It's been a big year for Solomun, taking DiYnamic to Ibiza and a hugely succesful residency at Sankeys, a hugely successful label and a whole load more. Our Mike – our reporter in the North, yeah him – sat down with him for a chat about all the above and more ahead of his show this weekend.
You + DIYnamic had a very successful run at Sankey's in Ibiza this year. How did your relationship with Sankey's come about?
In 2011 I went to Ibiza. Me and a friend of mine stumbled into Sankey's before Sankeys was even open. I found it really refreshing that there is a smaller club who gives a more intimate feeling between the DJs and the crowd. And when they asked me the next year to play, we thought that we could start our "Neon Night" series there.
Were you nervous about doing so many nights in Ibiza, at what is quite a new venue?
Oh man, we were so nervous and the closer our first party came the more nervous we were. Because we had no roots on the island until then and Sankeys/Ibiza was quite new also. But the success calmed us and made us very happy.
What I notice about DIYnamic's sound is that it is very musical, and by that I mean there are a lot of 'real' instruments and proper melodies in most of the songs. When you started the label, was it because you felt there wasn't enough dance music available that was 'musical' in this way, and that too many tracks were just beats and samples?
Beats and samples are a apart of our music too. But we always missed the emotions on the dancefloor. Because we all in the Diynamic family have a very melodic and musical touch and everybody lets this show with his own attitude.
Do you play any instruments yourself?
I would say that I have quite a good ear for music and melodies and sometimes I strum a little bit on the keyboard, but playing piano is something completely different. But yes, as a child I played flute of course (haha)
Us English know all about the Berlin scene, but not so much about Hamburg. For Berlin we hear about things like the Zodiak Free Arts Lab, the fall of the Berlin Wall, ex-communist buildings becoming squats etc… but could you tell me the main things that made the Hamburg electronic music scene what it is today?
Hamburg was always quite well known for House music and had the biggest House music scene in Germany. Not so well known for Techno, that was Berlin and Frankfurt for sure. But Hamburg was always sexy. And that's not only because of the red light district of St. Pauli.
You have DJd in all of the major cities in the UK. Which UK city's music scene reminds you the most of what you see back home in Hamburg?
I feel at home everywhere. But I have a very warm feeling for Sankey's/Manchester. This club is a little bigger than EGO, but philosophy, light, design all that is quite close to our club.
It's often said that there is more creativity at times when there is unrest in society. With the economic problems in most of Europe in the last couple of years, have you noticed any changes in the music scene?
The world can be as fucked up as can be – the people even party harder. That's a fact. Because partying is an important valve for everybody who's under pressure. It doesn't matter if you only have 3 euros for a beer – get yourself on a dancefloor and dance; that's important.
How did you discover David August? I still remember the first time I heard Instant Harmony on DIYnamic – it was a big moment for me – but I've always wondered, did David August send you that track without knowing you, or did the DIYnamic crew work with him to produce it?
No, he did it by himself. I think that "Feuervogel" a track that Stimming and I did was a kind of awakening for him to do electronic music, so it was for him quite clear to send us his first tracks. He's so talented that he doesn't actually need help. But we have a good relationship and I can always tell him my opinion… and I think he listens! In February/March his first album will come out.
If you weren't a professional DJ/musician, and you were just a fan, which acts would you pay money to watch play?
Just to name a few because there are so much: Goran Bregovic, Notorios BIG (R.I.P), Prince and Beyoncé 🙂 And for me it's kind of tragic that I have so little time and can barely visit concerts.
And outside of music, if you weren't travelling to DJ, what would you be doing at the weekend?
I would go to parties, meet friends, play football and enjoy good food.
I read somewhere that DIY is a reference to the DIY nature of the Punk scene, so you have obviously been inspired by a Punk philosophy. But musically, Punk is quite different to the sound you have become famous for; so what scenes/movements from the past have inspired your sound and the sound of DIYnamic?
Do it yourself is still the philosophy behind everything. Every decision we make is part of our personality and taste, from me or my crew. And musically I come from Hip Hop, Funk, Soul, R&B and this still inspires me today. And later for sure the 80s including Depeche Mode, Industrial music – I always used to be very open to music and still am.
There has been quite a lot written about the threat to Germany's night clubs by new laws… what do you think will be the impact?
I have a conspiracy theory: The new laws came so out of the blue – so I think some kind of big company must be behind this. All clubs will have a hard time. And it's completely unnecessary. And the artists for sure will gain no money with this. Only some pop artists will have more in the end. It's a shame.
You must get a bit sick of answering questions all the time. What if you had the chance to interview anyone in the world, dead or alive. Who would it be, and what would you ask them first?
Bruce Lee. My first question: "How do you deal with all the Hollywood fame?"
What are the next projects you're working on? Albums? Singles? Collaborations?
In January and February I will take two months off with touring. And perhaps I can fill this big black hole in this time.
Joining The Circus
What to do for British politics?
Solidarity with Ukraine
URL vs. IRL
Do DJs Today Need Social Media to Be Heard?
I Hear (Borusiade Remix)
Mother of MarsShop Now
Hologram TeenShop Now