David Meiser – Exclusive

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Live Interview – Mike Mannix

MM: Tell us how your passion for dance music kicked off.

 DM: I have been playing dance music since I was 18 years old. I started collecting music back when the internet was not so popular, so you had to search through vinyl and you had to research a lot, to find the good artists, the good music, and the good labels. Nowadays you can find many of the things online, you just have to follow one page or a couple of artists.

 MM: Yeah, it’s easier for sure, rather than navigating around towns and cities crate digging to find your prize gem.

 DM: Yeah for sure, I visited London, Paris, many cities in Europe where I could find new artists and new labels. I was just buying vinyl and making my own music philosophy. I was playing things like electro and Techno. And I was really influenced by people like Sven Vath, Hacker, Vitalic. I mean it was like having a rock EP in my hands, the tracks were made to listen from the first to the last second of the track, it was like a rock song. It was so great, so complex those were the kind of EP’s I was listening to at the time.  And then it started moving slowly to Techno. In Spain, I began listening to people like Oscar Mulero, Christian Wunsch, Exium, Dave Clarke and people like Vitalic and people like Sven Vath, when he was making techno, and obviously people like Boris, Anthony Rother that could mix dark voices with electronic rhythms.

I liked playing those records for at least 10 years, and I was say 27 I realized that I had to take the next step, because when the minimal thing started in Europe

I realized that I didn’t know anybody that was creating the music that I wanted to listen too anymore, so I decided to make my own music”

I decided to make something for the techno scene. I decided to close myself in the studio and start seeing what type of sounds and music I would like to give to the scene. Minimal, was this horrible thing for me, it was something that inspired me to go out from the clubs and get my ass in the studio and research, which I did for 3 years for the tools I needed, that I wanted to use, the plugins, the sounds, DNA that I wanted to have in my tracks.

I was studying a lot of the synthesizers, the oldest sets of plugins that were used in the DAW’s looking for my own sound which was very difficult, you have to decide not to use many others that you find on the way. This is how it came about for David Meiser.

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 MM: Your career has really skyrocketed since the last time I spoke to you.. South America seems to be the new home for David Meiser, you have visited the continent many times in the last few years now…?

DM: Yeah man, so basically, what’s happening in South America right now, is that the new generations are starting to have something like we had in the 90’s. The raw techno scene. They are starting to discover people like Jeff Mills, Dave Clarke and they are really open to the more stunning and solid sounds. And the good thing is that they are not like Europe, they are embracing one thing that we stopped doing many years ago, is called dancing. And they are dancing, like we danced in the 90’s.

MM: {laugh}

DM: Yeah it’s true nowadays people in Europe are not going mad on the dancefloor anymore, like we did in the 90’s its amazing! In South America you can see the people dancing, you can see how they move, and you can see the types of sound they want. They want techno that is strong and it doesn’t really matter if it is above 135 bpm they are really enjoying that type of sound. So what is happening, is that artists like myself that are making strong techno, or solid sounds, quick patterns or really rhythmic techno, at the same time, dark, they are looking for that aggressive sound they are looking for something more aggressive than that pure Berghain or Berlin sound, which is not bad but is sometimes a little boring! They are looking for that scene that they didn’t have back in the 90’s. So basically they are discovering techno, like Colombia, Argentina, Chile, and Mexico’s, underground scenes are really pure, they are creating small parties, up to 200 people, amazing parties. They are experiencing, they are discovering and the good thing is that they are really open minded people, I mean they are acquiring European sounds, but at the same time they have their own artists in the scene and they are mixing it all together, so for this reason I think this is why the South American scene, is so powerful now because they have all this new energy from this new generation.

MM: That’s an interesting dynamic.. And you are so correct in regards how people move today, I always find it really disconcerting, because I was a child raver in the 90’s who used to go mental in the clubs, and everyone used to go mental in the clubs.. if the music takes you and grabs you, just go with it.. Go f****** mad! For someone like yourself, when you are producing those tracks and say for example ‘Machine’, which is one of your older tracks.. It’s probably one of my favourite tracks… The amount of energy in that track.. How people don’t want to go mental… And go ballistic on the dance floor, defeats me.. So at least that’s giving me some hope anyway, that there is a whole continent, South America that reignited the flame.

DM: {laugh} Yeah, yeah Mike.. I think you can feel that connection with some artists that are expressing themselves when they are playing, and I think this is something that I really.. I try to do it when I am at the booth, and I am playing in front of 400 people and I am also dancing.. And I am moving the faders, I am feeling when I am doing things.. It is not just making music, it’s hard sometimes, you can just focus on trying to mix perfectly the things but it can lose its humanity, it can lose its connection with the public.

