We caught up with Kaveh from Pleasurekraft a week after his show in Auckland on Easter Thursday for the Sonorous Warehouse Social.In which city did Pleasurekraft begin?We actually started an ocean apart, I was living in Washington D.C. - where I was born and raised, and Kalle was based out of Stockholm, Sweden.
What was the club / festival scene like there and which were your favourites?At that point in time both cities were somewhat lacking in a true thriving underground dance scene, but after touring the world for several years now I feel as though that is the norm and not the exception as there are really only a handful of countries with cities that have multiple successful clubs all bringing in international talent on a weekly basis.
Where are you based now?I split my time between Washington DC and Vienna Austria.
You recently performed a 2 hour set in the early hours of Good Friday for us at the Sonorous Warehouse Social, a lot original fans from Auckland will have noticed a change in style from you, tell us more about how your own personal style has developed since Pleasurekraft begun. I just got bored with tech house as a genre and was more inclined toward a darker, less party-oriented sound. I also didn’t want to look back at my career in the future and say that all I did with my life was make “dance music”. I’ve always been inclined towards scientific subjects like Astronomy / Artificial Intelligence, and have always loved art and philosophy and I wanted to somehow take all those things and bring them to the forefront of what pleasurekraft is - and I feel like for the first time in my career, the last 3 and a half years since I solely focused on making techno music I’ve really been able to make headway on this endeavor.
Did you enjoy your time in Auckland?Yes but unfortunately it was entirely too short!
When was the last time you were here?I think 2012 or 2013. It wasn’t a great gig but it was still a learning experience at that time. This gig for you guys however was really fun and I enjoyed myself.
Tell us more about the Kiwi lad you just signed to your label.Yeah his name is Dale Fairbairn, and although his style is not strictly the “cosmic techno” sound I’ve been championing for the last couple years, it still covers some of those bases: tough drums, and most importantly musical elements like an actual hook - something usually missing from most techno music which is much more drum/rhythm section oriented relying solely on the low end of a record to deliver its punch. I like records that have an infectious melody over top of an existing strong rhythm section - but that certainly is not a super-underground techno purist approach to making techno music.
What are some of your favourite Kiwi movies or series?I do love me some ‘Flight of the Conchords’ and Jermaine Clement’s film “What we do in the Shadows”. I also loved Lee Tamahori’s emotionally stirring film “Once Were Warriors”. You traveled to Australia and performed with Tube & Berger again at Rabbits Eat Lettuce, how was the rest of the tour?Yeah it was cool. I know the Tube & Berger guys quite well and we always have a good time sharing horror stories from the road - often about Djs behaving badly - which is one of my favorite topics with colleagues, since there seems to be an endless supply of ego driven madness amongst many of our peers who think they’re curing cancer or solving world peace and forgetting that what they’re actually doing is just making music (many of whom don’t even do that themselves) for 18-25 year olds to get fucked up to in dark rooms. If you had one basic tip for a new producer what would that be?Well I won’t lie to any of them and say the most important thing is talent. It’s 2019. All world touring artists should just be honest at this point and put this fiction where it belongs : DJ mythology 101. Sadly the most important thing these days (and you only need to look around at major festivals and charts as exhibits A and B) is social media presence and self marketing. Being saavy online and consistently uploading content to an image hungry fanbase eclipses any notion of “being a great/original producer”. I’m not saying being original or honing in on your craft as a musician is NOT important, but anyone that tells you that is the most important thing is either clueless, stuck in the past, or intentionally lying to you to retain their own position at or near the top of the pyramid. A subset of this advice - which essentially falls under marketing - would be network network network, and once you’re on people’s radar - find yourself a manager or agent who is incredibly well connected to the biggest festivals / bookers (this is much easier said than done since most of the best agents/managers are already up to their gills with artists they represent - so you have to really stand out from the crowd to garner attention (this is where that social media saavy and the ability to go viral all come in). A well connected manager/agent can get a mediocre artist great bookings whereas a mediocre manager/agent will struggle just to find decent gigs for a great artist.
In terms of advanced DJ talent, who would you suggest is the best when it comes to techno? This is such a subjective question. I think Carl Cox is and always has been a consummate professional, I really like what Adam Beyer plays, and I think Kink is an incredible live performer. The list would be too long to cover here but I would say all three of those people are definitely worth the price of admission if you ever have the opportunity to see them perform live. Hard techno has made a resurgence, where do you see yourself heading this year in terms of genre and tempo? Well I don’t consider what I play “hard techno”. To someone whose listening diet consists of deep house or tech house sure, my music is certainly more aggressive sounding, but hard techno is a different animal altogether (a simple google/YouTube search and you can hear the difference). I call what I do Cosmic Techno- it’s not only a style consisting of big room, agressive atmospheric drum programming, but also smart use of vocals that actually have a message and some sort of hook/melody that has the power to instantly get under the listeners skin. Cosmic Techno is also an ethos to me about pushing the limits of what techno music can be about - about our shared humanity, the cosmos, and our humble place within it. What was your favourite festival?It used to be BPM festival in Mexico - but due to local crime issues they chose to relocate. If you could be resident DJ at any club in the world, which would it be?Hard to say as I haven’t played all the clubs in the world I still want to play - but I always have some of my favorite gigs at Grelle Forelle in Vienna, Austria.
When can we expect you back in New Zealand?When I get the invite letter from you guys hahaha
What productions would you like to plug right now?Our next release is a remix for Adam Beyer & Layton Giordani featuring the vocals of Green Velvet called “Space Date”. It will be out on June 24 on Adam Beyer’s own Drumcode Records.www.soundcloud.com/pleasurekraft