Looking Forward To The Past: A chat with Poker Flat boss Steve Bug
One of the main reasons I became so obsessed with house and techno music was a live DJ set by German DJ and producer Steve Bug. The set, which I’ve already mentioned in my M A N I K interview, was brilliantly dark (as it was recorded at a Halloween party) and included music both new and old, mixed incredibly well. Every time Steve Bug has appeared in London I’ve missed him for one reason or another, but in a couple of week’s time he’ll be back in the capital and I’ve made it my mission to catch him. Ahead of the party, which is a showcase for his well-respected label Poker Flat, I was fortunate enough to be allowed some time with Steve…
So we’re a month into 2012 already, how’s the year going for you so far? What’s happening with you musically and with the label too?
On New Year’s Eve, I played an amazing Flying Circus party (hosted by Audiofly) on a beach in Playa del Carmen [at the BPM Festival in Mexico] with Nicolas Jaar, Benoit & Sergio. On the 7th of January, I played a great party on a hill top in Santiago de Chile with Phonique. Both events were phenomenal. After that I took a break and went skiing with some friends until the 21st… Ever since I’ve been in the studio in Berlin pretty much every day working on my new album and some remixes and, in between, doing European gigs. With Poker Flat, besides some great EPs that are coming up, we are releasing a new label compilation, called Gunslingers and Greenhorns and features tracks by artists that have never released on the label before as well as some recent or past singles. The package includes a bonus CD with a Steve Bug DJ mix of those tracks, as well. The next big thing after that will be a TJ Kong + Modular K album and, for the summer, we are looking forward to an Alex Niggemann album. Dessous has some nice new EPs coming up, with a Phonique album hopefully later this year.
Last year Poker Flat released two retro compilations, the latest of which covers the Acid House era. Who’s made tracks for the new compilation? What are some of your favourite tracks from the album?
The second Forward To the Past compilation (The Acid Flashback) features tracks by Kink + Nevile Watson, the Snuff Crew, Sasse, Motorcitysoul, Tinman, Glimpse and Will Saul, Sven Tasnadi and Juno 6 and me of course. I really like Sven Tasnadi’s Follow The Roots, it almost reminds me of Laurent Garnier’s Acid Eiffel released on Fragile back in the nineties. Another one I really like is the Glimpse + Will Saul track, really really deep and classy.
Why do you think today’s musicians are still so fascinated with the past?
I think it’s more about being fascinated with the roots of house music, that’s where all the magic started so it will always be part of the future.
As a man who has obvious respect and a strong knowledge of electronic music from the past, who were your biggest influences when you first got into electronic music?
When I first went to a house club in ‘87/’88 i was amazed by the sound and started buying records immediately, but I didn’t care for a certain artist it was the spirit and that whole movement that got me interested. I wanted to know how to mix those tracks instead of finding out who produced the music. Of course labels like Trax, Warehouse Records, Hot Mix 5, Jack Trax, KMS, Transmat and several other played a big part back then and looking back they definitely influenced my sound a lot.
You own your own label, produce music of a high quality and DJ all over the world, what else is left for you to do?
I’m not interested in being too ambitious, I feel that that path leads to nowhere for most artists/labels. I would be perfectly happy to be able to continue what I am doing on a similar level for a lot more years to come. You never know what will happen tomorrow, but If I can keep playing great parties and travelling the world as well as releasing beautiful music by artists I respect and appreciate, what more can I ask for?
Yeah, very true. You’ve been DJing for quite a few years now, do you ever have moments where you feel a little jaded or bored? And, if yes, how do you keep yourself fired up?
Not really, I mean traveling can really suck sometimes, especially when you are stuck somewhere due to bad weather or a late arrival and you can’t even make it to the gig at the end, so you travelled almost all the way just to spend a night in an airport hotel, that’s definitely not something anyone ever looks forward to. And of course there are so many Friday mornings, where I wish I could stay at home instead of having to go to an airport, but once I’m on the way I’m totally excited about the trip/gig. And if that doesn’t help, spinning the first record is definitely what gets me into the groove of the weekend! For me the music is still the biggest driving force in this job.
I can imagine it must be a nightmare travelling sometimes… Have you ever had any major disasters when DJing?
Apart from the regular normal mishaps, like the sound falling out because of sudden power failure or because someone spilled his drink on the mixer, nothing really…
I’m learning to DJ myself, can you give me any hints or tips to help me along the way?
Work on your taste in music, find a style that you can pull off and learn to beatmatch. Then try to mix harmonies without making people’s ears bleed and, most importantly, learn to create a great vibe with your own style.
You play in London quite often, what do you love about the city? Who are your favourite UK artists at the moment? Favourite club?
I still love to play Fabric a lot, but there are also all these smaller clubs and, of course, all the ‘out-of-the-way’ locations. London has always something going on and the people are definitely into the music. I can play a lot more ‘deeper’ or ‘weirder’ sets in London than in most other cities and that’s something I really like about it.
You have a huge party coming up in London, what can we expect at the party?
It’s our first label showcase in a while and is happening in a very special location, I have a feeling the vibe is going to be amazing and with artists like Josh Wink, Martin Landsky, M A N I K, Daniel Dexter, Burnski and myself, the music should be amazing as well. We’re putting a Funktion One soundsystem into the venue so everyone should expect great sound. Hopefully it will be one of those memorable parties for everyone involved.
What else can we look forward to from yourself and Poker Flat this year?
I’m working on a new album, that is hopefully going to be released this September, and am only going to be doing a few remixes between now and then. On the label side, apart from all the releases we are going to be focusing a bit more on showcases this year, so watch out for us. We might be at a club near you very soon.
Wicked, and any new artists we should listen out for?
New artists to listen out for… always a difficult one I think Daniel Dexter, our new signing, is definitely a guy to keep an ear on. But there are so many other new (and even old) talents to check out, so try to stay open minded and always look out for stuff instead of following trends. I advise everyone to try to find music you like instead of just liking what everybody else does, it keeps the music business more interesting for sure.
Poker Flat hold their huge party in London on February 25, for more information and tickets click HERE.Tagged in: German, House, london, Party, Poker Flat, Steve Bug, techno
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