TITEL kulturmagazin
Montag, 27. März 2017 | 12:46

Die Popkolumne aus London

06.10.2012

»Mantasy« - An Interview with Michael Mayer

Michael Mayer is a bit of a legend! Simple Fact! So interviewing him was going to take a lot of courage and guts. Luckily, due to a life of hardship through living on the rough streets of Richmond Surrey, I have had to develop both these characteristics in order to survive. An Interview by JOHN BITTLES.

 

In that case interviewing a man who has released some of my favourite mix CDs ever (the truly sublime Immer series), produced some bona fide dance floor bombs (Pride is Weaker than Love, etc), and has remixed Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys, and many more shouldn‘t faze me (should it?). Oh, and I haven’t even mentioned how he jointly runs Kompakt Records, one of the most exciting, stimulating, and downright funky record labels of the last 20 years.

So, after many panic attacks, and much abuse of slightly recreational drugs (mostly blue M&Ms), I felt suitably ready to interview the esteemed Mr Mayer. Read on to find out how it all went, and for your chance to win a free high-five* if you can spot exactly when the sugar rush began to kick-in!

 

Can you tell us a bit about what you’ve been up to recently?

Since I've left the studio with the album in my pocket I was pretty much busy with getting back into the saddle here at Kompakt HQ and of course promoting Mantasy, interviews, photo shoots et al.

 

It has been 8 Years since Touch. What made you decide the time was right for a new album?

In 2007, right after finishing off the Supermayer album with Superpitcher I've started putting down little notes. At some point that list of notes became pretty long. That's when I decided to attack my new solo album. I didn't really see the time passing because I've kept myself really busy with running Kompakt, releasing mix CDs and remixes and of course non-stop gigging. How do the British say? Time flies when you have a good time. I can only agree with that.

 

Early reports suggest Mantasy is quite ›soundtracky‹ in places. Would you agree with this?

I wouldn't disagree... I'm a passionate collector of soundtrack recordings so there's a good chance that that's an audible influence on Mantasy. What is certainly true is that I have a knack for narrative arrangements. I've always liked my techno (or house or … please fill in) with a story-telling edge. This might stem from my childhood love for Alan Parsons Project

 

The album is preceded by single Good Times which is quite different to what I was expecting, yet still (of course) excellent. How did the song come about?

The instrumental was done at an early stage, it was probably amongst the first four tracks I did in the process of making Mantasy. I was toying around with this 4LP box of records I bought when I was a teenager. It was Beats, Breaks & Scratches by Simon Harris, a compendium of beat loops and classic samples. When I bought that box I thought it was an absolutely necessary investment in order to become a REAL DJ. In the end, I never really used them – until now. Most elements on Good Times are taken from these records. That's why it's got such an old school sound to it. Late payback... Jeppe Kjellberg's vocals were the icing on the cake. He's the Village Brothers and the Bee Gees in one person... a fantastic singer and mantastic person altogether!

 

There has been a huge buzz building up around the album’s release. You must be quite excited?

Sure thing … but yet, the most exciting part was making the record. I'm getting slightly tired of talking about myself …

 

Are you planning to tour Mantasy in any way?

Absolutely, the Mantasy tour will take me to all my favourite clubs around the world. I'm going to play All Night Long sets only. I love doing the warm up, the prime time and the end likewise. Getting to play all three is the king's discipline! I'm tremendously looking forward to this tour.

 

For those who can’t wait until October 22nd for the release of Mantasy can you suggest some records we could listen to that would capture the album’s mood?

I can certainly recommend some records, regardless of their relation to Mantasy: Kourosh YaghmaeiBack From The Brink, RodriguezComing From Reality, Ulrich Schnauss & Mark PetersUnderrated Silence, TheesatisfactionAwe Naturale.

 

How would you explain Kompakt to those people who thus far have lived a life of blissful ignorance?

Electronic music in all it's diversity and glory brought to you by people who are quickly bored with electronic music.

 

What can we expect from Kompakt for the rest of 2012?

John Tejada's sophomore album for Kompakt just hit the shelves and servers. After Mantasy we'll close the year with a tribute to one of our most prolific and idiosyncratic artists: Justus Köhncke. There'll be a Best of CD in our Kompakt Klassiks series and we're going to re-release his evergreen Timecode with new remixes. Apart from this we're already busy with preparing next year's 20 years of Kompakt festivities. There'll be some pretty pretty nice things happening!

 

If you had to sum up the Kompakt sound with one song which would it be and why?

Jürgen Paape's So weit wie noch nie. It's got everything: the pop influence, the ambience and the dancefloor thump.

 

Some of my favourite Kompakt releases are mix albums like your Immer series, Today by Superpitcher, and Please, Please, Please by Tobias Thomas. Are there going to be any new ones in the near future to look forward to?

Despite the rough climate for mix CDs we still didn't give up on this lovely format. To me it's a completely different ballgame than podcasts and live mixes. I always like to compare the difference with snapshots taken with your mobile phone as opposed to a professional portrait taken with an expensive SLR camera. There will be other mix CDs soon …

 

Shumi has released some absolutely wonderful podcasts for Kompakt. Any chance of convincing him to do an album?

I'll have a chat with him about it!

 

The Pop Ambient series has been a great success for the label. What do you listen to when you want to chill out?

Mostly deep jazz, piano music and Americana. And loads of Pop Ambient of course!

 

What are you currently reading?

Johann Holtrop by Rainald Goetz

 

In a recent interview with Amanda Brown from 100% Silk she explained the label’s open demo policy: »You know, more music would come out from more artists you've never heard of if more record labels had an open demo policy and if they were willing to be risky/take more chances. I want to be daring, I want to support the scene, and that means giving new artists opportunities. I think inclusion scares taste-makers and so they opt for exclusion. Picky is good, choosy is great, intensely fiercely selective only works when you've heard what else is out there.«

Do you agree or disagree with this policy? 

That's pretty well put. I totally agree with her and will check out her label right after this interview.

 

Do you feel that the label/shop being situated in Cologne has in any way influenced the Kompakt ›sound‹?

It must have … we're all product of our surroundings. And there must have been a very special astrologic constellation when me and my partners first met. It's almost been 20 years and we never had a serious problem with each others. That's a true miracle, not only in this line of work...

 

***


I would like to thank Michael for taking the time to answer my questions, as well as Mounya at Kompakt for helping the whole thing come to fruition.

 

*Unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances (my hands are slightly sore), there will be no high-five. Sorry!

 

Titelfoto: © Carlitos Trujillo

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