 MM: For sure that’s why you are quite prolific at releasing your own productions and continue to knock out the bangers, with your most recent release, an EP called ‘Black Geometry’ on digital and vinyl.. Can you talk us through the production, the arrangement and the inspiration that drove it?

 DM: Yeah sure.. The first is that I would like to be more prolific, to be fair because.. I have to cope.. I mean music is something that I am doing, but I also have my other job.. I cannot release as many EP’s as I would like, but I always focus more on quality rather than quantity..

MM: Absolutely!

DM: Yeah,  So I prefer to release just a couple of EP’s per year, but being really good I am keeping myself in the scene e market. So then basically what happened with ‘Black Geometry’.. After many years, close to 4 years, I managed to learn a lot of things about making music, so I wanted to make a more complex EP. That’s where I came up with the name Black Geometry. I wanted to focus on more detail in the different layers of the song than what I used to create..

So basically, I tried to make all of them have two different basslines at least, some of them even have 3. So I try to not only make that song sound good, but also I wanted to have some internal song design.. I think the most challenging thing there was trying to push myself, to learn new things about intensity and different frequency bands, while at the same time keeping the tracks as clear and powerful as possible!

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Sometimes when you are trying to mix many different stems and many different layers, you have to pay attention so as to not saturate the sound but also not to saturate the ear, because if you try to make really complex things, you can end up having too many elements working at the same time and you don’t necessarily get all this complexity into people’s ears but they get.. They feel that something is strange! So, it is a really difficult thing to find this balance, between complexity and power for the dance floor, and for this reason I tried to balance the energy of the EP.. So for example in tracks like ‘Labyrinth’, it was really complex because I tried to use violins for the first time.. It was the first time I started to create different stems of sounds using violins, like classical music, I don’t have that background.. And you can hear on the track, one of the things that I had to mix 8 different layers of violins.. Mixing different frequencies, and panning them.. Using filters. I was trying to get a specific feeling in all the different layers, it is probably one of the more complex tracks I have ever done! And, because the automations that are found there.. I think I made a rough summary.. I think I have more than 2,000 points of automation! I mean the arrangement looks like a graphical of an electro cardiogram or something.. {laugh}..

MM: {laugh} 

DM: The detail really matters.. The good thing about that track is it is really keeps the ears surprised the whole time! It is like they are 7 or 8 different loops happening at the same time, but all of them have their own automations.. So basically what happens is, you have many loops going behind you, but you don’t really realize there are loops happening.. It makes it feel more alive, this is something that is alive! And yeah, the rest of the EP.. I am really happy with it! Overall with the signal structure because I had the chance to make my first video clip with that, in Madrid and Argentina.. And it was really funny, that track was something that I really wanted to stress about the signals and what it means for an artist.. I mean your logo, your own name, your own letters when you see that on a flyer or in a city somewhere on the street.. when you are travelling to a club and you see your name on the walls.. This is what signals are all about.. all the emotions you feel when you are going to the venue to play!

MM: You have recently played at Ikejiri in Tokyo, Japan. How did they respond to the David Meiser treatment in Japan, I heard they are a quite up for it crowd?

DM: Yeah.. It was a really good experience, it was the first time that I played in Asia.. I was a little worried people wouldn’t understand my type of set.. Because I always start really rough & hard, really aggressive! I didn’t know how they would respond, because I have been listening for many years to Japanese techno artists, and they have a different way of making music.. They are really more melodic and I am more in the rhythm parts.. So I didn’t know.. But people there, they were also suprised me.. You know, the Japanese people, they normally are taught not to show their feelings.. But suddenly when they are in the club, it’s completely the contrary.. It’s like they get liberated.. They are shouting!

 MM: Brilliant {laugh}   

DM: Yeah, yeah.. It’s really good! It is not as warm as the South Americans.. But they all dance in a different way, it is amazing.. It is like they are 10,000 different ravers, and listening to different music and dancing in their own way. The good thing is that they don’t dance in group, they do it alone and even if they are four or five people they are in their own space.. And are trying to make their own dance in that spot, which is amazing! Because looking at so many people dancing in their own world was really good.. And the good thing was that when I was playing new music and had strong rhythms, they were going with that.. They accepted pretty well, what I was playing.. And they accepted what way the set was going, and after 20 minutes they were completely in the set.. I would say they were really open minded in that regard and they really had a good time as did I..

MM: Yeah, I mean nationally we would look at the Japanese from the outside looking in, as a bit more reserved, but.. It’s amazing isn’t it when you get people into a confined space and you give them the right energy it releases their own spirit.. Irrespective of nationality! 

