016 with amazing remixers I/Y and Hector Oaks aka Cadency. Later this year, we will push our good friend and talented artist T.I.M. from the Netherlands, who has prepared a great EP for us and should be put out on vinyl. We are planning to organize some events in Berlin, too. There is a lot to do for us in 2016. It won’t get boring for sure!