VOLTAGE Podcast 28 - Setaoc Mass
- 65D Mavericks - B3
- Victoria Mussi - Skins
- Concentrate - Absence (Dustin Zahn Remix)
- LKY x Alarico - B2
- Altinbas x Cirkle - Uhlanga
- Rene Wise - Tizer
- Mike Dehnert - Timber Framing
- Setaoc Mass - ?
- Jacobworld - Script
- Dustmite - Filaments + Jaws
- Casual Treatment - Bender
- Pech + Schwefel - 7625
- Arkan - Interface
- Altinbas x Cirkle - Enlightenment
- Ignez - Kaag X
- Setaoc Mass - Marching in March
Few are the artists who can claim to have as much influence in the international techno scene as Setaoc Mass. Producer, DJ, and label-owner, Sam Coates has been pushing forward club music with his work since his debut release in 2011.
Originally from the UK and now based in Germany, Setaoc Mass partially started out with an interest in IDM and electronica out of a small village outside Manchester he called home before ever stepping into techno. With a consistently strong stream of releases since the beginning, it was in 2015 he began his journey with SK-11 which initially was meant exclusively for self-releases. That was the case until Yant sent him demos, for which Coates created the SK-X sublabel, which became the center of attention in the scene since this first release.
Following this was a steady flow of releases that made their way in the world’s top selectors record bags, featuring new-comers like New York’s Holden Federico, or affirming strong careers like Holland’s TWR-72. With a relationship to techno tracks like tools for mixing tunneling and hypnotic sets for an attentive crowd, Setaoc Mass has brought his sets all over the world, often with tracks he either produced or pressed with the SK logo. Always in search of the next effect, the next artist, or the next track, Setaoc Mass’s ear has crafted him a career that has only been on the rise since it started.
Give us a little background on yourself. Where are you from and how did growing up in the UK shape your vision of club music? How did you end up in Berlin?
Hey, thanks so much for having me, big fan of what you are up to.
So I am from a very small village outside of Manchester. It was a pretty sheltered upbringing with lots of nature and outdoor explorations.
Being from the UK there is obviously a very rich musical background. For me, I didn’t really resonate with music for quite a while. It was only really when I heard Aphex and BOC for the first time that I thought this shit is for me and I found a home, as previously I was flirting with American rap and popular UK indie bands, but all very much uninspiring to an extent. When I heard them Warp artists, a fire lit up inside me.
You have two labels, but SK-X (where you invite other artists) has been at the center of the scene for the past few years, even having won a raving spoon award for ‘Perfect Label’ this year. How do you select your artists and what criteria must they meet to release a record with you?
SK11 was born for myself and only myself. I didn’t want people's opinions cast on my music, as I was let down so many times with promised releases which never happened. So the SK-X sub label was born after the great Yant was sending me so many amazing unreleased tracks, a lot before the hype of “unreleased” artists. And i thought you know what, this kid is amazing, he’s also from Manchester and i’m going to give him the chance. The people are all friends, they are all great humans. And for me what is most important is that they share a passion and understanding of music. They know the history and they know where they want to go. I don’t want to release someone who is confused about their musical vision, and in 1 years time they’ll be making hard trance.
You play a lot of venues all over, with even a little tour in the states coming up. What are some clubs or events that surprised you?
It's a tough question, there are so many pockets of amazing nightlife all over the world, in Europe we take it for granted. But going to places like Paraguay recently, it's very DIY and they put in a lot of effort. Also the warehouse party I just played in NYC last weekend was absolutely popping. I must give a big shout out to my family who have recently fled from the horrific ongoing events in Ukraine, but Kyiv was for me the center of techno for the past 18 months i have been going.
Having already released ep’s by our own Phara and Border One, an upcoming record by Altinbas and Cirkle seems to be on the way as well. How did this come together and what makes it special?
I think you can thank Robin aka Phara for their signings. Me and Robin have been friends for many years, and most recently he shared the unreleased pack of Altinbas and Cirkle, i was very lucky to sign these dope tracks and for them to put their trust in me and SK.
We worked hard on getting the mastering right, and that's something I want to give the artist, it's not just a sign, release and onto the next one. I try to take into consideration a lot of the artists' wants and needs, and I would like to think they respect that and come back to SK for future releases. I’m also hoping to get some new bits from Phara and Border One who are some of the greatest talents coming out of Belgium.
Making club music and mixing club music is different, but both imply being an active member in the scene. Do you ever go out to club nights to dance and blow off some steam or has techno become solely a professional occupation at this point?
For me I was made on the dancefloor, and I still frequent parties pretty often to dance and listen, this is something that will never change. People are often so surprised to see me dancing in Berghain Monday morning to a closing set, but for me it's pretty normal to love the music and it's not something that you should be surprised about. What's more surprising is business techno djs who don’t step foot on the dancefloor…
You have a knack for scouting up-and-coming artists. Is there anyone we should be keeping an eye on?
There are so many people making amazing music right now, it’s hard to nail down exactly who the next star is, but my guess is Ignez. Hahaha ;) Also shout outs to Phil Berg & Blanka.
Any new projects (releases, events, etc.) coming up for you?
My debut album will be released around May. After months of working on it, there are also months of pressing times. So it's been sitting gathering dust for quite a while, but I’m pretty happy with the end result. It's extremely different and more created in a moment in time. It's 100% a deep listening album and I'd love people to dive into it without skipping through it as I feel it wouldn’t make sense in the story that way. I plan to drop some techno stuff later in the year which is long overdue as well.