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Q+A: Scuba

Got techno?

  • Dave Jenkins
  • 12 February 2016
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So track titles like ‘All I Think About Is Death’ could potentially be understood quite literally?

That particular title refers to a number of things, including its literal meaning. Sitting in bed for three months being seriously ill wasn’t pleasant. I was never told I was going to die, but I’m in my 30s now and you do start to consider your mortality a lot more consciously than you do in your 20s. It was a new experience for me; I’d never had such an extended time off and you do think about things you wouldn’t otherwise.

But it’s paid off, right? You seem to be more active than ever…

I’ve definitely got a new sense of perspective on what I want to do with my musical life. I suppose you could call it a fresh start; refocussing on things that are important. Last year was a good year; the reaction to my album was great and I’ve had a refocus on where I want to be musically: going back to proper techno feels like coming home for me. I’ve moved around a lot stylistically, but techno was the very first genre of electronic music I fell in love with when I was 16 and first started going out buying records. It feels right. I won’t be moving on from my techno any time soon.

It’s such an expansive genre that’s open to so much interpretation, certainly compared to the restrictions of dubstep, for example…

That’s the thing about techno, it’s so widespread. However, lots of people have different and strong ideas about what it is and what it’s supposed to be. My favourite comment I’ve heard from a purist is ‘If you have clap or a snare on the second and fourth beat then it can’t be techno’. That’s about as purist as you can get! There’s vitriol between different scenes but, for me, it’s all techno and I want to showcase as much of it as possible during the 12 Weeks Of Techno residency.

When was the last time you had a weekly residency in a UK club?

It’s my first weekly residency ever! It will be interesting. I’ll be doing [quite] a few warm-up sets, too. I think that’s important; resident DJs have become a lost art. I know Craig Richards has always been recognised, and XOYO have brought resident DJs back into the public eye. It’s about going back to what proper club DJing was about in the first place.

Will you be informing XOYO’s door staff on some of Berghain’s policies?

Maybe not to the door staff! But we will probably have a policy on phones and cameras. I don’t know if we’ll completely ban them but the dancefloor is for dancing: the fewer phones you have there, the better. We’ll be trying to make it as much of an authentic clubbing experience as we possibly can.

You were denied entry on your first time to Berghain, weren’t you?

I was! I’d just moved over there and wanted to check it out. Like a lot of people, I was denied. But I have a lot of sympathy for the policy; it takes a lot of work to keep a club so good. You need to restrict the crowd to those who really want to be there. They do a great job; it’s a global tourist attraction and they refuse to dilute the experience. I’d be very interested to see how it would work in the UK. Or if it could work at all. It’s a very tricky thing to explain why certain people can’t come in, even if they are there for the right reasons.

So what happens after 12 Weeks Of Techno? More new music?

I’ll be moving to London for the 12 weeks and just reconnecting with the city and enjoying time with my family. As for new music, who knows? I’m always working on new things and will release things when it feels right. I’m certainly not thinking about another album. Right now I’m just looking forward to spending more time in the city I grew up in and getting to know it again. London is the most important place for new music in the whole world; the vitality, the turnover of styles that happens in the city. You don’t get it anywhere else.

Scuba’s ‘12 Weeks of Techno’ runs every Saturday at XOYO until March 26

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