INTERVIEW | ROBERT DIETZ
Born and raised in Frankfurt, Germany, Dietz began his career as a DJ and producer seven years ago. Releasing on labels such as Nic Fanciulli’s Saved and Loco Dice’s Desolat, as well as through his residence at Space and Pacha in Ibiza, Dietz has built quite a name for himself, not only in Germany, but the world at large.
Today, he resides in Berlin, where he just released his new Label: Truth Be Told. Right now Dietz is entering the second half of his North American tour, and FNGRS CRSSD had the chance to talk to him before his show at Spin Nightclub in downtown San Deigo, California. Tickets can be found here.
How were you introduced to music growing up in Frankfurt?
When I got in touch with electronic music for the first time I was still too young to get into a club, it was more through the media. Music television in the early 90s was the big thing. The first TV-show for techno and house music was aired once a week and we videotaped it to watch over and over again. Another source was the weekly radio show called “Clubnight” where Sven Väth was a resident.
You grew up listening to punk rock and metal. What was it that got you interested in dance music?
I listened to all different kinds of genres when I was a kid. There was a lot of punk and metal when I was skating and then came hip-hop and drum and bass in high school that lead into house and techno. Our surroundings and different people influenced us a lot. And of course I was very hungry to discover all kinds of music.
What lead to you deciding to do a U.S. tour following the release of your new label Truth Be Told?
We’ve been scheduling this tour for a while, as I wanted to stay in the states for longer and play different and smaller cities too rather than the usual ones. It was more or less coincidence that the label happened to start at the same time.
You’ve recently decided to move out of your hometown and relocate in Berlin. What are the biggest differences in music culture between the two cities?
Berlin definitely kept up with music, as a lot of people in the music industry from all over the world located there during the last 10 years. Frankfurt still has its scene and it has very interesting established and upcoming artists but it got smaller. The nightlife isn’t as vibrant and diverse anymore as it was a decade a go. Berlin is way more international, has plenty of opportunities, clubs and still some of the freedom where you can express yourself as you want.
When everywhere else in the world rules seems to more and more take over everything in our lives, this is one of the few last places where you can just do whatever you want to do.
Recently you’ve posted a 2007 mix featuring yourself along side Martin Rouge live on Radio X. It’s an amazing set – what makes this mix so special to you?
Well, thanks. It’s actually the first radio set I ever played with Martin back then. It is a small local radio station and we were super excited. Its full of these timeless tracks you still can listen to in ten years and we just played what we felt like. The mix inspired a lot of people and I still get good feedback about it, which I’m really happy about.
I’m very blessed that I had the chance to buy records in a lot of different places in the world. Japan or New York are some of them of course but I’ve got to say that over the last 15 years of record shopping, Freebase Records in Frankfurt is continuously the best.
You’ve recently collaborated with Tuccillo to release the EP “Kushtraxx” on Berlin label Holic Trax. How do you two link up and what is it like working together?
I’ve been a fan of Tuccillos work for quite a long time already and we always shared music and ideas. I met him a couple of years ago in Ibiza when he was still a resident at Pacha and we played a couple of times together. In 2013 we met again and decided to hang out for the day at his studio and started working on some tracks together. He’s pretty much of a wizard in the studio, working super fast and efficiently. While I was only playing and recording the bass line he had already programmed the entire beat of a track on his drum machine and sampler.
You’ve recently stated in an interview with Big Shot that you want to use Truth Be Told to, “experiment with, especially when it comes to your own music and taste for design and artwork.” What kind of artwork outside of music are you trying to promote with your label?
I’m doing this label together with one of my best and oldest friends together. He’s a photographer and art director working more in the fashion and design scene. We both have certain ideas of artwork in general and the presentation of music. It’s about evolving concepts in design and typography. We both think that everything belongs together somehow in art, music, design, fashion and this is what it is about. We also invite other designers, close friends of us to contribute to the artwork and do their own pieces.
Do your sets vary when you perform in Germany versus the US?
I wouldn’t necessarily say that my sets vary from different countries or continents; they more vary to the size of the club.
You’re only planning a handful of releases on Truth Be Told within the next year. Where are you trying to take Truth Be Told into the future?
Nothing is scheduled yet and I quite like that thought. We want to keep it open and see where it goes. Pressure is all around us nowadays and we were more looking to have like a playground then a tight running business. It’s about the fun.
What is the artistic philosophy behind Truth Be Told?
As mentioned already it’s about being open to experiments but also reflect what I’m doing as a DJ and the music I like to play and hear in clubs. As a consumer of electronic music and records I was always very happy to find records where the whole package was on point. Music to work with, for the dance floor, music you can listen to at home and an appealing cover.