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konkrit – Groove Podcast 420

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Photo: Kristoffer Cornils (konkrit)

This is not a 4/20 joke, it’s just my way of closing shop with way too many kickdrums after doing this thing for more than eight years. The editors will continue to run the Groove Podcast and Groove Resident Podcast with a new approach, but my time here has come to an end.

When I started my job as an online editor at Groove in September 2015, the magazine’s website was first and foremost a companion to the print magazine. I wanted to follow a more digital-first approach and decouple both even further to establish groove.de as a website that, besides reporting on the most important news from the world of electronic dance music, also offered the kind of media for which a print publication could not serve as a platform.

It hence made sense to put a bigger emphasis on the Groove Podcast. Started in September 2011 by my predecessor Daniel Fersch, its instalments had previously been published  irregularly and were complemented by the Am Deck mixes that helped tie in the print magazine with the website. Once I took over from Daniel, I changed that (almost) instantly. Since April 2016, a new DJ mix with an accompanying interview was uploaded (almost) every Friday morning.

You could argue that this took place at a time when the market was beginning to be oversaturated. DJ mix podcasts such as the ones by Resident Advisor, FACT Magazine and of course—the best of them all—Little White Earbuds had been around for years and competition was stiff, to say the least. Nevertheless, I like to think it was a successful endeavour, if only because some of the lesser-known DJs got more attention and bookings through it.

Taking care of publishing and distributing the mixes became a weekly routine, or rather ritual for me—wherever I was in this world. Especially in the times before it was possible to schedule a SoundCloud upload for publication (yes, in the olden days I got up every Friday morning to upload a mix and then manually publish it), it became progressively exhausting to run the Podcast with the limited time and resources that I had availble. And then, gradually, the numbers started to go down.

Before 2018 or 2019, it was highly unusual for a Groove Podcast mix by any DJ to not have at least 1.000 plays at the end of the day on which it was uploaded. After the full weekend, big-name DJs would have usually raked in 4.000+ plays. But the more popular electronic dance music became and the more players entered the field in the second half of the 2010s, the harder it became to actually draw in a crowd. The competition was not only stiff, there was also too much of it. It made doing what I did feel less relevant.

At the same time, I became more and more doubtful about the very idea of the DJ mix podcast in and of itself. First off, none of the people whose music was used in those mixes were really paid for that. Regardless of whatever deals platforms such as SoundCloud and Mixcloud struck with collecting societies, I can’t remember a producer ever telling me about receiving remuneration for having their tunes played in a mix such as the ones I was uploading week after week. (This is only beginning to take shape now on for example Apple Music, while Aslice can be used by DJs to compensate producers whose music they play.)

Also the DJs provided free labour in exchange for as little as some visibility, putting together the mixes in their spare time and occasionally even shilling out money—I remember one person even pressing a dubplate of a specific track to be able to include it in their mix—as well as answering my interview questions. Sure, all this happened on a quid-pro-quo basis, but I felt more and more uncomfortable with the system itself and my participation in it, especially because it seemed to be progressively ineffective in the context of a notable market oversaturation.

In that spirit, I wanted to put an end to all this in early 2020 and discontinue the Groove Podcast to focus solely on the monthly Groove Resident Podcast, launched in 2019 to showcase the DJs that are integral pillars of our community, but are rarely ever in the limelight—something that I could get behind much better. But then, uh, how do I put this … things … happened. Everything came to a grinding halt and I even lost my job as an editor at Groove’s sibling magazine Spex because it folded after all ad revenue dried up virtually overnight.

Groove persevered thanks to the tireless efforts of its team, most notably editor-in-chief Alexis Waltz, and the help of long-time friends like Wolfgang Tillmans. But the situation was dire because resources were thin. Having a weekly format that addressed an international audience and that didn’t place an additional burden on the editors—even after I left my position as an editor at Groove in late 2018, I continued to be solely and independently responsible for programming the two series and, apart from maybe one single case, did all the work on my own—was helpful for a struggling magazine.

I more or less habitually kept on keeping on. However, now I have decided to take the step that I had wanted to take already four years ago.

