Rødhåd: ‘Ben Klock changed my understanding of electronic music completely’
Having just dropped his debut album ‘Anxious’, the German dub-techno maestro gives us an insight into the tracks that helped him to define his sound...
Mike Bierbach, aka Rødhåd, grew up on the outskirts of Berlin and cut his clubbing teeth at late ‘90s Berlin institutions like Ostgut and Casino. Immersing himself in the scene, he soon started his Dystopian crew to throw outdoor parties, before beginning regular Dystopian club-nights at various venues in Berlin.
Berghain soon came calling, and he started playing the fabled nightspot regularly — the gigs providing a springboard to shows all over Europe. The Dystopian label followed naturally in 2012, releasing his breakthrough tunes like ‘Blindness’ and diffuse techno bomb ’1984’, while he also had outings on 50 Weapons and Belgian label, Token. Fast-forward to this year and Rødhåd has finally released his debut album. ’Anxious’, out on Dystopian, ttingly has a foreboding beginning — rst track ‘Unleash’ sets the tone with radioactive pulses and sci- synths. It’s immediately clear that Rødhåd has taken his label name to heart — it’s the stuff of dark, desolate futures.
‘Escape’ transposes the listener onto wasteland rubble before ‘Awash’ offers a glimmer of hope with glistening, iridescent synths. Through the Geiger-counter tech of ‘Target Line’ and disjointed Amen junglisms of ‘Burst’, it’s clear that Rødhåd is creating his own unsettling narrative, his own set of science ction sonics that coalesce into an unnerving but ultimately rewarding long-playing slice of electronic art. “These tracks, artists and producers helped me to de ne my sound,” Rødhåd tells DJ Mag, talking about his ten chosen tracks (right). “Some of them are really old, most of them are from the mid- 2000s, and they all make me think about the freedom and creativity of electronic music.”
01. Ben Klock ‘Subzero’
“Not so many words for this. I think this track (and the whole album by Ben Klock back then) changed my understanding of electronic music completely. A timeless classic masterpiece.”
02. Green Velvet ‘Killer Bees’
“Even I don’t play this track so often, but it’s a blueprint for Green Velvet’s freaky techno back then. I think every track he released in the ‘90s was kind of outstanding, and I still appreciate his forward-thinking taste in music back then.”
03. Mathew Jonson ‘Marionette’
“Techno doesn’t need to always be dark or hard. Sometimes little shining tracks such as ‘Marionette’ combine the emotions of techno music in the same way — sometimes even better. Everytime I hear this track, I just want to close my eyes and fly away...”
04. DVS1 ‘Running’
“Made by my good friend DVS1, I think I played this track in nearly every set for a year, and I still hear it every time when I’m in Berghain. I love the meeting of minimalistic sounds.”
05. Peace Division ‘Blacklight Sleaze (Radio Slave Remix)’
"Still one of my all-time favourite remixes by the remix master himself. I think what Radio Slave did here is still amazing and timeless. When the bass drops in and the vocals appear, I still get goosebumps.”
06. Efdemin ‘Acid Bells’
“Just one example of the genius mind of Efdemin. This track, and many others by him, show me how much detail and effort you can put into a simple production. I am also a big fan of Efdemin’s last album ‘Decay’, but I’m choosing ‘Acid Bells’ because it’s older and maybe not everybody knows this track.”
07. Ribn ‘Shift’
“This amazing dub ambient followed me for a long time in all of my sets — it was released on Styrax Leaves. These tracks were the perfect symbiosis between the dub I liked and the slow techno which came back in the 2000s.”
08. Ben Frost ‘By The Throat’
“Actually, nearly everything from this album I like to listen to and even to play. For me, Ben Frost showed with this kind of music a completely new understanding about what electronic music can be. He opened my mind — and some doors — in 2009 with this soundtrack.”
09. Howling ‘Signs (Rødhåd Remix)’
“I made maybe 40 versions of this remix and at some point I didn’t even know if I wanted to see the track released. In the end I just sent one version and actually forgot about the work I did ‘til I heard the track played in a lot of clubs and festivals. Now I think it’s one of the best pieces of remix work I’ve done for a while, and I’m proud that we released it for the public.”
10. Rødhåd ‘Target Line feat. Vril’
“The only collaboration I did on my new album, ‘Anxious’. I’m happy that this production got such positive feedback, and now ‘Target Line’ will hopefully find its way onto the dancefloor.”
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