Tuesday, 22 March 2011

TEA with Markus Suckut

For the budding producer Markus Suckut is a perfect example of how to patiently time your debut and burst on to a scene. Before 2010 the name Markus Suckut was probably talked about most by his mother, but after 3 successive releases on Stroboscopic Artefacts, Lineal and Figure SPC he has made strong in roads in to becoming techno's new house hold name.

Avoiding to chase the pinksilver of Berlin's inundated electronic music scene, Markus Suckut has opted to remain in his hometown of Velbert-Langenberg, a quaint German outpost known for its fresh air, woods and nibbling squirrels. A humble yet excitable Markus Suckut caught up with TEA for chats on extended DJ sets, the great outdoors, tinnitus prevention and cinnamon tea.

You have mentioned your disliking of DJ’s playing short sets. At what point does a DJ become and extended one and what is your perfect length?

First of all, thank you for having me TEA.

You are right, I really don't like playing for just two hours. I love and always try to take people on a journey when they are going to a club to see me play, I don't think that's possible in two hours. It's a big challenge for me to compress four or five hours into two and sadly most clubs only have that two hour slot. When I get booking requests I always ask them if it's possible to play longer. I usually start my sets with harder and rougher stuff because people expect that, but after a while I really like to get deep into my sets, I really enjoy the third and fourth hours.

Your releases always seem to have a track in excess of 10 minutes. Are these tracks influenced by long DJ sets and connections you’ve had or hope to make with a dance floor.

Yes, some of my tracks are around 10 minutes like 'Vary' or 'Pulse' on Stroboscopic Artefacts or 'Shine' on Figure SPC. I like that idea of creating a tool, a perfect loop you can listen to for hours, that's a challenge for me. I enjoy playing tracks like this in my sets. Take productions from DVS1 for example, they are perfect. He creates that kind of atmosphere, a clap here and there then some hi-hats, you can get lost listening to those kind of tracks. I really like to play around with this idea in my sets and productions.

You mention that artists such as Marcel Dettmann and Ben Klock are opening up dancefloors and peoples opinions of techno via their DJ sets. This could be an offspring of playing the long sets they are famous for, is this something you are striving towards as well?

I think so. I really love Ben and Marcel’s sets. Some weeks ago I had the chance see Ben Klock at a club in my home town. I hadn’t been clubbing for a while because I was getting bored of it. Where I’m from everyone plays the same, it doesn't matter where you go you always hear the same stuff, that kind of 'Beatport Top 10' music. You also have the same four to five DJ's playing at the one night on the one floor, what's the idea behind all that? I don't get it, it doesn't make sense to me. I think one or two residents and one headliner are enough to have a good night. I went to that club to see Ben and he played such a good set, maybe one of the best sets i've heard in a club to date. It was harder but after a while he got deeper. I was really shocked because the club was accepting the music he was playing. I was asking myself why all the DJ's around here aren't open minded. Maybe I’m fighting against it? I guess that's the reason why I am striving towards that.

You first started learning production in 1999. How did it all happen? Was it through DJIng, new or second hand equipment, software, your friendship groups or another means? How have you seen it build and progress to the Markus Suckut we see today?

I have been interested in electronic music from a very early age. There was a radio show every saturday night that played electronic dance music. That was one of the reasons for me to go record shopping once or twice a month, but it was more from DJing in my bedroom to no audience that got me into it. None of my friends liked that kind of music, except for one classmate. We were somewhat outsiders when it came to listening to that kind of music, everyone else was listening to commercial stuff. We recorded some broadcasts of Mayday and things like all on cassette and shared it with each other. One day I asked myself 'how are you able to produce music like this?' I think it was a natural step. I've learned everything I know now from producing music on my own and it took years to get there. It’s nice to reflect on where I am now from where I have come from.

Tell us a bit about growing up where you did and the music that influenced you when you were younger.

I was born in Hattingen and grew up in Velbert-Langenberg. It's about 10 minutes away from Essen and 30 minutes away from Duesseldorf. It's a quite place surrounded by nature, a really nice place to relax. I think it's the perfect contrast to the music I am making and perfect to come back into reality after a weekend of traveling and playing in clubs. The music which influenced me when I was younger is still influencing me in a way today. My father has a big collection of old vinyl's from when he was younger, stuff like Pink Floyd and The Rolling Stones, that was the kind of music I was brought up on.

Where are you living today and how much do your surroundings influence you?

I am still living where I grew up and like I said it's a great contrast and very inspiring. It’s great for the outdoors. I enjoy the fresh air, walks through the woods and watching squirrels eat their breakfast in the garden while I’m having breakfast. This is naturally an influence as are my moods and the people that surround me.

To the music enthusiast you have only been know since last year thanks to releases on 3 stellar techno imprints, Lucy’s Stroboscopic Artefacts, Daniela Stickroth’s Lineal and Len Faki’s Figure SPC. Not a bad start. How did all this happen?

I have produced a lot of music and never sent demos to anyone, maybe I was too shy to show people what I was doing... One day I woke up and said to myself 'Hey let's give it a try'. So I sent some tracks to those three labels as I was really into that what they were doing. All three labels answered and were interested in what I was doing.

