Ibiza Voice Podcast 565 :: Diego Krause
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Diego Krause is a perfect example of why, if you want something to happen, you should just do it yourself. Rather than waiting around to hear back from labels who have their own agenda, he took a leap of faith and started this own outlet, Unison Wax. It soon gained traction and a fan base, as did the German artist himself.
He also co-runs Best Modus with recent podcast star Cinthie, and shares with her a passion for all things house. His own take on the genre is tinged with 90s goodness and a sharp tech edge, and it takes him from regular gigs at Watergate to tours of Argentina and beyond. He is just launching a new online record store and label collective, Elevate.berlin, and here we ask him about that, growing up in Berlin and about how the city has changed, what gear he uses to DJ and whether that matters, as well as plenty more.
Ibiza Voice: How are you, how has your year been so far? What’s been good or bad about it?
Diego Krauss: I’m good, enjoying Berlin spring and working loads. Spent a lot of time in the studio and digging for new music.
Tell us about the two labels you run—why have one just for your own productions? Is that about control and speeding up the release process?
Yes, exactly. Cinthie and I started Unison Wax in 2014 as a kind of an outlet for self-releasing my productions. At that time, I had plenty of tracks and didn’t know who I shall send them to. Nobody knew about me and it’s definitely not easy to get your demos heard. However, I had a concept for the label and the label’s sound in my mind and it just felt like it had to happen.
I wanted to be able to bypass the whole procedure of sending out demos and waiting for replies, we took things in our own hands as we did with Beste Modus a year earlier. It was a leap of faith of course, but Cinthie was very encouraging and we just went for it. I’m glad we did.
What was it like growing up in East Berlin? Did those years have a lasting impact on your musical tastes?
Actually, my parents emigrated to West Berlin when I was around three. That was half a year before the wall came down. They applied to leave the country when my mom was pregnant. It was called an 'Ausreiseantrag' but it was a long and exhausting procedure and you had to deal with reprisal and never ending interviews and paperwork. But after three years, we were allowed to go.
So I grew up in Kreuzberg but was, of course, very influenced by the music my parents were listening to, including artists like Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream and Jean Michel Jarre, among others. I remember seeing Jean Michel Jarre playing live at the Waldbühne in Berlin. He had these quite impressive live shows, and as a kid I was blown away. I think this laid down the foundation for my musical development.
How different is Berlin today?
Oh very much. It became so international, it’s crazy. I live at Hermannplatz, where everyone speaks English these days. But I love that about Berlin - it brings a lot of cultures together and that is just as exciting to me. This has also formed a big community of great musicians and other artists of course. It’s very inspiring.
How did you record the mix and what equipment did you use?
I recorded this mix at my friend Ed Herbst’s place. My setup at home is a bit messed up at the moment, so he was kind enough to let me use his 1210s and XOne mixer.
Does the gear matter? Are you bothered about what you play on ie CDJs vs vinyl? Why or why not?
I remember in the beginning we focused more on playing vinyl exclusively. But that was during a time where you just couldn’t get some of the music digitally. Now I’ve changed my opinion, and the difference matters less to me. I play a lot of promos, edits or unreleased works of my own so I depend on CDJs for that. But I always bring a bag of vinyl—when I travel, as well. It’s just more fun for me.
Was there an aim for it from the start, did you have a certain thing to say, certain records to play, a sound to represent?
As usual when I record a mix, I start by going to my favourite record shops in Berlin: Spacehall and Record Loft. I had a rough idea of where I wanted to go with this mix and the rest emerged while digging.
I’d been wanting to do a vinyl mix for a while, so that was the core idea. In this mix, you will find mostly older records, I’m really into late 90s, early 2000s tech house at the moment, so there’s a lot of that in there.
Where do you get your music from and how long do you spend looking for it each week?
I’m starting to buy more and more on Discogs again. For a few years, I preferred to buy new stuff but at the moment I get more excited about finding older gems.
But I try to maintain a balance and to keep up to date with the news - online and in record shops. Usually I try to spend at least a day every week to search for new stuff. It really depends though: sometimes, I’d rather spend time in the studio.
What else have you got coming up/are you looking forward to?
I am very excited for this summer. I’m going on my second Argentina tour this week. Followed by some exciting dates in June / July including Fuse in Brussels. Release-wise, I’ve just released Redshift on Sukhumvit which is getting great reactions, then another EP will come on Rawax in the coming weeks and there is a new Unison Wax record in the pipeline as well.
Also my friends and I started a new project called Elevate.berlin. It’s a label collective and online record shop; we have a lot of creative minds working on it.
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