ALEX FLATNER (Circle Music, Germany) Interview


1. Hello, Alex! Thank you for accepting our invitation to this interview. 2013 is almost finished - do you believe that it was a good year for the development of your career?
"2013 was an excellent year for me! I have been playing around the worlda lot this year, including the USA, China, Japan and India, which has been an amazing experience. I’ve also be able to make some great new signings for my record label - Circle Music."
2. Can you tell us how did you decide to get into the music business? Do you think it's important for a producer to have a strong musical background?
"I started to collect records in the age of 13 or 14, with Hip-Hop and then at the end of the 80’s with House and Techno. Then the big rave parties came as well and I was super interested to hear more of the 'new' sounds - Techno, Trance, Drum n Bass. Actually, more happened when I met a friend of mine in ’92 who started to produce Drum n Bass and we were hanging out at his home, he showed me his studio equipment and I was really impressed and quite interested. So I decidedto buy an Atari Falcon and a little drum machine, a Yamaha RY box, so that’s all I had when I started making music. Actually, almost all my family members are quite musical and play either piano, guitar or are singers. My uncle is also a quite famous guitar player and singer, which influenced my quite a lot, too. So, in my personal opinion, it is definitely helpful to have a musical background, but the technique these days is showing us, that it is not always necessary."
3. How have your goals for performances changed over the years from when you first started to now selling out large venues?
"It has definitely all become very much more professional than when I started out, from the press to management companies to the organisation of clubs and festivals."
4. Between music production and DJing, which one is your priority?
"Both! I really love to be in the studio, but I also love to get the feedback from the audience, too. Both things are very necessary for me - to see the development of a track happening in the studio and then being able to check out in the club and see the reaction of the crowd to something you have just finished in the studio is amazing! Both combinations together are excellent way to work."
5. Regarding your producer skills, what are the main influences? How do you get inspired when you produce a track?
"I started 3 years ago to take again, on a regular basis, piano classes. It definitely helps me a lot for my productions and my teacher and me are going through all of my projects again to check if all the harmonies are correct, or even to see if I can make any changes. It really is a great process to see and hear – the process of developing myself in things. Outside of the studio and in my A&R job, I don’t listen to techno music at all, these days. I listen quite a lot to Ray Charles or Buena Vista Social Club. I’m getting inspiration mostly out of the “world” music scene."
6. If you had to choose one element of your music that defines your music as a whole, what would it be and why?
"This is really a difficult question, as I’m trying always to push myself forward so that all my tracks sound different to the other ones I have released. This is what makes everything so exciting for me. But, definitely, one element that I really like to work with at the moment is vocals, I’m working on a new project with and amazing vocalist called Cari Golden that is going to be very special, I think."
7. Your label, Circle Music, has been getting a lot of attention. What artists do you feature and what is the musical direction?
"From the beginning of the label’s history I have signed up until now music from the likes of GuiBoratto, Daniel Bortz, Sebastien Leger, Umek, Valentino Kanzyani and many more amazing producers. I also have upcoming releases from George Morel, Patrick Podage, and some collaborations I have done with LOPAZZ."
8. What is your opinion about house music nowadays, from its quality point of view?
"I think that there are a lot of super productions out there and the level is super high. In my personal opinion, to me, some of the productions sounds like super professional pop-productions."
9. Do you agree with this situation that the electronic music became so hyper productive?
"In one way I do agree, as it’s nice to see that a lot of people have the possibility to make music due to the development of technology in the last few years. Perhaps a downside to this is that there are so many digital releases these days, that you don’t have really have a complete overview of everything that is coming out because there aren’t enough hours in the day to listen to everything."
10. How important do you think it is for DJs to also be producers?
"Times have changed quite a bit and if the world wants to see you as a DJ, in general, they have to know your music! It’s one of the ways about how you can get recognised, but since Soundcloud it’s also a new way for a lot of youngsters to become quite well known through their DJ sets, too."
11. Who is your favourite producer at the moment?
"I have really quite a lot of favourite producers, but in there are definitely people like Patrick Podage, IOAKIM SAYZ, Chris Venola, George Morel and some more, the full list would be very, very long!"
12. Who would you like to remix your music?
"LOPAZZ and myself have an upcoming release with Nick Maurer and George Morel just recently did a remix for us. It was one of my personal wishes that came true. George is these days a true friend and for me a house legend!"
cats 13. What kind of equipment did you start out with? How much has that changed to this date?
"I started with a Atari Falcon PC, RY-30 Drum Machine (that was a 303 clone back in those days), and this was probably in 1993. Back then you didn’t have the possibilities, like today, to use plug-ins and hard disk recording. Then in about 2001/2002 I switched totally to software and sold a lot of my gear. Then after a few years, in about 2006/2007, I recognised for myself, that I want to go back to my old school system, which I’m using right up to today, so that means that I’m using only hardware these days."
14. What’s your most treasured tool in the studio and what’s so good about it?
"I really like my Moog Voyager Synthesizer, I have done so many tracks with this piece of gear and I still feel there are so many sounds I haven’t used yet! The synthesizer is quite versatile, you can use it for massive bass-lines, but also hooks, strings, FX sounds, too. That’s for me the reason that it makes it so special, being totally versatile."
15. Which was the best event that you have mixed for?
"I’ve had so many, so it is really difficult to tell which of those were better - every single event is quite special for me, as every single event makes things so exciting and new!"
16. Please recommend us some ''must listen'' tracks.
"Johnwaynes&Disconine – My House Slok feat. My Favorit Robot – Feel Alive Gabriel Palko – Reel 2 Reel Chris Venola – Sixteen Miles"
17. Most of the teenagers nowadays want to become a DJ. What is your advice for the young DJs that are just at the start of a DJ life?
"You need a long and fresh breath. :)"
18. If you had to come up with a slogan to sell an Alex Flatner set what would it be?
"Step into the unforeseen journey!!"
19. What do you hope to achieve in the future?
"Actually, I have always tried to develop myself - either through my DJ skills or as a producer. It’s a process that is never ending and it’s really interesting to see myself and how I have developed."
20. A message for all the people out there who love electronic music?
"Support your favourite artists and don’t copy, please! :)"
cats Look out for the big new single: Alex Flatner& LOPAZZ featuring Nick Maurer – Purpose (Circle043_6) that will be released 18th December 2013. Check Beatport here: Interview made by Adriana-Laura L. © 2013 DJs Arena. All rights reserved.