Back in Sam Geiser’s hometown of Bern, Switzerland, his mother recalls little Sam being fascinated with the sounds of nature – birds, in particular. He went through a Michael Jackson phase and later, denied listening to anything but Prince.
But with 15 years’ worth of original releases and remixes cumulating in a guest appearance on BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix and RA Podcast last year, his first musical passion was actually hip-hop. But at a little party in a youth club of a village --where a friend introduced him to the sounds of Todd Terry and Kevin Saunderson-- techno maven, Deetron was born.
inSing had a chat with the techno maven ahead of his Midnight Shift appearance at Velvet Underground this 13 April, to delve into his latest production work with the Singapore label, and his position on analog.
Your chugging techno re-edit of Basic Soul Unit’s ‘Black Ice’ on Midnight Shift’s RMX001 will be out soon.
Stuart Li (Basic Soul Unit) sent me ‘Black Ice’ a while ago but I never got around to finishing it. When Midnight Shift was going to release it and asked me for a remix, it was the perfect opportunity to finally get it done. I instantly fell in love with the hooks from the track, which was also what I started with and built the rest of the elements around from.
The two-track record (including Secret Cinema’s remix of Eddie Niguel’s ‘Absolute’) will only be out on vinyl. What do you think of this format in today’s digital world?
The community is rather small, but those who are still supporting the format do so with a lot of passion. It's fascinating to see a really young generation buying and playing vinyl almost exclusively.
According to the British Phonographic Industry, vinyl sales in the UK are on the rise. Last year, Nielsen Soundscan reported a 39 per cent increase in global sales. What does this all mean?
A lot of people probably came to appreciate the format again due to the impersonal and abstract nature of a digital file. A record always carries an emotional value; maybe a story related to the circumstances or the place where it was bought and it comes with cover art, packaging and so forth. It's this physical aspect which goes missing when buying digital files, and it seems that a growing number of people value that.
Deetron – BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix 2012
On your Balance 020 mix, you recorded an analog and a digital version. Do you employ this method for your gigs too?
I heavily rely on my own edits of tracks, unreleased music from friends and my own upcoming stuff in my sets. I think combining both formats enrich my creativity and spontaneity when I play out.
It's hard to beat the emotion and beauty which comes with the vinyl format, and a digital file can't really compete, but I'm by no means a purist in that sense. I make extensive use of digital files, edits and the likes with the use of USB sticks and CDJ-2000s in my sets.
Deetron - Resident Advisor podcast 312
How do you define a good DJ?
I'd like to freely quote my friend Red D from We Play House who said that if a DJ doesn't even bother to properly learn the technique of beat matching in the first place it is questionable whether he will be willing to put enough time into selecting his music carefully.
Was last year was big for you, particularly on the back of your BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix and a remix of George FitzGerald’s ‘Every Inch’ blowing up dancefloors?
It was a very intense year in terms of touring and I didn't get as much studio work done as I would've liked to, but I'm particularly happy about my single ‘Crave’, the above mentioned of course, as well as the Little White Earbuds and RA podcasts.
George FitzGerald – ‘Every Inch’ (Deetron remix)
This year is no different with KiNK and George FitzGerald (returning the favour) remixing your single, ‘Out of My Head’. How’s the album coming along?
The album is coming along nicely. There will be a lot of vocal tracks on the album as I really enjoy working with vocalists and the collaborative creative process. I can't reveal much more but it should be out just after the (European) summer.
How did you come to be affiliated with Midnight Shift?
Well, I've been coming to Singapore for years now, both for business and pleasure and have made really good friends there, who have subsequently introduced me to this project. I'm an admirer of Singapore's cuisine and really love the place in general so it's always a pleasure to be back.
Could you share your thoughts on Midnight Shift as a party series and as a label?
Their musical direction seems to go quite well with mine both in terms of the label as well as the party series Kavan Spruyt (Midnight Shift creator) keeps me up to date as well on what's happening so I get a bit of an insight into their movements.
Zul Andra (@zulandra) is an entertainment writer who has his finger on Singapore’s nightlife and drinking pulse. He has interviewed hundreds of local and international artists in the last five years from the likes of Carl Cox and Lamb of God to BBC TV presenter, Simon Reeve and CNN business correspondent, Richard Quest. Previously a staff writer and web editor at I-S magazine, he currently writes for The New Paper, inSing.com and Time Out Singapore. Having expanded his reach regionally with articles in Travel + Leisure and Scoot in-flight magazine, he also has columns in JUICE and Esquire. His work has appeared in TODAY, Nylon and ZIGGY, and maintains an award-nominated blog, Kiss My Culture