Robert Žigrai aka TKNO in a few words, is a true music lover. He is an artist, producer, DJ and label owner from Belgrade in Serbia. Inspired by techno masters since 2002 from the likes of Chris Liebing and Adam Beyer to Jeff Mills and Len Faki he started to collect vinyl and play them in the best local clubs with his best friends.
Over the next 10 years he worked on few projects including ReWire, Beatandjuice, Volt & Vintage, just to name a few. In 2013 he decided to continue with his own name TKNO as an association to techno music. This time he wanted to go step further. TKNO tracks have since been played and supported by some of leading DJs in the world including Carl Cox, Richie Hawtin, Oxia, John 00 Fleming and Nick Warren.
At the end of 2014 he launched his own label Tauten. To explain in more detail Rob drops in with a label feature guest mix and interview detailing how the label has progressed over the last two years with label nights and the launch of his next label project with Andrew Meller.
Hey Robert. Thanks for taking the time in joining us on Decoded radio. You have been involved in various other projects prior to founding Tauten near the end of 2014. Were there any specific reasons that pushed you into starting this new project?
Hey Daz, firstly thank you for having me! I’m honoured to be invited. The main reason why Tauten was created is the era of hyper producing we are currently in. There’s a lot of new artists emerging. It’s really hard to be noticed in this horde of newcomers. After first two years of producing as TKNO I had tracks signed on a lot of different labels, but I was not happy with their promotion. On the other hand It’s hard to reach big labels and achieve their style. I wanted to create a platform for promoting good electronic music so I founded Tauten.
In November you have a Tauten night at DOT in Belgrade. Can you tell us a bit about the club and who is on the line up?
Tauten night is planned for 11th November in one of Belgrade’s leading clubs. DOT club is placed in the heart of the city, has a small capacity and an amazing energy. That’s why every cooperation with them is a great experience.
As for the lineup, our new artist AVOID aka Vladimir Acic, long time Tauten residents Sugar Lobby and Andrew Meller are getting behind the decks. Acic is a famous Serbian producer and DJ from Novi Sad, the city where Exit festival is held. His new EP on Tauten will be released on 4th November. Some of the names that supported this release are Laurent Garnier, Chris Liebing, James Zabiela, Luca Agnelli and Marc Marzenit.
I believe you had Matt Sassari play at your last event?
Yes and it was a blast! Matt is one of the rising stars of techno music. People really digged his 2 hour slot. The set is posted online and can be found on Tauten label Youtube channel. Also, we can’t forget Tauten residents Ilija Djokovic and RanchaTek, who also played that night. Everything was so perfect! A night to remember!
Could you tell us about some of the artists breaking through from Serbia and really placing there name on the map. The likes of Andrew Meller and Dave Wincent who are signed to the label?
Serbia has some amazing names yet to be heard of and we are so lucky that our label is full of talents! Ilija Djokovic made quite a fuss with his releases on Phobiq. His tracks are played at big festivals all over the world. Beyer played his music on Awakenings and Fabio Florido struck the famous Exit festival Dance Arena with his track Delusion.
Andrew Meller’s bootleg of legendary track “Born Slippy” definitely marked last summer. Carl Cox, Paco Osuna, Nicole Moudaber, Nakadia, Coyu are just a couple of artists that played this bootleg. Also I love the sound of a newcomer on Tauten – Dave Wincent. We are predicting a bright future for this guy! Other than Tauten artists our country have more amazing techno names like LAG, Scalameriya and Locomatica.
How strong is the techno scene in Belgrade? Has it been growing over the recent years?
I think that Belgrade is the leading city in this side of Europe, on Balkan definitely. We have great summer and winter clubs like Drugstore and Barutana and almost every weekend there are parties in big venues such as Hangar and Magacin Depo. Sven Vath, Jeff Mills, Monika Kruse, Agoria, Fabio Florido, Tommy Four Seven, Inigo Kennedy will play in Belgrade till the end of 2016.
