When we spoke with Steve Bug he was post-DJing for DJ Mag TV and in the prequel to a punishing tour schedule that would take in Brazil and much of South America. The legendary Poker Flat label master and iconic techno producer has just returned to his Traffic Sign moniker, some 10 years later, with a cheeky number entitled 'Cookie Jar'. This month he's got some tasty treats ready for release.
“Yeah my new EP, it's called 'Coconut Paradise'. It's a summery A-side, and then the B-side is more dubby techno-ish,” he tells us. Then there's the vinyl-only release he's working on with ex-Martini Bros producer and friend, Cle. Although you'll need to wait a little while for that due to the current high demand at record pressing depots.
This summer you can catch Steve playing back-to-back with Josh Wink at Space. “We have a totally different way of playing. It can be challenging. We've been good friends for a long time. It's always fun when you're not playing by yourself, people seem to like it and we enjoy it as well.”
The track that reminds you of your childhood…
“Childhood is always a question of when it starts and when it ends, so a track of my youth maybe is Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five 'The Message'. It stands for the MTV era, having videos on TV; we had several German shows as well that were showing international artists. Before, it was all radio shows and sitting at home recording tapes.
“When the breakdance thing came over to Germany I was really into that. It was the first thing I really figured was something else. Before, everything else was music, it wasn't about me liking it or not. But with this it really got me in a different mind state, and we did some breakdancing on the streets of course, we tried to, at least.”
The first record that you ever bought…
“I'm not sure if I bought it or my mum bought it, because I was only 11-years-old. Probably I bought it myself, it was 'Visage' by Visage. I recorded it to tape of course to listen to it on the Walkman. This started the Simple Minds stuff. I did a lot of travelling by bus at the time, on skiing vacations from my home town. It was 20 hours to go to Austria to go skiing.
I was sitting on buses and trains to visit my dad and my grandparents. So when the Walkman came out, I was having a lot of music on there. So I could get lost in my own mindset instead of having to deal with people on the trains or buses.”
The cheesiest record in your collection?
“Yeah, that's probably got to be America 'Horse With No Name'. I don't know what got into me.
Actually I think it was never a track that I had on my radar, but then there was a Grand Theft Auto version, I don't know what version it was.
For some reason playing the game and listening to the track kind of, at the moment I liked it. And it's played so much on radio stations and I'm like, 'This song is just so terrible'. I bought it. So I have it, so this must be the one.”
The track that’s guaranteed to make you cry?
“For me it's definitely Ennio Morricone 'Once Upon a Time in the West'.
The funny thing is my mum had the album, she's a big fan of the movie and I took it from her. I only caught him once in Berlin, his music is amazing.”
An album that you’re currently into?
“There's two albums that I'm listening to. One is Rhythm & Sound 'With the Artists'.
The other one is Charles Bradley 'No Time For Dreaming', it has a classic sound but it's 2011, it's not that new but these are two albums that I listen to the most at the moment.
The thing is, I'm barely listening to any music at home. Because I'm listening to so much music through my work already, through the demos, checking masters for all the labels and checking remixes, and doing my own music, and all my boxes and new music and folders of promos.
So at the time I'm not working, I don't want to listen to anything else, I want to relax and relax my ears as well. These two albums get me into a different mindset, especially the Rhythm & Sound one, you can also use it just as a background.”
The record in your collection that you most treasure?
“That's a very difficult question because I mean, there's so many tracks of music and albums that I really like.
For example, there was one record that I discovered and I'd never owned it before, even though I'd listened to it in clubs before. It's on the old label Legal and it's called 'Hypnotic Flute', and the artist is Paradise's Deep Groove. I found it on Discogs for about 100€, probably the most I've spent for a record so far. Three months later someone released a repress, so!”
Your all-time favourite track of all-time?
“William DeVaughn, 'Be Thankful For What You've Got'. Every time I come back to listen to it, this song is so great.”