Some might imagine that behind every great producer is another great producer. And in fact you could easily say that of Martin Buttrich.
He has been in the background of many artists and DJs over the years, producing, engineering, remixing and furnishing their music with his gustative multi-layers, notably working with Timo Maas and Loco Dice, as well as applying his infinite studio knowledge to projects by the likes of Fatboy Slim, Green Velvet, Roger Sanchez and Josh Wink.
Check out his Point Blank interview on the DJ Mag site for some seriously insightful dialogue, courtesy of the jovial German electronic creative.
Last year he set about marking the 20 years since his first production with an impressive three-month tour quite simply called '94:14'. He invited a whole stack of artists that he'd previously worked with, and many that he no doubt will be teaming up with in the future.
We're talking Carl Craig, Pete Tong, Audiofly, Guti, The Martinez Brothers and Ryan Crosson; all coming to a climax in Birmingham with Konrad Black.
“It was a lot of fun, a lot of good fun. I'm really happy that I got the other artists to be part of it,” he beams.
This year will see Buttrich stepping out from the shadows with his own album, albeit a collaborative one, funnily enough called 'Collaborator' released on his own label, Rhythm Assault. That's if he finds the time to finish it, because at the time of talking with him he was on the final stretch of the latest Dice release and working on a Konrad Black album, two years in the making...
We hear that you're working on Loco Dice's new album?
“Well yeah, we already finished the album pretty much, it's done, over the past two years. All I'm doing is the mixing for now, so then it's basically ready to release.”
At the same time you're working on your own album...
“Well yes because the timing came to do this together, but the thing is I probably will need a few extra weeks for my album.
That's how things are when you want to meet with people, or someone gets sick and then you have to reschedule, and everyone's busy and so it takes another few months to get everyone into the studio. So I'm pretty sure it's going to be a little later than the Loco Dice album.”
So going back to Loco Dice, what have you been doing with him? Producing it?
“Yeah, well basically as we always did. Doing sessions together, basically helping him out to get what he wants. He's very good at explaining ideas and what he wants, and [has] even started, after all these years, playing a few basslines and [doing] a lot of vocals on the album. I'm basically there for the writing part, producing and then finalising.”
So when it comes to working on your own album is it a different mindset?
“Yeah, it's definitely completely different, when I work by myself things obviously take longer. Four years are always better than just two. And also when you're alone you get stuck really quick, and sometimes when you make music you get caught up. When you work as a team one wakes up the other, you have a better process and progress.”
When do you decide a track is finished, is that a hard thing to do?
“Yeah this is something... you never stop learning, making music, and especially when you want to evolve a little bit more and also want to know more things. But it's something that I'm going to fight the rest of my life with — ok, when is the track really ready to go and when is it not? I always try to make more and more, and sometimes more is not the best thing. I have a problem with so many tracks, and then 15 I just delete. It's a constant learning process because music changes.”
Your own album is called 'Collaborator'...
“Yes, so basically with every track I work with a different producer or a different artist. I think it's going to be a feature album.”
Who else are you working with on it?
“I don't want to say too much right now and it's supposed to be a little surprise. Obviously I did something with Loco Dice for it and I went back into the studio with Timo Maas, and also Mathew Jonson and Carl Craig, and lots more guys. Some of the stuff is not even finished yet, so now is the phase of getting everything together and finalising it.”
When do you think it will be out?
“That's a good question, but I guess some time around the summer. So definitely going to have the first single and the second single soon. I don't want to promise or say too much, because in the end it always goes different.”
We hear you're putting it out on your own label, Rhythm Assault...
“That's correct, it's something for me, like a playground really. I simply just release when I think it's right, I'm not necessarily looking. It's basically just for my projects. My first release will be the album, but everything else I don't know to be honest. There's no perfect release plan, I just let it roll and see what happens.”
It's a good name, where did that come from?
“Ah thank you. Well I had a project years ago with a friend when we started making music, and it was one of our project names and I thought, what a waste, and I basically used it for my label.”
How does it feel to be someone that's looked up to in the industry?
“Oh is that true? I know I have qualities, and it's very nice to be appreciated, but for me it's always ongoing, trying to do more new stuff. And obviously in terms of years, you get set back here and there, because projects don't turn out like you think they would. But I don't like to sit around and think about it.”
With technology getting better and better, where do you see it going in the future?
“I'm always happy to be surprised, I think things will get really easy. I'm not a prophet, I can't see where it goes. But some things will always stay [the same], and maybe some companies from the '80s will restart doing their equipment?”
So you're living in LA?
“Right now I'm living in LA, pretty much every year coming here for two or three months. Coming here because I have a little studio, and so that's the time that I can pretty much just focus on music. And I do less gigs, and also it's nice to be here at this time. But otherwise I live pretty much for the rest of the year in Barcelona. It's a very charming place.”
Why did you choose Barcelona?
“Well my girlfriend lives there, and a lot of friends, a lot of good friends. And also the health... if you want you have the ocean, although I've never made it there. It's a good vibe, the quality of food is just amazing. I just like it there.”
It must be nice to have the mixture of Europe and the States in your life...
“Oh yeah, I love it, I'm very pleased that I have the possibility to do that. I think I'm kind of chasing the sun, that's what I'm doing really.”
Yes perhaps, you do look really healthy...
“Not right now, trust me, I look like I have a proper studio tan, trust me.”
When you play in Europe do you play a different type of set to when you play in the States?
“I try to play different sets everywhere, the UK is different from Holland and Germany. So every city has a bit of a difference. I'm not completely changing my music, but there are places where I play much deeper and there are places where I play harder, I think as most people do.”
What are you going to be doing in Miami this year?
“I'll be playing three parties this year. I'll be playing Wednesday at Flying Circus, basically it's every year. Then it's going to be Ultra on Friday and on Sunday I'll play the Desolat party.”
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