The notorious isolation of the DJ, learning his art form in an obscure room of the parent’s sweet home, comes to an end with the prolific DJ blogs. At Monument, we’re in game with this new series of articles 100% DJ-oriented, for the DJs, written by DJs, made to see the artists from their mixingaholic perspective. Who knows, it might inspire you a little…
Joachim Spieth has his regular spot in our magazine, since he contributed to our podcast series in 2014 with entry #41 (here) and #118 in 2016 (here). It came as an evidence that he would be the first victim of our new concept, but not only for that fantastic reason: Affin’s label owner is a well-established veteran of DJing since 1999; he has been touring in the legendary clubs worldwide, published a mix in almost every top notch podcast and radio show, has a huge network in the DJ community and, most importantly, his mixes are inspirational in many respects (read below to hear by yourself).
We enjoy also to give voice to DJs who wear many hats, since it brings them extra expertises. The german sound architect has a lot to offer: with the epic tracks of his album Irradiance, released in 2017 (here), the hard worker marked a new era in the underground scene, pushing the hypnotic techno boundaries straight to the cosmic nebulas. As if it wasn’t enough: Irradiance Reworked, released some months after (here), brought the extremely talented Polar Inertia, Dino Sabatini, CHPTR and Evigt Mörker in the interstellar clouds. We highly recommend you to dig into Affin’s discography if you still didn’t (here): you’ll meet Reggy Van Oers, Ness, Claudio PRC, Deepbass, Svarog, Giorgio Gigli and many other techno super heroes.
Back to DJing, here is our 100% DJ-oriented interview, conducted during the hottest summer days:
1. Which of your mixes would you suggest our readers to play while reading this article?
2. That night at vurt has been very special for you since you made a track out of it… Can you tell us more about your connection with the club at that moment?
I felt totally free whatever I wanted to play and could feel from the crowd’s reaction that they’ve got what I wanted to express with the music: it’s not happening everywhere that you can lower down the energy and having people still screaming about it for instance. I felt that the clubbers knew why they were in the venue and I enjoyed their warmness, as well as the one from the staff, whose hospitality is excellent. After my Asia tour, I tried to put all my impressions about that memorable night in my track.
Not to forget also: the PA is class. I discovered some new layer on several tracks… It’s one of the best sound system I’ve ever performed.
3. Besides your Korean adventure, what have been your favorite experiences along your DJ career?
Having the chance to play in countries like China, Korea, South Africa, or Australia for example. I love playing in regions where you don’t find hundreds of parties every week(end). You can feel the vibe/mentality of a crowd in a total different way. When a person tells you that he/she never experienced this kind of music for example…
4. Let’s go “back into time, way back”: what influenced you to shape the DJ you are today?
I started mixing at home when I was fifteen. About my influences: It’s all in motion but the main interest was techno & electronica and that’s what also triggers me nowadays. Early Warp, Chain Reaction, Studio 1’s releases and the early work of Plastikman were influencing me probably the most back in the days. The so called “Deep Techno” from today often refers back to these labels in my opinion… It was refreshing sound-wise and it was bringing a lot of new technical opportunities.
5. How did you get your very first gig?
I don’t remember my first DJ gig to be honest. Must have been a regional party… I also have to mention that I didn’t play in public a lot in the first years. I didn’t take all options that were offered to me… I was more into getting close to my musical vision with composing/programming.
6. If you had the opportunity to travel into time and meet the young DJ Joachim Spieth, what advice would you give him?
To follow his own path… He should have started a bit earlier to go on stage, as options were offered, but not taken by himself.
7. Let’s talk about your DJ habits: where do you dig for music and what are your favorite platforms to buy it?
I mainly buy music on Bandcamp nowadays. To get aware of new music, I have a few people I trust, besides my own research which I do in the usual music-sharing websites.
8. Can you share four “weapons” which you often use in clubs?
– Reciprocity by Reggy Van Oers: a classic (here)
– Calypso by Luigi Tozzi: oldie but goldie (here)
– Dino Sabatini’s rework of my track “Dispersion”: very efficient (here)
– My track Luciferin (here)
9. How do you organize your music collection? What routine do you apply to a track you just bought?
First I separate between tracks I will potentially play and those who are for listening purposes. I never used “Mixed in Key” or such stuff. I prefer to listen to the tracks and their story. Then I decide what is fitting together in my own opinion. It’s maybe fast to use “Mixed in Key”, but in the end you probably loose your own ideas of which tracks are fading together on another level.
After I found my way, I put tracks into different playlists and that’s it: I don’t tag them, nor set markers or loops.
10. When it comes to record a mix, what is your creative process from recording to mastering?
I try to select a bunch of tracks, following an idea of where I want to go. Then I record and listen after if it’s ok… I never master any podcast, why should I do… better to take care of the loudness while mixing and to let some characteristics as they were meant to be. It would be boring to limit all up to zero decibel.
11. How do you approach your transitions technically in your mixes?
I often like to have long transitions, merging two or three tracks to a point where it’s something different. Fading in with EQs is what I like. I’m not using all these FX which destroy music, but going on a more sensible path while mixing.
(Photo credit: Cécilia Fagon)
12. Can you bring us to a typical day of a gig? How do you prepare it, which steps do you usually go through?
I normally prepare a set some days in advance. Arriving depends on the destination, but I try to be at a club at least one hour before I play to get an idea of what’s going on there, never to predict what to feel behind the decks…
And after a gig I normally reflect if that was good or not, or otherwise I just go on the dancefloor to dance and drink.
13. I see you’re part of the 25 Years Kompakt event in September at Studio 762 in Cologne, can you tell us more about your first years at Kompakt and about what this event means to you?
Ah yes, I’m glad to join 25 Years of Kompakt. There’re not many labels reaching this goal. Back in the days I was a customer at Delirium Köln (former shop of the Kompakt guys). By ordering records via phone (Internet shops weren’t set up in those days), I found out that the guys I was talking to actually were the people behind the records I was ordering. So I put some of my first tracks together and sent a demo. After some time they got attracted by my tunes… So I travelled to Cologne and introduced myself (1998). Some months later the label Kompakt was found alongside a distribution… and my debut “Abi ’99” was released as one of their first vinyls. Later on I was honored to open the first “Pop Ambient” CD, teamed-up with Michael Mayer for a Speicher 12″ (Under Pressure) etc… So in short words, i was glad about how things shaped…
14. I noticed that there are not particular visuals in your live shows, while your video clips (see here) translate well your passion for photography (see here). Would you enjoy to bring their aesthetic in your future events?
Yes. All of the clips recently made for Affin are reflecting the visual identity of the label and my way to capture objects (when doing photos). For a live set I would love to transport that into the visuals as well. Nature & landscapes are inspiring for my music, that’s why I often go out to walk or visit places.
15. Can you end up this interview by sharing with us the current projects of your label?
We’ll have an upcoming 12“ from Svarog, a special project and another 12“… so far…