Techno Tuesday: Gardens of God on starting a label
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.
Lithuanian producer Minidaugas Lapinskis, better known to the techno world as Gardens of God, stormed the dance scene in 2014 and hasn’t looked back since. Choosing quality over quantity, Gardens of God has developed into one of the more exciting fresh faces in the game on the strength of his now highly anticipated dark and moody releases.
Earning accolades from some of techno’s biggest tastemakers such as Maceo Plex, Lapinskis has quietly racked up a CV of impressive releases that have landed him top-notch gigs around the world. He’s put out three EPs on Maceo Plex’s Ellum imprint and is set to appear alongside DJ Koze and the Ellum boss for the Mosaic by Maceo closing party at Pacha Ibiza next week.
With all the success and critical acclaim that’s come his way, Lapinskis has decided to forge his own path by starting a label of his very own, Sodai. We sat down with the Lithuanian producer to catch up about the new label, what it means to be uncompromising, and even discuss what his children enjoy listening to.
DA: Are there lots of people making / playing techno in Lithuania?
Not so much, there’s lots of house-y stuff mostly. Lots of disco, slower kind of stuff, but not really techno.
DA: What made you want to start your own label and how long have you had this idea?
I don’t know exactly how long to be honest. With some tracks I have, I don’t want to wait too long to put them out or make compromises with them. If a track has a certain feel to it, I want to do it a certain way, and with a artwork that’s how I see and feel it. It’s more about making things how I want. There are some people that help me control the managing and distribution and I have a friend that’s a very good photographer who’s the graphic designer for the label.
DA: How do you pronounce Sodai?
“So-Day” is how you pronounce it. Sodai means “gardens” in Lithuanian so it kind of ties in with my name. It’s kind of like with my name how no one says it correctly (laughs).
DA: What are some of your favorite labels and artists that inspired your label?
Labels like Hotflush, Drumcode, Ellum – dystopian vibes, I love dystopia! It’s a darker, moodier techno sound, so stuff like that. In terms of artists, Rødhåd, Recondite, Maetrik, Ben Klock, there’s so much!
DA: You used to do film scores also, correct?
It’s more like music for TV, not really like a film score per se. Sometimes you have to have something to pay the bills, but this also can be very interesting work at times. Sometimes you have to do funny or comedy stuff, but sometimes you can make dark atmospheric stuff to match a crime scene and I love that vibe.
DA: When did you make the tracks for this first release on Sodai?
I made “Ghost” at the end of last year around the time when I was making a lot of tracks for an album — I took “Ghost” from that album folder. “River” I made four months ago. I tried it at Sonar and it sounded good so I made that the A-Side and Ghost the B-side.
DA: When you DJ what do you want people to take away?
When I’m playing, I’m not playing monotonic or the same kind of sound. I’m trying to tell a story: go deeper, play some more aggressive stuff, and then also some kind of funkier, for techno, kind of tracks also. I want people to have an emotional trip, not so it’s just a physical experience, but to leave a message in their head. Of course, when you’re playing at a party, you want people to have a good party at the same time!
DA: How about your kids, do they like techno?
Not so much (laughs)! Sometimes I show them what I’m doing and they’re like, “Yeah cool track.” It’s a little heavy for them I guess — they’re 5 and 7. They’re fans of funks and old disco stuff like the vinyl I have in my house, stuff like Al Jarreau and Quincy Jones – it makes them move!
DA: What else can we expect from you and Sodai?
More dark, melodic and dance-y techno. I’ll be releasing not only my music, but also music from my friends. The label is a platform for music I love. I’m planning to make four or five releases a year, but don’t want to push it. I’m not planning showcases or selling clothes or soda water with my brand name or anything.
For myself, I’m in the process of a new EP and I hope to have an album together also. I’ve got some tracks ready for it, and I’m testing them out at gigs currently. I want to do some tracks with vocalists, but obviously that takes time. I’m going to record some live instruments as well, guitars, piano maybe, that kind of stuff. It’s hard to do that when you’re touring but it’s been a rewarding process.
River / Ghost is available now on Beatport