Reinhard Voigt Talks:
Cologne based label Kompakt needs little introduction having perfected a sound and aesthetic instantly familiar and attained an influence as far reaching as any label in the 2000’s. Reinhard Voigt, an ever-present stalwart, has been fundamental to this success having helped set up the record store which eventually became the Kompakt label in 1993. Since then he has gone on to produce an original variety of intense, acidic techno complimented by pop and ambient textures and has developed a live performance both eccentric and impactful whilst also balancing all of this with bookkeeping duties at the label. Here, we had a short and sweet chat about the current direction of Kompakt, the conduciveness of Cologne to his music and his relationship with his brother, Wolfgang, both inside and outside of the studio.
Kompakt has a pretty long history with well-established names, how do you maintain its dynamism and originality in terms of what you release?
Yes indeed. We’ve got a very long history at kompakt. one of the most important and true things is…that the established names like J. Paape, M. Mayer, W. Voigt R. Voigt, J. Burger are working so well together and we’ve been doing this since the beginning of the 90ties. regarding the releases…we always watch out for something special in the music…we have received so many unbelievable demo’s and it’s our most valued work to decide what kind of music we should do…we are running this so well and that’s the reason why we’re still able to do that.
Kompakt’s often categorised as ‘techno pop’, with compilations such as ‘Pop Ambient’ appearing to validate that somewhat, but as co-owner how would you define Kompakt’s current direction?
There are many different names around us…to give the Kompakt sound the right name. I would say that Kompakt has not really any one strong direction or any specific sound name. We really feel free regarding the music…it’s always that thing that we are searching for; something special inside the sound…when it’s boring. In our opinion we don’t release it…the direction for Kompakt is to try to keep it interesting in what we are doing.
Being from Cologne, a place which has a lot of history (with Can originating from there), have you found it a place congenial to what you’ve produced over the years; do you think it has informed your musical production in a healthy way?
Ok. That cologne has this huge electronic family and the history of big band-s/group-s has been always a good influence for me. We used to have a lot of labels, record stores and music people here in cologne. all this has changed a little over the last 10 years. for example…many people have decided to move to berlin…for my musical productions is the best thing that i still have great people around me, guys where i have great conversations with and music-studio-sessions.
Being a producer of many years and with electronic music experiencing relative popularity at the moment, how would you assess its current state?
At the moment, it’s still fine. What really has changed i must say… is that i-am not playing so often as i used to…for me it is always very nice and great to do my live performance sometimes. After traveling so often around the entire world. It-s cool to play let-s say one gig per month, especially the fact that i-am running my main job here at Kompakt weekdays for the bookkeeping stuff.
Having also been a live performer for many years, do you think the role of a DJ or live performer is to educate or entertain? (You can only pick one or the other I’m afraid)
Definitely to entertain as you really can understand probably. That has been always the challenge for me…to entertain the audience and try to bring them in a wonderful mood.
You often produce with your brother Wolfgang under ‘Voigt and Voigt’ (having released Erdingertrax 1 this year) what’s your relationship like inside and outside of the studio sphere; do you think it has changed over the years?
No, it hasn’t-t changed…we’ve got this amazing relationship together so long now and it-s still working so good. We really get along and it doesn’t-t matter what we-re doing…outside the studio we having a great time and running Kompakt together since years with all the super people around us. Plus…when we spend our time at the studio it’s cool. We’ve just finished a new 12 inch for kompakt fm. "erdinger trax 2" which is a great tune i think.
Can you tell us about any other projects you’re currently working on?
Unfortunately not. As i have said…i really have a lot of things to do at Kompakt and that-s fine. Hopefully I’ll find the time a little to work for a new Reinhard Voigt 12 inch for example…we-ll see….
And what are we likely to hear at the Kompakt party at Corsica, any labels/artists you’re really into at the moment?
in my case i don-t have a favourite artist at the moment. there are too many artists around. i-am just happy to present my new live set…for the night at Corsica.
all the best,
Reinhard plays Corsica Studios' Kompakt party this Saturday. Full details here.