When Nadja Lind first came to play for us last year we couldn’t help notice the overwhelming reception she received. We knew she was remarkable, but there was a real sense of satisfaction in that reaction and it’s all the more comforting knowing that Nadja’s pretty much self-made. In the face of long winded demo discussions with labels she established her own platform for her music working alongside her best friend and Klartraum collaborator, Helmet Ebritsch.
Next Saturday Nadja will be DJing in Room Three with Terry Francis as well as performing live in Room Two as Klartraum, who we interviewed here at the time of their last visit. This time round we wanted to get to know more about Klartraum’s female counterpart and how her progression into the digital world, countless collaborations and early Slayer days have all influenced her dubsome tech house world.
Nadja for our readers who may not have crossed your musical path yet, can you introduce yourself to them?
Yes, my home town in Berlin and I first started DJing on vinyl 10 years ago but 1 year after I started playing out I switched to CDs for a gig in India where record players were hard to come by. I’ve tried out Traktor Scratch and all that too and for about 2 years I’ve only been playing my own productions in my sets.
I started out producing in 2005 – mainly tech house, deep and dubby techno but also some more dub and chill out stuff. My main collaboration & live project is Klartraum which I do with my best friend and awesome producer Helmet Ebritsch who I also run Lucidflow alongside and Agile Mastering.
Can we talk a bit about your formative years, can you tell us a bit about what took you towards taking up music?
Music has always been important to me. As a child I started playing the block flute and sang in choirs. Later I learned how to play the guitar and went to a high school where music was main subject. I got hooked on electronic music around 1996. Before that I was all into rock - and 70 ies music and heavy metal (I still like to listen to some old Slayer records once in a while!).
I asked a friend of mine who is a DJ to show me how to beat match vinyl. Shortly after I bought my own 1210 setup and started collecting my own records. It took me months to get my first set together. I used to meet up with friends on weekends to exchange and play records to each other and having a great time. I TOTALLY loved it. Especially when I got deeper into producing I knew that I have found my true passion and this literally saved my life.
Who’d you cite as your main musical influences and inspirations?
That's not easy to answer. There's a huge range of amazing artist and producers: I love the sound of Bob Marley, Rhythm & Sound, Marc Moulin, Missy Elliott, Slayer, Mos Def, Frank Farian, Betrich Smetana, Nina Hagen, Lulu Rouge and Helmut Ebritsch just to name few. The biggest producer for me is Michael Cretu - his music has given me so much joy and goosebumps… I really don't care so much about the style - music either touches my soul or not. I also listened to incredibly talented street artists who really inspired me.
What else do you take for inspiration? I saw on your site there’s a section dedicated to recommended reading and writing...
I am inspired by all kind of encounters and conversations, friends, different cultures, environments and ways of thinking. By nature and travelling in general. I always take a lot of field recordings when I travel to use in my productions. By reading and writing you probably refer to my 'about your brain' section on my web-site? I've been very interested in psychology, brain science, evolution in general and the integral movement. In my opinion finding out who you are can be a big source of inspiration, strength and healing. I feel blessed that I am borne into a safe time and place in which I have the chance to work on all these interesting topics. Especially Dr. Alice Miller, Stephen Wolinsky, John Bradshaw, Ken Wilber, Allan Watts, A. Lowen and Dr. Gabor Maté have been a source of inspiration for me.
It was in 2003 you DJ’d for the first time – at a NYE party. We’d call that a baptism of fire! How did it feel to perform your first ever set?
I was so nervous that I could hardly put the needle on the records. I used to be a rather insecure and shy person so I really had to work through my fear to stand up in front of a crowd in the club and play. So many times I felt like running away instead walking into the club. Weird isn't it. My baptism of fire went very well otherwise I am not sure if we would do this interview now.
Then what drew you into making your own beats?
Nothing has ever triggered such a wide range of feelings in me and touched my soul so deeply like music does. I've always had the deepest admiration for producers. For me they were like magicians - out of nothingness they create something which you can not sense nor see or touch but nonetheless move me to tears or give me goosebumps of joy. I just got hooked on electronic music. In the very beginning I asked friends who knew a bit about producing and after a while I bought myself Reason 2 and a tutorial book and locked myself in for several nights and days. A very frustr-elating experience.
Can you tell us a bit more about your studio and the way you produce, what kind of software and hardware do you use now?
My studio is not spectacular and I still consider myself as a beginner who has a lot to learn still. Nowadays I use a Macbook Pro, Ableton Live, APC40, Allen & Heath Xone:DB2 Mixer, Souncraft Spirit digital Mixer, Maschine, Korg Wavedrum, AN1x and some virtual synths such as Zebra 2.5, Organ3 and some filters and FX.
