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Finally the day has arrived that our fourth podcast goes up. This one is truly our most special one to date, not to take anything away from our previous podcasters, you see its just that Mr Esser is a bit of a big fish in the sea, the Marlin of the ocean… nay … the whale… sitting right at the top of the food chain, but in a good way. And its precisely for this reason we asked Darko to do something special for us… lets be honest, he’s a bit of a household name and we’d be very surprised if you don’t know exactly what to expect from him so we wanted to shake things up a bit… and boy oh boy are we pleased with the result…
Listeners will soon realise this is not the usual Darko Esser that you would hear in a club… do you ever get a chance to play this sort of music to an audience? Is it something you would like to do more often?
Yes, I do play sets like these in certain settings. I actually started out as a DJ at concerts from experimental bands, singer songwriter etc in the first half of the 90’s. Dance music came after that. Sometimes I still DJ at concerts from my favorite bands at Doornroosje or at art festivals stuff like that. It keeps things interesting for me that way.
What did you want to be growing up? Did you go to University or study something? Did you study music?
My first ambition was being a cartoonist. When I was very young I used to draw my own comics with crazy storylines LOL. Most of it ended up unfinished, due to lack of attentionspan haha. Music followed not soon after. My dream since then was working in the music bizznizz, wich I am very thankfull of achieving. Living my dream. I tried college: I studied biology for 3 years and psychology for 1 year. It didn’t make me happy at all, so I decided after 4 years that I should take a different direction. Haven’t regretted ever since :-)
How did you get your first break, and how did it feel getting your first bit of press/recognition? When was your first international gig, was it exciting?
It’s kinda hard to pinpoint it to a single event, as a lot of things had influence and things developed really slowly for me. Starting the label (Wolfskuil Records) made a big difference for sure. I didn’t send out any of my tunes at the time, because I thought nobody would be interested in them. Our releases got picked up on in an early stage by Laurent Garnier, Josh Wink and Dave Clarke and things kinda moved from there. Funny thing is that the moment I gave up on the whole DJ thing and everything was just about having fun, that was also the moment when things started to move forward. I think that was around 2004.
According to your bio you’re involved in the programming of Doornroosje, and 100 other events a year. Sounds hectic, what does this all involve?
It sounds more shocking then it is. I focus mainly on the bookings and development of new concepts and things like that. We have got an amazing crew here at the club, superprofessional. The moment I have done the booking, others jump in and take care of logistics like travel, hotel, drivers, stagemanagement, technical issues etc. So that’s the main reason why this is possible. We run 2 clubs here in town: Doornroosje and Merleyn. That alone is about 8-12 events a month, including a lot of coops with local and national promoters. Apart from that I do my own Balans and Wolfskuil nights in several clubs in Holland like Studio 80, Poema, Merleyn and together with a group of friends a bi-monthly night in Utrecht called Mood Elevator. Also I am an advisor for several festivals in the summer like Free Your Mind, De Affaire and soon also Source. The studio suffers sometimes though ;-)
Apart from the label, Doornroosje, DJing, producing and doing mixes for us, what else do you have on the go? You’re not perhaps running a tea company like Mr Scruff (http://www.makeusabrew.com)?
My life literally revolves around music, so all my professional activities are in that area. What keeps it interesting is the difference between the activities: running a label, making music, dj-ing or performing life, promoting/booking events. I couldn’t stick to one thing, I am not a specialist. I would probably get bored hahaha
What’s your favourite / dream piece of equipment?
That has to be the computer. Everything I do nowadays is software based. Plugin-wise I am in love with Maschine from Native Instruments. All my beats come from that machine ever since I bought it. I am going to expand the studio next year with new hardware, for some more hands-on control. On my wishlist are MFB 522, Virus TI, Doepfer Dark Energy and lots more.
What is up next for our favourite Dutchie?
I just signed with international artist agency Kinetic AM in Berlin. I have worked with these guys for many years and I am superhappy that they took me on. I feel right at home in their roster wich includes a lot of really cool ‘new school’ underground techno artists like Sandwell District, Peter van Hoesen, DVS1, Samuli Kemppi ao. I am going to do a release on my favorite Belgian label Curle early next year. Deep & dark dubtechno with really cool remixes from DVS1 and Lucy. My own labels are going extremely well at the moment, we are getting so much attention right now and I am really thankfull for that. I get so many fantastic demos in that I am launching my third label in january called Balans. Expect loads of new releases from Steve Rachmad, Bas Amro, Tim Wolff, Dimi Angelis & Jeroen Search, KuhlmannMensink, Giorgos Gatzigristos, Betek and remixers like Glitterbug, Estroe, Quince, Steve Rachmad, Mr G and many more to be confirmed. Happy days!!!
On a more personal level, do u have any hobbies outside of music, what do u do in your spare time? What’s your most favourite thing in the world to do other than music?
I love a good movie, mostly more arthouse orientated. Dark, sad and moody, but I can also enjoy a mainstream flick like Iron Man fe ;-) I wish I had more time to read books, usually I only get to that on holidays, wich are scarse. I just started to read a book about the history and meaning of Japanese Tattoo Art. Very interesting read so far. And spending time with the people I love is definitely up there as well!!
01. Mike Slott- The Now
02. John Hopkins – Second Sense
03. Jose Gonzalez – Teardrop
04. I’m Not A Gun – In Sepia
05. Bonobo – Recurring
06. DJ Shadow – Midnight In A Perfect World
07. Jaga Jazzist – Toccata
08. Monolake & Robert Henke – Infinite Snow
09. Nine Inch Nails – Hurt
10. Organized Konfusion – Invetro
11. Killah Priest – From Then Till Now
12. NAS – Represent
13. J Dilla – Won’t Do
14. Lee Fields & The Expressions – Ladies
15. Charlotte Gainsbourg – Little Monsters
16. PJ Harvey – Down By The Water
17. Arovane – Windy Wish Trees
18. Steve Reich – Music For 18 Musicians (Cold Cut Remix)
19. Three Trapped Tigers – 5
20. Stray – Frost