A day in Berlin with one of the city’s most legendary DJ’s and electronic music producers. What could possibly go wrong? Not much… and even better: it got excited and informative when we decided to team up with David Krasemann aka DAVE DK for a day of record shopping and intense talking in Berlin ahead of the release of his new album Val Maira. NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION already presented you an entertaining first part right here. Now, it’s time to continue our little journey which ultimately lead into the apartment of the charismatic artist. Witness it now.

Dave DK - NBHAP 6

1600pm, Melting Point Record Store, Kastanienallee

We meandered our way through the hordes of Bundesliga football fans that littered the streets to the Melting Point Record Store in the neighbouring alley. We were immediately greeted by Mitch, who flashed us a toothy grin of recognition before returning to his intense football game.

Do you do live sets?
I did it once, but it was many years ago…

Why not try again? I feel that your music at the moment is extremely apt for it…
I find it a little too complicated for me… I think I wouldn’t like to do it by myself. However, if I could collaborate with someone, it would be possible. [Pulls out a record from the bargain bin] I really like these cool old school covers.

Dave DK - NBHAP 7

Dave DK - NBHAP 8

1800pm, Dave’s Apartment, Prenzlauer Berg

Do you have a secret weapon that you use during sets, like for example, Carl Craig drops his remix of Tom Trago’s ‘Use Me Again’ and the crowd goes mental…
When it’s more a techno party, I like to play Detroit techno where it goes up and comes down again. I like using JAMIE XX’s Sleep Sound quite a lot as well. When there’s a nice ongoing loopy beat, I like to mix in ambient tracks from Kompakt pop ambient compilations and I loop these atmospheres…

To create some kind of otherworldy dimension.
I just started to do this after I started to use USB sticks a year ago. Before that I did not work like this, but just with CDs and vinyl. This is a new way to try something different. You do edit sometimes as well but it’s like you take some parts of a track and experiment with it. People who use Traktor or laptops for years have been doing this on the computer anyway. For me it’s to create some melodies or some 16 bar loops of ambient tracks and put them over simple beats.

Dave DK - NBHAP 11

Your music is also on the same trajectory as JON HOPKINS
I love JON HOPKINS’ stuff so much. He’s one of my inspirations. His soundtracks, one for Monsters and How I Live Now… they were super inspiring for me.

Are you classically trained?
Not at all. I can play some chords, but I can’t play the piano. I tried a few online courses, but it’s not absolutely necessary because I can play the chords how I want them to sound.

Have you ever felt that your music would change if you were classically trained?
I think it would be more helpful, or at least if you have a training in composition. But if you play around with samples it doesn’t really matter. If you are trained in composition you would know how music would sound logically. There are some rules but if you always follow them, you’ll never get exciting results. Speaking of this, another big inspiration to me is also DJ KOZE. I have followed him for a long time even though I’m not a fan of hip hop.

Looking back, you were describing the whole party vibe and you were doing stuff in your early 20s, I realized that the same thing is happening in my generation right now…
From that point of view I don’t think music is changing too much. With the whole illegal raves… it’s timeless. As soon as something gets too commercial or boring, people try to find something new and it’s in these places that people get satisfied. If you have some interesting some studio spaces or areas, it’s amazing.

The album artwork for your new record is also really interesting…
I thought that I should not do something with my face on it, but then I decided to… I mean I can understand if someone is not extremely photogenic or something. I think the result’s cool. For this I wanted something surreal with my photo, and this is a totally different approach to things. I really like the works from this designer from Iceland and we collaborated. [Pulls out another record] This was a fashionable series back at the end of the 90s. It was also Wolfgang Voigt, this was the first Kompakt sound when they founded the label, first it was Profan, then Studio 1. This is the really minimal Cologne sound when it started.

How do you see your sound in Kompakt?
I was about to say that their sound was one of the first few ones that I was following, Profan Records, then Kompakt. It was super new during that time. When they started to do the label after the record shop, they started to release different styles over the years.

