When DJ Mag catches up with Slovenian force of nature Umek, he is catching up with his own schedule and admits that if he had taken on more bookings, that it would have affected his health.
Umek’s hectic diary has included his residency in Ibiza where he played support to Carl Cox at Space — “another amazing Ibiza season” — as well as some great festivals in the USA with Insomniac, Electric Daisy Carnival and Beyond the Wonderland.
“Ultra USA was great and Tomorrowland as well,” he says.
When DJ Mag asks him what made these events great, he half-jokingly replies: “How could you not like doing this with such big crowds and such dedicated fans as mine?”
2014 also saw Umek release his latest artist album ‘Rhytmia’, as well as the bestselling sample pack for Loopmasters, ‘Loops from Behind the Iron Curtain’. ‘Rhytmia’ appeared on Spinnin’ and not his own 1605 label — why did he choose to go with another label?
“I’ve chosen Spinnin' as it’s the most influential label on the electronic scene, which gives me the power to present my music to a totally new audience. For me it’s important to reach more and more new fans with my sound. Working with labels such as Spinnin’, I get exposed to other audiences and through channels that aren’t accessible to me,” he explains.
‘Rhytmia’ also saw Umek continue to change his sound. It is certainly broader than the firing minimalism and ominous electro he rose to prominence with at the start of the millennium.
Did he make a conscious decision to move towards a more accessible sound?
“The move from dark banging techno to a warmer, more melodic sound is obvious if you compare my current sound with the music I did and played 10 or 15 years ago, but from my point of view the transition was not that drastic, as it happened naturally and slowly from track to track throughout the years,” he says, adding that “I’ve never done this intentionally. The only intent in this process is that I leave the door open for music to take me wherever it wants”.