What is it like working along side along side such influential characters such as Len Faki, Lucy and Daniela Stickroth?

It's a huge honor. I have a lot of Len's older stuff in my record collection and now he totally respects what I am doing and supports me, that's one of the best compliments you can get from a guy like him. Working alongside Lucy is also amazing, I mean what he has done with Stroboscopic Artefacts in such a short amount of time is incredible. He knows what he wants and what he is searching for. Working with Daniela is always on a very high and professional level. She also runs 'Meerestief' and has been a player in the music business for some years now. She always has an open ear for her artists and gives great advice. It's a lot of fun to work with all of them, always a challenge and never boring.

How was Vive La Fete at Butan in Wuppertal?

At Butan Club I played a four hour warm set on the Stroboscopic Artefacts floor. I started smooth and deep and by the end I got a bit harder. All of the music that night and meeting the other artists made it for me. This was also the first time I had the chance to listen to Marcel Dettmann in a club.

You are also playing Berghain April 2nd for Len Faki’s Figure Klubnacht. Should we be expecting an extended set from Markus Suckut and is this your first time playing there? How do you prepare for big sets like this?

This will be the first time I’ve played at Berghain and I prey that it won't be the last (laughs). I don’t have a set time yet but I’ve been nervous and excited as hell since Len asked me if I would like to play. I don’t plan my sets, planned sets mean that you are unable to be spontaneous and react with the crowd. That's why I never lock it any specific track before a DJ set, I always try to limit myself so I can go with the flow. I have a few tracks on my MacBook for playing with Traktor Scratch and the rest is all vinyl. The good thing is that I am always able to record each set I play to create a personal archive.

Tell us about your Monad VI release with Stroboscopic Artefacts last year. SA’s Monad concept is very particular aligning geometry and cosmogony with music. How much did you relish working on a project like this which involved the track Cosmos, something a little removed from the dancefloor

After I sent Lucy my demos he asked if I would be interested in doing Monad IV. At that time it was a total secret and no one knew about the project except the artists which were involved. It was a big challenge to do something experimental because I've never done something like that before. Lucy was pushing me a lot which was great and I really enjoyed working on that project. I finished 'Parsec', 'Pulse' and 'Wormhole' first. 'Cosmos' was last and I played around with an analogue guitar delay and everything around it came together very fast.

You are also doing a Tool for SA009. How does the production vary in making tools and do you use them yourself?

I think the main difference is that tools are for digital DJ's so they are able to lay it over another track and play around with it, tools will rarely use kicks and things like that. I like the idea of doing a tool, it's a new challenge which Lucy gave me for Stroboscopic Artefacts. I think it is a very smart way of introducing IDM into club music. My productions are something that I’m always able to use in my sets.

Tell us about the Markus Suckut remix. What factors do you take into account when remixing other producers?

First of all I need to like the original or induvidual sounds from it, this helps with spontaneous ideas whilst listening to the original for the first few times. I also prefer to remix tracks that will be released on vinyl as I really love that medium. I just made two remixes which will be digital only but I liked the originals that much that I had to do them. They will be released on 'Software' and on 'Thema' from NYC. When I start a remix I have an idea in mind and I try to bring it to life, but I don't follow any master plan.

I also saw you bought yourself a new set of ear plugs. Are you one of the smart ones and putting in preventative measures for tinitus, or is it too late?

I see a lot of DJ's who don't wear earplugs that are playing week in week out in clubs, standing next to monitors for hours. I don’t think that is very healthy for your ears. I thought it was a good investment as I would love to have a small family one day be able to hear the kids playing even when I’m 70 years old (laughs).

If 2010 was an indicator of what you are capable of, then 2011 should be stratospheric. What have you got planned for this year and beyond?

The most important thing to me is longevity but it's difficult thing to achieve in a musical career. I really try not to overflow the market and just do my own thing. There are some remixes in the pipeline which I've made over the last couple of months, around five or six. They will be released and spread over this year. Also there will be one more full EP from me released on a new label called 'Thema Spacial'. Its a sublabel of NYC label Thema which I really like and it will be on vinyl. I think this will be the second release from the catlougue and my EP will be called 'Jupiter One'. I am already working on a follow up for my 'Figure SPC - J' release together with Jeroen Search who I’m really excited about working with. It's a completely new experience for me and we will see were it goes in the next few months. For Lineal I've made something with Donor from NYC, it was quite a spontaneous project. Since we are both artists from Lineal and like each others music we thought it would make sense to do something together. So you see that I have works planned for my labels in the future, that was a main criteria of mine when first choosing those labels to work with. I’m also sitting on a bunch of material I’ve made in the last couple of month which nobody has heard yet. I have plans for these but more on that when a few more steps have been taken. It seems like I will touring a bit more as well but best to check the dates on my website for bookings.

What is your favourite TEA?

Chai-Tea with cinnamon.

Take a look at the29novfilms take on Markus Suckut's Shine & You from his Figure SPC release.

For more on Markust Suckut visit his Soundcloud here and website here.

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