When did they start to progress towards ambient?
I think it was in the early 2000s or so. From this time regularly they release ambient compilations and then they started to mix the minimal stuff with some pop elements. It was a really influential in the early days.

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I’ve noticed the progression of your sound through the records as I was listening to them, it’s like you have blazed through acid house, then tech house and finally ambient…
I was probably around 2009 when that shifted. The Lights And Colours album on Moodmusic did not really have a big concept, it was just a compilation of tracks that I’ve done. [Pulls out his first album, Sensory Overload] The first two or three years of my career I released my stuff under Dave, and realized that it wasn’t the best idea because there’s maybe more than one Dave who’s a DJ… And then I did more releases on raum…musik. Around 2001 it really fitted well with my sound. Some years ago they changed the artists completely… they started the label around 1997, and I was one of the first artists alongside TIGERSKIN, then known as Dub Taylor. When you take any of these tracks, you could definitely see the similarities. It was also through this label I got the Panorama Bar residency.

If you’ve stopped making music for a really long time, and then suddenly release something… do you feel you’ve missed out or…?
Maybe if you’re more dependent on the party scene, this could happen but if you’re established as an artist internationally, then there wouldn’t be that much of a problem. It helps when you have a club in the background when you’re a DJ because you don’t want to just be known as a music producer. It’s also good to be separated sometimes and not dependent on something, so you can be free to be independent and focus on your work. Many people are in a rush to release one thing after another nowadays. I think it’s better to release one massive album after a few years that’s timeless rather than releasing something mediocre often.

What do you see the direction of the music that you’re making going to, or the future of techno?
At one point I thought that all the good things were already there. All the big tracks were already released. To invent the new, it might not happen. What’s interesting about the new is the production. You can easily find new combinations with all the software programmes available now, especially with the ideas that you have. Like you combine bits and pieces of something new from the old. From that point of view, I always find some interesting music. I see that a lot of interesting producers are passionate enough to work with samples and these software programmes to invent new things. The more music you know and the more you listen to records, the more it makes you try to find new things. It’s obvious when you have a big knowledge and you know what you want and what you don’t want and what has already been there. But it also doesn’t mean that you can’t do things when you just started doing music. You do it from a totally different background that people do not have. I’m really excited about music in general but what is annoying is the amount of music. The filters are important because music is so cheap like never before. Everything is readily available, and worthless. Interesting blogs, sites or labels that put some importance on the music.

Dave DK - NBHAP 12

How are you going to define every single track that comes out especially when people don’t want to define their music?
In the end people say ‘I’m doing this, that, this…’ it gives you the freedom to try everything. In the end it doesn’t really matter what genre, but is it a good track or a bad track?

But then again it is all subjective really. For me, a good track makes me feel something…
When we talk about this, we can talk about feelings and emotions. If you feel a surge of emotions and touches you, it is probably a good track. There’s a production side as well. I share the same opinion with DJ KOZE on this one. He said that ‘it’s more important that the track has the right amount of emotions than the production.’ It’s not about the amount of production skills that one has, but it’s more important to have emotions. Sometimes it’s not the loudest songs that mean the most. Unfortunately, many people don’t listen to this kind of (ambient) music or it doesn’t attract much attention because it’s not really banging. Maybe that’s why it doesn’t get as much attention as it should. But that’s not really important because there’re people who do not go to some chart sites to dig deeper.

There will always be interesting music. But from the technical point of view, we are already on such a high level, I can’t imagine what the future will bring. The more technical everything gets, the more you doubt that there will be something new. At these times you look back, everyone is on this standard or I can just use something old school’…

It’s like a back and forth, kind of like everything is going in a circular motion…
Something like that. Or another thing is that it doesn’t matter how you achieve your music, all it matters is if it sounds good. I’m still not bored of music, not at all. It just takes more energy to find new music because it’s too much and everything is just labeled as ‘the next big thing’. So you just need to sift through and decide what is relevant to you. I know what I like because of how labels have curated their sound have influenced me over the years and I can always use that as a guideline, my base and how I curate my own knowledge of music. Don’t lose your patience.

All Photos by Naomi Clair