It’s a little overwhelming to look back on everything that happened after I took over in late 2015. Since then, I have published well over 400+ DJ mixes with accompanying interviews in which I tried to go as in-depth as possible, presenting the various facets of each DJ’s work as best as I could. I hope I at least somewhat managed to introduce many of our readers to new and exciting DJs and the music they play, shine a light on the diversity of all things dance music all over the world and also the stuff that happens adjacent to or even beyond the dancefloor. But that’s not for me to judge.

For now, I’m quoting Underground Resistance’s “Transition” under my breath and bid the Groove Podcast and the Groove Resident Podcast farewell. I’m doing this in the way that I had wanted to ever since I first thought about discontinuing the series in early 2020. It is, of course, the most obnoxious way possible. The mix you’ll find below is a veritable Rausschmeißer, as the Germans call it: that final tune that lets everyone more rudely than gently know that it’s time to go home, rinse your nostrils, and try to catch some sleep.

It would be absurd to call it a DJ mix. However, you could just as well argue that it is the ultimate DJ mix: I layered 87 different Groove Podcast mixes on top of each other. The result—clocking in at exactly one hour, zero minutes and zero seconds; just the way I like it—is akin to harsh noise wall both conceptually and sonically, theoretically meaningful but practically unlistenable: an expression of total oversaturation, a cacophonic onslaught that mirrors the sensory overload that I have been experiencing and that will maybe resonate with some people, too.

It’s the most idiotic, but also most sentimental gesture I could think of for closing a chapter of my professional (and personal) life after almost a decade. Thanks to all the DJs, their representatives and everyone else who helped keep this beast alive for the time being. And of course you, dear reader, for being a listener. I hope you had a good time with some of the mixes and that I didn’t ruin your Friday morning with this one. While I doubt that anyone, not even DJ Bigos, will care for the track IDs, you can find a list of all the mixes that I’ve used with some personal commentary below.

Bye!


Stream: konkrit – Groove Podcast 420

052 – Avalon Emerson

This was the oldest Groove Podcast mix I could find on my harddrive, released shortly after I turned it into a weekly series. It’s a fantastic mix, obviously, a stand-out one in the entire series’ history.

053 – Emmanuel Top

I still consider getting Emmanuel to submit a mix to be a career highlight of this period of my life and work. This is an actual live recording of a set he played at Berghain (just don’t tell anyone!) that I personally attended after accidentally coming 24 hours early and staying until he played. Thank you, er … caffeine.

058 – Matt Karmil

This one was just, like, really good. Matt Karmil is an amazing DJ and producer.

066 – Ambivalent

Kevin McHugh is a wonderful person and artist, and of course this mix is great. What I loved most about it was that it was exactly 1:00:00 long. I appreciate the precision.

075 – Christian Löffler

This was one of the most successful mixes on the Groove Podcast, but I mainly chose to include it because at around that time I was approached by several people at different clubs, whether he was playing there or not, who asked me if I was him. (He’s obviously better looking and more talented. And yes, this was after I grew out my undercut because people thought I looked too much like Richie Hawtin.)

079 – Roman Flügel

Roman is, of course, an absolute g.o.a.t. and gentleman. I have fond memories of manually uploading and distributing this mix after a We Are Not Alone event co-hosted by Groove during ADE that year while Groove’s then-editor-in-chief Heiko Hoffmann was sleeping in the hotel bed next to me.

080 – Paula Temple

An absolute banger of a mix, of course.

083 – Cinthie

As long as she’s around, Berlin house music will be fine. One of the hardest-working people in this scene.

085 – Apeiron Crew

I remember this one for two reasons: By the end of 2016, I grew uncomfortable with how male-dominated the Groove Podcast had been up until that point, so I decided to change that, which at the beginning attracted some, let’s diplomatically say criticism from keyboard warriors who especially took offence with young women such as these three having confidence (the audacity!). A lot has, luckily, changed since then. This is also how I first got in touch with Emma, Solid Blake, who became a good friend after some/over the years.

