Roman Flügel talks about the pressure of mixing a Fabric CD, his favourite label, and why some DJs know how to throw their hands in the air and others just try.
Roman Flügel is one of those artists that seemingly refuses to age. The Frankfurt producer has been a staple part of electronic music for nearly three decades - and rather than fade away with time, he’s more relevant than ever. Known for stepping away from the limelight in favour of a blistering work rate, Flügel's contribution to electronic music and culture is a rich and diverse one.
Ibiza Voice: You've been a constant force in electronic music, but you have also remained a rather limelight shy character and rare make a lot of fuss - do you think that too much is made of the celebrity of DJ culture?
Roman Flügel: It depends on your own mentality I guess. There are some natural born DJ celebrities around who are not acting embarrassingly or have a real capability of communicating with large crowds. I had to find out that I actually enjoy to play even in front of larger crowds, but rather let the music do the talking. It's an interesting fact that some people know how to throw their hands in the air and others just try.
Your own production doesn't stick to one specific style at any one time. What is the main thread running through your music?
That's a tough question. But if I have to explain some of my musical ingredients, I'd say I have a preference for odd little melodies and certain rhythmic structures, like combining a straight 4/4 with triplets. In general l try to remain open and playful in my productions.
The sheer output and work rate of your producing is incredible. You've had seven solo projects (including the amazing Soylent Green) and eleven collaborative aliases. How do you squeeze and channel these various strands and how do you make the time? Are you a workaholic?
Haha, no, I guess I’m still just enjoying what I’m doing. Going to my studio is natural and even though things don’t run smoothly every day it’s something beautiful to do.
In the past I had different monikers all of them connected to a certain style but that has changed since I forced myself to release only under my given name. I don’t do collaborations too often these days and maybe things became a bit confusing with all these different names and labels.
What's been the most important, significant change in electronic music culture that you have seen over the year?
The significant change in the music business in general has gone through because of digitalization is incredible. It seems attention span is becoming shorter and shorter since everything is speeding up. There’s more music being released than ever and it’s hard to get people's attention.
That’s why so many artists are trying to use social media by creating a certain image, which sometimes ends up in artistic depression when the optimized self-portrait doesn’t fit your actual personality. At the end of the day it is very easy for the customer to get entertained by something new every day and that comes with the accessibility.
You're maybe more famous for your productions than DJing. Do you like to DJ? is it important to you?
DJ’ing was always part of my idea of making and representing electronic music. When I left my band as a drummer by the end of the 80s, I was very attracted by the idea of playing records as a DJ and I started to produce my first tracks in a little home studio at the same time.
But in my opinion a great DJ doesn’t have to be a producer. It’s actually something that doesn’t go along so easily since a tight schedule of performances on weekends can take you away from your agenda as a musician. It’s important for me to keep the balance.
You joined the ranks of Fabric's lauded mix series - but fast approaching 200 releases, do you think the idea of a mix, sold on CD, is redundant in the Soundcloud age?
It was very challenging for me to do a Fabric mix. First of all because you’re becoming part of one of the longest running mix series in our scene with so many great DJ’s already involved. Then I felt honoured to get asked after all these years, which also created a certain pressure.
Of course, Soundcloud gives you the opportunity to basically upload anything. But I decided to create a mix that I would probably not mix in the same way ever again in a club. The Fabric mix was a way to connect different dots of my career and present tracks and styles that create access to what I find interesting when it comes to dance music.
What artists are having an effect on you and what draws you to the more experimental end of house and techno?
The London based label Whities is my absolute favourite! Every release is a killer and you never know what to expect.
Electronic music is representing a general freedom for me whether it’s the production side of it or the acceptance of any colour of skin, sexual orientation or religion. It’s a musical style that was born out of a certain state of mind and I hope that won’t be forgotten!
How are your Sister Midnight parties unfolding? You hold them in Paris, Barcelona and Frankfurt.
Actually, there was one Sister Midnight happening in London last year where I played alongside Moscoman and Midland. I curate the lineups and invite DJ's and musicians I like. It’s not about creating a successful brand but trying to bring people together to experience a mind-bending night that is fuelled by great music.