ARTIST TO ARTIST: STEVE RACHMAD TALKS TO KR!Z

Token's label boss in conversation with a Detroit pioneer.

ARTIST TO ARTIST: STEVE RACHMAD TALKS TO KR!Z

Token's label boss in conversation with a Detroit pioneer.

Towards the tail end of last year Token Records released an iconic compilation of Steve Rachmad's Scorp project. Originally written and independently released the project was first crafted between 2000 and 2004. 

Scorp has never necessarily been the biggest or most well know of Steve Rachmad's many musical sprees or aliases, however, the sound found across the records struck up a chord with Token label founder Kr!z. He felt musically alligned with Steve's output at this time and as a result Token Records felt the need to release some of his music from that spell in Steve's career thirteen odd years ago.

'Scorp' emerged in October of last year and featured ten tracks of hypnotic, driven techno. It is music which certainly corresponds with the labels aesthetic and sound. Since 2007 they have been responsible for releases from the likes of Ø, Sigha, Rodhad and Surgeon. Steve Rachmad was quite simply another name to fit the niche.

Following the succesful release of the record we asked Kr!z to interview with Steve Rachmad. Read below... 

What does an average week look like in the life of Steve Rachmad? How often do you make music?

"I try to make music as much as possible – I would love to do it much more, but I for sure try to work on something from Tuesday to Thursday. In the weekend I am on the road, and I try to take Mondays off from everything. 

I usually try not to get up too early, but I am also a bad sleeper. While still in a pajama, I turn on the computer and play around with my machines. My studio is unfortunately not in my house at this moment, so this definitely stands in the way of making music. I will try to change this situation this year. For now, I took January off from gigs and I am not going for holidays; I want to work on music."

What kind of music do you enjoy at home? Do you listen to a lot of techno outside of the dj-context?

"This can be a lot of different things really; Plaid, Basic Channel, Zero 7, Dam Funk, Funkineven, Floating Points, Bryan Eno, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Ulrich Schnauss, Arovane, Jean-Michel Jarre, 80’s disco, or something as Ennio Morricone, or David Sylvian, Burt Bacharach or Elvis Costello. My musical taste is wide, I love quality music and this is not bound to a certain genre." 

Do you read a lot of books? If so, what is the most inspiring book you have ever read? It doesn't have to be music related...

"I am not a big book reader, although I am trying to get more into it. I usually don’t have the patience for it. My only reads are limited to music books and magazines. But the only book that ever caught my attention and I'm still reading it is The New Earth from Eckhart Tolle. And since I'm a bad reader it's going very slowly."

Do you still buy a lot of new studio gear? If yes, is that because of the inspiration it can bring or out of a collector / technical mind set?

"I buy much less than I used to, but then again, I do have a lot of stuff and a lack of space ☺ It’s true that it’s also a bit of an addiction, I love collecting musical gear and I hardly ever sell anything; I still own my first gear from back in the days too ☺ Sometimes I forget about things and then years later I think of them again; then I start using them more again. It’s nice to work like this, it diversifies my sound and gives different inspiration each time too."

What is the most important object in your studio and why? Doesn't have to be a musical instrument.

"My biggest prides are my LinnDrums LM1 & my Marc Marc modded Linndrum 2 and my MiniMoog. The LM-1 because it's very rare. Only 500 were made of it. The sound is very much how Prince sounded in the 80's. The Linndrum 2 because it's quite a boring drummachine edit wise, but with the Marc Marc mod on it, it becomes almost an LM-1 possibility-wise. The Minimoog was the first Hi-End synth I bought after so many years of owning lots of Roland gear which already sounded great. But connecting the Mini made my room shake after hitting a key. That was the moment I realized why I paid so much for it."

Did you ever run any other labels than Scorp and Ion? Scorp was only your own music, but on Ion you released music by Dimi Angelis & Jeroen Search. Did you ever feel you wanted to sign other artists (not necessarily on Ion) and be more of an a&r over other people’s music?

"I am not very disciplined in order to be able to curate the lable fully. It always feels like I have too little time, and I am also very very critical. I was lucky that NEWS offered me back in the day to run Scorp and Ion for me. The same did Rushhour for my Interpersonal XP. But I get distracted too soon, with remixes, all the music I want to do myself, all the touring… I am still trying to finish that long awaited Sterac album too…"

DJ'ing provides the biggest part of artists' income these days. If you could make enough money simply releasing records, would you still be DJ'ing as much or not at all? I have talked to a lot of producers that have been travelling the globe for a long time and some of them would rather just be living of making music at this point, rather than performing it.

"I am a producer at heart, but I also love DJing. If I could live only from making music, I would probably tour much less. I do love DJing, but DJ life is also rough with all the travel, no sleep, running around… I have been touring for more than 20 years already, and I am often just tired of it. However, I would not like to sit at one place forever. I am grateful for being able to see all the different places in the world and meet all the great people around the Globe. I would never skip DJing entirely, because I also really have the passion for it. I love performing and I know I am good at playing music for the people." 

What is your favorite record from your own catalogue and why?

"I guess the EP with New Energy on it. I just came back from Sweden and we celebrated midsommernight in Sweden with the boys (Joel Mull, Adam Beyer). After this little trip I had so much energy when coming back to the studio. I guess the whole EP speaks for itself."

Can you tell me how the release on Derrick May’s Fragile label happened? It was 1993, am I right this was your first international release?

"I was in my early 20s and I was lucky that Derrick lived in Amsterdam back then. I was determined to release on his label and I was very often at his doorstep with a tape. Each time he said something had to sound different, I went home, worked on it, and next morning I would be again at his door. Until he said yes. 

I had to borrow a lot of equipment back then as it was too expensive to buy it all. For example, the TR 909 that I used for this A Scorpion’s Dream release Aqua Dance / Graphics on Fragile, is also borrowed. The annoying thing was that I had to return it by 08:30 in the morning to Thor Kunkel who needed it for his work, which meant working all night long, mixing through the headphones as I still lived with my dad. I am still really not happy with how it sounds because of it.

Despite that, this release put me on the international map."

Do you still remember the first time you heard someone other than yourself play your music at a club/party? Can you describe that moment?

Haha, back in that time I didn't play as much. It was somewhere in the mid 90's when Darren Emerson played one of my Sitting On Clouds versions at club RoXY in Amsterdam. And that is actually how I met him because I went to him when he played it.


Buy the release HERE

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