086 – The Notwist

I wasn’t a natural born raver and only really “got” electronic dance music after, you’ve guessed it, moving to Berlin. Having grown up with The Notwist, it was a real honour to be able to throw our readership a curveball with this one.

088 – Jessy Lanza

I’ve been a huge fan of Jessy Lanza since her début album, so having her contribute a rare mix for us was fantastic, too.

091 – Efdemin

I love everything about this mix by an unconventional artist who’s just a great, great person. People with whom you can discuss both the sonic intricacies of the materials that can be used to construct DIY pipe organs and the techno lifestyle during the same phone call are a rare breed, after all.

096 – Tin Man

When I realised that number 96 would be released on March 3rd, organising an acid-themed mix to mark the occasion seemed like a no-brainer. I can admit this now publicly, but I’ve never really cared much for the “original” 303 sound. Tin Man’s modern take on the aesthetics however were always very stimulating, just like this mix.

100 – Ellen Allien

Ellen is, in all possible senses of this word, a fucking real one. Organising this mix, the 100th in the series, was a complete mess, but I was very happy to have her on board for it.

101 – Superpitcher

I very vividly remember how I uploaded/published this mix from a balcony in Milano, the music fitting the moment perfectly. This one is definitely in my top three of all the Groove Podcast mixes. Just a few great tunes Aksel wouldn’t play in a club but that are more than worthy of your attention, brought into a seamless flow. Pure bliss from front to back.

102 – Noncompliant

By the end of the 2010s, I became progressively bored with techno. Lisa was one of the people that emphatically reminded me of its rhythmic possibilities and inherent joyfulness, potentials that too often remain untapped. We need more of this, now more than ever.

104 – Neele

Leipzig had a bad or at least weird rep during the 2010s. Dubbed “Hypezig,” it was seen as some kind of wannabe-Berlin—you know, with cheaper rents and pretty much the same things to offer. But they do things differently there, and Neele’s splendidly open-minded, energetic mix is a case in point.

111 – Zozo

I discovered Zozo through the Sameheads DJ mix series and immediately got in touch with her after hearing her contribution. She did not at all disappoint.

113 – Octo Octa

The publication of this mix coincided with the legalisation of same-sex marriage in Germany, which felt somewhat apt considering where and how it was recorded.

116 – K-Hand

I am still very, very happy that I managed to get K-Hand to contribute a mix for the Groove Podcast. My only regret is sending over some really bland interview questions. Rest in peace, Kelli Hand.

119 – Pan Daijing

I had no idea what to expect from a Pan Daijing mix and didn’t have her opening this set with a Nasenbluten track on my bingo card. Of course I loved every second of it!

126 – ItaloJohnson

Whenever someone talks about ItaloJohnson with me, I make sure to point out that one of the members comes from my hometown—possibly the most boring flex in the history of flexes. I didn’t catch the trio’s farewell gig at Panorama Bar this year, but I’m sure it was a gas. Farewell, ItaloJohnson.

132 – Barker

Simply one of the most interesting DJs and producers out there. All killer and no filler, this one’s another sure highlight from the Groove Podcast history.

138 – Pär Grindvik

43 tracks in just about an hour. Mental stuff.

141 – Perel

It’s been very interesting to follow the trajectory of Perel’s career over the years. This mix from shortly before the release of her debut album was fantastic. Hearing a Karat song in a DJ mix is a rare, rare thing.

144 – Legowelt

I’ve of course always had a sort of bucket list with DJs that I wanted to have for the Groove Podcast, but there were also those whose names I wouldn’t even write down because I thought they’d never, ever record a mix for us. I was, luckily, wrong about Danny Wolfers.

145 – Leibniz

Moritz Paul is a really, really nice bloke who continues to put out amazing, forward-thinking music both as an artist and through the hundert label that he co-runs. (Disclaimer, I’ve worked with the label.) It was especially lovely to get a mix full of his own productions here. Great stuff through and through.

146 – STAUB

Staub is and will always be my favourite event series in Berlin and I sincerely hope that the team behind it will be able to carry on doing what they do in all eternity. It’s mind-melting to think that this mix marked only its fifth birthday. Time passes quickly, sometimes. Many happy returns!

