Friday 20 July 2012

TEA with Roman Lindau

Of the Fachwerk throng, Roman Lindau suggests he is the funkiest of the three and while there is no denying Fachwerk commander in chief Mike Dehnert possesses his own brand of funk - as does Sascha Rydell - it’s Lindau’s cheeky approach to techno that grants him his own sound within the Berlin techno collective.
Spearheaded by Dehnert, the three have crafted their own distinctive niché and Lindau has begun to extend his branch of that niché outside of Fachwerkian waters, but he is yet to stray too far from home. Only a clutch of tracks have been commissioned for other labels including ‘Raumgestaltung’ and ‘Keppra’ for both Len Faki and Ben Klock’s Berghain mixes, while Roman, Sascha and Mike all supplied mixes for Delta Funktionen’s Inertia // Resisting Routine mix CD on Delsin sub Ann Aimee.
The mix subsequently opens with Sascha Rydells ‘Rainy Days’ and then Delta Funktionen tears the roof off when mixing Lindau’s beefy cut ‘Borné’ into Dehnert’s bone crunching ‘Pneumatic’. Marcel Dettmann also uses Lindau’s throbbing ‘Sub Suggestion’ in his Conducted mix for Music Man.
For anyone who has seen Lindau DJ, you will know his sets are a fair representation of his productions; burly and powerful, yet laced with groove and very danceable. Which is why Dehnert is not the only one jet-setting all over the world fuelling night clubs and dance floors with the Fachwerk heat, particularly in France - a fitting connection since the trio so often pay homage to the French language in their track titles.
TEA’s man on the ground in Berlin Nic Tuohey caught up with a Roman Lindau at a local cafe for a candid chat on his career and 2012 so far. Lindau opens up to TEA, quietly quipping Berlin is ‘the place’ for electronic music, as well as unveiling plans for a new album, his relationship with close friend and Colombage staple Reno Wurzbacher and why he is considered a fitness DJ.

How has 2012 gone for you so far and how important has this year been for you and Fachwerk? 
It’s been very exciting because I’ve decided to do an album. I’ve been producing a lot of tracks and hopefully they’ll see a release this year, toward the end of the year. I’ve been playing a lot of gigs, often international too. Each year I have been getting more and more, with more Fachwerk label nights also which is great. Last year I signed to Octopus booking agency in Amsterdam. It’s great because now I have someone to manage my bookings. So to summarise; 2012 has been a good year with more gigs, releases and remixes. I did a remix for Lee Holman on KAWL Records, one for Zadig on Construct Reform and another for Ed Davenport on Counterpart 2. 
How much are your label nights about pushing the Fachwerk sound as opposed to putting on a good techno-house party? 
A typical Fachwerk night is of course the ‘Fachwerk sound'. We play a lot of unreleased stuff with a lot of raw house grooves and modern groovy techno stuff. We don't like this 'new wave' of techno - there's this new wave...this dark, moody and straight stuff. I respect labels who release these sounds, but we are more about rawer and rougher sounds. You can hear it our productions and the label nights.
Yes, actually I listened to your last podcast for Sonotown.
Yes, it's an event in Paris. We had a very interesting label night there last year. It was one of the best label nights we’ve had so far. It was a little different from the 'usual' Paris club-night, but we received a great reception and everyone was up for a party. Julien, the owner of Sonotown, asked me to play again and I did in December. It’s a very nice venue called Moulin Rouge; actually it’s called club La Machine du Moulin Rouge, it wasn’t cabaret though (laughs). I played there with Shed, Machinedrum and Dorian Concept.
Sure. So Fachwerk is received quite well outside of Germany. Were you throwing parties before you were a part of the Fachwerk collective?
Ah yeah. We played in Berlin but it wasn't gigs like Berghain or Arenaclub, it was more like the underground of the underground (laughs). I don't know, I cant describe it, but we weren’t playing very often. When we were around 17 or 18 and Mike and I organised small techno parties. They weren’t really that successful. We decided to produce our own music and use Mikes label Fachwerk as its platform. Mike was resident at Tresor and he started the label with the first four releases. Sascha and I had the chance to release our music with him, our favourite stuff. We soon realised that people like Ben Klock and Marcel Dettmann liked the sound of Fachwerk and more gigs followed. 

So you discovered your niche?
Yes. It was us growing up. You can play wherever you want in Berlin, but if you decide you want to live off music you need money, but also the time to produce. So many people say to me ‘oh it's so cool you get to see Oslo and places like that’. It's nice, but its also hard to travel so much. I’m starting to realise more and more it’s not a vacation, but I’m very happy to be doing this.
Sure. The jetlag, timezones and after-parties.
Yeah. The after-parties. People ask you the same questions every gig. What equipment you use, blah blah blah. Its not a question of what you use, it’s the way you use it.
So DJing came before production?
Yeah definitely. Mike began producing very early, when he was about 18. Producing didn’t interest me when I was younger. I would watch Mike turn all these knobs and press all these buttons, but I wasn’t really into it. Later on I started to produce my own stuff because I think if you have an intense relationship with music and DJing, you will come to a point where you want to create your own music.
Absolutely. So, how do you know Reno Wurzbacher?
Reno? That was him just on the phone before (laughs).
Your last night at Panoramabar was with him.
Yes it was a Fachwerk-Colombage night, but not an official one because Mike was there as MD2. Sascha played and so did Reno. It was Reno’s first time there and he was so happy. He was a little bit ‘ooh’ (laughs). He's a very good house DJ. We met about eight years ago in a small club, we were playing the same party...what was it called again? Ahh, the Birthday Club, it’s a small place in Friedrichshain. That’s where we first met and we have been friends since.
So Mike played as MD2. How does that differ from his Mike Dehnert sets?
It’s more experimental. He decided to play the first set. You know his productions and they're...heavy' sometimes. As MD2 he tries to play a little bit more groovy house stuff, because he really likes that - we all do. But Reno is the 'housiest' one out of all of us. That's what we were actually talking about on the phone. The next Colombage is mastered and we talked about the name of the next release. There will be a track from Reno, two tracks from Mike and one from me.
Yes, going back to that Sonotown podcast, it really did remind me of that Colombage sound. Like you said before "raw house grooves and modern groovy techno stuff". 
We didn’t want to release it on Fachwerk because Fachwerk is Fachwerk, Colombage should be a little bit more housey. The track from me is quite slow, it’s around 120 BPM and it’s...very ‘raw’ (laughs). Yeah, very deep with a funky bassline. I don't know if you could really play it in a techno set, maybe at the beginning - or a warm-up set?