I’d like to now talk a little about your background. When did you first get involved with DJ’ing and production?
When I started DJ’ing music production didn’t interest me at all. After years getting behind the decks of numerous clubs all over Serbia, I realised I needed something different. So, to upgrade as an artist I started learning the basics about music production but I’m making progress with every new release.
What moment would you class as been your first real break onto the global scene?
If you could pick anyone to go b2b with at any club, event or festival who and where would you choose and why?
It would definitely be the morning on Exit Festival Dance Arena in a b2b set with Keith Carnal. If you’ve been to Exit you know exactly what I’m talking about! The sun rising slowly, thousands of people gathered in this amazing venue inside an old fortress and everyone enjoying themselves.
Sounds awesome. Every label manager who has been involved with our label features have expressed how good an opportunity it has been to evaluate their back catalogue of releases. How did you settle on which tracks to include on the label?
When Tauten was born, our concept was to promote TKNO as artist, and to include remix from artists that we really like. Tauten is demo friendly, but, if we really like someones work, we ask them for an EP or remix. Our goal is to release only music that we really like.
You have also mentioned that you have a new label starting soon. What can we expect from the new project and how will it differ musically from Tauten?
I’m preparing a different new label with my good friend Andrew Meller. Our old project ReWire will be reborn and pushed on a higher level. The first three releases are prepared with artists like Spencer K, Piem, Wise D & Kobe, Reblok are already on board. If you are reading this and love Tech House music, stalk us online and we promise that you won’t be disappointed!
It’s been great to talk to you Robert and thanks for dropping in. Lastly, where can we catch you performing leading up to the end of the year?
I’m hitting a big venue in Belgrade – Magacin Depo on 26th November. First week of December will be interesting as I was booked to perform in Berlin in Magdalena club on 2nd December and Cologne – E-Feld club on 3rd December. I’ll pay a visit to Amsterdam and Sugar Factory on 6th December. After that I have a gig in Niš, Serbia, with Carlo Lio and Martin Buttrich and Salzburg on the 17th. Finally I’m playing on a New Year’s Eve gig in Novi Sad in this huge hall called Spens.
I wish you all the best in your ongoing success with the labels.
Thank you for inviting me. It was a pleasure!
Decoded Radio hosted by Ian Dillon presents Tauten with TKNO.
Decoded Hot Picks Chart Countdown
#4 Monkey Safari – Boris (Guy Mantzur Remix) [Hommage]
#3 RÜFÜS – Innerbloom (Sasha Remix) [Last Night On Earth]
#2 Cristoph – Alone (Original Mix) [Knee Deep In Sound]
#1 Guy J – Algorithm (Original Mix) [Sudbeat]
01. BOg – Borders (Original Mix) [Tarnished Tracks]
02. Tembar – Circles (Matias Chilano Remix) [Afterwork Sounds]
03. Audiojack – Paradigm (Guy Mantzur & Roy Rosenfeld Remix) [Systematic Recordings]
04. Kastis Torrau – Shaman (Original Mix) [Click Records]
01. Antonio Valente – AV3 (Original mix)
02. Derek M – Back To Game (Massiva remix)
03. Andrew Meller – Woodman (Dave Wincent remix)
04. Massiva – Spot (Spektre remix)
05. TKNO – 101 (Eric Sneo remix)
06. Ilija Djokovic – Knockout (Original mix)
07. TKNO – TKNLGY 2 (Original mix)
08. Rick Pier O`Neil & Desaturate – Spector (Original mix) [PROMO]
09. Avoid, Mikadroid – Destinacija 01 (Original mix)
10. Alberto Santana – Intensive Therapy (Owen Sands remix)
11. TKNO – Prototype (Original mix) [PROMO]
12. Fractious, TKNO – Next Stop (Original mix)
13. TKNO – Lost In The Jungle (Reinier Zonneveld`s looking for a path remix)
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On rotation: Inside My House Radio www.insidemyhouseradio.com