VOLTAGE Podcast 38 - Chlär
- Gene Richard Jr. - Can You Repeat
- Alberto Tolo - Unprocessed
- Stef Mendesidis - Cyborg
- Marcel Dettmann - Duel
- Matthys Lenne - Love for 10.000 years
- Coyu - Newoldgen (Marcal remix)
- Alarico - Unreleased
- Chlär - Unreleased
- Chlär - Unreleased
- Ikari - Unreleased
- Isaiah - Sweeping Through Time
- Bambounou - Onto This
- Dj Milton - Clap Your Hands
- Isaiah - Unreleased
- Lars Huismann - Unreleased
- Novelist - One Sec
- Kaio Barssalos - Espasmos
- Isaiah - Get That, No Hate (Unreleased)
- Chrissy - U Can't Stop
- Head High - It's a Love Thing
- Heiko Laux - Chicken, understood
- Ian Pooley - Loopduell 1 (Funk D'Void On Guard Mix)
- Cosmin TRG - De Dans
- Reakson - Calm Before The Storm
- Rosati - The Alarm
- Trevor Rockcliffe & Blake Baxter - Visions of You
- Dan Corco, Fred Carreira - Playing (A2)
- FUNK ASSAULT - Unreleased
Swiss DJ and producer based in Berlin, Chlär is an artist emphasizing groove through blending tribal, vintage style club music with a modern touch. Using 3 or 4 decks in the booth, his high energy mixes combine rhythm-heavy tracks with his own production loops, ensuring the orginality of his work.
Wearing many hats in his scene, Chlär has worked with leading labels such as Mutual Rytm, Taapion, RAW or Lobster Theremin and co-runs label Bipolar Disorder Rec. Not only an artist and sound engineer but also a professional of A&R and events management, Chlär has won the ‘’Raver’s Choice’’ award from the 2021 Raving Spoon Awards, rewarding leading figures of the scene.
Could you tell us a bit about the context in which you created this podcast? Were there specific emotions you wanted to convey?
From spacious and deep to ghetto jacking or old-school techno missiles, I tried to showcase all the vibes I usually go through when performing at an event. I see it as a sort of journey with much room for interpretation while trying to foster 2 characteristics during the whole set : an infectious groove and strong intensity. This is mainly doable with much layering and the use of loops of my own production.
Is there a track that stands out to you in this mix that you would like to share with our readers?
I would say the last one. It's the upcoming A1 of our release as Funk Assault with my brother Alarico. Funky, jacking, and playful, hope you guys will like it!
Could you tell us about your first encounters with music, and how electronic music got in there?
I’ve been raised in a family of music enthusiasts. My mom was closer to the “classic” genres and my father quite an avant-gardiste with his tastes at that time.
They wanted their children to learn an instrument, so I chose the guitar as my father was a guitarist before deciding to choose a “safer” path with his studies and job.
I became less and less interested in learning existing music pieces after 5 years of practice.. My teacher at that time was quite familiar with music production and classes turned out to be oriented toward that subject rather than working on the instrument.
At the same time, age 13, I fell on that online software (Audiotool) which allowed you to produce music for free. All the basics were there, replicas of Moog, 909, 808 etc… There were just no presets so I had to learn sound synthesis quite early.
Being raised by a father who was listening to underground electronic music records his whole life definitely pushed me to produce and experiment in that area.
After years of producing all sorts of genres, I experienced my first illegal rave parties. There is nothing similar to the vibes of such events. At that time, being 16-17 years of age, I knew that the music that was played there would be the one I would focus on.
You have worked with renowned labels such as Mutual Rytm, RAW (as mastering engineer), Lobster Theremin and VOLTAGE. How do you apprehend those collaborations? Do you adapt your productions to the labels on which they are released, or do you choose those partners depending on your productions of the moment?
I would say both. I always produced a very wide range of techno and in the case of Lobster Theremin, I knew I had to come up with something special and fresh to match the label's forward-thinking vision. I therefore produced 4 EPs in 4 different styles (Rave, Old School-Groovy, Minimal-deep and Ghetto) with the hope to attract attention with one of them but got eventually all 4 signed. Only two of those have come out yet.
On the other hand I always saw it as a challenge to be able to produce all sorts of techno and release on all sorts of labels. It is obviously important to find your signature sound as an artist, but why not in as many techno styles as possible? This required quite a lot of work though. Because when you want to be respected in all these fields you need to have a strong understanding of the aesthetics and culture of the genre. But in the end, I learned so much by working that way rather than focusing on one thing.
Now that I feel I somehow reached that point, I want to focus on the techno that drives me the most intellectually as an artist and emotionally as a listener. My recent release on Mutual Rytm is a good example of my current artistic direction!
Together with ‘The Chronics’ you co-run the label Bipolar Disorder Rec. How is it for you to realize the curation of your own label? Does it fuel your personal productions?
It is great to be able to offer upcoming artists that I love a platform to express themselves. Working in A&R is definitely very rewarding as you get to dig so many talents. It teaches me a lot, I learn, get inspired but also feel pushed to improve my work by what I hear from these newcomers. The level nowadays is so good.
People tend to think that the popularization of techno brings low quality music and standards, which can happen of course but for accessible music. Eventually, the timeless techno sound that all purists love has just seen its quality rocket to a complete other level, and it feels more that those people who’ve been criticising are just scared of being outperformed.
Your profile is somewhat unusual in the scene as you are not only working on the artistic side of the electronic music industry but also on its event management and A&R side. How do you combine these two professions, and what do they bring to each other?
I’d like to add that I am also a mastering engineer and still a master degree student. Life has been extremely intense in the last few years with over 70 hours of work per week, with gigs every weekend. I am really grateful and aware of the luck I have to be able to do all this professionally. Because being nearly “everywhere” just allows me to learn and improve constantly. Knowledge is power and the inspiration I get from all these collaborations, whether they are professional or artistic, is unique.
When I organize an event I can understand the needs of the artist better. When I am playing at a gig, I can understand how the promoters work and I can deal with the whole organization.
When I produce a track, I can identify the issues in my mix way faster. Constantly digging for new music allows me to grasp how producers approach arrangement, what sounds they used and why, why there, why now.
These are just examples of how complex the relations of each job are, but don’t get me wrong : I still have a loooong way to go. This broad view of the industry reminds me how small I am and how I will never, ever have to stop learning.
As an artist, how would you like to evolve in the upcoming years? Any new art medium you would like to engage with?
I am currently working on a big project which will involve a new label that I’m founding, with the goal of bringing techno into more “intellectual” spheres such as state art galleries or events. It will involve many different arts from ballet to visual creations. But more info about this will come when the time’s right!
Any exciting upcoming projects you’d like to share?
I’m working on many new things. A more recent one is the duo band I have with Alarico, called Funk Assault. I can’t find the word to describe how easy it is to work with him. It really feels like we are brothers sometimes (and we are, this guy is my bf in the industry <3). The symbiosis when we play or produce is real. Everything is so smooth and easy and what we come up with is stuff that none of us would be able to do alone. We just fusion together.
I could also say the same with Mitch (Stranger/Tafkamp) except that this guy has always been my main inspiration as an artist or DJ. Feels just amazing to see that this wasn’t for nothing, as we both push each other to another level, in the studio as well as in the booth.
Watch out for both project's upcoming releases !!
Thank you guys for having me and to you, the reader, who went that far with the interview and (maybe) listened to my podcast. I wouldn’t be where I am without all of you! Hope you’ll enjoy it.
Next up: Holden Federico
Editorial Team: Noah Hocker and Michiel Demeulemeester
Interview: Jeanne Briatte