Lex Deluxe, asking the BIG questions
Brace up techno-fans, we are beyond excited to welcome one of Berlin’s most secretive weapons; the DJ/producer/label honcho Amotik, to Output 2018. We had a chat to this elusive underground phenomenon about immersing himself in Berlin’s scene, starting his own label, and his admiration and love for fellow Output-er, Jensen Intercepter.
Lex Deluxe: Hey Amo, we are so excited to have you on board for Output’s sophomore year. This will be your debut Australian show and your fan base here are pretty psyched to see you for the first time – how are you gearing up to play in a brand new scene?
Amotik: I too am very excited, thanks for getting me on board! I saw a lot of footage from Output last year, and it looks like an incredibly unique/special venue. In terms of gearing up, I’m in a constant state of refreshing my music library so I’ll have a lot of new music to hand, and I’ll come down early to feel the vibe/crowd. I’d also like to test out some new tracks that I’ve been working on for release next year. Aside from Sydney, I’ll be playing 2 club shows in Melbourne/Brisbane in early December too, so I’m looking forward to the whole trip. Also, as I write this, it’s starting to get very cold here in Berlin and it’ll probably be hitting the minus temperatures by the time I leave for Sydney, so I’m looking forward to escaping the winter too.
L.D: Your move to Berlin wasn’t necessarily planned, but you have said that the sound of Amotik was heavily influenced by your exposure to Berlin. What was the defining moment of this, and how did you embrace the city and the culture?
I was born in the UK and was actually living in India for 4 years prior to moving to Berlin. I wanted to come back to Europe but wasn’t too sure where, so took Berlin on as a small experiment and am still here 4 years later with no plans to move on. The city has definitely been very good me, and me/my wife both love it here. In terms of culture/music it’s so diverse, but even simple things like 24 hour public transport make things so accessible and easy. Obviously the clubs are on a different level, and I took huge inspiration to start this project from spending a lot of time on dance floors here. Geographically it’s also great to as it’s easy to get around to other European cities to play at the weekend and get home in time for dinner on a Sunday.
L.D: Where in Berlin did you cut your teeth?
My first gig here in Berlin was at Suicide Circus, back in late 2015. It was just after my first record release, and a promoter contacted me to come play for a Thursday night event. I was pretty surprised anyone would take any notice after such a short time, and I didn’t have any expectations but it turned out to a really good party. Then a few months later, Tommy Four Seven booked me for one of his ’47’ label showcases at Arena club, before going on to play Griessmuehle and then Berghain for the first time in early 2017.
L.D: The DJ scene in Berlin is incredibly competitive, but you managed to set yourself apart in your vibe. How do you keep your sound so unique?
I purposely work with a lot of limitation in my workflow and have a lot of processes that keeps my sound from straying too far from home. I write music that I’d like to hear when I’m in a club, and will often close my eyes whilst working on projects to imagine how it would sound on the floor, so that is my constant motivation. I’m also working on some new music for next year, which is definitely more diverse, but still maintains the core roots of my sound.
L.D: You started your own record label, AMOTIK, and solely release your own music. What made you choose this avenue of distribution?
It mainly came out wanting to have control over the whole process (release dates/artwork/distribution etc). I had released music on other labels in the past (under different aliases), and didn’t always feel a connection with labels when you only know them via email. Release dates would change/get delayed, and that sometimes clashed with other releases, so it was hard to maintain a regular schedule, which became increasingly frustrating. Going the DIY route, seemed to be a nice way around this, and has definitely worked out well for me. I do, very occasionally, work with other labels now, but only if I have a close personal relationship with them.
L.D: You are a regular at Berlin’s notorious Berghain – can you give us an insight on what it is like to play at one of the most (in)famous club in the world?
To put it simply… For me, it’s just the best. The sound system/people/lights/DJ booth/staff are all on point. There’s not much else to describe it other than somewhere I strongly desire to play and party. There’s obviously a lot of hype about that club, but it’s not without a lot of substance. Whenever I have a Sunday afternoon free, I’ll try to get down there to the middle of the dance floor to get some inspiration. Especially if I have some studio time planned shortly after.
L.D: Do you have any tips or advice for budding deep techno DJs and producers in the big wide world?
The main thing I would say is to not compromise. Write music because it means something you, and because you want to express yourself. Don’t be defined by music that you think can get you DJ gigs because that’s a dangerous road to go down. Also, if you’re starting out, don’t rush into getting releases out, and only put things out that you’re 100% into. It’s OK to finish music, and never release it.
L.D: Are there any other artists on the Output line-up who you wanna catch on the day?
I’m a bit fan of Jensen Interceptor. His track ‘F5’ (with Assembler Code) was one of my biggest closing tracks this summer. So I’m looking forward to hopefully meeting him and checking out his set.
L.D: And finally… what are your plans for your trip to Australia?
Aside from the other 2 shows in Melbourne/Brisbane, I’ll be spending the rest of the time on holiday. My best friend from school now lives in Sydney with his wife - they had their first child last year so I’m really looking forward to meeting him for the first time, and getting to know him. Also, my wife used to live in Melbourne and has a lot of family there, so we’ll be doing a lot of relaxing and hopefully having our fair share of BBQs!
Catch Amotik at Output November 24th on Sydney Harbour’s breathtaking Goat Island. Final Release tickets at www.outputfestival.com.au