“I miss the good old days when everyone met in the record store and we had a discussion in the latest records and tracks. The record store culture has almost died.” Eric Sneo

When he was young, the today well known international DJ Eric Sneo already started learning instruments like drums, piano and accordion. In 1998 he became a resident DJ in one of the most famous techno clubs in Germany; The Palazzo. In 2002 started his own party series “TanzDer Familie”.

Around this same time period together with Udo Niebergall, the labels Masters Of Disaster and Beatdisaster were founded. These labels featured releases from Gayle San, The Advent, Chris Liebing, Hertz, Rush, etc, and were also a platform for Sneos own releases. In 2003 the worldwide known clubhit ‚ciao bella‘ and the Germany chart hit ‚Tube Tech – The End‘ were released.

With his unique performance on the E-drums during his sets, Eric swiftly developed into a highly requested international player. After he presented his unique ‚Art of Life‘ show at the Nature One 2009 for the first time, he start with an exclusive festival tour in the summer 2010. His performance combines Eric’s trade-mark technoid, groovy style DJing with his live performance of acoustic and electronic instruments, e.g. E-Drums, E-accordion, percussion’s & didgeridoo.

Hi Eric, thank you for speaking with us today, congratulations on your new album ‘Sound Traveler’ out now on Tronic. With decades of production behind you, was this an approach of culminating your years or a fresh outlook?

Basically I always try to have a fresh sound and not work with the old arrangements and sounds, although I still like to take inspiration from old tracks. For the new album “Soundtraveler” I did several layouts first, I listened to many old records and every time I felt inspired by a sound, or a groove, I chose one of the layouts and starting to work on it. After a while I had the main tracks on the release ready and then just produced in different directions from there. I always testing the tracks in the clubs when I am playing, as it’s really the only way to find out if a track is going to pop on the dancefloor!

How important is it for an artist to work closely with a label to release an album, something almost not heard of anymore in the industry?

To have the backing of a famous label and a professional team behind you is so important, almost as much as the album itself. I am really happy to be part of the Tronic family and I love working with Christian, we are always very honest with one another concerning the production and strategy. A big thanks also goes out to Rena our amazing label manager, and Emma our publicist. They have been together working as a team and pushing the release. Great job!

The music industry at times can be quite brutal and some artists can doubt themselves at times. Is there any tips or advice you would like to share that has kept yourself motivated?

That is a very difficult question and not easy to answer in a few sentences. It also depends if music is your full time job, or if you only do it in your spare time, as a hobby. For some artists they can deal with the hard times, and others not so much, perhaps those need to look at other alternative professions.

It’s not easy. For me personally, I just try to start a new project like a new album, or even look for a different environment that motivates me to go on and be creative. Even if you have doubts it is important to be in the studio, clear your mind, and just do what you love – sometimes a new flow just comes naturally.

Let’s talk production and you album, can you walk us through the immense emotional and professional demands each day in the studio?

Well, for me, it’s so important that you like your studio and all the equipment that you have in there, as you spend so much time together! If you have a lot of producing experience, everything goes much smoother of course that someone who is starting out. The studio must have the right gear, and a good acoustic atmosphere so that you can spend several hours a day there.

For the production of my new album, I had enough time to try out many new and interesting ideas instead of having the pressure of time to get the release done. I think you can hear and feel this while listening to the album. It wasn’t rushed and flowed for me.

We noticed you have joined a growing handful of artists who have begun to also release the Stems of your works on your latest album, was this a conscious decision to allow artists to delve deeper into your music or perhaps to utilise emerging technology?

I like the stems technology and the new possibilities you can have with it. It was the first time though that I released tracks in the stems format, so let´s see what other artists can make out of it…!

Is there any particular piece of studio gear or plugins you cannot do without?

Most important for my work and mixdown are: Ableton Live, RTW Monitor, Genelec speakers, Spectrasonics Trilian and Clavia Nordleads

For those that don’t know, you have had an interesting DJ career, landing your first DJ residency in 1988 at The Palazzo in Germany. How have you viewed the industry change since then, is there a bedrock of principles that simmer beneath, or have the rules completely changed?

The view on this question is very subjective of course. The times when I was resident DJ at the Palazzo was a great time, but when I played there I didn’t really know much about the international scene and the whole professional business as a whole including agencies, management and so on. So for me everything evolved to a more and more professional business and a full time job. What still remains is the passion for music, which is most important.

I am sure you hear the old vinyl vs digital debate often, to the emerging DJs out there, what advice would you give to anyone starting out and not sure what format to play on?

I can only say that for me, after having played with vinyl for almost 15 years, the digital DJing was a step forward, because I also play my live eDrum during my sets and so it makes it much easier to use it in the mix.

Musically, who would you say has been a driving source of inspiration?

In the 90s it was definitely Sven Väth and later on many DJs that played at the Palazzo club such as Chris Liebing, Rush, Adam Beyer, Monika Kruse and so on…

If you were to do a ‘back to mine’ style mix, what tracks or songs have musically had an impact on your life would definitely have to be included in your selection and why?

There are so many old records I love, so it’s very difficult to choose just a few. But here is a cool idea… go to my Soundcloud page and have a listen to my “Let´s Go Techno” podcast episode 50 and 100. In those podcasts I played only old techno classics I love and that influenced me a lot. So there you have the whole selection!

You’ve put together a great mix for us, has the digital age made sourcing records more interesting or do you still have the opportunity to crate dig in stores?

It´s just easy to buy tracks in the digital stores wherever you are. I often do this in the hotels and just have a quick look if there is something new before the gig. On the other side I miss the good old days when everyone met in the record store and we had a discussion in the latest records and tracks. The record store culture has almost died.

Tracklisting

Eric Sneo & Christian Smith – Loaded Dice [Tronic]
Gaist – The Tunnel [ELEVATE]
Christian Bonori, Radio Complex – Raving (Mark Reeve Remix) [Renesanz]
Silvina Romero – Room For Everyone (Original Mix) [ELEVATE]
Mark Greene – Rattle
Loco & Jam – When The Sun Came Up (Arjun Vagale Remix) [Transmit Recordings]
Joel Mull – Manatee (Original Mix) [MATTER]
Basic Frame – Untitled G [Alleanza Recordings Ltd]
Ice Station Zebra – 808 Check2 (Original Mix) [Skeleton]

Thank you for taking time out to speak to us, lastly is there any news you can share with us for 2017?

The pleasure was on my side, and I hope you enjoy listening to the album. For now, we are working on gigs for the spring and summer after the album release, and continue to push that for a while before my next big project. No doubt it’s going to be a busy few months and I would then like to make sure I take some down time to be back in the studio for the next productions I have in mind….

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About the author

For the last 20+ years, Damion has been an international touring DJ, promoter, touring agent, label owner, magazine editor and producer. He is currently the Group Editor and Managing Director of Decoded Magazine.

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