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Prosumer: “Without music I would have gone insane or killed myself”

Marcus Barnes
Prosumer005 byMichaelMann 2013 300dpi 200x300 Prosumer: Without music I would have gone insane or killed myself

(c) Michael Mann

Earlier this week I caught up with Prosumer on the last day of his recent tour of the US. He was in his hotel room in Chicago about to head to Edinburgh, where he relocated earlier this year from Berlin. Prosumer is a cult figure thanks to his residency at Berlin’s infamous Panorama Bar, a position he held since it was opened, his unerring passion for record shopping and digging for gems coupled with innate ability to thread together disco, funk, soul and house in his all vinyl DJ sets. He is also a warm, friendly, fun-loving man as I found during the course of this interview.

So you’ve been in the States for a couple of weeks now, are you missing Edinburgh at all? When did you move there? Have you had much time to get accustomed to the city?

I moved there in February. I still need to do a lot of exploring, there’s still a lot of the city I don’t know yet but it feels like home. I took a flat knowing I would be moving out in September, and I’m now at a place with a really nice landlord a beautiful place where I feel at home and happy. I’ve got spots in the city that feel a bit more familiar to me now and I’ve got friends there, and I am actually already getting homesick for Edinburgh.

Do you have a long-term plan to stay there?
If I didn’t have the feeling that this could be permanent, I wouldn’t have moved to Edinburgh. I’ve got a lot of records and I moved with everything. I think moving at the age of 36 with everything you own is quite a commitment, not the kind of thing you’d do when you think, ‘I’m just going to be here for a couple of years’. I’ll see how things go, I can’t say that this is definitely forever but it could be forever – it’s a great city, I love being there and it gives me a good balance to traveling. I’m more relaxed living there. In a couple of years I will know if it’s been the right thing and, if it stops feeling right, I’ll move but it feels like the right thing at the moment.

Is there anything particular to Berlin that you really miss?
Of course, first of all, my friends in Berlin are the main thing. There’s a pizza place on the corner from where I used to live – to me, they had the best pizza in the world! Sometimes I really wish, ‘Ahhh, this would be perfect now’ and there are bars I really liked… some of the places I miss I’ll keep on missing anyways because they’re not there anymore; Like Südblock where Tama Sumo and I had our quiz night, that’s the kind of place I think everybody in the world should be lucky enough to have.

I read that you were in the process of unpacking your equipment and getting started on a new studio space?
As I said, around September/October I was moving so it takes a while. Obviously the studio equipment isn’t the first thing you set up, you start with the kitchen, bedroom and so on. But I am in the process of getting started – I put sound-proof carpetting in the room already but I need to work more on soundproofing. I connected some gear up already but I need to get the soundproofing right first, it’s an old house and if it turns out that my downstairs neighbour can hear too much of what I’m doing, it’s not going to work. It’s in a quiet location and I love that, and I understand why my neighbours love that. You never know with old houses how the sound will travel and if it causes a problem I’ll have to find an alternative place for my studio. Fingers crossed it will be OK…

So with regard to making music, is there anything concrete in the pipeline?
I’ve got some sketches on my computer for tracks, I just need to spend time with my equipment and turn them into full productions. I got some tracks that are done and need editing, once I’m set up fully there’s going to be some new music from me again.

A lot of people I know love your remix of Murat Tepeli – ‘Forever’.
It’s great when people appreciate what you do. The look Murat gave me when I played him the remix, that was already… wow. It’s the best feedback you can get when the person who did the original obviously is really pleased.

When you’re digging for records do you have a mental ’shopping list’ of songs that you’re looking for or is it a lot less rigid when you’re searching?
If I hear a record somewhere and I’d like to get it of course that’s in my head when I go to the shop – for the rest of it, it’s the way it has always been for me. The first time you go into a shop it takes a moment to realise, ‘OK, this is here, this is there’. I love that there are still different systems of how shops are organised, you have to figure out if they’re sorted by artists or labels. It’s always nice to see how some shops combine different genres with each other, so in some shops you might find early Eighties stuff in the rock section and some in the electronica section… these are the small things that you have to work out when you’re in a new shop. It depends on the country you go to as well, what your priorities should be time-wise and otherwise just searching as much as possible. Here in Chicago for instance there’s a focus on looking for the gems that never made it to Europe, the rare Chicago labels and getting really excited that you can be in a shop and hold three copies of a record that you’ve never touched in your life before in Europe.

I can see how passionate you are about it.
That’s how you become a DJ! [Laughs]

Read this interview in full here

Catch Prosumer in London, back-to-back with Soundstream for five hours, at Make Me’s event on Friday 20th December. For more information click here

Follow Marcus Barnes’ www.hoxton.fm radio show via soundcloud.com/marcus_barnes

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  • letshavelunch

    Missed chances, eh?


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