152 – Posthuman

Depending on which format you use, March 30th is also World Acid Day. Asking Posthuman to record a mix to be published on that date was another of those no-brainers.

158 – Chrissy

Infinitely knowledgeable, technically adept on every level, and most of all really, really charismatic, Chrissy is simply one of the best DJs I know. I’ve seen him maybe half a dozen times and no set was at all like the one before or the one after that. Also, kudos for having the guts to eat a falafel while helming the Panorama Bar booth.

159 – Ipek Gorgun

I’ve always tried to switch things up and introduce regular listeners of the Groove Podcast to electronic music that wasn’t made with the dancefloor in mind. Ipek Gorgun has recorded some fantastic electro-acoustic albums and I was very happy when she agreed to record a mix for us, even though she’s not a DJ in the strict sense of the acronym.

163 – Charlotte de Witte

This one was controversial even back then. In fact, a mere two minutes after it was uploaded some idiot absolutely trashed the mix even though there was no way he could have listened to even a tenth of it. Not quite the mega-super star she is today, this mix saw de Witte pay homage to the dry and groovy techno sound she fell in love with after cutting her teeth as an electro(-ish) artist.

169 – Jenifa Mayanja

If you’ve made it this far, you might have noticed that house music has been somewhat underrepresented on the Groove Podcast. Luckily, people like Jenifa would occasionally remind us just how much of a mistake that was.

178 – Tama Sumo

The same, of course, applies for Tama Sumo. This, by the way, is possibly the best intro to one of those mixes I’ve ever written. Less is more, etc.

181 – The Exaltics

The 2010s were the decade of the infinite electro revival, but no-one else quite did it like The Exaltics: seeped in the history of the genre, but as forward-thinking as it was intended to be.

184 – DJ T.

The Fall of 2018 was a turning point in the history of Groove. After almost three decades, the magazine went out of print and was transformed into an entirely digital publication. DJ T. in the meanwhile was celebrating his 30th anniversary as a professional DJ with a mix he recorded for the magazine he had founded in 1989.

195 – Xosar

Xosar is a single-minded artist with whose work I have always been fascinated. I was over the moon when she agreed to record a mix for Groove. Another one from my top three. (The third one is the r.ss one, by the way.)

196 – Freddy K

Devo andare devo andare devo andare devo andare devo andare devo andare devo andare devo andare devo andare devo andare devo andare devo andare devo andare devo andare devo andare devo andare devo andare devo andare devo andare devo andare devo andare devo andare devo andare devo andare …

200 – Miss Djax

I still think that Miss Djax’s contribution to techno and house history is being underappreciated, and hope I could do her work justice with this one.

206 – Mark

Mark is another one of those elusive figures that I never thought would sign up for recording a mix for Groove, but … somehow that happened, too!

217 – Smallpeople

There were a few cases in which a DJ mix would come without an interview for whatever reason, but this is the only time that I remember someone else interviewing the DJs in my stead. Alexis Waltz spoke to the now-defunct Hamburg DJ duo Smallpeople.

226 – Juba

Over the years, I have developped a habit of booking at least one DJ that impressed me at CTM Festival for the Groove Podcast. Juba wasn’t the first one—that was Kate Miller a few years prior—but the one who’s left the most lasting impression on me. I was happy to finally welcome her on board.

230 – Ripperton

One of the most integral people in this entire scene.

231 – J-zbel

This is a mind-melting mix, really. No interview, because of course not.

236 – Regal

A lot of readers seem to assume that Groove’s reporting is informed primarily by taste—that this is music that we like or love, that we think is best. This is not true, at least not entirely. Popularity, or “relevancy,” is also a factor. I more or less invited Regal to contribute a mix because I knew that many people would be interested in that. But I also thought that he had some interesting thoughts on the term “business techno,” coined after a viral social media post he had published a few years before this.

245 – Black Jazz Consortium

Fred P is a wonderful producer and DJ, and I was simply chuffed when I managed to arrange a mix and interview with him for the Groove Podcast. It was published a mere two weeks before our world should change so drastically like we could have never anticipated.