I create all my sounds in Ableton 'session view' and then record a live performance using APC40 or sometimes just the on board keyboard if I am at the airport e.g. Then I finalise the Live arrangement followed by the final mixing and mastering on Helmut's Sonic Core mastering unit in our Klartraum studio in Berlin. For me it's best if I don't put any pressure onto myself. The best tracks always go with the flow.
I saw someone asked if you did all your production yourself in a recent interview, do you think they would have asked you that question if you were a man? I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone being asked that before!
No, I don't think I would have been asked this question if I were a man. On the other hand this would always be an interesting question to ask no matter which gender!
For a long time I actually believed what was written on the covers and I was very disappointed when my 'heroes' lost all their glamour and magic in my eyes. Well, in the beginning I was a little naive. The important information on a record is to find in the small print.
You also have your own label Lucidflow – can you tell us a bit about that please? How do you go about curating the music?
Lucidflow was founded by me and Helmut in the first place to have a platform to release our own output. The process of sending out demos was just so painfully slow and unresponsive. So we decided to do our own thing and be in charge of which music and artists we want to have on our label. It's turned out to be one of the best decisions - it's a lot of work and a lot of fun. Every month you will find a new release and amazing artists. Lucidflow doesn't stand for one particular style it's more about the deepness and the certain something. You won't find any mainstream sound there.
Apart from 2 vinyl releases recently, it’s really been a digital only label what made you make that choice when vinyl seems to be so strong?
We are only two peeps who started Lucidflow and we did as much on our own as possible to minimise the costs. So in the first place vinyl is much more expensive, it's painfully slow and a lot more things to take care of and work on. We wanted to put our own music out there quickly and as effortlessly as possible. It's not like the world's been waiting for another label to be welcomed - it's a tough biz to maintain and build up a label from zero. I can't count the hours we've been working on this every day - it's 24/7 but of course it doesn't feel like work since it's what we chose and want to do.
The decision to do vinyl came about since fans kept on asking for it. We had a very strong 1st release Nadja Lind & Paul Loraine 'Making A Difference' with remixes by Silicone Soul, Helmut Ebritsch and Funk D'Void so we thought this was worth a try. And we were right. Our 2nd was Klartraum with remixes by Steve Rachmad, Silicone Soul and Paul Loraine and at the moment we are about to press VLF003 with Klartraum, Alexi Delano, David Alvarado and D. Diggler. Awesome stuff!
And you have a couple of other production projects as well, Klartraum and Lucif-ier can you tell us a bit about those and how they differ to your solo work?
Klartraum has always a great deepness and maybe more melodies than my solo Nadja Lind productions. We work in parallel which means each of us can hear what the other is working on. The production process is more or less the same but on two synchronised systems. The mixing and mastering is more or less done on the fly. Then our other project Luci-fer was invented to separate the typical Klartraum sound from our darker and straighter techno output.
I also work together with a lot of other artists like Paul Loraine, Omar Salgado, Brendon Moeller and the process is totally different. I prefer working remotely since I've developed my unique style of producing on Ableton and get bored very quickly if I can't work my own way. In the past I would sit with somebody in the studio working on just one computer. This would now feel very boring and I'd always chose parallel working or working on my own. For me it feels very convenient to exchange Ableton Projects or just sample packs and finish a track.
From what I can tell your sets often include a majority of your own tracks – do you think that has something to do with the way you produce them as something you really want to play out to a dancefloor?
That is for sure one reason: I know every bit and therefore have a stronger connection to the tracks. Also I love to play out my tracks to people and to try out new productions and remixes.
Another reason is that the switch from vinyl to the enormous range of digital music was not all that easy for me. I am a visual person meaning I always knew where in my bag the record was and which side I wanted to play next during my sets. To just have these tiny database listings of tracks is very confusing to me. To the extent that sometimes felt like I'd lost the connection to music. It helped me a lot to limit myself to my own productions and some Lucidflow stuff to get into the 'zone' and find my flow again. And last but not least for years this had been a dream of mine to be able to play my own tracks only and rock the dance floor.
Can we expect a lot of Nadja Lind dubs when you DJ in Room Three with Terry next weekend then?
Definitely yes! You will hear lots of new and unreleased tracks. I am working in many co-ops at the moment with Saytek, Quintin Christian, Deep Spelle, Paul Loraine or Grünbox with who I just made some really cool productions and I can't wait to try them out on the amazing fabric sound system.
I’ve also got some new Klartraum to try out which isn’t in our live set in Room Two on the same night and we just finished a beautiful Klartraum remix on a big Lulu Rouge track and also on a C-Rock tune to be out on Lucidflow soon plus amazing Yapacc rmx. Also I can't wait to play out some of the Secret Moon Remixed Album tracks that will be out exclusively on Lucid vinyl in some weeks. I am looking forward to celebrate Silicone Soul's Darkroom Dub label 10th Anniversary in Room 2 and rock with Terry Francis again (who will also be part of the Klartraum album btw.) in Room 3 I'll be wearing my jumping shoes that's for sure!