Techno connoisseur Joachim Spieth talks Kompakt, Metallica and Ableton

There’s something special about an artist who doesn’t soak up the limelight and continues to produce music that doesn’t digress away from his roots. Germany’s Joachim Spieth is one such artist. After beginning his career in 1999 with his first release on Cologne’s Kompakt label, he continued to belt out release after release on house and techno’s most prolific labels. Ranging from Kompakt to Traum Schallplatten, to Tranclucent he had a steady stream of success with all of his releases. Finally, in 2008 he launched his very own label Affin, which has been described as an ‘open playground’ for Techno House & Minimal. With his “Never Mind” remixes, there’s versatility, technical prowess and at the same time, he uses his experiences and his deep rooted knowledge to showcase the quality of his productions, which are top class. We sat down with the German artist to talk about his foray into the dance music industry, how his sound has evolved over the years, and his future projects.

Hi Joachim, thank you for taking out some time for us. We’re very pleased to do this interview with you. Trust you’re doing well?

Hi, you’re welcome! I’m fine, hope you are too!

For our readers who aren’t aware of your music, could you give us a bit of insight about your roots and how your journey into dance music began?

I was interested in music since I was a child and listened to different genres over the years. By listening to some instrumental hip-hop tunes I got into electronic music (“Mo Wax” label to mention here). Then I discovered WARP Records etc.

Who were some of your earliest influences while you were growing up? Were you always drawn towards dance music and a particular style that made you want to produce house and techno?

I was into Heavy Metal when I was a child (Metallica, later Soundgarden, Mudhoney etc. When I was younger I had a band with a friend and played bass… So this maybe is the main connection to what I’m doing now (BASS). I just wanted to do music.

Germany is known for its club culture, and always been a pioneer for music – no matter what style. Did this club culture become the catalyst for you to venture into dance music as well?

Also but not only, as we had some “raves” in nature when I got involved into electronic music.

Your first release dates back to 1999 with “Abi 99”on Kompakt. From that very first release to your forthcoming “Never Mind” remixes, how has your sound evolved over the years?

I always tried to work on several sound streams over the years. On Kompakt (and also later) I released some ambient stuff besides from my techno tunes like “Under Pressure” or the Auftrieb 12”s. Since I launched Affin I have always tried to do different things with my music. Not sure who’s able to bring the same idea of music over 15 years or longer… that would maybe be a bit boring.

You established your own label in 2008 ‘Affin’. Being in the business for a long period of time already, what made you take your time in setting up the label?

Before I founded Affin I was part of a team managing the label Paso Music (today run by Marc Miroir) for about 2 years. I was sure that I would run my own label one day (when I started releasing my music on Kompakt) but I didn’t feel any rush to do it. After almost 10 years of being “in the game” I thought that it was the right time to do it.

Affin has a diverse range of artists such as UK’s Arnaud Le Texier, Dutch whiz Reggy Van Oers, and German Techno master Alex Bau among others – picking artists defines the label. How did you come to pick these artists to be part of the label?

With Arnaud (for example) it developed in a natural way. We met years before he released on the label and decided to team up. Then nothing happened… and last year he just sent an amazing demo ( “Rotation” 12”). Reggy van Oers has been part of the label since the beginning. We got in touch because of Kompakt/Traum years before. Often there was a connection before acts became part of the label, and moreover, I get a lot of demos for Affin, so sometimes it also happens on this channel.

2014 saw you release ‘Aidan’ on Affin, which also had the likes of Samuel L. Session & Arnaud Le Texier adding their own magic. You’ve titled this release as ‘Industrial Techno’. Could you elaborate what exactly this means and how you chose these guys to remix for you?

I can’t remember that I titled this 12” as Industrial Techno. But the feeling while doing this tune was very special and I was confused, things were changing. I like Samuel & Arnaud’s way of producing music, and I was sure that both of them could add something to my original.

With the change and shift in all styles of dance music, do you have any particular artist or artists that have sort of influenced the kind of tracks you produce today?

I always was inspired by the music around the Hardwax store (Basic Channel, Chain Reaction) as well as the early Kompakt “sound” (Studio 1, Profan, NTA), and for sure some other labels and artists. But it’s not on me to say if they influenced the way I produce my music.

You’ve remixed tracks for Michael Mayer, Einmusik to name a few. With every remix, do you have a specific idea what you’re going to do or just get into the studio and go with the flow?

Well, it always depends on the tracks I remix. There’s no master plan. For some tunes I had big respect and tried a lot until they were finished (17 & 4 remix for Michael Mayer on Kompakt 100 for example), others just happened and were fluid.

When producing a techno track, what do you feel are the most important elements, and how to you go about producing those elements? Do you use hardware or software, or a mixture of both?

For me all elements are really important to have them like I want. I mainly use Ableton Live with Kontakt sampler, but also Hardware like EMU sampler and FX from T.C. Electronic. In general I’m layering a lot and I’m addicted to my filters. These components are very important for all my tracks.

What really inspires you when you are creating an original track? Has there ever been a time when you’ve nearly completed a track and found that it’s not quite there yet and you’ve started over?

I’m inspired when I’m able to forget about the things around me. Yes, that’s happening sometimes, but then I delete the tune and don’t try to rearrange all. If the feeling is gone I can’t go for it anymore.

With 2014 well underway, what can we expect from Affin and you? Any exciting projects lined up for 2015?

2014 is a very good year for the label, that’s obvious for people following our music. We’re getting more and more requests like licensing (for example Enter.Minus) and you can see our releases are played out, etc. I’d say let’s have a look for 2015, follow our announcements. Some ideas set up but it’s too early to talk about.

Are there any new producers that you’d really enjoy collaborating with in the future?

We’ll see!

Being a DJ and producer takes up a lot of your time and is also tiring at times. If you had to just take a week off from it all, what would be your favorite way to relax?

I like what I’m doing (besides from it: other “jobs” also can get boring as well). I’d like to spend a week in the mountains, without any connection.

Once again Joachim, thanks for taking time out for us. Let’s sign off by asking you, what would be the advice you’d give to upcoming artists?

Just to follow your own path. Thanks, you too for this nice chat!

01. Radial ­ Karplus (Anton Pieete rmx) (RDL)
02. Joachim Spieth ­ Never Mind (Andrea Belluzzi rmx) (Affin)
03. Truncate ­ Model 1 (Truncate)
04. Keith Carnal ­ Objective (Affin)
05. Samuel L Session ­ Mercury (Alleanza)
06. Petter B ­ Loggbay Session B (Drumcode)
07. Arnaud Le Texier ­ Vailiant (Oscar Mulero rmx) (Children Of Tomorrow)
08. MTD ­ Ground (Affin)
09. Impact Unit ­ The Dread (promo)
10. Sound Associates ­ Boombox (Len Faki) (Figure)
11. Deepbass, Ness ­ Dimension )Dynamic Reflection)
12. 2Loud ­ Domino (Blacklisted Audio)
13. Electric Rescue ­ Crater (Affin)

Press shot by Nadia Morganistik –

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About the Author

Shilpa’s love of dance music is vast and it spreads across many different styles. Before becoming a writer you’d find her on the dancefloor shaking a leg while her favourite DJs were working their magic. 7 years ago she decided to combine her love of dance music and her love of writing and began to document her experiences and the music she is a firm advocate of, and has since then written with some pretty heavyweight publications.