Fresh off the back of a huge release on Misfit Melodies, which is a part of parent label ‘Running Back’, German master of fast paced, energetic House music Robert Dietz took time out of his busy schedule to chat with us here at Decoded Magazine. The momentous producer has managed to consistently blow minds with his enthralling music and it was more than a pleasure to gain an insight into how he works. Robert is considered by many a true master of his trade and has the undeniable ability to inspire through sound. If you don’t know now what the superstar producer is all about, you will after reading this.
Hi Robert. Thank you very much for chatting with us today. How are you?
Great, thanks. Just returned from a lovely week in Japan.
Let’s get right into it. Your latest ‘Sound Design’ EP is fantastic. It certainly has an aura of uniqueness impounded in strange, energetic melodies. Do you think that aura of uniqueness is important to really make your mark on the musical underground?
Uniqueness isn’t the main key to an outstanding production in my opinion, a little anomaly is making it more interesting though. The overall feeling counts, what the track or song does to you is important.
What do you think you do differently to make yourself stand out?
I don’t think I do so much differently than others do, not at all to be honest. I follow my guts when making music and try to have fun at it. Sometimes it works out, sometimes not.
This will be your third release on Running Back or affiliated labels I believe. Is it safe to say, you enjoy working with Gerd Janson?
I do enjoy working with him a lot and I consider him as a real friend after all these years, even though it takes way more energy and persistence to make your demos get heard nowadays as he’s such a busy artist.
How did you first get into contact with Gerd?
Well, it’s a quiet funny story. I was on the dance floor of Robert Johnson one night in 2007 listening to a freshly made track of mine I gave to Dorian Paic before the party and he played it out. By that time I knew Gerd only by his name. All of a sudden this dude shows up next to me, pulling on the sleeve of my shirt asking if I am the producer of this track. When I confirmed he said, “It’s awesome, I’m gonna release it” and disappeared again. I quickly forgot about this moment as it was so randomly. A few days later Dorian reached out to me, asking if I would know Gerd, as he was the one approaching me on the dance floor that night and then introduced us via email. That’s how I got my first EP on the label.
Let’s talk a little about your label, Truth Be Told. Did you set out to make a statement or send a message with Truth Be Told? If so, what was that message?
There was never the idea of a deeper message or statement behind the name or the label, it’s a platform for myself and close friends I like to work with. It’s good to have your own channel to put out music you really believe in.
Tell us a little about what it is like to run a label. What is the biggest stress and what is the biggest pleasure about being a label boss?
Biggest pleasure is, once again to release music without any limitation and express yourself freely. To be honest, there isn’t much stress behind it, it’s not gonna pay your bills anyway and as long as you have a manageable output, it’s more a pleasure preparing each release.
Is there a particular release coming on Truth Be Told that you are most excited for?
I’m equally excited for every release coming but right now I’m working on the fifth one and it’ll be out soon.
We always love to hear about new artists. Are there any breakthrough artists on your radar we should keep a close eye on?
Frankfurt is back on the map more than ever. So many producers and labels which are slowly but steadily working their way up. There a guys like Phil Evans, Manuel Schatz and Nils Diezel, they are giving minimal Techno a new twist and making so exciting new tunes right now.
Would you say the community of music producers in Berlin are close and tight-knit?
There are a lot of groups in Berlin but all very homogene in their own circle. It’s more like in other cities like Frankfurt where everybody is pulling on the same strings I feel.
Let’s talk a little about how it all started. Can you tell us a bit about your journey, from unknown producer to world renowned artist?
I began DJing in the late nineties already but only got into productions around 2007. I was very lucky to be at the right spot at the right time and had the chance to work with a lot of great people in Frankfurt who gave me the opportunities to release my music only a year later already. From there on my international career took of and I had the chance to start DJing all over the world, becoming part of big labels like Cadenza and Desolat back then.
Was there ever a time throughout that journey when you felt you might not break through?
There are moments like this all the time, there are rather about not making it in general or not being good enough. It’s a big part of an creative mind and sometimes it’s a tough struggle to keep going and motivate yourself when things turn out the wrong way but when you accepted your way and you dedicate yourself to it with all your heart you’ll stand those self critical moments more easily.
What would be your advice to a fledgling producer in that kind of situation?
Get a job. It takes out the pressure.
What would your advice to a young artist be on getting themselves heard?
Approaching labels nowadays became more and more difficult as it’s so easy to make and send out music. Make sure you reach out only to labels your music fits to, don’t send out stuff randomly.
Music producers and DJ’s these days are widely considered ‘the rock stars of the 21st century’. Is this something you agree with?
Totally not and I think it’s giving such a wrong image to what we really do.
Do you believe that the underground electronic music movement has had a beneficial effect on society?
Of course nightclubs and the whole culture of electronic music had a positive effect, bringing people of all social levels together under one roof celebrating life.
What is the craziest thing you have seen in a nightclub?
Go to Berghain on a Sunday evening and you can imagine.
Which do you prefer, dark, sensual club gigs, or big open festival gigs and why?
I personally like the intimate and smaller venues, being closer to your audience even though the open air festivals have a certain special energy too.
Let’s get a little political. As a German national, what is your opinion on Brexit? I personally believe, we have shot ourselves in the foot. Would you agree?
I’m a supporter of the European Union and it’s potential, even though we still have a lot of work in front of us to mature it. But the U.K. leaving it was quiet a disappointment for me.
Politics aside, I personally feel that the bond between the actual people of Germany and the people of the UK is stronger now than it has ever been. Especially through our shared passion for electronic music. Is this a statement you would agree with?
It’s bringing people from all over the world together and especially the younger generation is more aware of the benefits of a Union, so we share not only passion in music as well as a vision of our future.
What do you think it is about electronic music that captures people’s imaginations so much?
All music genres are able to capture people’s imagination in my opinion. That’s one of the many great things about it.
Thank you very much for speaking with us Robert.