Night out! My appetite is set for a beautiful spring evening, accompanied by electronic melodies… The so called “electronic scene” of the city has disappointed me. I thought to myself that I would like to listen to something nice from the past so I sent an email to Stephan Bodzin. I asked him if he had time for an interview. I’d like to hear what someone, who offered a different tune to the electronic scene, has to say about all that, and perhaps give me some hope that the underground club scene of Greece will re-emerge.
Hello Stephan. First of all, I would like to thank you for your time and this interview. I honestly don't know where to start from. Let's go back to the early days, when you were composing music for theatre plays. How did this work out for you, and why did you turn into techno music?
Hello I got into the music business as an assistant composer at a theatre in my hometown, working with a very gifted composer on slightly experimental stuff with really weird and extremely creative people. After 6 years of intense drinking and learning how to understand that type of people, I luckily met Mr. Oliver Huntemann who was kind of the “door” out of this business for me. I had already started to become inspired by the early electro and techno stuff when we were working on all that stuff. I was quite happy actually to get into something, which was so fresh and powerful like electronic music in the early days. So, that’s where it all started…
Ok, I believe the bass in your music is definitely your signature. I still remember the first time I listened to “Miranda” in 2005. At that moment, I instantly became a fan. How come your tracks are always so dark, and filled with moody melodies?
Hm, I mean I never got too much into this kind of melody and bassline- free music which had become very popular over that last 5 years. I grew up with music, my dad had a studio packed with moog, arp and korg equipment. I guess this (and maybe the fact that I played electric bass guitar for 10 years…?) was the reason for my bass- and melody-addiction.
From the very beginning, you draw attention from music experts such as Oliver Huntemann, Thomas Schumacher, Marc Romboy and others. Did that affect your sound, and, if yes, in which direction?
Until 2005 it was like school for me. Working with those guys at the same time was so inspiring from a totally different point of view! My whole life as a musician and producer was kind of your typical “nerd“ style. I didn´t visit big clubs, my nightlife was actually quite boring as I always tried to be ready for the next studio day.
So to work with those musically well- oriented DJs, to share all their individual experience from a club night, was kind of the perfect school for me, concerning reducing and arranging.
On top of everything, I had them all: Romboy - detroit expert, Huntemann - electro expert, Schumacher - techno expert. I´m quite thankful for that time. And, additionally, I chose the right moment to part ways with them and focus on myself ;-)
You have been into the techno scene since 2005-2006 and you managed to become a worldwide phenomenon. You have done remixes for big bands like Depeche Mode, The Knife and others. You are also collaborating with other leading personalities in the music industry such as Huntemann and Romboy, creating different aliases like “Rekorder”. You have also created your personal label “Herzblut”. Too many accomplishments in a short period of time. What is the secret of your success and why have you decided to create your own label?
The secrect of success is the will and energy behind it. The long breath, the faith in your ways. Never give up, never surrender. If you r e a l l y want it, you’ll get there.
Herzblut was founded as platform for my solo productions only. But very quick and due to so many great demos I decided to open it to other artists as well. I´m quite happy with that tiny label. Only releasing stuff i love is just fun, it´s true and a privilege.
Coming up: Dominik Eulberg, Moteka, Traumer, Maxime Dangles.... And many more.
Now that I mentioned “Rekorder”, we haven't seen a release since 2008 if I recall correctly. Except the re-release of Rekorder 10.2 of course through “PMI Dance”. What can you tell to the fans of the label about the future?
From the beginning Rekorder was planned to be limited to 10 releases. No Nr. 11 I’m sorry…;-)
We used to see you performing live, with jazzmutant and a big screen behind you, showing everything... In other words a complete audiovisual show that intrigues the crowd. But of course, we've seen you playing DJ sets as well. Which performance do you enjoy the most?
I truly love both. Playing live means producing the full arrangement of every track in real-time. I mean I’m not just playing audio tracks, I’m “really” controlling vsts of the main baselines, for example, and do the arrangement at the same time. It’s pure fun, but a lot of (very satisfying) work as well.
DJ sets are the privilege to party a bit more (and longer) with the people and having the big opportunity to play out all that amazing music of brilliant producers and musicians out there.
Yes, I love both…
Do you have any advises for the aspiring music producers?
Only go for the stuff you really like, be unique, polarize, work harder – and first of all: have FUN, that´s what our business is for.
We used to have a great underground club scene in Greece, but nowadays everything has changed... In almost any place, you’ll listen to more mainstream sounds. Any message to the “thirsty” Greek fans of yours?
The next Greek booker who´s inviting me will get na all-night-minimum-6hours set, quality stuff only guaranteed. And don’t go to those mainstream places guys…Save your ears for better days.
What are your plans for the future? Any thoughts for a second album, or are you satisfied with all the EPs and the remixes? Do you plan any tour or maybe a new project?
I am NOT satisfied, never actually. So I’m working on new stuff, maybe a 2nd solo album, yes. I said that before I know, but this time I r e a l l y want it.
I’ll keep on touring, of course, schedule for 2013 is getting busy, I still enjoy each and every night I’m doing that so much
I would really love to thank you for this interview, and wish you every success to anyrything you are planning to do, even though I believe it is guaranteed, and I also hope to see you back in Greece really, really soon. Goodbye.
You’re very welcome, always a pleasure to visit your great country. Goodbye!
Interview taken by Theodoros Golikidis