AudioHell Department is a visionary idea created by musician, DJ and label manager Jimi (aka AudioHell, aka JimiTheSun). Although AudioHell Department is still in it’s younger years you will notably know Jimi as the man behind Digital Traffik, a label he founded in 2005. I caught up with Jimi to discuss his new and future ventures including his new studio project and Digital Traffik Asia which will all be revealed very soon. With these words he describes his creature.
“I always looked at the techno music as a piece of art at the highest level. Marry and merge it with the colours and forms of classical and contemporary art has been a shift due to me. This is a dream that I made come true in this property and is just for the sake of being right with myself” – AudioHell Department
Hi Jimi, Thank you for joining us at Decoded Magazine. You are a heavily active figure in the industry and it’s great for the opportunity to discuss some of the exciting projects you’re involved with at the moment. I’d like to start with your next release which is due out on AudioHell Department June 5th. ‘Into A Conversation’ has a great energy and melody with a solid selection of producers on remix too. Can you tell us about the release?
Yeah of course! “Into a conversation” is an electronic single I have made in my studio inspired by the sounds of one of my favourite bands – Underworld. This single is different compared to my last productions, but you know, I’m a musician and I love to make new sound experiments. The remixes are also two good products – Knarly Knob made a version more electronic and CLiVe a version dedicated to the dance floor. I think this EP is a very quality product.
This will be the 8th release on AudioHell Department which is a new label in conjunction with your recording studio. Can you tell us about the studio and label project?
AudioHell Department is the name of my Recording Studio based near Venice. This new label has the same name and is pretty different to Digital Traffik, more electronic and electric. I don’t have open any Resident Advisor profile, any website and any facebook about this new project. I want this project to be an underground project only for real followers and lovers of analog music.
Digital Traffik is the label we would instantly associate you with which you founded in 2005. Is this now in the safe hands of CLiVe while you concentrate on AudioHell Department?
Yeah… This is true. CLiVe is my friend from over 10 years. He’s a person with a lot of experience as label A&R. We follow Digital Traffik together but now he is the real “worker” on the label. This then gives me a lot of time for other things like studio, management and of course AudioHell Department Records.
I’d like to briefly touch on your recent China tour. Off the back of your tour I understand you are launching an offshoot label to Digital Traffik to specifically concentrate on Asia’s new and rising producers?
Yeah is true. Me and my company are still working towards this. The new project will be “Digital Traffik Asia” a label dedicated only to Chinese and Asian producers… Under construction in these months.
So is the focus to bring them into the European market or help provide them with a platform in Asia?
Our goal will be both these two things together. In Asia our European WeTraffik artists are on tour already for a long time but investing in a new land is also investing in the local people, and Asia have amazing DJs and artists. And as I’ve already answered, our goal will be to also open them to our western market.
You obviously have big predictions for the underground scene in Asia and more specifically China. Is it a market you have been watching for some time? What trends have you noticed which are familiar to that of Europe or S.America’s scenes?
Of course. China is an amazing market. I’ve seen with my own eyes an incredible passion in the electronic music and clubs like Hangover in Guangzhou or Vervo in Kunming very similar to our European Clubs. The only difference is that China is beginning to move now and I’m sure the boom will be not too much longer.
One of my main influences going back maybe 10+ years ago was Yoji Biomehanika from Osaka, Japan who had an almost superstar status in Asia at the time. On the harder end of the dance spectrum but it certainly reflected a very passionate clubbing scene in Asia. Is there anybody of that notoriety at present?
I have meet a lot of talented artists in my Asian Tours and I don’t like to say any “superstar DJ”. Their market is totally fresh and new. Of course I can name local artists like Max Shen, Miiia, Nuli Manguli, Deep, Wu, Maxxxi very famous in their lands and of course. very amazing DJs!
Your history and involvement in the scene is aspiring to say the least. I’d like to touch on a few points of interest. Your original alias was Jimithesun when you first started your professional career. When and why was it time for the change to AudioHell?
This new project is born a few years ago from an idea of Jose De Divina and Tania Vulcano. After my Ibiza season of 2011 I’ve stopped DJing to concentrate myself on opening my recording studios and my events company WeTraffik. After 3 years Jose called me and said : “Jimi it’s the moment to return…” It started like a joke… and now, near my 40 years, I am another time on the road with “AudioHell” project.. Oh my god! :-)
You were also resident DJ at Space Ibiza including having the opportunity to mix a number of official CD compilations. What are your feelings on the clubs closure?
Have you another question please?? :-) Of course I’m really sorry for this. Space is the club that most helped my DJ career. Ibiza has changed so much. Now it’s another place compared to the Island I met for the first time.
I’d like to talk about your booking agency We Traffik which you co-founded with Alex Henning in 2015. Can you tell us about some of the exciting artists you have on the agency?
Of course my friend… Here’s who we manage in alphabetichal order: Alexandar Ivkovic, AudioHell, Basti Grub, CLiVe, Doomwork, Ilona Maras, Leonardo Gonnelli, Jose De Divina, Marco Effe, Pirupa and Supernova. A great team, what you think? ;-)
Some brilliant talent there for sure. I speak to label owners on a regular basis as part of our Decoded Magazine label feature series. What benefits can be capitalised on by also running a booking agency alongside a label?
Of course it pays to invest and promote the music of your DJ roster. That is an important thing, first of all to give a real identity to the group. Music is the base for me.
I briefly mentioned Alex Henning. His new track ‘Maiandros’ is excellent. How did you both begin to work with each other?
Alex is one of the most professional persons I have met in my life. His dedication on the work is really amazing. He manages WeTraffik booking agency totally alone and of course is also an excellent music producer and lover of electronic music. We met by chance and it was born immediately a great feeling on everything, the same vision of work and goals. There is still a lot to do together and we still have to grow on many things, it’s normal but however, I think we are a great team. And this thing is very important.
Thank you for your time Jimi. There’s still so much we could talk about so maybe we can get you back next year to catch up with the progress of Digital Traffik Asia?
Of course guys. I follow your magazine every week. Congrats for the great work!
Thanks and very much appreciated. Is there anything you would like to add?
Keeping the underground alive…. :-)
All the best!
01. “Rites” – MATRIXXMAN – Dekmantel Rec.
02. “Work & Tv” – ROMAN FLUEGEL – Phonica Recordings
03. “Purple Hills (YokoO rmx)” – C.VOGT – All Day I Dream Rec.
04. “Little Helper 262-4” – LUCIO AGUSTIN – Little Helper
05. “Satin Curtain (Kevin Yost rmx)” – RAY OKPARA – Mobilee Records
06. “Bahamas (Daniel Meister rmx)” – BEHACHE – HardCutz Records
07. “Wizard Of Love (Modular Project rmx)” – BLOND:ISH – Rebirth Rec.
08. “It Feels Inside” – ALEXIC ROD, COLOMBO – Low Groove Records
09. “[A] 010” – ARMONICA – Bar 25 Music
10. “Track I” – KLED BAKEN – Cachai Music
11. “Fernet” – DEL FONDA – HardCutz Records
12. “Lust (David Mayer rmx)” – TIGERSKIN, ELLI, K.E.E.N.E. – Connected Frontline
13. “Chance” – JOSU FREIRE – Be One Limited