DM: Yeah, it’s like they are liberating their soul that is inside of them.. Because in their everyday life they are quite reserved people.. Suddenly they don’t have anyone looking at them.. It’s like that moment is for them.. This is also a big responsibility for the DJ, they are expecting a lot from you, this is their night, this is their moment, and you have to correspond to their emotions!

MM: So is techno a spiritual component in your life then?

 DM: Yeah for sure! I mean.. The people that are on the scene.. It’s for music, soul is music & music is soul.. And we are not making.. At least myself, I am not making it for money.. It’s good if you get your name known, you can travel, it is good if you know people and it is good if people like what you are doing, but.. I would say that I am not making music for anyone but for myself.. And the good thing is that, okay, the people enjoy it, but it doesn’t really matter to me, I mean the thing that made me start making music was because I needed it.. I needed to listen to new sounds, to be connected again with techno after the minimal scene had happened..

It was something really personal, I was making my own thing.. What happened was that, when I started releasing, the labels were not into that type of techno anymore.. But then one label in Spain said ‘Okay we will take a couple of tracks, we will be making a vinyl’.. And suddenly some other labels started realizing that this was possible again, and they started looking again for new techno that was quicker and aggressive, with hard sounds.. and then the scene just slowly came back in again! I wouldn’t say that I was the person that made that.. But obviously I was one of them making music that no one else was, because we were in a way some kind of pioneers, making a personal type of sound from the 90’s 00’s.. I was just trying to enjoy myself!

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When I started making my own productions, I was like ‘okay I have the control of music’ and this is like having the control of something that is happening in your life, because when things go bad you still have this small space for you .. The good thing is.. It doesn’t really depend on anyone else.. You can play your own music, or you can play music you love, and this is really your moment! And obviously this something that is rescuing many lives.. Some people only have music in their lives.. After they have a really bad experience in their lives.. Many things can happen, so yeah I think it has a spiritual level too..

 MM: Like an escape for people who have suffered some form of trauma.. They want to forget about their normal lives.. But then if you are in a normal life, and you are happy, it is just something you enjoy.. You are passionate about it, and it is part of your life the same as eating.. It’s just one of those vibrations, which is what music is, it is like food, it gives you energy.. You consume it the way you consume food, you know.. It revitalizes us..

 DM: For sure!

 MM: So as a fan of yours, how has the maestro David Clarke inspired and influenced your career..?

DM: Yeah definitely.. I got into playing music when I was 18 because of him! Nowadays there is no one like him, playing.. I mean, this is not only about the technique.. It’s about putting your own soul on the deck when you are playing.. On the mixer! I have been in maybe 50 different performances of Dave Clarke, and every time I have gone out with a smile on my face, because.. He knew how to transmit all this energy, and how to recharge your batteries.. He would say like ‘ I know techno is a way of expression, I know that you are here because you want to dance, I know that you have many problems and you want to forget them, and you want the music to control you’ and this is what Dave Clarke gets in every show.. He is controlling the public that are dancing with the music.. It is not about the spectacle, it is not about the light.. It is just the music, it is just all this energy going to your ears, going to your brain and having at all times the unexpected..

So basically, when I was looking at him playing, I was learning many techniques.. Not only techniques about using the decks and the mixer, obviously that happened, but also the way that he wanted the public to know that there was a DJ playing for them.. Because sometimes you are just listening to a stream of two tracks mixed perfectly and then another two, and then another two.. And sometimes you forget that someone is playing.. But with Dave Clarke, you don’t forget there is someone behind the decks every 10 seconds.. It is something so alive, something mutating the whole time.. And I learnt how to realise.. To make the public realise, there is something alive making the music.. And also how to connect with the music..

 MM: Like that sample in your track ‘Machines are alive’.. You make them alive through you..

 DM: {laugh} Yeah trying to..

 MM: Okay, so your homeland.. Spain, seems to be strong in the techno scene these days.. Can you discuss?

DM: Yeah, I would say Spain nowadays is at the forefront in techno events, but it is not on the forefront of the underground scene.. There are many amazing artists.. But what I see is in Spain, is that underground events are happening more slowly than in other countries.. Not only in South America, where the economy is often poorer than Spain, or other European countries.. I see it as more personal, you know underground collectives making underground parties.. In Spain, these things are not happening in the same way.. I have been involved in like 4 or 5 in the last year, which is not too much compared to the amount I was in, in South America..