247 – Dan Shake

Speaking of which, the first lockdown in Germany went into effect on March 13th—because of course that happened on a Friday, the 13th. I wasn’t busy with putting this mix by Dan Shake online at the moment, but travelling from Myanmar (a country with an open border with China at that time) back to Berlin from a trip that I should have never taken for several reasons. That’s a story for another time. And this a very fun mix, despite everything!

255 – Mark Broom

I can’t claim to be a huge hardgroove fan or expert, but it was nice to see that Broom and other pioneers’ work in that field has seen such a revival in recent times. One of techno’s hardest-working DJs and producers out there with some “no fluff techno.”

261 – Solid Blake

As mentioned before, Emma has become a friend over the years even though one of my questions here was frustrating to answer (guess which one!). This mix also happens to be the go-to jogging soundtrack for at least Groove editor, to my knowledge.

262 – Uncanny Valley Soundsystem

Dresden’s finest. As a label, Uncanny Valley has done great things over the years and it’s still going strong. Those are also very lovely people who are knowledgeable DJs, as you can tell from this wonderful mix.

275 – Azu Tiwaline

Easily one of the most idiosyncratic and forward-thinking producers in recent times, Azu Tiwaline is also a fantastic DJ. This is a wonderful mix, and your world would sound better with it.

279 – Afrodeutsche

With the exception of the “big number” instalments of the Groove Podcast, I usually conducted my interviews via e-mail because … Well, everything else would have been insane and my fee was low enough already. I made an exception for Afrodeutsche, who was too busy to answer some questions via email but did take half an hour out of her day to chat with me from her studio via Zoom (which was documented in the last dumb “DJ mix” I made).

280 – Kyle Geiger

Kyle is one of the nicest, most down-to-earth people around. I think he even told me that he had not “dared” to ask me if he could contribute a mix to the series when I first approached him with the idea. That’s an insane statement to come from such an otherwise rational person. His mix was killer, obviously, and his thoughtful answers to my interview questions remain worth a read.

Putzlicht 2020 – Crystaline

What better way to end a fantastic year 2020 than with the Groove writers’ favourite closing tunes? Exactly. Thankfully for us, former Groove editor and long-time contributor Cristina Plett a.k.a. Crystaline agreed to make sense of this very wild mix. She even closed it with my personal pick (I didn’t tell her to!).

293 – DJ Minx

Throughout the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to welcome some people on the Podcast who have shaped this scene and certain musical styles in ways that we should all be thankful for. DJ Minx is one of those people.

300 – DJ Marcelle

There’s no-one quite like Marcelle and while for me, she felt like a natural choice for the third “big number” edition of the Groove Podcast, I’m not quite sure whether or not many of our readers would agree. I did use this one to usher in a weirder phase in the history of the Podcast, I think.

315 – Krust

I’ve already featured plenty of bass-minded DJs in the Groove Podcast, however some more traditional genres from the so-called hardcore continuum weren’t really represented. Getting Krust—or, a bit earlier, dBridge—on board felt crucial.

332 – Krisztián Puskár Splatter

Much like the tireless work of female:pressure helped shed a light on the gender imbalances at festivals and elsewhere, figures provided by the Polish collective Oramics on the under-representation of Eastern European DJs on the podcasts of several international magazines allowed me to reflect upon my own work and aspirations to represent the international scene as detailed as possible. Having met Krisztián at a Goethe-Institut event a few months earlier, where we talking about these issues, too, this mix and interview kicked off a new era in the Groove Podcast and the Groove Resident Podcast series, which was simultaneously opened for DJs representing clubs and collectives active in Eastern Europe. (Before that, it was strictly focused on German-language regions.) Little did I know that Krisztián would record his mix under the impression of thousands of refugees from Ukraine arriving in his home town of Budapest.

345 – Bruce

Went a little crazy with the SoundCloud tags for this one, but it’s a crazy mix, so …

346 – Jana Rush

The big footwork hype of the 2010s might be over, but there’s so many producers working in and around the genre who still push the envelope and make truly exciting, forward-thinking music. Jana Rush is, of course, one of them.

