Photo: Sylwana Zybura (Elad Magdasi)
There hasn’t been much Friede, Freude or Eierkuchen in Berlin’s techno scene for a while – greyscale music in murky clubs certainly dominated the club nights and record store shelves. There’s a new generation of producers and DJs however who aim to bring back positivity – peace, joy, perhaps the original pancake – to the scene. It’s no surprise that Elad Magdasi‘s mix for our Groove podcast tries to convey some Love Parade vibes, as the Front Left Records founder himself puts it. The music that the Berlin-based Israeli has released on labels like Key Vinyl and Anagram as well as his own imprint draws heavily on 90s rave culture from melodic big room techno to slamming acid. No wonder then that an early Moby track would rub shoulders with tunes by Monika Kruse, Mijk van Dijk and even ATB – Elad Magdasi closes the year with an appeal for less seriousness and more fun in techno.
Having released one EP in 2012, three years went by before you started putting music regularly. How did it come about that you took such a long break?
Back in 2012 I was still living in Tel Aviv and my music was completely different, more tech and deep house inspired. Techno was not a thing back then in Israel. In 2013, I moved to Berlin and immediately got the feeling that I needed to change my sound. I fell in love with techno and I took the time to get to know its language. It’s not something you can just rush into so I was quite deliberate. I needed to take it slowly, develop my sound, and feel secure enough to put out a release.
Your first release Finger Trip also inaugurated the Front Left Records label which you run with your husband and collaborator Mathias Weber. What’s the concept of Front Left? With one notable exception, all of the releases so far featured your own productions.
Front Left is a physical corner on the dancefloor. When I arrived in Berlin, I was introduced to it and found out it’s very unique and full of loving people who share a similar positive vibe. It’s not something I invented, but joined. The label releases music by artists who share that state of mind. Throughout the years, I’ve heard about front left corners in other parts of the world as well, that was very cool to know. I use the label as a base to release my own tunes, while trying as much as possible to showcase music from our friends as well like Daito, Matrixxman, Kyle Geiger, Héctor Oaks, Sinfol and Quint so far.
Last year, you started releasing music outside of Front Left, namely the Liquid Dreams EP on Anagram and Kinky Kicks on Freddy K’s Key Vinyl imprint. After a few years of being completely independent, would you say that working with other labels than your own has an impact on your music?
Definitely. I was able to explore my abilities and style along the techno spectrum. With Anagram, I shifted more in the melodic direction, on Key Vinyl the tracks are kinda different from my usual sound, but very me at the same time – corky and groovy.
Besides DJing and producing music, you are primarily a motion designer and produce the videos for the Front Left releases. How exactly are those two aspects of your life connected?
Audio and video have always belonged to the same kingdom, in my mind. As a teenager, I was influenced by pop and electronic music and got to know a lot of music videos. Later on, when I started working with video and animation, I learned that a good video needs a good soundtrack. You could have the best footage in the world, but in fact the audio would be leading the viewer instead. Being able to combine both my passions is amazing – I can express myself on two levels at the same time.
Even though the videos sometimes differ greatly on an aesthetic level, dancing and humans in motion seem to be a central theme. What draws you to this topic specifically when producing the videos?
Dancing is my favorite way to enjoy music, I get so inspired from dancing to beats. Often I would start a track with a running kick just to get my brain into a groove, this way ideas start to pop up. The combination of dancing figures and techno music is both amusing and full of rhythm for me, so I keep on doing it. There are some non-dance videos planned for the future as well, I promise.
What was the idea behind your contribution to the Groove podcast?
I love finding unique tracks, whether it’s about their sound or arrangement, some tunes just behave differently from regular tracks and it’s those tunes which I put in my mixes, especially older tracks. This time I was going for a combination between techno, acid and some Love Parade vibes. Staying within the melodic range without sounding – I hope – too cheesy. I would love for my mixes to be dancy but not club-oriented, rather for home listening, prepartying, driving around, training and/or orgies!
Last but not least: Where can we see you behind the decks in the near future and what are your plans as a producer and label co-owner?
I’ll be playing this New Year’s Eve at ://about:blank in Berlin, which is very exciting for me as it’s my first NYE gig. In March, Mathias and I will be playing b2b again, which is an amazing experience. We did it first last month in Amsterdam and I can’t wait for the second time. Front Left Records 07 will come out in early 2020 and will be a solo EP of mine. Also planned are some single contributions to other labels, which will be released in mid to end 2020.
Stream: Elad Magdasi – Groove Podcast 237
01. Planet Gong – Humid Empire
02. Adam Beyer – Second Surrounding
03. Jan Fleck – Green Reign
04. Elad Magdasi & Mathias Weber – Sparks
05. Monika Kruse @ Voodooamt – Luvsucka
06. Fluke – Tosh (Gosh)
07. Rank 1 – Such Is Life (Elad’s Cut)
08. Jens – Waiting For The Beat
09. Mash – Sound Of Heaven
10. Hertz – One
11. Comma – Lonely Days (Lonely Mix)
12. ATB – 9PM (Till I Come) (Sequential One Original Remix – Elad’s Cut)
13. L.S.G. – Wrong Time … Wrong Place (Vinyl Edit)
14. Cores – Dreiklang
15. Voodoo Child – Dog Heaven (Extended Mix)
16. Surkin – White Knight Two
17. Microglobe – All Our Colours
18. Tred – Split
19. Mijk van Dijk – Power Slider
20. Beroshima – Dance The Machine (Disco Mix)
21. Bryan Zentz – D-Clash (Slam Remix)
22. MNLTH – My Rush Chords