These underground type of parties.. Which is a shame, because what happens is that people here from Spain have to travel to Berlin or some other places to make their name, or for a better scene.. I think part of the fault is with the big promoters, who don’t want to know about the underground scene.. On one hand, and on the other hand is the government, I mean the city councils are not supporting at all these small events.. I don’t know what happened, nowadays it is really hard to find a rave event or something that is not really popular, or empowered by a municipality.. So, they make it really hard for small underground events to happen.. It is like the government has forgotten about the young people and they just don’t want them to see them involved in these kind of projects and events.. I see there is a still a small scene, but I think it was much better.. 10 or 15 years ago..

 MM: With so many laptops and easy access to digital audio workshops, stems and plug-ins, what is the secret to being original and standing out from the crowd these days?

 DM: It is true you have many many tools these days that make it easy to create new tracks and to play tracks.. The thing is that, sometimes technology.. I mean 15 years ago, 20 years ago you only had the TR-909.. All the techno tracks had to be made with that, because it was the only tool that you had.. nowadays you have 1,000 different tools just to make your rhythm patterns and you have 90% of the people using the same ones because they learn’t from the internet and what is happening is that, there are many artists making really good music but they are all sounding the same..

This is because they didn’t have to spend one or two years looking for the right tools for them, they just use the 2 or 3 tools that someone else told them to use.. This way you can start making good techno music easier and earlier.. But what happens is that they don’t have their own DNA brand on their music.. And yeah, you can listen to it.. I receive every day, between 70 and 100 different tracks from people..

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Most of them sound the same though.. They don’t add anything personal, and they can be nice, but you don’t stop and listen again and say this is something unique, it is surprising.. And I think, what happened nowadays is that people have their tools, and it is easier to make tracks.. But it is also more difficult to make something unique and something more personal.. And I think I would say that it can be easy to lose personality by making easier things, or making things earlier, or trying to be a name in this scene, but without having anything really unique..

MM: Yeah, completely agree! Whats next on the musical agenda for David Meiser?

DM: Actually I have really big news, I think you are the first to know.. I am starting to make my own long play, my own LP.. This will be my first LP of my career.. The last 4 years I’ve been making EP’s with just 3 or 4 tracks. Now I am working on my first long production, with probably 12 tracks..

MM: Looking forward to that..

DM: Yeah.. Well it’ll be my first album.. I never had the chance to work on that because of two things.. The first was that I didn’t have enough skills to be working on an album.. An album is not about making tough tracks, it’s about making a journey.. It’s about telling a story! Now after four years of producing music I think I have something to say.. I know that I would be challenging myself and making something unique.. The other thing that can stop you from making an album is that you have to travel.. You have to make your own tools.. And if you are out on the weekend, you cannot be working..

 MM: {laugh}

 DM: Yeah, it’s true.. [laugh} One hard thing that I had to do, was to say to many labels that I could not be releasing EP’s for them. I am focusing on this album, and I don’t want to say.. It will be out in 3 months.. 6 months.. 8 months.. I just want to be working on it, I won’t be releasing in any rush because.. Music for me is not a way of making money, it is a way of life! There is no pressure, I’m not trying to satisfy any label.. It is just my own thing, and because of that I am thinking of creating and releasing on my own label.. I have many label offers, but I want to make things in my own way.. I think I can give something different to the scene, I have many ideas.. Not only for the album, but also for the label, and I want to be able to express that..

MM: I think you have the strength of character and the fortitude and the experience, just even based on your previous EP’s, to make this an absolute smash and I am really looking forward to hearing the completed work..

DM: {laugh} Good words.. Thank you.. I hope I have the patience.. Patience and motivation, are the two key things I need for my career.. The first thing is patience for the right moment, to release something.. And motivation is what triggers you to keep on doing that every day.. Yeah, I think my life is about that, patience & motivation. So hopefully in some months we will see something, if it has worked..

MM: Absolutely, a rule of thumb is.. Persist past the resistance, the inner resistance.. 

DM: {laugh} Definitely.. I am sure you also know about that.. Because having a magazine is the same, having a big project with many people.. There is nothing in life like the power of creation.. Once you start to create something new, you start making something, that before didn’t exist. You can get a little addicted to that.. I would say addicted to be god in a smaller scale.. Because, when you die.. Parts of you are still alive, the things that you create while you were alive.. So basically when you leave this world, there is something that is still there..

 MM: It resonates in eternity..

 DM: Yeah, kind of.. Until everything just disappears..

MM Exactly, until it just collapses and starts the cycle all over again.. 

DM: {laugh} Who knows?  Maybe we can be find out after 2,000 years.. You never know..

Mike Mannix – Live Interview – Editing

Dax Malone – Transcription – Editing

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Mike Moggi Mannix is the CEO founder Publisher and Editor of Iconic Underground magazine

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