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Alt 10.10.2020, 01:12   #1
DJ Mix
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NfSoP "Funk Faces"-Interview: DJ Hektik (Tilt-Recordings)

Funk Faces - DJ Hektik

When and how did your fascination with drum and bass music start?
Really 1997. I started buying Techno records 1994 as a teenager. In 1995 I made my first 90 min mixtapes. In 1996 I bought a few DnB records second hand from a mate’s mate. But when DnB became more 2step and technoid in 1997/1998 it really became interesting for me, so I left Techno for a new love. Decoder (like Emmanuel Top in Techno) was a main influence, „Fuse” and „Turn” were seminal tunes to me.

Why you decided to start your own label? Have you had experience in this field before?
It was all learning by doing. In 2002 the Trio-Music crew (at the time Kaiza, me, Shoota and Essentchilla) visited the Dead Metropolis crew in Chemnitz fka Karl-Marx-Stadt for a now forgotten HipHop/Reggae/DnB-Festival called „Splash!”. We resided in their studio rooms where they had a vinyl pressing plant’s price list laying on the table. We studied the list like monkeys and Kaiza suggested we should start our own label... One year later Tilt began as a collaboration between Trio-Music (Mannheim), Phishmaol Crew (Darmstadt) and a handful of private donours (friends and relatives) to create a bigger platform for our own tunes and ideas, but it was all experimental. We were a couple of idealistic nerds from the mixtape generation. We really had no idea what we were doing, but we had a loose idea what we wanted to do.

How many people were involved in the work of the label?
Originally it was a joint group effort (Phishmaol from Frankfurt and Trio-Music from Mannheim), but through division of work and specialization the label work gradually became a one-man-job. Classic story: the active members of two camps decided to join for this project, we put our money together. We decided the first logo together, the first tunes, the artwork concept, the name and all that. In our joint group I was the only guy who did not produce tunes so it was natural/organic for me to handle the pressing, distribution, the website and the logistics. The others focused on making tunes, and we also made our mixes, a weekly radio show and parties. Gradually I ended up doing all the label work, paying for the releases ( = losses) and making most of the decisions, but Kaiza and Budoka still took part in the tune selection and we did some of the gigs together. Tbh Kaiza and me took most of the label related gigs, and Budoka was the forgotten genius of the group...

Many of the works of artists who recorded for Tilt were released for free. Please tell me, what decided that part of the work would be available for free?

Short cynical answer: Like always in socialism = capitalism, we sold the best tunes and gave the others away for free to attract more customers. More detailed answer: The free releases were started by one tune, „Electrohorse” from amex + Sniper. Someone leaked the tune by uploading the 320 and posting the link on the old DSCI4 forum unauthorized. First we were angry, because we had considered putting it on vinyl and now it was leaked / rendered unreleaseable. But then the forum produced a stream of positive feedback, including four letters from Trace („sick”). It made us think... We had tunes that we could not release on vinyl but were good enough to play and listen, and worked on parties/dancefloors. So, a few weeks after that leak incident we started a series of free downloads to salvage „Electrohorse” and some other doomed tunes. We were nerds, so we did it with release numbers, formated filenames, tags, infotexts and predictable archive links. And it „worked”. Over the following months, more artists approached us and the free download series took on a life of its own. It turned into a (sub-)label, even without its own artwork or even logo, and it became a portal through which we could promote artists and influence (or so we imagined) „our” two and a half Subgenres. The life of it was the contributions of the producers, we really just provided the channel.

What decided what part would be commercial and what free?
Again, short answer: Best tunes would go on vinyl, second best tunes ended up commercial digital release, third best free downloads. Tbh many „second” and „third” tunes should have been released on vinyl, but I did not have enough money for more pressings... Longer answer: Since there is a division, there is a question that does not go away. Commercial vs. Non- or even anti-commercial. The decision was often easy but hard at the same time. There were a number of definable factors: Sound/production, musical content, probable commercial (lol) success etc. But some misjudgements, too. Example: „System32” should have been the digital release and „The Kernel” should have been on Tilt 010. My mistake, regretted for years and I am still ashamed - we had rushed the decision and at the time I was unable to see it… Bottom line, there was a hierarchy in the tunes and in this way the haters are right for saying „T-Free was tunes not good enough for vinyl.” But that was because of limited ressources. If I had been rich enough back then, many of the tunes on T-Files and T-FREE would have been on vinyl. I simply could not afford it. The stigmatisation of free tunes is a remnant from the 90s vinyl/dubplate only era, and from capitalism based dubplate culture. How many tunes from Bignames are never released on vinyl? Today it is all digital, the line between free and commercial is more blurred than 15 years ago and mediums matters less than ever.

How did you start promoting your idea? How did T-Free become the most popular drum and bass netlabel.