360 – Levon Vincent

As you would expect from a world-class DJ such as Levon, this is a fantastic mix—but please also pay attention to the wonderfully strange, in-depth interview! It’s worth your time, promise.

363 – Ruhail Qaisar

The “international” scene for electronic music is curiously only at home in Central Europe and North America—that is, at least, if you take a look at whatever magazine that reports on it. That’s not necessarily the fault of individual publications. Especially in my last years of programming the Groove Podcast, I tried to involve more perspectives from elsewhere, but that was a difficult task. There is still barely any infrastructure—labels or PR agencies, for example—in some parts of the world that could help aspiring DJs from overlooked regions to gain visibility. Qaisar also came to my attention because his latest album was released on a European label and promoted by a Germany-based PR agency just before his gig at Berlin’s CTM Festival. It’s a fascinating, unconventional mix that I enjoyed very much. I hope that in the future, it will be easier for artists, journalists, and fans to circumnavigate the Western-centric biases of the international music industry. There’s still many worlds to explore, such as this one.

366 – Ludwig A.F.

Ludwig A.F. belongs to a young generation of producers and DJs who have an extensive knowledge of rave music’s past, but choose to not indulge in second-hand nostalgia. This was a very fine mix by an outstanding artist.

378 – Philipp Schultheis

With some DJs, it took years to make something happen. Ever since 2016, I would annually write Peach to ask her if we could finally make that mix happen—but to no avail. In other cases, I just didn’t manage to squeeze someone into my schedule. I’m not sure how many years it took me to finally give Philipp a slot, but I was very happy when I finally made it work. The only mix in the series that includes—and even starts with—a Swedish House Mafia tune.

384 – Kiernan Laveaux

Kiernan is easily one of the best DJs on the planet right now, and this mix is yet another proof of that. Check it out if you haven’t already, it’s a wild ride.

395 – Best Boy Electric

I had only heard of Best Boy Electric, but hadn’t heard them play until Nachtiville 2023, when they filled a previously empty space with a killer selection of oldschool, Detroit-minded electro cuts. One to watch, no doubt.

398 – Turning Torso

One of my favourite DJ pseudonyms.

400 – Dixon

I was very chuffed when Steffen agreed to record a mix and do an interview for the Groove Podcast—I had tried before to make that happen—and he did not disappoint. I’m not sure whether I can really say that this mix is up my alley on a purely musical level, but besides being technically flawless, stylistically varied, and atmospherically rich, what I appreciate most about it and Steffen’s work as a whole is that he doesn’t rest on his laurels, but keeps searching for and presenting the new and noteworthy.

401 – JakoJako

JakoJako has rightfully become a favourite among techno connaisseurs and I was very glad that she contributed a mix in a time during which—at least in my opinion—we had many fantastic mixes from all kinds of DJs. This one was a stand-out set, of course.

410 – Asna

This one didn’t get enough love from our listeners, presumably because Asna is working her way through genres that the average techno/house fan is not familiar with and/or doesn’t like. Admittedly, this was something that was immensely frustrating to me: slowly, but steadily realising that anything that isn’t based on a thumping four-to-the-floor beat is already too adventurous for a lot of people.

412 – n9oc

I couldn’t stop praising n9oc’s debut EP on Die Orakel and was very glad to get her on board for the Groove Podcast as well. This mix showcases precisely the kind of open-mindedness of which I’d love to see (or hear) more in rave circles. Take a leaf out of her book, please!

417 – Wolfgang Tillmans

Wolfgang has a looong history with Groove and its sibling magazine, Spex, where I worked until its closure in May 2020 (see above). We were very happy when he agreed to take the photos for 2021’s Groove #176, the one-off print issue that became a two-off thing the next year with #177. Him recording one of his rare mixes was the icing on the cake, really. It was one of the most interesting interviews that I have conducted in a while, too. A late highlight in the history of the Groove Podcast that made me feel like I have truly checked all (or, who am I kidding, most) boxes on my bucket list.

… that’s all, folks!

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