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The Sound Of: Freeride Millenium

The Sound Of: Freeride Millenium

With a range of sounds encompassing slo-mo house, gothic EBM, Italo disco and more, and an equally unrestrained art direction, Freeride Millenium is a no-holds-barred expression of love between its founders Jorkes and Daniel Rajcsanyi, aka ParisBöhm, and the queer community they aim to uplift. Alongside a mix of tracks from its catalogue, they share the label’s story

“The easy thing about working together is that we are partners” says Jorkes, co-founder of Austrian-based Freeride Millenium, on the label’s central relationship between him and ParisBöhm, aka Daniel Rajcsanyi. “We’re in contact 24/7 and we have the same vision, which makes it easier to fulfil.”

From the first release in 2016, Jorkes’ ‘La Porc De La Discoteque’, Freeride Millenium’s aesthetic, both musical and visual, has evolved from this synergy. With Daniel responsible for the release artwork, the label’s look blends the abstract with the semi-autobiographical. So while the cover to a recent EBM-infused EP from UK artist Birds sported gothic overtones, a medieval-looking statue of a woman holding a man housed behind rusty bars, Rotciv’s ‘TeaTime’ is a candid shot of the back of a man’s head as he holds a meth pipe – the EP title itself a joke on the drug’s nickname of Tina, or just T.

If this speaks obliquely of the label’s queerness, then the close-up photograph of anal penetration — printed on a table in Daniel’s mum’s living room — that graces Jorkes & Hard Ton’s deep and beautiful vocal house track ‘Cross The Line’, did, in fact, cross the line for the label’s distributors, who felt it was too much to be stocked in record shops. With everything else pixelated out, all that remains untouched is Filou, a small dog with a bemused expression.

“I can send you the uncensored versions,” offers Jorkes when we catch up over Zoom, giggling good-naturedly through our conversation. Born in Stuttgart to a Greek immigrant family, Jorkes met Daniel in 2011 after moving to Munich to study law. Daniel was studying fashion and the two began exploring clubs together. As various friends started becoming DJs, they did too. When Daniel put on a fashion show, Jorkes made the music for it, laying down the roots of Freeride Millenium. “We had this room where he was sewing and knitting and cutting, and we were producing and DJing. It all kind of started that way.” 

When we ask what their shared vision is it proves harder to pin down, Jorkes pausing to refer to Google translate. “You interact with things around you all the time, with people, with nature,” he says of the daily events that determine their direction. “We’re always digesting influences that are expressed artistically very spontaneously.” At the heart of it all is feeling, which constantly radiates out from and traces back to the love at the centre of Freeride Millenium. “Music generally is something very emotional,” says Jorkes. “You can’t plan things that are emotional.”

Love, of course, isn’t only emotion. “For the second release Daniel and I did an art porn movie,” says Jorkes of the video to ‘Thank You’. With the track a heart-stirring slo-mo house groove voiced by a friend, the lyrics a gush of gratitude towards a partner, it’s acompanied by what Jorkes calls a “glitter, love, sex, pool of water thing”. Deeply moving on various levels, the film exemplifies the song’s sentiment. Yet having been taken down from most streaming sites, and therefore also the media sites that covered it, it’s currently just hosted on PornHub.

“I don’t judge it as explicit, the outside world does,” says Jorkes on the censorship that Freeride Millennium has experienced. “It’s just what we do and how we are,” he adds on the natural, honest process behind such work. Making the video, though, proved a perfect way to meet like-minded artists; Hard Ton got in touch after watching it, while Super Drama were introduced by someone else who’d seen the project. This increased visibility and connection helped when putting together a 2020 compilation raising money for Queer Base, an organisation in Vienna offering social and legal counselling to LGBTQ+ refugees arriving in Austria.

Jorkes and Daniel Rajcsanyi of Freeride Millenium shirtless and hugging behind DJ decks

Jorkes moved to Vienna in 2018 “for love”, accompanying Daniel, who went there to continue his studies. The former spent time working at the charity, where he realised money was tight. “I’m really afraid of the climate we live in in Europe,” he says of 2022’s general air of anger, fear and racism. “You need to have real solidarity, real love, to show compassion. It’s one thing to talk about it, to do posts and stories, but you really need to work to do good things. I saw friends doing that and I was super inspired.” It’s only through incremental change, he believes, that a more general transformation will take place. “I think it helps to erase these things in little steps,” he says of the obstacles currently being faced. “Working for these people, to integrate them into a society, does things that bring us all together a bit further.”

Jorkes and Daniel co-helm a monthly show on Munich’s Radio 80000, while Stuttgart’s Romantica hosts a label night, where the likes of Alinka and Curses have joined them previously. “It used to be an old strip club, so that’s the vibe,” says Jorkes, enthusiastically. “It’s very intimate and people let go of themselves. It’s very wild. I love to play there, I love to be there.”

In Vienna, Jorkes co-hosts Hot, a party whose logo features a pink-lit close-up of a glass meth pipe, its shiny curves resembling a smooth, anonymous orifice. An all-gender sauna party, it lost its original venue — an actual sauna — due to Covid, but has taken up temporary residence in new club PRST. “We can play there with the same elements we had at the sauna, like massages and a spa,” promises Jorkes.

Next up for Freeride Millenium is an EP from NIKKNAME, another Austrian-based producer and long-standing friend of the label. With the soaring, bittersweet title track ‘Bankai’ somewhere between modern Italo and ‘80s synth-pop, remixes are provided by Benjamin Fröhlich and Mufti. Then there’s a release from Zamal, who appeared on the label’s ‘Queer Base’ comp, and a pair from the label founders: an EP from Jorkes called ‘Sodomy’, followed by a ParisBöhm EP entitled ‘Sweetheart’.

Jorkes, meanwhile, continues to expand as a producer in their own right. Earlier this year they released their ‘Sweet Dreams’ EP on Live At Robert Johnson, its cover featuring the same pink pipe used in Hot’s logo. Channeling disco, house, synth and vocoder-processed lyrics that reference the boys who escaped their Orthodox backgrounds to cross-dress for sex work in ‘80s Athens, it marked their first move away from releasing on Freeride Millenium. With a remix EP to follow for the label, they also have an EP forthcoming for Permanent Vacation, as well as a remix for Super Drama and a track on the new Ombra International V/A.

“I’m super thankful that people listen to my music and that there are labels out there that are willing to put it out,” says Jorkes on this growing network. “It all feels like a very nice ride, to interact with people who understand and support you, who want to know about aspects of your life.”

And just as Freeride Millenium is a living, ever-evolving endeavour, guided by complex chemical reactions and interpersonal relationships, so Jorkes shimmers. “People read me as a male person, but I shift that,” she says on embracing and switching between pronouns as and when it fits. “When I make songs I’m different people, I’m very different with myself. I think that’s the best reflection.”

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Joe Roberts is a freelance writer. You can follow him on Twitter @corporealface