Dapayk is German musician, label owner and techno producer Niklas Worgt. He has long been a key part of the final techno scene around the world, and is a revered live performer who has a proper, awe inspiring show, rather than one that just has a dude stood at a computer hitting buttons. His style is always subtly shifting, and his last album was a shift away from the dance floor to more considered home listening. He still kicks out the jams, though, and his latest single proves that. It is another pairing with Padberg aka vocalist Eva, and is a moody and broody affair with melodic vibes aplenty.
When we started on “Smoke” we decided not to think about what was expected of us and just go with our gut feeling...Here we talk to the duo about their various styles this new single and about what they get up to during the week. It is a great insight into an influential live pair, and comes as special documentary 20 years of Dapayk is released too. Read on for more…
What brought about the stylistic shift in your 2013 album Smoke? What inspired or influenced it?
Niklas: Besides all the club music I produced, I always did listening tracks. Most of them never got released. In 2012 we were on vacation in a little house in the Scottish lowlands and I played around with some musical ideas. It was November and the weather was grim, but the calmness of the house and the whole area turned into several new tracks that were the base for the “Smoke" album.
The feedback was really positive. We were surprised, we expected more incomprehension...Eva: Before the “Smoke” Album we had always wanted to try out a more melodic and less dancefloor oriented sound for Dapayk & Padberg, but we were a little scared to actually take that turn, because people expected a certain style from us.
When we started on “Smoke” we decided not to think about what was expected of us and just go with our gut feeling.
How did the fans and media react to the new direction? Do you feel they welcomed it?
Niklas: The feedback was really positive. We were surprised, we expected more incomprehension, but it seems that our listeners also got a little older, maybe wiser and grew into different genres.
Tell us about Sink This Ship - where and when did you write and record it, what inspired it?
Niklas: I started working on “Sink This Ship” 2 years ago during a skiing vacation in Austria. The basic idea for the track was created while sitting in a cabin in Austria and looking out at a quite breath-taking view of mountains, snow and cloudbanks. This feeling of big open spaces can definitely be heard on the song. Later in Berlin we added the vocals and did final touches.
It’s about new angles & believing that sometimes it’s better to just let things go...Eva: Finding the right words for the track was really easy for me on this one. When Niklas played the first loops for me I immediately started to have strong images in my head, which I then put into the lyrics. “Sink This Ship” is about new beginnings. It’s about new angles and believing that sometimes it’s better to just let things go or find a new way of dealing with situations we are stuck in. That’s basically the idea behind the lyrics.
Did you write the track with a certain club, moment in time dance floor in mind? Who is it for?
Niklas: I never had a certain dance floor moment in mind. “Sink This Ship” is more about a listening experience. The remixers were responsible for taking over the dance floor. Bebetta’s remix would fit at any Berlin summer open air. Robot Koch’s is great for that smooth, shaking Electronica crowd.
Stay true to your own style but always have your eye on the upcoming trends in the scene...In your long career, what are the key lessons you have learnt?
1. Don’t give up, even though you’ve been sending out demos for 8 years and no one cares.
2. Stay true to your own style but always have your eye on the upcoming trends in the scene.
3. If you want to do this for a longer time, then don’t go to every after hour people ask you to…Sleep is important.
What else have you got coming up/are you working on?
Eva: There is a new Dapayk & Padberg album in the making which is almost finished and is probably going to be released in the end of the year.
There is a new Dapayk & Padberg album in the making which is almost finished & is probably going to be released in the end of the year...What is an average week in your life like? Do you have many routines? Do you do normal stuff away from music to keep sane?
Eva: We have a house in the country side north of Berlin and try to spend most of our time there. We are very boring people on our free time. I love to work in the garden and try to cook healthy meals for us when we’re at home.
Niklas: I try to get a few hours of studio time in each week, to work on new music, which isn’t always possible, because there might be other projects I’m working on, like a new “Nerdsession” for my YouTube channel or a remix that has to be ready. When I’m not actually working on music my time is best spend in our garden - mowing the lawn or doing something on the house. I go running at least 2 or 3 times a week to keep fit and our dogs keep us busy the rest of the time.
Dapayk 20 Years on Stage Documentary is online on Dapayk's YouTube Channel
And how do you like the travelling, do you do things to pass the time? Watch movies, read, and learn a language or something else?
Niklas: I mainly read, mostly books about history or just manuals of machines I just bought.
Do you still get nervous and excited on stage like you did when you first started out?
Niklas: Weirdly enough, I’m getting more nervous playing in smaller venues. The audience is closer to you and you feel the different emotions way more directly than playing at a big festival with a 10m gap between you at the stage and the people. Sometimes you’re kinda on your own at the stage.
Eva: I always get nervous right before we go on, maybe not as bad as I used to in the beginning but it’s still there. I think it would be wrong not to have that excitement anymore.
How different is each live show, do you have to record new parts, plan each night, or can you just speak as freely through your machines as you can with your own voice by now?
Niklas: For my Dapayk Solo gigs, I prepare a completely new set 3-4 times a year, with new loops, parts and sounds. I can jump between these sets, load 4 year old loops, if I want to and can choose the parts that might fit the best for the situation. Besides, I change my setup quite a lot to keep it interesting for me and to try new stuff. So if you hear me playing 2 times a year, you might know some parts, but 80% will be new as I add new music to my live set every week.