Interview w/ Umwelt

Hello Fred, we’re very excited about having you in Belgrade for the first time. Can you tell me about your stage name, Umwelt? One of the definitions interprets Umwelt as “the world as it is experienced by a particular organism”. Your music, I would say, “paints” dystopian “painting” of the future world, is this how you “see” the future?


–       “Umwelt,” deals with Earth and Nature, opens up other aspects of nature‚ the human one. It also deals with the sensory environment; we all live in the same environment, but we get things differently. It is the same thing with music or dance. Nothing knows the future you can imagine or idealize, everyone can choose the future they want in the dream and real life. 


You come from the French Rave scene musical background. Is there a difference in DJing back in the early ’90s and now? 


–       Yes I started to learn mixing in ‘88 and played at parties in early rave in France (in my home city, it was in ‘93), at this period you’ve only had the vinyl for mixing and you needed to have a lot of practice and experience for have good level of mixing, and you also needed to travel to find a good records shop 🙂 . Now, with technology mixing it’s more simple, but I continue to play only vinyl. You love vinyl, you touch it, you keep it preciously. MP3, you download, you forget it and you delete it. 


 I’ve noticed you are a big lover of analog synthesis and you love using TR-808 for your music. Can you tell me why do you prefer analog over digital even when your Djing?


–       For studio, hardware is better for me cause it’s more creative more direct, better for feeling the music. I do not use a computer except for the recording of my tracks. I tried Cubase on a Mac, but I found it boring too many possibilities with plugins. I prefer machines and have a limited choice with machines. I build my tracks a little bit like a DJ – instinctively, hardware and analog is good for that. It’s the same with mixing, I started with vinyl and kept it like this cause I feel comfortable with that and you need to be tight before a party with vinyl selection in your bag. It’s funny to see a lot of producers want and promote vinyl for their releases and play digital …there no sense in that!


The music you create has a strong dystopian feeling to it, I know you’re a fan of sci-fi, especially in cinema. Can you name a couple of your favorite movies?


–       Yes, sci-fi movies are a part of my influence for atmosphere, imaginary and also movie music themes. Videodrome, Existenz, Soylent green, Total recall, The Handmaid’s tale…


You love creating a dark atmosphere when you’re both producing and DJing. What’s your creative process like, how do you begin working on a track, do you maybe have some kind of image in your mind to go with the music?


–       It depends on the time of the day if it’s night or day and my feelings. I need a long time to experiment, to push myself into unknown territory and discover my limits. I don’t like making music when there’s pressure to do a track. I need to be excited by projects, life…need inspiration, without that it’s impossible! 


You are hosting an exclusive Rave or Die massive party to honor all those raves you remember, for them to never be forgotten. Which 6 DJs would play 12-hour rave, hosted by you?


–       Ok, It’s hard to choose… I think my choice would be 3 artists of the old generation and 3 of the new. It’s very subjective, a lot of names come to my mind 🙂 and I think I’ll even remember some names later, but if I need to do a choice right now, then it would be: The Mover, DJ Deg, Adam X, 999999999, Stranger, Helena Hauff. Good line up!


Do you know anything about Belgrade or Serbia? Do you have any expectations from your upcoming Belgrade show and crowd?


–       I’ve never been to Belgrade and I’m happy to discover the culture, the musical scene, activism, nightlife, and food :-). 


Drugstore is Belgrade`s audience beloved “Techno cathedral”. DJs and crowd are experiencing music and acts on another level there, not just with their ears, your mind and soul are out of space too. Interior makes that experience complete. Do this kind of thing, such as how the club looks, for example, affects you, can they make you REACT?


–       Communion with the crowd is very important, it doesn’t happen each time, depends on the time you play, place, festival, club, and crowd… it’s very rare. I’m obsessed by the trance atmosphere on the dancefloor, I love to bring people (when I can) in another feeling without control. 


 Thank you very much for your time, see you soon!