ITW : JOACHIM SPIETH [AFFIN]

We’ve met Joachim Spieth, German dj and producer and founder of the label Affin. The label has kept developing for the past few years and includes releases from numerous international artists, such as Claudio PRC, Arnaud Le Texier and Acronym.

Where do you live these days and can you briefly explain your first introduction to electronic music?

I live in Germany. I got in touch with electronic music by friends who let me listen some records (Warp Records, Basic Channel etc). So i got attached to this music very quick.

How did you get into music production?

I made music with friends even before i was into electronic music. So i started to buy some gear like a sampler and mixer. I mostly learned to do it by reading in magazines and some manuals as well…  took me some years to be ready to do it.

For our readers who don’t know your music and label Affin yet, how would you describe your sound and your label’s musical universe?

My music changed always changed after some time. I think it’s a natural development for people who don’t to get stuck in life and in music. the only  constant thing is to change, try out new things, improve… i discovered again my love for ambient soundscapes and timeless electronic music some years ago and developed my interpretation of it. Some call it hypnotic techno… whatever, sounds were always important to me.

The label made its evolution over the years as well. it reflects my personal taste so it’s also kind of a mirror of my own music. Plus some influences others bring inside… That’s the interesting thing when you’re running a label… exchange of ideas leading to something new.

You have been in the electronic music world for almost 20 years and founded your label in 2008. How do you feel about the evolution of this field?

For me it was normal to establish something on my own after i made some experiences with labels like Kompakt, Traum or later also Paso Music. I like the idea to be independent from others. How the music scene changed, ok that’s a very difficult question, maybe too much to find a coherent answer here.

What about your musical universe, has it evolved much over time?

The main influences i kept over the time. But you develop during a long time and that’s how it should be. I like to combine layers of sound with techno. That happened in the past and since some years i rediscovered this again. So nowadays i think it sounds more defined.

What is your usual studio routine when you produce? How do you find your inspiration?

I often jam with some elements and just try out things… I don’t have tracks in mind like others sometimes mention. For me it’s to find something interesting while I experimenting. So that’s my “routine”. Expect the unexpected. That keeps it interesting.

When you produce, do you prefer using hardware or software, or a combination of both?

I mostly work with Ableton Live but i have also some hardware and integrate it. But my main instrument is Ableton live as it offers so many possibilities to work on music. WIth the software i could change the way i work, because in the past i was much more straight on the arrangement while today i can jam more and record several audio tracks… and then see where this all leads to..

Which instruments and tools do you use to make your music? What are your favourite tools to produce?

Like mentioned in the last answer, for me Ableton live is the perfect tool to work on my music. I also use Kontakt from Native Instruments since years. I mostly work with Sampling, for sure not sample CDs or stuff like that. I build my own sounds by layering elements and i resample a lot to get the frequencies i want to highlight.

As the label’s artistic director, you probably receive lots of demos. What makes you decide whether or not you sign with an artist or for a track?

Honestly i don’t take demos since a while. Mostly it’s a friend of an artist or somebody i know already who optionally steps in. But since some years i prefer to keep a circle smaller. I’m not interested to host too many artists as it’s not making sense for me. An most demos weren’t fitting on the label at all. I prefer a connection to the person behind. That keeps it more personal and authentic.

In your opinion, who are the emerging artists we should keep an eye on?

That’s a good question.

What advice would you give to upcoming producers and dj’s?

To define for what they stand for and to go for it.

You released a new EP « Astral Plan » on your label (Affin), can you tell us more about it?

Yes, that’s right. It appeared in April, containing 3 tracks, atmospheric stuff and some ambient soundscapes as well. The idea of the track “Astral Plane” was to create an atmosphere with rhythmic structures of some field recordings that were corresponding with emotional melodic soundscapes. Not a classic ambient track, but i think the result is interesting and something i didn’t try out before.

What’s coming next for you in the spring and summer, any plans, any releases or exciting projects you’d love to mention?

Yesterday the repress of my album “Irradiance” was released and next week we’ll have the first collaboration from Reggy Van Oers and me, a 12” named “Noctilucent”.
I excited about this one as we know each other since a decade already and never tried to work together.  In June i’ll be touring in Asia and i’m really looking forward to it.

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