As late boomers go, for the past decade Claus Voigtmann hasn’t wasted any time getting up to speed. Prior to the late 2000s, the Bavarian architect by trade had little interest in electronic music. A night at fabric completely changed his mind and ever since he’s been over achieving at a frightening pace. As co-founder and resident of Toi.Toi, he cut his teeth as a DJ playing for one of the UK’s leading members only techno and minimal house parties and is a regular at fabric. His productions have appeared on labels like Hello?Repeat, Assemble Music, Yumé and of course Toi.Toi.Musik the label he ran alongside sub label Subsequent until a recent split. He now concentrates all his efforts on Subsequent and next up from him is a debut album, carefully pieced together over a year while holding down his job as an architect and somewhere in amongst all that, his latest podcast for Ibiza Voice.
Ibiza Voice: How did you record the mix?
Voigtmann: I recorded the mix in a good old-fashioned way, while emptying a good bottle of red wine.
Where do you get your music from?
I constantly [search] online and order records every day. I get most of my music from Discogs and shops. I am quite particular on what I like and how I find it. Promos don't work for me as someone else decides what you listen to and that will never match what I am looking for. It's just not effective.
Tell us about your record collection?
I would not say I am a specialist in only one sound. I am a resident by definition and collect and like to play all kinds of music. From techno to jazz and funk.
Tell us about the scene that has most influenced you?
London has shaped entirely who I am today. I arrived at a beautiful time during the boom of the warehouse parties. I hosted Toi.Toi.Musik for seven years in the weirdest location. This had the biggest influence on my taste and style. I owe everything to London.
Photo courtesy of The Pickle Factory.
What’s the idea behind your label Subsequent?
Subsequent was started when I was still doing Toi.Toi.Musik. It was a love affair with the unknown, the new and exciting, the next generation. With Toi.Toi.Musik we released mainly artists from our agency and bigger names which suited the scale of Toi.Toi.Musik. With Subsequent I wanted to become younger, more radical, further out without falling back into rehashing the old.
I am proud of the sound I have achieved with the first five releases. There is no trademark genre as such, electro, breaks, minimal, techno, hiphop, and recently drum’n’bass (on SUB/007 from Gene on Earth). The reader might think “uhhhh he's doing a bit of everything, this can't be good” but if you listen your way through the releases, there is a red line through all of them; a certain sophistication, class, a certain je ne sai quoi. Music for Subsequent is defined by nothing else but its attitude. I try to apply this critical filter to my own music too.
Can you tell us about your new album?
For the album and all the tracks that did not make it on the album, I decided to start a new label. This is for my own work and collaborations only. The album, and subsequently the label, are the result of a beautiful ongoing process of self-healing from an almost deadly accident.
Halfway through writing it, I realised that I literally don't care if people like it or not. I fell in love with the process. As an artist, you are ideally manoeuvring outside your comfort zone, hence you are instantly faced with judgement from other people. The process of writing the album showed me that the result isn’t the main focus. For me, the beauty is in the process of writing and the amount of thought that went into it. Along the way, my sound changed from the minimal artist that I used to be, to something wider, more grown up, more techno, more technical. I tried to circumnavigate any trends and try to really establish a very own body of work.
You work full time as an architect, how do you find time to get in the studio?
I have a routine of going into my studio four days a week. After a day of architecture small talk and meetings I literally shut out the world. It's my sacred place. I meditate a short time to reset my brain, then I am ready for creative music work. I work 6pm to midnight in the studio. Time is a luxury, so I try to focus on productivity. I don't have an extremely high output due to that but I think it's also good not to pigeonhole yourself with releasing sameish material.
How do you find the travelling as DJ on top of all your other commitments?
I personally love travelling alone. In my opinion DJs get paid to travel not to play music as that is pure pleasure. I am still very excited about playing out to new crowds and making new friends. Sometimes it's tiring, but after an exciting gig it's also okay to be tired and fall into bed. It's great to sleep.
Photo courtesy of Input BCN.
Houghton festival was your highlight of last year, can you tell us more about your experience playing there?
Houghton is top of my personal highlight list. I was lucky enough to be playing twice at that wonderful festival. It was just magical...that kind of set where as a DJ you don't have to think, you pull a record and it is the correct one to follow the mood you have been building. I am convinced there are higher forces at work when this happens. After my first set, I had to sit down under the DJ booth as I couldn't handle the energy that was thrown at me by the crowd in that tent. It was totally overwhelming. I have also never had feedback like that for those two sets. Instagram, Facebook and email were overflowing with people thanking me. Heavy.
You’ve had a lot of changes since then?
2017 was an amazing year and I got to show my craft in more and bigger places. I feel truly humbled that this is possible for me. I have recently parted ways with my label Toi.Toi.Musik, agency and my partner. It's been an amazing eight years and I thank [fellow Toi.Toi.Musik co-founder) Isis dearly for those. Now it's time for me to move on, head out into more dangerous territories, more risky and complex music. I also never liked the whole politics around the nightlife - I play music that's all. After some time of adapting, I took matters into my own hand and the next months are pretty much full again so I am very happy and looking forward to a bright future.
How important is fabric in your development as a DJ?
I am deeply thankful for their trust - [fabric bookers] Judy, Andy and Craig [Richards] in particular. I have always been shy about my DJing but since I had their support not only in Fabric but also all over the place, it's like a switch flipped. I finally found my very own sound and I feel I got something to show and with their support I also have the opportunities to do so. That booth in Room One is something like out of a dream for a DJ and taught me to channel initial nervousness into being excited and comfortable in any booth around the world. I consider Fabric my musical home.
You were very close to the #savefabric campaign and with the ongoing battle to save the Rainbow Venues in Birmingham still taking place, what’s your take on the issues clubs face?
I agree with the general consensus amongst industry people that no club can be held responsible for the irresponsible behaviour of their guests. It's like holding car brands responsible for road accidents. It's nonsense. Drugs are part of modern day society. That's the harsh reality. The key lies in decent education about drugs and also allow nightclubs to test drugs.
What is the hardest thing you face day to day as a DJ and label owner?
To be an increasingly public person. I am essentially a very shy person. Recently some sad individual sent out a fake email under my name to industry people. Without going into detail, I was deeply shocked by this incident, as someone went out of their way to deliberately hit us.
I have to re-iterate from above. My path is making and playing music and that's where I see myself in the future - doing exactly the same until people decide they don't like what I do anymore, that's cool for me too.
To follow Voigtmann on Facebook click here.