Ahead of the return of Daniel Avery's Divided Love residency to Room One this Friday night (13th November) we arranged a conversation between Avery and the night's headline guest, Roman Flügel - a German producer with whom Dan has worked with a lot in the past and a man who he'll be going back to back with for four hours at FABRICLIVE this weekend. With previous excursions DJing back to back and having played alongside each other on numerous bills, the two producers have also collaborated in the studio where they reportedly bonded over a shared love of experimental Krautrock music as well as their individual and open approaches to techno.
Daniel Avery: To me, Frankfurt has an air of calm stillness to it that I can hear in a lot of the music from the city, including your own. Whilst there is always an energy to what you do, I feel as if you’re a patient producer and DJ who allows records to have their own space. Do you agree?
Roman Flügel: Haha, are you trying to say Frankfurt’s kind of boring!? I’m sure it is compared to London. But no, you said 'calm stillness' and I think you’re basically right. I quite enjoy it here since it is a convenient city in terms of size and infrastructure. It’s also close to nature which I really enjoy sometimes. If it comes to electronic music Frankfurt had its biggest hype during the early '90s before Berlin became the big magnet for everyone who wanted to make it in the techno scene. In general it is important to me to be patient. Some things can’t be enforced that easily, especially creativity.
DA: To take that idea further: from being in the studio together, I would say that you’re a producer who lets the music control them. I mean that as a compliment. Even if you set out to make a totally different kind of track but something exciting happens instead, you simply go with it. Have you always felt that way or do you think it’s something that has changed in you over the years?
RF: I always try to catch a momentum and remain playful. That definitely involves changes and breaks during the creative process.
RF: As a young DJ and producer facing more than 20 years of techno tradition (countless tracks, trends, sub-genres and styles) are you interested in digging for some of the old gems or is it the present that is shaping your personal vision of what’s hot or not?
DA: Thinking about this stuff too much can leave you feeling claustrophobic. The only thing I consider is that I want to be different. You’ve got to have something to offer the world that is your own and unique to you otherwise I see no point in doing this. I also believe that every single great record ever made has a timelessness to it so that has to be the aim in whatever you do. Jeff Mills was making records in '92 that still can’t really be ‘placed’ in any time period. Even now.
DA: We’re both big fans of the Krautrock movement and you actually interviewed Michael Rother (of Neu!, Harmonia and Kraftwerk) recently. Is there a particular record from that era that means the most to you? I can hear its genesis in your work, even when you’re making techno...
RF: It was a big honour and exciting moment to meet Michael in person. I’ve always been a fan of his music, especially of what he did with Harmonia. But I also enjoy the solo stuff he was doing later, for example the Flammende Herzen album. Besides him there is one album in particular I really love and that’s Zuckerzeit by Cluster. In my own music the Krautrock era resonanates more on a harmonic level than on the fact that some of the music back then was repetitive.
RF: I've already been a happy addition to one of your Divided Love parties in Los Angeles recently. Are you currently planning more of them and what's the basic concept behind these events?
DA: I’ve been a part of the fabric family for a while and the timing felt right: the underground electronic scene feels genuinely exciting at the moment. I’m only doing it in venues I believe in or feel a real connection with, that’s very important to me. I want it to feel like a community in that respect. Every single person in the room feeds into the energy of it all.
RF: We’re playing another back to back set at fabric after we had a lot of fun DJing together in Lausanne recently. What is the biggest mistake we should avoid during our performance?
DA: Well, I feel as if back to back sets are thrown around far too readily at the moment. I think it’s quite a rare thing for them to work properly and when they don’t it’s totally jarring to a night. In my opinion a DJ has to prepare entirely differently to how they would if playing alone. The best back to backs are when both DJs feed off each other and create something new that simply wouldn’t exist in their solo sets. I guess it’s like being in the studio: the best moments are when things happen naturally and the music takes over.
Photo credits: Daniel Avery by Nick Ensing, Roman Flügel courtesy of CRACK, DA & RF via Facebook.