We bring you today an interview we made a few weeks ago to one of the biggest artists in the current Techno/Tech-House scene. As he describes himself on social media: “What’s 2 m tall, plays music on four channels, lives Behind the Iron Curtain, has 1605 reasons to run an awesome label and *fucking flies*?” Yes we are talking about UMEK.
We were able to meet and greet him and made this interview due to his performance at Madrid’s 4everyone Festival, so here we go!
First of all, listening to your last releases we can appreciate that your “traditional” Tech-House style is changing into a darker Techno. Is this a final or just a temporary change?
I think it is a final thing, I decided it a year an a half ago, then I had some releases due to be done and definitely I’m way back to a more darker Techno, indeed. The sound changes, the style, the label, the design changes, everything changes. So yeah, we have definitely changed.
You are known for supporting newcomer producers in your own label 1605. On the other hand, earlier this year, you launched a Techno music production course. How did this idea came out?
Toolroom approached us because they had already done things like that and asked me if I would like to do it and, of course , I had some ideas I could share with producers, so why not. Then I was thinking about the project, the approach, so ok, this time I will like to focus on music that I make only with samples. It was really interesting, I wish I could do it also in my native language, Slovenian, so I could go into more details. I think I can give nice advices to younger producers, so they can see how I make music.
After starting djing in Club Palma, you started organizing “illegal” raves. At that point, did you ever though you were going to be one of the most famous Techno dj’s and producer of the world?
Ohmmmm YES (laughs). I remember even the moment when we were staying with friends outside the club and I said to them: “Listen I’m going to be a Dj, a famous Dj, I’m going to travel around the world”. They where laughing, this was in Slovenia, if you had seen me back then, I was 17 years old, and they were laughing, really laughing. I had my goal, it was really clear, where to go, what to do, what I wanted to do, but most of all I knew how, I love music and if you love music that much and if you prepare and you spend enough time in the studio, you have to success. I mean more or less, it depends you can be a superstar or just travel around the world, but I knew somehow I was going to achieve it, of course sometimes you doubt yourself, it takes time, it took me three years to get some releases and to travel around the world.
You’ve said many times that you are afraid of flying, which is a must when you act world wide. How do you deal with it?
Well imaging, actually I’m not afraid any more. Imaging after traveling for more than 10 years and I do more than 200 flights per year, it was a nightmare. But at the end you go up there and you face your biggest fear. Every time we had turbulence I though the plane was going to crash and I was going to die, as simple as death. Then I found this program called SOAR, for people afraid of flying. It is a guy from the States, he is an ex-pilot and has a degree in Psychology and he explains all the things, this course is actually quite expensive, but still, somehow you loss 50% of the fear of flying. It is just those 50% that makes you panic, and then fear just goes down and down. And now I can sometimes sleep on the plane, I mean not always, just sometimes. I can take a nap of about 15 minutes, maybe half an hour, in longer flights I can sometimes sleep 3 hours. But this is something unimaginable 3 or 4 years ago. So I am very happy, if you are a Dj or a producer and you are afraid of flying I definitely recommend this SOAR course. I guarantee it works.
You’ve performed around the world, and seen lots of different publics, what do you think about the Spanish attendance.
Spanish is one of the best crowd of the world definitely, the passion you have guys is out the charts, the support that I get from the dance floor is absolutely amazing, without exaggerating. I know people are saying this for all crowds around the world, but Spain is top three places on the world that I like to play. It could be number one, it could be number three, it doesn’t have a particular order, it is one of the best crowds of the world.
As one of your Instagram follower, we can see you really like basketball. Have you ever played basketball in a professional way?
Yes I did, when I was 17 years old I stopped playing basketball, but before that I played in a national team, but then I stopped because I decided to be a Dj. In one year I lost love for the basketball and actually I didn’t watch a NBA game for the next five to seven years, I didn’t want to see it I didn’t want to do anything related to basketball. But right now l am a NBA lover, I watch every single game of Miami Heat there are some Slovenian players there, Goran Dragic, Beno Udrih is coming back so it is my team; and they keep me awake at nights and yes I love basketball definitely it is my favorite sport.
The mandatory question from Xfadering. Can you tell us anecdote that has happened to you during your career?
I can tell you a funny story that happened to me in Industrial Copera in Granada, I played there and after the gig I just wanted to go to the hotel and I put my arm into my jacket and something was starting to move around my arm, and a rat get out so I throw away the jacket.
We would like to thank Umek and all his management team, specially Kristian and Damjan, for giving us this opportunity and make this happen 😀