On The Record With dotwav

By Clara Tehrani

Über Tage​/​Unter Tage came out on November 4, 2015. It was the first release of Berlin trio dotwav, and that of their label KONFLKT. Since, they’ve signed 5 albums as dotwav (one of which on Wunderblock Records); the label has released 6 records (2 of which on vinyl), and is getting ready for many more in the near future… The consistency in quality, and the determination to work harder, faster, more have fuelled dotwav’s presence in the underground techno scene.

As we count down for Techno Scene’s first Offline gathering this Thursday at Griessmühle, we went On The Record with dotwav. And on the mix the guys prepared to get juices running, you’ll find only unreleased KONFLKT will out in the next few months. See you all on the dance floor.

Since linear pulse code modulation (LPCM) is uncompressed and retains all of the samples of an audio track, professional users or audio experts may use the WAV format with LPCM audio for maximum audio quality” says Wikipedia regarding the format .wav. Can one draw parallels with dotwav? Was it a statement somehow?

“First of all, great question! We probably couldn’t put it in exact those words, but that was the overall idea. On the one hand it refers to the uncompressed sound file with maximum quality, but on the other it is also about waves as a concept. Going up, going down. Storytelling. Every release from dotwav sounds different.”

Who are the people behind dotwav? How did you get together, and why?

“Our very first EPK started with: A Film-music composer, a Hip Hop producer and a Techno DJ walk into a bar…

This is pretty much what happened. We knew each other for quite some time, and we were all amazed by the same music. And then we sort of decided, when we invest time for the very same thing anyway, we can also just do it together and make something tangible.”

You are also responsible for another great project, your label KONFLKT. Since its first release almost a year to this date, it has become highly regarded and under close watch by the underground techno scene in Berlin, and elsewhere. How did it happen? Are you still overwhelmed at how quickly things escalated?

“With our first (and to be honest not really good) tracks in our pockets, we tried to hit some labels, some bigger and some smaller ones. But for a good reason, nothing happened. We went to the parties and handed out demos. We even produced a vinyl with demo tracks, just to make a bit more of an impact. At some point we realised: why rely on others if we can do it ourselves? We are overwhelmed and proud of what is happening to the label. But there are a lot of artists still missing on that imprint, so we are really excited for 2017.”

Considering 4 of the label’s 6 releases are signed by dotwav, it’s clearly been a symbiotic, inextricable growth. Tell us a bit about the journey so far, and where you’re headed…

“It was a crazy journey. Founding the label was really essential for us. And it was mind-blowing to see what happens if you have a label, great contributing artists and the support from a professional distributor. We started to contact artists that we dig, and never really expected to hear anything back. But they responded and agreed to contribute as they liked the productions. The next thing we know, we get great support from artists such as Marcel Dettmann, Truncate, Milton Bradley and many more. This motivates us to produce even more and better. At the moment we have two vinyl planned and several digital releases up our sleeve for 2017. We are going to release more EP’s which are not signed by dotwav. Not to spoil everything but we will have amazing artists like Under Black Helmet, TWR72, Lag just to name a few.”

Can we speak about your setup and production method?

“Our production setup is really simple to be honest. We are not the fancy hardware types. We produce in Logic or Ableton and always have the Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol with us. This together with some other plug ins and sound libraries, and that’s it. We have a studio in Berlin Neukölln in a abandoned factory area. Our jobs require us to travel a lot, this is why we need to be able to produce with a simple setup when we are on the road. Very often we make some try outs and demos on business trips, and when we are back home, we go into the studio and finish the idea.”

Lately you’ve been spinning like crazy in the capital of techno. You even have your own personal crew of ravers, so to speak… What impact has the Berlin raving scene had on you guys both personally and artistically? What’s your relationship to it?

“We were part of the raving scene for many years. Day in day out we would spend huge amount of hours in clubs, breathing in the sound and analysing it. Then during the week we would go into the studio trying to express what we had experienced, our ideas. So our relationship with the capital of techno is the very foundation of dotwav and KONFLKT. It’s the reason we sound like what we sound like, it’s the reason we do what we do. But now, as we are all getting older, it’s great to change sides, to become the ones who make the ravers go crazy instead of going crazy ourselves (what we obviously still do sometimes…).”

Are you ravers who nerd, or nerds who rave?

Probably the first. As said before, we are not the hardware guys that play around with analogue synths and drum machines and what not. We make use of the incredible developments of digital production. And we believe that nowadays, it doesn’t make a big difference if you produce digital or analogue. If it sounds fat, it sounds fat. But a little bit more “nerdyness” wouldn’t hurt. We always try to go new ways in order to sound different. One day, this has to include stepping away from digital and playing around with analogue stuff for example.

Are you as excited about Techno Scene Offline at Griessmühle on the 24th as we are?

“Very much so! Griessmühle has become a big established name in the scene, so we are very honoured to be playing there for the first time. Even more so to be part of this amazing crew from Techno Scene. Thanks again for doing this with us!”

About On The Record

Techno is machine-made music. But to get sounds of these machines, there’s the necessity of human input. This kind of unavoidable element gets us to the point of these series of articles. On The Record will deliver you articles of various kinds like interviews, event reports and more.. always with the involvement of at least one artist to get an idea of what’s going around in the current business of techno. On The Record files insights, pieces of music and whatnot, to broaden your idea on techno.