Interview: Radio Slave
The Melbourne Techno Collective sits down with techno mega star Radio Slave ahead of his massive new Balance double mix CD and his upcoming Melbourne show to discuss his new mix, health, break ups and the dangers of a dusty studio.
TC – The Balance mixed series has earned quite a reputation off the back of the likes of Joris Voorn, Agoria and the like, as a series which pushes the boundaries of the contemporary mixed compilation. What was your approach to putting your mixes together?
RS – I just wanted to give the listener something different … something that wasn’t like a normal club mix of whatever’s the latest trends etc. I really wanted to deliver two timeless mixes that give people an insight into my record collection.
TC – Was this influenced at all by those that came before you?
RS – Of course; I was a big fan of James Holden’s mix. The Balance series has a really high standard when it comes to quality so I knew had to deliver something special.
TC – Mixed compilations such as this one have managed to remain relevant in the market despite high quality and accessibility of live mixes and Podcasts such as the RA podcast. Why do you think this is? What’s your view on where each sits?
RS – Well, the music industry we live in is saturated with DJ mixes, podcasts and more. Everyone is promoting something new every day so the whole concept of doing anything that’s sold commercially is becoming harder and harder. No one really wants to pay for music if they can get it for free. But I still believe there is a market for quality products like the Balance series, Fabric mixes and the Panorama Bar/Berghain mixes from Ostgut Ton.
TC – In the CD notes you talk about the tumultuous period that led up to the creation of this mix, an operation that went wrong, a break up, friendship woes. It sounds like a nasty period for you, have things settled down now? Would you care to share anything about this time?
RS – The last 8 weeks have been so much calmer for me and I spent a lot of time in March and April snowboarding to get away from Berlin and the drama; I’m feeling much better, both physically and mentally. The beginning of the year was super tough though, and being that sick and having to cancel over 6 weeks of work really made me realize how important my health is. It’s not like I’m working for a huge corporation and every day I was losing money and sinking into depression from the pain and the frustration of not being able to do anything. Literally my doctor said to me “try not to move”, and I’m a super active person so this was really hard.
TC – I’ve heard artists in the past talk about emotional periods like this leading to heightened creativity in the studio. Have you found this to be the case?
RS – As much as I hate being down or going through break up’s, for me it’s true that a lot my best work comes from being really angry inside: The studio and creating music is my escape.
TC – While we are on the topic of studio output, what are you working on at the moment? Can we expect some big releases from you soon?
RS – So this year I’ll hopefully finish a new Rekid LP. The last and only Rekid album came out on Soul Jazz 8 years ago so a follow up is really over due. I’ve also nearly finished the next sample pack and I managed to write over 500 loops when I was sick. It was a kind of therapy and I’m super happy with these as they’re great tools for DJ’s and producers. Also, there might well be a Radio Slave LP coming out before the end of 2013.
TC – Would you care to share a little bit about your current studio process. Has this changed at all over the years?
RS – The only thing that’s changed is there seems to be more dust in my studio. So I seem to spend more time cleaning and less time making tracks…
TC – For all the gear heads out there what are some your go to pieces of kit / plugins etc?
RS – Right now I’m using the Moog Voyager on nearly everything. It’s like an 808. You just have to turn it on and you smile.
TC – Your about to embark on a tour of Australia with gigs in Melbourne on May 17 and Sydney on May 18. What should we expect to see/hear? Will you be playing live or DJing? What sort of set-up do you tour with?
RS – Well hopefully you won’t see much as it’ll be dark. And I’m not wearing a mouse head or performing topless. As for the music? I guess I’ll be playing some of the tracks from the Balance mixes, lots of new Rekids tracks from Nina, Spencer Parker and Mr.G. and the set up for me on tour is 3 or 4 CDJ2000′s. Very simple but I like it.
TC – Where to next with the tour.
RS – After Australia I’m back home for 4 days then off to Detroit. If you’re there come and catch me and Marcel Dettmann playing back 2 back…