So Sascha is the “gentleman” of the group?
(laughs) The gentleman? You read the interview with Resident Advisor? Yeah Sascha's the gentleman. Sometimes Mike and I have our differences and Sascha stands between us and..
He's like the moderator?
Yeah yeah. He's not really a 'gentleman', he’s more...friendly? He’s not that expressive when he plays, but sometimes he plays really hard. At Panoramabar he played a really nice house set, he usually plays a little more straight up techno. 
How would you say your productions differ from Mike or Sascha's?
The difference is that I'm a little bit more funky. I mean, Mike's tracks are also funky that's a good question. How to answer this? I guess I’m the housiest techno producer of all of us, maybe. Not all my tracks are, but sometimes I try to make things a bit more soulful. It's soulful techno in my opinion. Sascha can be a bit's difficult to explain (laughs).
How important was having “Keppra” on Ben Klock's Berghain mix CD?
It was very important for me. I was very surprised that Ben asked me to do an exclusive track for his Berghain mix. Len Faki used Raumgestaltung for his Berghain 03 mix and that was my entry into playing Berghain. So when Ben asked me I was very happy. It was very important for me because people say - promoters particularly - that they want to promote their parties with 'Ostgut Ton' as well as Fachwerk next to my name. They (Ostgut Ton) have a strong name in techno. It also helped me build my relationship with Ben. At the moment I'm producing a track for his next Fabric mix, he asked me for another exclusive track. Ben can be very demanding and he’s not so easily satisfied.
Ben has a very high standard?
Yes, exactly. A very high standard. We'll see. Maybe he'll mix it in or maybe he won’t.
How have yourself seen develop since the MDRL EP?
Yeah I’m sounding better - definitely, more and more. But sometimes people tell me ‘you should do a track like Raumgestaltung or Simplicity again’. These earlier tracks of mine were more 'techno', but I’ve developed more and more and tried to not have a plan. I produce what I like. I don’t really think too much about what I do, maybe other artists do subconsciously. But yeah, I try to make my own stuff. I like house, I like pop, I like techno. You can hear that in the development of my sound.
How much of you will we see outside of Fachwerk?
I don’t think I’ll start my own label. So many people at the moment are starting labels, I couldn’t imagine doing one now. I won’t be releasing my own album on Fachwerk either, I’m not sure where - maybe on Speedy J’s Electric Deluxe. I have a lot of ideas, but the album isn’t finished.

Now you said before you're influenced by many things from hip-hop to house to...
Funk and soul and and a little bit of jazz.
And have you heard any other good albums or 12's lately?
Yes Mike's last album on Fachwerk. It's a little bit different from his previous productions. There is a little bit of 'pop' in it, but not too much. I really liked Steve Rachmad’s album on Music Man, it's very good. There's a lot of stuff now, so many people are making good techno music at the moment. Yeah, much Respect.
How have you seen Berlin change in the last five to ten years?
Yeah in so many ways. So many people have moved to Berlin. So many artists have moved to Berlin because it is cheaper than other cities. You can rent a studio for not much. Maybe Berlin is becoming more and more ‘the place’ for electronic music.
Yeah, there's no denying it’s the centre for techno music at the moment.
Yeah, but it's not cool for me to play in Berlin too often. I don't like to play that much in Berlin because people abroad seem to appreciate the (Fachwerk) sound more. People in Berlin have so many clubs to choose from and sometimes too much is on. People are spoilt for choice (laughs).
Yeah speaking of other clubs abroad I must check out. I've been told I must go the Culture Box in Copenhagen.
Yeah, it's really cool. The Culture Box is great because it's a small venue. People know how to party and it’s the only club in Copenhagen that know how to book good DJs. People know to expect good things. They come to the club because they can’t always hear music from Fachwerk or whoever anywhere else. That’s the reason we decided to hold regular Fachwerk nights there. Last month all three of us played at the Culture Box. The time before it was just Mike and I. 
So you are really enjoying playing abroad?
A lot of people are starting to see how much fun I have when I DJ. It was funny once in Turin, the guy working the lights said to me ‘you’re a fitness DJ’ and I asked why? He said: ‘because you’re whole set you’ve been shaking your ass’ (laughs). It’s my way of DJing. I have my own party in my head when I play.
Well thanks for your time today Roman, there's just one last question. What is your favourite tea? 
Green Tea.

Words: Nic Tuohey
Pic Credit: Marie Staggat


  1. Great interview and awesome mix. Am now on a Lindau buying spree. Nice one !

  2. great set! can anyone id the second track? amazing!

  3. Really like him and once last year catch him playing in London!!was simply fantastic.Good news on the album and thank u for the tea mix)))

  4. 2nd track is from Mike Dehnert's new album if I'm not wrong.

  5. Roman, full of personality! Great read.