- We discovered while preparing the interview that you were in the DMC Championships! How do we move from scratching to techno?
Ahhh yes, that was a long time ago! I was playing techno well before I did that actually so it was side by side. It is by far one of the scariest things I have ever done….all character building though! I used to do a bit of scratching / beat juggling etc with techno when you could get away with it, but the music and scene is SO much more serious now, so Dave Clarke is the only man who can get away with that these days.
- You recently released on Bas Mooy’s Mord. Can you tell us how you met?
We had “known” each other from Email for a long time, and then in 2011 we played in Malta together and got on really well and have met few times since. We bonded over strange/funny Dutch and English sayings! In 2012 we did a split EP (Parallel Series 3) on Mote Evolver (me as Chris Finke before I started the He/aT alias) which was cool. Bas is one of the very few genuinely caring and nice guys in techno – he is in it for totally the right reasons and I cannot be prouder of him for making such a success of MORD. Our Skype chats during the days leading up to the label launch were full of his ideas for the label so it’s amazing to see it go on to be such a positive force.
- How the idea of a release by yourself on his label came? It’s the first and only He/aT release not going out on your own label.
I have been working on a couple of projects for the last couple of years since I “retired” from using my own name for DJing and production, and this year I decided I wanted to focus solely on He/aT and start doing some music on other labels. So I just spoke to Bas and sent him some tracks which he loved and then found the artwork which fitted the titles perfectly and it was done. Easy! I’m now working with some other labels as well – I can’t say too much right, now but I have something coming up on Krill Music very soon which I’m excited about.
- You’re also known as Bodyjack, project that you started in 2013 as well. Why did you choose to start with 2 alias at the same time?
I had reached a place in my career (I do this full time) where I was getting bored and found I wasn’t getting as many bookings as I was before and felt I need to change a lot of stuff if I was going to be happy and continue with music as a career. So I started He/aT totally anonymously for 18 months – I changed the way I produced music, my approach to it and said no to offers of remixes and releases that I always would have said yes to in the past. It was so hard at first to not be able to promote things (like my Berghain gig for example), but I felt it had to be done, as there are so many techno producers who make music under aliases that sound exactly the same as their usual stuff. I just wanted to reset and see if I could do this without any preconceptions from other people. Bodyjack came about as I just had a real urge to make house music for fun and that kind of took off too. But all very conflicting with what I am doing as He/aT. So it got to the stage this year where I wanted to get serious about He/aT as that’s where my real passion is and I feel a lot happier with only focusing on one alias now!
- Your first gig as He/aT was at Berghain in 2014. It could have been worst for a first gig! How did it happen and how do you consider this club as a producer?
Haha yes that was very interesting. I just got an email from Gideon the day my second He/aT EP came out asking if I played live as they would like to invite me. It’s funny as I have always said I would never ever do a live show as I am purely a DJ, but obviously I said yes and started putting it together and it worked really well. It was very nerve wracking as when I did the sound check something wasn’t working right and it was all very nerve wracking. as soon as the sub bass dropped on my first track (“A Terrible Misunderstanding”) the nerves went away and I was really happy with how it went. I have been to Berghain so many times and it is always a great room for really hearing your music in it optimum setting, so as a producer it was a great experience to present my music live as opposed to just playing it as a DJ.
- You’re resident of Atomic Jam in the UK. What’s your point of view on the night scene in London right now?
UK techno “scene” is kind of difficult to sum up really. It has never really got going as well as it has in Europe. It goes through periods of being OK, and now Fabric has closed there is no real focal point/club that is known around the world for techno. There are some incredible parties, promotions, producers and DJs here but no real UK “culture” to it as parties just don’t happen every week (other than Jaded who are totally killing it with their Sunday daytime parties).
Look at the way France has really become one of the champions of techno in a very short space of time; I just can’t see that happening in the UK and it’s such a shame. I hate to end on that sad note, but compared to other countries we are very much behind the times and with more and more clubs being closed down it isn’t looking like it will change. On a lighter note, Atomic Jam is now in its 21st year which is incredible, and we are doing a few tour dates to celebrate over the next 12 months. So it’s not all bad!Look at the way France has really become one of the champions of techno in a very short space of time; for years and years it was kind of a black hole for techno (compared to others places, and now Paris might it might be the most exciting techno city in the world. When I played for Blocaus last year at Moulin Rouge after a couple of years away, it was amazing (shout to Mehdi and Farouk!). But changes in cities like that come down to culture and attitudes from the authorities, and we seem to be going backwards in the UK which is such a shame. I hate to end on that sad note, but compared to other countries we are very much behind the times and with more and more clubs being closed down it isn’t looking like it will change. On a lighter note, Atomic Jam is now in its 21st year which is incredible, and we are doing a few tour dates to celebrate over the next 12 months. So it’s not all bad!