Maybe because it just was the best DnB netlabel? No idea really, might be fake news either way, lol. For us it just developed organically, prompted by outside pertubations into out little crew / echo chamber. After the millenium there suddenly was internet, and we just tried to use it to spread our ideas. Back then labels had websites, and release promotion worked mostly over newsletter mailing lists and discussion forums. Those were amazing at the time, not just for promotion but mainly as a place for debate and free discusssion. With the rise of „social” media we have lost most of the freedom of the millenial internet that is best remembered from forums. And forum spamming was a big part of T-FREE promotion. Maybe it worked because at that time people were used to deal with information on their own without the „help” from algorythms. Users used to make a larger percentage of decisions by ear. Anyway a good number of artists started their international / internet career on T-FREE and left early marks there. Plus I managed to talk a good number of already established artists at the time into donating tunes that would perhaps still be unreleased and forgotten today. I failed with some, but I also had some success saving tunes from getting lost in some cases. Overall I think there were / are many good tunes on the label for their time. Some releases I regretted later, but most of them were good decisions. Of course I am 100% biased, I am the least reliable witness and blinded by my own ideas. And there was always negative feedback, so I put two quotes on the old label website:
"puts some more established labels to shame"
(crystl_lake @ www.freak-recordings.com/community 2008-06)
"96% of the shit you put out is garbage"
(djc @ www.techno-dnb.com/forum 2008-06)
→ Search „cannon” and „yanks in pyjamas” on DOA

When did your label reach its peak? Are you able to provide any statistics?
Commercial „peak”: TILT008 broke even (all other releases lost me money). Creative peak: hard to say, many tos and fros. Maybe the most shocking tune (at the time) we released was „Sourcream” on TILT004. In T-FREE download numbers „Micrcocosm” by Histibe is the absolute winner. The statistics re still online here but they are many years old, sorry:

Was the label's goal to release banging tracks or something more? Have you had a broader vision of what artists you want to focus on this project?
It was all just to highlight the beauty, enourmousness and magnificence of my penis. Really it started as a promotion platform for our two camps. First we wanted to promote ourselves, then we started to promote others, and accidentally managed to helped some careers in their early stages. For example, look at the first few Mefjus releases on discogs. Honestly, the labels’s original goal was to help our own music careers and to enable us to express our own ideas to a bigger audience, but it turned into something with which we could help others too. That was probably the biggest achivement and learning point in retrospect.

How did your relationship with the artists look like?
Mostly friendly. There was some hilarious internet beef between amex, Typecell and me, but most experiences were good on both sides (label and artists) as far as I can tell. Only two artists I had signed tunes from for TILT008 did both change their mind, very unfortunate (I will not say their names, but – one said he did not like his „old” tune to be released and 2 years later it came out on another label; the other producer did not like his old mixdown and has not released the tune to this day). However, that episode lead to the release of Spinor’s „Moloch” which was years old at that time but still became a small underground hit. I never understood why no other label had wanted it... Bottom line about relationships: When I cancelled the label, the release artists got the money from the shops and gave their ok for all tunes to become free downloads (like on Nerve Recordings).

Did Tilt have any own series of events?
Technically no. There were a few official label/release-parties in different cities in Germany, and an assorted Trio-Music event series in Mannheim (iDrums season 1, 2007 – 2008) but no official Tilt event series… Years later, 2012 – 2014 I was lucky to host a monthly event series with a High-End-PA that was basically the fulfillment of my DJ and party dreams. It should have been a Tilt event series, but at the time the label was long buried.

In your opinion - what’s the difference between dnb productions (in technique, skills, quality of sounds) once and nowadays?
Simple answer: I am not a producer. Honest answer: I am old now, much of the new stuff sounds like post-cartoon Tweenwave and boring foghorns to me. Technically better produced than 20 year old DnB, but musically worse. Modern 2020 Neuro sounds like DJ Guv in 2015, and 2-3 minute long tunes… It has become troll music. And I think this results from a dual/twofold development. On the first hand, without the analogue hurdles, new talents can emerge more easily in the digital world, like gyrofield from Hong Kong. A similar development as in Deejaying: the technical barriers that keep new talent from the craft have gone down so low that everybody can start without any background knowledge, instantly. You know where this goes… Without “natural selection” and skill as a hurdle, there is no standard and no minimum… The structure of the artform itself will be lost over time, to entrophy. And yes, Drum & Bass is an artform imo, a potential artform at any rate. Even if 99% of DnB producers make shit festival/dancefloor tunes with foghorns, “Mr Happy” samples and 120% cheese, there is still the artistic potential in the genre itself that its history proves. If 99% of cinematic pictures and tv movies are shit, does that mean that movies as a medium are shit? Obviously no. Same goes for DnB, Techhouse, Techno, Metal, Punk, Hardcore, HipHop and Ragga. All other genres are shit anyway even if 100% of producers make art of it… In Communist Germany, we call it a matter of taste. It means that everybody is right and everybody is left/wrong at the same time, and nobody will admit it.

Why you decided to end this project?
I hated Facebook and the new way of “marketing” via social media profiles, and after TILT010 I could not afford more vinyl releases. Plus my old DnB crew had disappeared into the wind. It was time to end the label with whatever dignity was left, instead of changing it into just another “digital only” label (one of many).

Is there any chance that we will hear about new Tilt releases someday?
No, never. In time, death is death and finite. And the DnB market does not need old people who remember the past. The young consumers will do „fine” with smartphones, digital controllers and politically correct foghorn music, until they grow old themselves. If I could ever start a label again, it would be under a new name, such as „Internet Recordings” or „Renegade Streetware”. But both names are ridiculous. You see I have no good ideas right now and I should shut up now.

Thank you for your time and take our invitation.
- Thanks a lot.

#nfsop #interview #funkfaces

Geändert von DJ Mix (10.10.2020 um 01:16 Uhr)
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