Techno Tuesday: Solomun on growth, balance, and learning the industry
Techno Tuesday is a feature on Dancing Astronaut documenting the culture of underground dance music. We’ll bring you exclusive interviews, tracks, and narratives from artists within the techno, tech house, and deep house world in an effort to shed light on some of the best talent outside the world of mainstream dance music.
Solomun has become a veritable dance music icon, serving as the head honcho of one of the most impressive house/techno labels in the world: Diynamic. The imprint was founded nearly ten years ago and has seen releases from unparalleled artists such as Stimming, H.O.S.H., David August, and Adriatique, to name a few.
Solomun is a busy man; he runs two labels, hosts Diynamic showcases across the globe, tours, and produces amazing music on the regular. How does he do it all? We picked his brain to find out.
“I think I just got used to this over the years. The most important thing is always: balance. As long as you can balance things out, you’re good. And … knock on wood … it is working for me.”
He launched Diynamic in 2006 alongside Adriana Trolio, and went on to release his Solomun EP later that year. But it wasn’t until five years later that 2DIY4 was born: a more experimental imprint than its parent.
“Diynamic is the mothership and 2DIY4 is the playground for anything that doesn’t fit for the mother. The process? It used to be easy, when only Adriano and me and HOSH and Stimming were deciding about new releases. Those were the good old days … now since we are growing it’s getting more and more complicated, there are more and more artists involved in the process, that’s why it takes longer now.”
Aside from spearheading two major underground labels, Solomun also owned the Hamburg-based club, Ego, up until 2014. There, he learned quite a bit about the music industry, hosting events, and hospitality as a whole.
“We started more than 10 years ago with promoting our own DIY parties, so to take over a club after a few years of doing parties in different venues was a quite logical step. I think if you want to understand the dance music industry, it’s a good start to run a club. Because there you learn so much about customer care, artist liaison, about different territories, I learned some of the most important lessons about this industry there.”
The Bosnia and Herzegovina-born producer has a rich history of residencies throughout his career – BBC Radio 1, Sankeys, Pacha Ibiza, and many more. When it comes down to curating his own event or radio show, the most important element is trust.
“The most important thing for me is a partner that I totally trust plus the possibility to do everything exactly like I want it to be. For example the “Solomun+1” residency we started at Pacha 3 years ago, it was an experiment for both parties, for us and for Pacha. But they trusted in us and we could do more or less whatever we wanted, so we did and worked out very well. So I think the mutual trust between the two parties is the most important thing when it comes to plan a Residency.”
But despite his veteran status that has pervaded the underground electronic music community, Solomun provides a more optimistic response than we had anticipated when asking about his feelings on the scene’s exposure — particularly in the US. As opposed to finding disdain in the growing spotlight that shines on underground culture, he welcomes our newfound discovery with open arms.
“Honestly I am happy that more and more people get attracted by our sound, especially in the States. In Europe and South America it is much longer part of youth and dance culture. In the US I had the feeling that this EDM culture is a little bit like a Trojan horse, that the people get attracted by electronic noise and then some of them find their ways to underground sound.”
For Solomun, the future is unpredictable. Yet, one thing is for sure: 2016 will be a big year.
“Can’t say right now, like every year I will take a break from February to April and let’s see what I can do during this time. There’s still a remix to be released that I did for US band Interpol. And next year we will celebrate 10 years of Diynamic with special events and special releases during the whole year.”