A dog they say, is a man’s best friend. And if you’re a fan of unconventional strands of techno, house and indeed, Jamaican dub, chances are the producer with the canine-friendly moniker, Dachshund, could well be your long-lost best mate. Having grown up in Geneva, Switzerland up as plain oul’ Oliver Doret, the prolific producer has seen his talents grace a number of different labels since he first caught the production bug back in the early ‘00s.
It’s an esteemed group too, with Ripperton’s Perspectiv, Jay Haze’s Contexterrior and Mihalis Safras’ Material Series all getting the Dachshund treatment, while the man himself also runs the Swiss based Clapper imprint together with his good friend and occasional production partner, Quenum.
It’s his latest long player however, that’s really got tongues (or should that be tails?) wagging, with Eleven Ridims marking an emphatic return to Tom Clark’s Berlin based Highgrade imprint. So what’s in a name then? And why is he so captivated by Jamaica? We caught up with Dachshund himself recently to discuss these questions and much more besides…
Easy question out of the way first - Are you a dog lover and what’s with the name?
[Laughs] Well, I’m not exactly a dog lover, no! I chose the name Dachshund because when I started to put out records, I’d no name for the label. So, when my first track was about to be released, I had to come up with something. So I took a look at a pantone colour chart and chose ‘Dacshund’, completely at random. Then, when I realised it was also a dog’s name, I just decided to stick with it. It was kind of funny and unusual, so it definitely suits me too!
When did you first start producing?
Well, I first started playing guitar in reggae bands around 1995. I was also producing some dub music back then too, and that was my first step into music. Then came the drum n’ bass around 1997, and I made that transition so I could play my own tracks, to play the dub plates of the time. It wasn’t until quite late though, about 2005/2006, that I started to produce house and techno. I was playing live a lot rather than releasing tracks, and it was mainly just myself and a laptop back then…
It was the dub sound that appealed more than reggae itself though, because as I said, I was never really looking for the message behind the music - I was far more interested in the sounds...I’m curious about your early preoccupation with reggae. What was it that appealed to you about the genre?
It was definitely the music more than the message that appealed more, although I was really into the cool rhythms, the melodies and the positive vibes too. It was the dub sound that appealed more than reggae itself though, because as I said, I was never really looking for the message behind the music – I was far more interested in the sounds.
I was really into the mixing side of the dub stuff. I found it crazy that the engineers could deconstruct the track, remove the vocals, add echoes and keep the main things, i.e. the drum and the bass. After that, I moved to drum and bass so it was a natural sort of evolution. I guess I just love music with bass and rhythm…
Was that sort of music popular when you were growing up in Switzerland?
Switzerland is a very small country, so it’s hard to say what was popular. In 1997, I was living in a squat though, which was a popular thing for young people in the French part of Switzerland to do at that time. We took houses that were empty, and in my squat, reggae and hip-hop were the most prominent sounds. So I guess that was the sound of my youth in a way…
Eleven Riddims LP - Out Now @ whatpeopleplay.com I read that you’ve been to Mexico, Russia, Jamaica and Senegal too. You seem well travelled. Is there a particular place in the world that really influences you?
Well, I found myself in Senegal because I’d friends living there. I mean, I never went there for musical reasons. Although when I went to the capital, Dakar, it did inspire me, and I actually released a track on my label, Clapper, called “Patte D’Oie” after a really popular town there. Every country I’ve visited has inspired me in different ways though.
You mentioned your label, Clapper. How is that coming along?
Yeah, I work on the label with [fellow Swiss producer] Quenum. The idea behind setting up the label was to have a place to release our own records whenever we wanted. So we aren’t rushing things, we don’t need to release music every month etc.
The next release will be a sort of remix compilation by friends of ours, and they’ll be remixing some records I produced with Quenum. I can’t say who it will be right now, because it’s not completely finished, but after that myself and Quenum are going to release more music together on the label. Our last release came out on RebelLION, the sub-label of Crosstown Rebels, so we’re looking forward to releasing on our own imprint again…
What’s the electronic music scene like in Geneva these days?
It’s a bit split between an underground and mainstream sound. It’s also split between different crews and generations. Sometimes it’s really good and sometimes it’s boring, and I gues sit’s just like most small cities in that regard. But I have great fun here. It suits me because all my friends and family are here, and as it’s located in the centre of Europe it’s an ideal place to be located gig wise.
I wanted to show another side of my sound, one that isn’t necessarily dance floor focused. So the idea behind the album was to make something that’s a bit in-between, with sounds that represent another side of me such as my dub inspirations, my love for melody and things like that…And are you still working in the music store in Geneva?
Yes! We sell lots of instruments, from drums to vintage guitars. I used to play guitar actually but not regularly any more…
Do you use many instruments on the new album, Eleven Riddims then?
Yeah, I play a few melodies from the keyboard, but it’s mainly produced with controllers, keyboards and laptops. I didn’t use the guitar at all. I still use a lot of analogue gear though, including all my old synths and drum machines.
When I’m making a track, I usually switch between software and hardware, and I don’t really stick to any rules and tend to mix everything up. Sometimes I use old drum samples and stuff like that too, while the vocals – like on the record “Give Thanks” – are sampled from a Jamaican friend of mine who lives in Geneva…
The album seems quite eclectic alright…
Yeah, I wanted to show another side of my sound, one that isn’t necessarily dance floor focused. So the idea behind the album was to make something that’s a bit in-between, with sounds that represent another side of me such as my dub inspirations, my love for melody and things like that…
What’s the idea behind the title by the way?
Eleven Riddims is a title that derives from Jamaican slang. In Jamaica, a ‘riddim’ is a track that’s without vocals, so it fitted the album just right…
And how did the LP end up on Tom Clark’s Highgrade imprint?
I first met Tom a few years ago, in around 2009 or 2010. He asked me to produce a few records for them for a compilation they were putting out called Connected Heads. After that, I did some EPs [for Highgrade], and then I joined their booking agency and played with the rest of the guys. So I guess I’m part of the Highgrade family now!
I also wanted to ask about your gig in fabric in London some time back. How did that go?
Yeah, it was Eddie Richard who asked me to play, and as you can imagine, I was quite honoured. He’s a really great contact and a really great guy, and he’s always believed in my music. I love playing in fabric because the London crowd is so open-minded: they love music and they love to party, and there are always great vibes there. Last time I played, I played in Room 3, which I really enjoyed because it’s really personable…It was a great night!
How does it feel to be making waves outside of Switzerland then?
Great, I’m really happy about it. It’s always been a dream of mine, as far back as when I played drum n’ bass. I’m really lucky that I’ve made a small name for myself outside of the country too…
Finally, I see the album has already earned great support from the likes of Ilario Alicante, Davide Squillace and Claude von Stroke. But did you laugh when you saw Catz n’ Dogz jump on board too?
[Laughs] Haha - there are always DJs and producers with animal names. But I guess this proves that cats and dogs can get along!