Interview with Zuckermann

Interview with Zuckermann

Fast talk

Editor USM
Mon 18 Dec 2017

How did the collaboration between you two come about?
That’s somehow blurry since it was in a Berlin party and gig context (which is a classic))). Then we (Gunne, my Lebensfreude Records label partner and I) booked Benjamin Fehr for one of our parties in Berlin. Upon which he returned the favor and made us play at some of his Club der Visionäre regular nights. Although not always on the same page musically, we always shared the same interest in serious electronic (and other) music and often had these meandrous debates about music, the arts, related technology, and I guess, what life as an artist means nowadays. Basically we reinterpreted the Bohemian idea for the 21st century DJ and producer culture.

Zuckermann, how has living in Beijing been? Has the change of scene influenced your music at all?
To make a long, and incredibly intense story short, Beijing was a culture clashing experience which taught me a lot about dealing with a not so serious minded audience while DJing and still stay true to the idea. Production wise I tried to find some decent Chinese producers for a while, but back then, there were only a handful (which is changing now). We nevertheless did a compilation on which we released some tracks that we did with those Chinese artists, among them a track with Shao (Yanpeng), who a year later had his solo debut on Tresor.

Shanghai, where I lived after that is a totally different beast altogether and I was so lucky as to become a resident at Elevator, probably China’s best underground club at the moment. When in Shanghai, I toured all over China on a regular basis, which was super interesting in terms of seeing all these small pockets of electronic music enthusiasts emerge and do their own clubs now. Definitely inspiring!

Finally, I live in Hong Kong now, which surprisingly is even more difficult when it comes to an ‘underground‘ idea of electronic music. But there is a small, and super dedicated scene of DJs and club owners here which makes staying in this otherwise totally commercial city a worthwhile experience nonetheless. I have my own party series ‘Darkroom' at Social Room (sic!) club on a monthly basis but also play bigger events like Sônar festival Hong Kong.

My time in China comes down to becoming even more radical as an artist, which is contradictory, since here, ‚underground' has little to no value and without a firm ethic one might be tempted to give in and play more palatable music just to get bookings. Which was never even a question. Still, a more hostile environment sharpens your senses and makes you think twice before every artistic decision.

Is there anyone you’d love to collaborate with in the near future?
Oh yeah, may I exercise some wishful thinking here? Perc would be number 1 on my list at the moment. Although my style tends to be totally different, I see a similar approach in some of his music in terms of influences coming from elsewhere than ‘just‘ dance music. Influences that I hardly hear anywhere else. That would be an interesting one.

Other than thinking about the unattainable, my partner (under his new artistic ego Negativ Dekadent) and I always collaborate, I just did a remix for our Techno label Destroy All Monsters for him  that will come out in February. A way more housey and melancholic EP featuring the 2 of us will come out on Lebensfreude Records in January as well. And then there will also be a new collaboration with Benjamin Fehr. Interesting inspiring times ahead.

Do you plan on collaborating again in future?
See above, and more generally, I love to collaborate with interesting musicians, so, definitely!

Who or what has been the sole biggest influence on your career?
My daughter. Making music with her when she was 2 inspired me to not only come up with my first album, but also find my very own approach towards electronic music, which could be summed up in the concept of ‘serendipity‘.

What advice would you give to any young aspiring producers/DJs?
I’m certainly not in any position to give anyone advice. The only thing I may add here is, never compromise your art.

Will you be making any new years resolutions?
Seriously? Nope! That’d be a futile exercise in self elevation (or, flagellation, well, if you are a catholic, that is))).

What was your favourite release of 2017?
Perc - Bitter Music

How has the industry and scene developed and changed since you began DJing/producing?
Ha! I certainly could write a novel about that. In short, electronic music became mainstream (in Europe!) in those 20 years. Which has huge consequences for a fringe scene. Just a couple of keywords: De-mystiifaction, professionalisation, Sell-Out, losing of ideals, ‚market‘ saturation, fierce competition, digital numbness, that strange vinyl hype, digital greatness, hypes off all sorts, from being an DJ (and maybe producer) to being a sales person, an online marketing pro, a social network persona, an editor, a proofreader, a translator, a media phenomenon (or not), and a global player (or not) - ah, yes, and still a romantic somewhere in the back of one’s mind.

What can we expect from you in the new year?
I try not to have any (expectations).


 Zuckermann Zuckermann