SHA Podcast 163 & Interview // Alex Flatner
Tonight on SHA we are delighted to bring you Craig’s exclusive interview with Alex Flatner. Alex currently has a multitude of singles and remixes hitting the shelves alongside a new mix compilation and debut artist album working with Lopazz on the way. All this while running two labels and being A&R for even more! We have also secured a mix from Alex to provide the soundtrack to this plentiful read. Get stuck in…
Hello Alex and welcome to SHA. How are you today?
Hi, I’m quite fine actually, enjoying the sun and the beautiful weather. Summer is coming!
You are an incredibly busy man! Not only being a DJ and producer, you A&R for labels including Harthouse and Plastic City, while also finding time to run your own imprints Gedankensport and Circle Music. Hectic! Where did your music career begin?
It all began back in ‘92, when I met a good friend of mine, who inspired me starting to produce music. To see what could be done using an Atari Falcon and the RY 30 Drum Machine, from my friend, made me totally eager to start doing beats for myself. My first record was then released in ‘96 for BEV Music in Frankfurt “The Blackagenda”. This was actually the start where it all began. But my main inspiration came from my family, my uncle he is a musician and singer still today. He has given me probably the most influence up to now in my life, to live and love for the Music.
You were born and raised in Munich but you are native to Yugoslavia. What musical influences did you have at a young age?
Yes, my dad is Yugoslavian, but my Mum is Italian. So my musical influence came from 3 countries actually. In Germany I grew up with Hip-Hop, with the likes of Eric B and Rakim, Run DMC, Easy E. Then, visiting my grandparents in Italy, I was listening to Zucchero and, of course, Eros and Gianna Nannini. Then, visiting my grandparents in Yugoslavia I also had as well a bit the oriental touch with the kind of music people were listening to. It was, for me personally, a good mixture of everything, but my favourite thing was listening to Hip-Hop. I actually bought my very first record in ‘87, when I was 12 years old, it was a Grandmaster Flash Record. Now, I probably have more then 12,000 vinyl records at home, to be honest I stopped counting them few years ago, so I probably have even have more now. I have everything from Classical, to Hip-Hop, Funk, Rock, Heavy Metal, Frank Sinatra, Diana Ross, Motown, and more, so many different styles of music.
Your international breakthrough came with the release of Corvin Dalek ‘Pounds and Penz’ which you remixed and also produced. Your ‘Deutsche Mark’ remix was championed by Pete Tong, becoming his most played track at the time, while then finding its way onto Timo Maas’ Mixmag compilation and a Ministry ‘Tunes of the Year’ compilation. Did you expect such success from the track and how did the impact change your career?
To be honest, I never expected this kind of success. I remember when I did this track I was still living at my parents house and had my bedroom studio at this tiny little room. Actually, I made this track just for fun and tried to do something different from other tracks I’d made up to that time. Then to see this tune on all those big compilations and played by all those big names at that time, it was personally for me really special. Well this was now 12 years ago and time is running!
In your A&R role you have signed over 3000 tracks to a series of labels. I can only imagine over this time you have listened to a far greater number than the total that were signed up! What do you look for when sourcing new material?
That unique style, something new, the production quality and mainly the guy I am talking/writing to. I think to learn about the personality of the artist is probably the most important thing, to be able to work together and to see what is the goal for both of us. Some of the youngsters are copying the styles of others and while of course it’s good to have an inspiration, I think it’s more important to develop your own unique style.
Working with Lopazz, your debut artist album is nearing completion. What stage are you guys at now and what can we expect when the album hits the stores?
We’ve made a lot of tracks now together and there is also still a lot to do. At the moment I can’t really say when it will be finally out, but what I can say, is that there will be a lot of surprises and innovative music on there!
Your new release “Decent Treatment” a collaboration with Martin Eyerer, was recently released on Martin’s own imprint, Kling Klong Records. Throughout your career you have worked with many artists: Reboot, Santos, Roberto Ingram and Joey Beltram, to name merely a few. You even reworked New Order’s “Crystal” with the original Bernard Summer vocal much to Bernard’s approval. Are there any artists out there who you would like to work with in the future?
Indeed, in the genre that I’m working I have worked with a lot of respected producers so far, which personally, means a lot to me. In the future, I think it would be a big challenge for me to work with guys like Stuart Price (Madonna’s producer and band member from Zoot Woman). I have been following the productions from this guy and he is an amazing talent.
Given the sheer amount of work you undertake in all your various roles, what advice and guidance can you offer to the young breed of fledgling DJs and producers out there looking to make a living from the industry?
First, make sure you do your schoolwork, then, you can do anything you want and if you still feel you want to make a living from the industry, then don’t believe the hype and be yourself!
Finally, other than the album, what else can we expect from you and the labels in 2012?
I have recently signed a very nice album from Oscar Barila and Maiki called “Parallel Minds” for Plastic City. A new single release from Slok feat. My Favourite Robot, which includes ace remixes by Subb-an and Lopazz, is coming on Circle Music. A new release from Lopazz and myself on Get Physical called “Our Love”, a new collaboration I have started with MSMS feat. vocals by Cari Golden called “Love Is A Condition” and few remixes I did for the likes of Boris Brejcha, Accatone (a Portuguese artist), Miguel Lobo & Larry Peters and few more. So things are pretty hectic right now!
01. PBR Streetgang – Downstroke – Hot Creations
02. Atmosfear – Dancing In Outer Space (The Revenge Rework 2) – Wolf Music
03. Accatone – Your Smile – Alex Flatner Remix – Piston Recordings
04. Joel Alter – I Feel You – Bass Culture
05. Mark Fanciulli – Sacrifice – Saved Recordings
06. Mario Basanov – We Are Child – Needwant
07. Kellerkind – Backflash – Stil Vor Talent
08. Christian Burkhardt – Twentysecondcenturydrama – Cocoon Recordings
09. Slok feat. My Favorite Robot – Feel Alive – Lopazz & Casio Cassino Remix – Circle Music
10. Moser – Aroma – On The Fly