Emanuel Satie has been making waves on the tech house scene, breaking out of his native Germany and taking Europe, South America and Australia by storm. 2016 proved to be a fruitful year, hitting the top of the Beatport charts with his take on Late Night Tuff Guy’s remix of DJ Le Roi & Roland Clark’s “I Get Deep”, and collecting the Best Producer gong at the DJ Awards in Ibiza.
Emanuel has taken time out from his busy touring schedule to speak with Mark Casey on the back of his latest release ‘All The Time EP’ on Moon Harbour.
Your ‘All The Time’ EP is out on Moon Harbour. How does it feel to have your music released on such a thrilling label, in what is a relatively early stage of your career?
It feels great! Moon Harbour is one of the labels that influenced me a lot from the get go. I remember buying all their releases blindly on vinyl when I was starting out DJing. It’s one of those full circle moments. Also, it’s a great feeling to be part of the gang now, many of my friends are there already, so it feels a bit like coming home.
You recently played BPM Festival before tragic events ensured that it was cut short and cancelled indefinitely. It must have been quite a shock?
BPM was honestly one of the best weeks of my life. It was such an intense, love-filled time. I met many new and old friends over there and most of them had the same feeling, which made the terrible events even more shocking and put up a lot of questions. My thoughts go out to everyone harmed and their loved ones.
You were recently in Australia to play in Melbourne and at Sydney’s Randwick Racecourse as part of Hot Since 82’s Knee Deep In Sound party. The dance scene out there is growing in strength and at a rapid pace. How do you feel about the vibe there, and indeed, playing a racecourse?!
Haha well, it wasn’t really on a racecourse, it was next to it. Both parties were very good, check out the photos, the scenery and production was incredible, especially in Melbourne with the skyline in the background. Was also cool to hang out with the guys, Hot Since 82, Butch and Cristoph.
About the Australian scene, I love going to Australia, I feel like people are very enthusiastic about the music, maybe because the scene is younger. There’s definitely something special happening there. I think this can be also attributed to Mike Toner and the Thick As Thieves gang, they are doing a lot for the scene, bringing european DJs to Australia regularly and of course running Revolver.
This is also part of a wider tour taking in Europe and South America. Are there any designs on returning to the UK and possibly visiting Ireland this year?
Hell yeah I will be back to the UK! The next gigs are –
April 1st Ministry of Sound/ London
April 22nd Mint Club/ Leeds
and there are some big festival gigs we are working on.
As for Ireland, nothing is confirmed at the moment, but I would love to come back soon. My last time in Dublin was very cool. The English are crazy, but the Irish are craaazy. Plus everyone kinda sounds like Conor McGregor, which for me as a fan is very charming.
Winning Best Producer at the DJ Awards in Ibiza last summer was obviously a highlight, and a reflection of your hard work in the studio. This, along with your busy touring schedule, means you obviously need to find time to unwind. How do you do this and what music would you turn to?
There’s definitely no music involved when I unwind haha. I listen to music so much during the day, when I want to relax I shut it off. I think it’s very important to stay healthy and strong with this lifestyle, so I like to do sports when I can. I hang out with my friends, go to parties, socialize, this relaxes me a lot and gives me energy and new ideas. If I really need some quiet I go in the nature for a walk. I like to meditate aswell, but to be honest I’m slacking off lately. Most important though is to enjoy the touring and studio as much as you can, when something is fun, it doesn’t take much energy.
Do you have a particular approach to composing your tracks in terms of inspiration, or is it simply a case of working until something comes together?
I usually get started with an idea or a combination of elements in mind, but usually I end up with something totally different than what I set out to do. When it comes to creativity you gotta go with the flow. I just jam around and try different things until I have something that sounds dope to me, then I’ll test it in my sets and send it to some buddies to make sure I’m not the only one. After some refining I’ll just send out the tunes to a label I see fit. It’s all quite easy and fluent, I’m not a perfectionist.
What were your musical influences growing up?
The record collection of my dad and of course radio. The biggest mark was left by my father’s soul records, lots of Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross. Later as a teenager I was a big Hip Hop fan: Wu-Tang Clan (I possess all the albums plus the albums of the single members until a point), DJ Premiere, Nas, Timbaland, that was my shit and I think you can hear it in my productions if you listen close enough.
Did you feel under pressure to move to Berlin or was it an easy step to take in terms of your career?
No pressure at all. It was a very organic development. I started working as DJ T.’s co-producer 2,5 years ago, while I was living in Frankfurt. So I already went to Berlin for 1-2 weeks a month working in the studio with him. From there on it was only a small step to move fully. I’m here since 2 years now and I have to say it was one of the best decisions of my life. Berlin really gave me the opportunities I needed to develop a lot as a person and as a DJ/producer. The winter stinks, but I’m very happy here.
It must be something of a privilege to be able to work with DJ T, among others. How much have you learned from him?
Yes definitely, T. was always one of my heroes, as the founder of Groove Magazin, which was my bible, and Get Physical, probably the first label I paid attention to in terms of electronic music. I still remember him calling me and asking me if he could visit me in Frankfurt to go to the studio and make some tunes. I was extremely excited about the idea but had to tell him that I was working with nothing but a laptop and headphones from my bedroom. Obviously he changed his mind after hearing this. A couple months later he called me again and told me he rented a studio in Berlin and we should just try working from there. I took the offer of course and since then we made 3 EPs on Moon Harbour, 1 on Truesoul, 1 on Aus Music, several remixes and even one collabo EP on Heidi’s label Jackathon. I learnt a lot from him obviously. He helped me to refine my feeling for the right elements and gave me the confidence to go for a hit when there’s the opportunity. He also forced me to road test my track-in-progress more, which is quite hard for me, but I do it more often now.
What are the tunes that you know will always click with the crowd, the reliable tracks that you like to have to hand?
At the moment Shaf Huse – Mavado is one of those tracks that lands in almost all of my sets and it always works.
If all goes to plan, you will have 3 EPs released over the course of the next year. If you were to release an album, would you start from scratch or turn to the material you will already have completed?
I will have much more EPs to come this year, but if I would work on an album, it had to be new material. Less clubby, more musical. Maybe I would do a rework of one of my ‘hits’, but if I take the project album on, it would have to be new material and a compelling concept, otherwise the idea is not exciting to me.
Thanks for your time, Emanuel, and the very best of luck for the rest of the year!
Thanks for the interview guys!