Podcast / 16 December 2021

VOLTAGE Podcast 21 - Kwartz

Having started out in the early 2010’s, Mario Campo quickly joined the famous Pole Group after a string of big releases that saw him rise up in the Spanish scene. His music remains highly immersive and almost atmospheric, but where his music seemed to have more of a dub roundness to it a few years back, his productions nowadays have reduced in sonic depth but gained in impact.

Kwartz has been able to differentiate himself while being highly complementary to the contemporary scene by combining his cloudy style with Spanish club efficiency to make weapons on wax. His work with Pole Group and Clergy has seen these two worlds collide and alternate, even exploring the more industrial of techno with either a few of his own records and certainly his choice of remixers.

With a pretty busy gig schedule, Kwartz makes use of his residency in Berlin and frequently uses it as a takeoff point to entertain parties all over Europe and beyond.

Interview

Did you go in a specific direction for the mix? What were you trying to get across with the track selection of the podcast?

I always have in mind to tell a story when I’m selecting the tracks, and this time I came up with a peak time set, in which I have combined raw, fast and groovy tracks with others more mental. It’s also a mixture of old school techno with new school, and the chosen tracks are a little sample of the music I play on a regular night at a club.

What would be a good description of your sets?

My sets can be described as a journey, I love to create an environment or transmit a specific feeling to the listener, always keeping a mixture of tension and intensity through the whole session. I care a lot about the selection and I always mix the tracks with the idea that one song must bring me to the next one in a natural way, so the last track of the set would be meaningless without the first one.

Keeping this in mind, my sets can be described as hypnotic, raw, mental and groovy. As I said before I love to mix old school techno with tracks by artists such as Steve Stoll, Regis, Chris McCormack or James Ruskin with modern techno from the likes of Temudo, Reeko, Leiras or Blawan, to name a few.

What was the transition like moving from Madrid to Berlin?

The transition was really easy, I basically moved to Berlin to nurture myself musically speaking. I love going out to see my favorite artists perform, and Berlin is the perfect place for that because it's a city full of events where the space, the sound and the environment are always something fundamental.

In addition, it is a city full of very inspiring and interesting people, I’m not wrong to say that most of my best friends live here, so I can say that the transition was really easy.

Tracklist handwritten by Kwartz - a typed out version can be found underneath the interview

You’ve already released on huge labels like Oscar Mulero’s Pole Group and Tommy Four Seven’s 47, Mord Records, Semantica,… However, is there any label you dream of for a future release? Why?

Of course there are labels that I’d dream on for a future release, but when I’m doing music I don’t really have that in mind, I always focus on enjoying the process of doing music and then when the track is done I start thinking where it could be released... but for instance, I can say that Tresor would be among those labels for sure.

What sound does your label Order&Devotion stand for? How did it emerge?

I started it back in 2016 - in that period I was into a more deep and mental techno so I decided to launch my own platform with the concept of mixing both raw (Order) and mental (Devotion) sounds. The idea was to publish my own music and to give the opportunity to young artists to release their first vinyls.

But after a few years and especially after moving to Berlin, my idea or concept of techno has completely changed, which allowed me to engage with new projects. So Order&Devotion will be stopped for indefinite time.

What else is coming up for you in the future? Any goals?

Continuing with the previous topic, as my idea of techno has changed in the last few years I have in mind to launch a new label next year. This time I’ll only focus on releasing my own music alone, as well as parallel projects I have with other artists - for example Force Reaction with Kaiser - and I’ll also include remixes from my favourite artists.

I’ve got a lot of new music already finished, something more muscular and faster than my previous works, and you can listen to two of these tracks in the mix.

Kwartz's setup used to record the VOLTAGE Podcast mix.

Any artists or labels on repeat during a ride/flight home?

On my way back home I always love to listen to more experimental and ambient music, labels such as Subtext, Blackest Ever Black or the old Raster Noton are always ringing in my headphones. Also, after a long weekend I enjoy a lot listening to some 90’s Hip-Hop: GZA, Citizen Kane, Mobb Deep, Nas or Raekwon are some of my favourites.

Has the latest period been inspiring to you now that live gigs are back on track after a series of lockdowns?

It has inspired me a lot, I didn’t know it but I really needed this period of isolation to be able to look at things with more calm and perspective. I have spent every single day of these last 2 years locked inside the studio, thinking on what’s the next step for my music, digging a lot on old labels/ artists, and DJing more than ever with my friends at my studio in Berlin.

Any advice for young ambitious artists?

Sounds like a topic - my advice for the newcomers is to never follow the trends, just do what you love and most importantly enjoy the process. Making good things takes time so don’t be in a hurry and never give up, you never know when your time will come.

Tracklist:

  1. Maenad Veyl - Stranger (Shifted remix)
  2. Kaiser - Balance
  3. 65D Mavericks - In the dark (Kwartz edit)
  4. The Lady Machine - Collide
  5. Function - Broken Glass
  6. Juri Heidemann - Borken
  7. Steve Stoll - Promenade
  8. Truncate - Hardware Jam 4
  9. Head Front Panel - Polychrome
  10. Temudo - Watering dead plants
  11. Other Form - A widening rift (A.Morgan remix)
  12. Truncate - First Phase (Planetary Assault Systems remix)
  13. Kwartz - Unreleased
  14. Wevie Stonder - Ton Wah (Jerome Hill remix)
  15. Leiras - Palomar
  16. Troy - Spirit Navigation
  17. Glenn Wilson & Mattias Fridell - Observation
  18. The Lady Machine - Amplify
  19. Reeko - In a different world
  20. Kwartz - Unreleased
  21. Tensal - Alien Sapphire
  22. P.E.A.R.L. - Dirty Knees
  23. Giselh feat. Otano - Strobos (Stanislav Tolkachev remix)
  24. Ø [Phase] - Intensity Fluctuations

Next up: Years Of Denial

Interview by: Victor Seys
Editorial Team: Noah Hocker and
Michiel Demeulemeester