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Steve Bug: It is important to take people on a journey

Interview by @amoexuba
Jun 21, 2021
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Hi, Steve. How are you?

All good, you?

Everything is fascinating. Glad to meet you. What happened in 1991 that made you go into DJ? :)

At that point I was mixing at home, making tapes for friends for about three years already. In the summer I spent three months in Ibiza with my best friend at the time, and we decided to start our own party series at the club that we used to bartend at. And it only made sense that I would also deejay at those events besides another deejay from our city. But it happened that through some of my mixtapes that started circling around Ibiza, and some connections I made over the summer, that I got asked to play at an opening of an after hour open air bar in Ibiza, before we even got back to our hometown. So I finally changed the sides, from the dancefloor into the booth.

What is your favourite message for spreading while you are Djing?

I think it is important to take people on a journey, rather than just playing the most functional tunes. It’s about creating a vibe, an atmosphere with tunes that you personally feel, so it makes it special.

What is the most memorable gig from your 1990s?

It’s so long ago, and there have been so many memorable gigs since. But one I will always remember, my first gig at that afterhour bar in Ibiza. I actually played to a wall standing in the kitchen, as for some reason they couldn’t set up the booth outside. So I couldn’t see what was happening haha. But also playing the first time at the official Loveparade in 1992 was incredible. The first time playing for a huge crowd is always special I think.

In 1992, you started producing music with DJ Henry. How did that happen?

After I started deejaying in clubs, I wanted to know how this music was produced. Henry and I were friends, so I asked him if I could come to visit his studio to check it out. And so it happened that we worked on a few tunes together, that actually even got released a few month later.

What would your perfect day look like?

Every day is different, and I like that, I don’t want every day to be the same, I would easily be bored. But a bouldering session in the morning and a studio session after lunch, plus a great dinner with friends does always sound like an awesome day to me.

Can you describe how do you recognize quality in music?

Can anyone recognize quality in any art form? I mean, how do you even measure quality in art? Personal taste is definitely influencing your perception of art. Things that some would perceive as the work of a genius, might be perceived by others as rather uninspiring and boring. But I might have a sense for rather timeless tracks, as I am not really touched by trends in general. Don’t get me wrong, I like that things are moving in new directions, or even backwards sometimes, but trends are not what make me a pick a track to play or to be released on my labels. I personally have to deeply feel a tune to sign, or play it. And funny enough it’s often rather timeless material, that’s considered as quality.

What is the most productive time for you to produce music? Do you have your sacred time when you are unreachable?

I used to be in the studio from after waking up till I couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore. But over the years I learned, that I am most productive in the afternoon, between lunch and dinner. Occasionally I skip dinner and stay up late, but that’s usually not the time I come up with the best ideas. It’s more that I enjoy being in the flow, and get lost in the music. Often I don’t add anything new to what I already have at these hours, I simple keep enjoying what I came up with so far, and doing little adjustments to it.

In 1995, you founded the “Raw Elements” label. Why did you decide to launch a record label?

I wanted to surround myself with other artists that had a similar vision and grow with them together. Giving people a platform to release their music and feel at home.

You have been running “Raw Elements” until 1998. What made you feeze “Raw Elements”?

We’ve gotten to a point where our original idea of the label didn’t make sense to us anymore. We grew out of our shoes, we wanted to try something else.

Then you launched “Dessous Recordings” and “Poker Flat Recordings” during 1998. What is your favourite 3 releases from both of them?

That’s a tough one, hard to pick just three for each, since there are so many great tunes, but I’ll try.

Poker Flat Recordings:

Dessous Recordings:

I didn’t use any of my own tracks to have at least one more space from the great back-catalogue for other artists.

A sign of quality, and a powerhouse of productivity – “Poker Flat Recordings,” celebrates its 20th anniversary recently. Can you describe a warm to remember moment while working on “Poker Flat Recordings”?

One great memory is me putting on the demo by the Detroit Grand Pubahs - The Clapper and finding myself jumping up and down in my living room after a few seconds into it. So much energy, it is still such a great tune. But there have been many great moments, that wouldn’t wanna miss. From listening to special demos for the first time, to our label parties in Berlin, London, Barcelona or other cities across the Planet. Maybe touring together with the crew is something that gives me the warmest feelings of all the years.

In 2008, you decided to relaunch Raw Elements. What triggered you to do that?

We didn’t really re-launch it. We just put together a digital compilation and re-pressed a few of our favorite tunes from this on vinyl. That’s it.

Recently, you released EP called “Gentle Push” with Cle. What was happening at the studio while working on this release?

This was one of the last productions made in my old studio, I barely remember what happened during the process of writing these tracks, since directly afterwards there was so much going on with the studio move, that I simply forgot about it. But Cle and I know each other for so many years. It’s always a very relaxed atmosphere, we don’t sit there with the pressure to come up with a finished tune. It’s more like us enjoying some time together while jamming around. And funnily enough, it seems to be very productive most of the times.

What gear you used during the production of a “Gentle Push”?

I wish I could remember, I’m sure the Minimoog played his part for sure. But we started playing around with a new feature in Logic X that lead to two chopped drum loops that we re-build to one, and that runs through the whole track. Based on that we played the bassline, the chords and all the other sounds.

Can you describe Berlin nightlife in 3 words?

Endless, wild & free.

What is your favourite books and why?

I have years where I read one book after the other, and years where I don’t even touch a book at all. And right now I’m in the non-reading years. But I mostly like novels about somehow sad characters, that struggle with their reality, having a hard time to adjust to the world, told with an extra portion of humour. Like most books by Charles Bukowski for example. Joey Goebel - Vincent. Because it’s one of the saddest stories about an artist that I’ve ever read, but there is some truth in there. Arnon Grünberg - Silent Extras, because it’s a great tragicomedy full of hope and melancholy.

What are your favourite movies and why?

I actually do like to watch movies that touch me emotionally and leave me thinking about what I just saw. In every art form it is the same for me, it has to do something with me to be interesting. Watching an action movie for example may be great entertainment, but once the movie is over you’re left with nothing. It’s like going to an exhibition where you just see a few pictures that you forget about when you left the building. In my opinion people should be touched/moved by art. Of course everybody has their own way of perceiving things, so we might be moved by different things, but that’s how it is. Having that said, here are a few movies I really enjoyed watching and that did something to me. 

2046 by Wong Kar-Wai, - Because it’s a rather deep movie with a great way of story telling, and the settings are just amazing. Into The Wild - I do like biographical movies a lot, they usually don’t have a ‘typical’ Hollywood ending. And some of the best stories are written by people’s lives. This movie is sad but inspiring at the same time. What a story. In The Cut directed by Jane Campion - this is a thriller I really enjoyed watching. In general I think That Jane Campion is an incredible director, I enjoy many of her movies, but especially her series Top Of The Lake, and this Thriller.

What are you planning to do in the nearest times?

There are a few remixes about to be released, as well as a new solo single on Poker Flat. As well as some collaborations and other new stuff that I am working on right now. And hopefully we’ll go back to a safe way of partying together again after the summer. Fingers crossed.

Thanks ♥️




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