Interview: DVS1

Known for for his incredible improvisational sets, a vinyl collection of biblical proportions, and uniquely distinguishable sound, DVS1 has risen to heavyweight status in the Techno world over the years. From his home in Minneapolis, MN, DVS1 has built a massive following both locally, and worldwide. Recently we got to catch a killer (mostly dub techno) set of his at Berghain. And we’re excited to see him again at the Interface 36 Afterparty at DEMF this year at the Works.

Are you going have time to attend DEMF or any of the afterparties? (obviously aside from Interface) If so, who are YOU looking forward to seeing play? Any friends you plan on meeting up with while you’re in town?

Yes definitely..I’m gonna be there from Saturday till Tuesday. I’m actually excited for the festivals lineup this year! The last few years have been a bit of a letdown for me, but this year I’m happy with the general direction of the artists. Except for a few years that I skipped, I’ve been going to detroit for almost 10 years now and have watched it change directions and management a handful of times.(not always for the better) There are a lot of people I’m looking forward to see play, but I can’t even begin to start listing them here. What I valued about the festival in the years past(carl craig era) was that I would get to hear artist I didn’t know, or artist I would never be able to hear, but the last few years saw some of the same generic “festival” lineups as you would see everywhere, even the artist that played didn’t do anything special, they just played the same set they were going to play the next week at the next festival they were booked for. I feel like this year, there is something different…In a good way..Not a major risk or change, but I have good feeling about things.. Detroit should be treated as something special since the U.S. doesn’t have many electronic festivals and DEMF has some REAL history behind it. I think it’s important for artist’s who are playing there to realize this and remember where they are!!

Beyond the music, I think I’m most looking forward to being with friends that I don’t see a lot cause of my travels. Detroit’s more of a family reunion for me!

You’re a Minneapolis-based DJ/producer, who has tracks on a handful of European labels, and spends a lot of time playing all over the world. In fact, it’s probably easier to catch one of your sets in Germany, Japan, or the Netherlands than it is in the United States. And later this month, you’re playing in Detroit – one of the few places that has it’s own geographically-tagged genre: “Detroit Techno.” Do you think that in the age of the global DJ that terms like Detroit Techno or Chicago House still hold any meaning? ;

Absolutely!! The fact is that places like Chicago and Detroit have been such an influence on the music that we play! I would much rather have genre’s broken down into those type of influences then the current state of Beatport genre categories…I mean do we really need 9 more sub genres..(yacht house? Really? ) this was in reference to a recent mass email called Genre’s on the rise.

The fact is that these “classic” genres are the root and the core of it. Say what you want about these old genres, but when you say it, people know what you mean! I really think that all this sub-genre B.S. is getting out of hand. Take for example the record store…If they have too many sub genre’s the fact is that some young Dj might walk in and say I play “deep house” and won’t even look into the normal house section… They think they are helping things, when in reality its hurting the way people discover music. The fact is that when things were split into basic genres…Such as House, Techno, D&B, etc… Dj’s would be digging into things in their genre, but inevitably find music that would now be called something else entirely.. I may be a purist in this regard, but Chicago and Detroit as Genre’s have withstood the test of time and will remain here till the end. The backbone of most electronic music has always been REAL house and techno!

A lot of Detroit producers make the assertion that being present in the city of Detroit was essential to the development of their sound, both by hearing what was being played locally and also being surrounded by the city’s declining post-industrial urban environment. Do you think that living and throwing events in Minneapolis had an influence on the style of music you produce now? Does it still inspire you, or has it been overshadowed by your time playing gigs in “bigger” techno scenes, like Berlin?

The last year was really a turning point with this type of question, as I realized how important it was for me to stay grounded in Minneapolis while traveling overseas for my DJ gigs. This last year I made a decision to stay living over in the US instead of moving over to Berlin. Every time I go somewhere people look at me in amazement that I know so much about “techno” being from Minneapolis. They always ask questions assuming that Minneapolis couldn’t possibly have any type of scene. I’m always responding with…I learned everything I know from Minneapolis and the “Midwest”. The fact is that I was closer to “Detroit” and “Chicago” then being over in the EU!! Being musically raised in the Midwest, specifically Minneapolis always gave us a chance to be influenced by so many things. We took the best from everywhere and manipulated it into our own style and sound. I think everything from the time I started has influenced me and I would give the most credit to the specific time period around 1994-1998. I was able to witness and be a part of some amazing events that are forever etched in my mind as the vision for this “scene”. Body moving sound systems and an era when the best DJ’s were still hungry and delivering pure dance floor music!