Terence Fixmer is one of France’s most illustrated characters of the techno scene. His has reached this respected level, without ever succumbing to excessive promotion or subscribing the mainstream. His sound which deftly avoids repetition by developing soundscapes that appeals as much to the dancing feet, as it does to the searching soul, whilst still maintaining musical depth and integrity. He above all preserves an original style, an increasingly experimental, simultaneously ruthless and instantly recognizable.
Hi Terence thanks for taking the time out to talk to us. How has 2015 been shaping up for you so far?
Yes it has started really well thanks. With the release of my album, it is always special as you put a lot of work into it and is a goal which you set yourself at some stage as an artist. Now it has released, people can see how you try to express yourself. It makes me very happy that I can share all the work with you guys.
Growing up in France what were the significant moments and influences that led you towards Electronic Music?
When I was a growing up in the North of France about 5 minutes from the Belgian border, there wasn’t much music which I found interesting early on and I found it difficult to find something which I could relate to. Then when I was about 12 I fell in love with the synths used by bands who came onto the scene in the 80’s. The quirky sounds, the sequences and atmosphere coming from them really hit me. I had finally found something I really liked. Then there were groups like Klinic and Front 242 and this really was my first musical education. We were lucky in the North of France because we are more exposed to this music than say other parts of the country. Then the New Beat came along in the 88 89 and this was a real musical revolution for me and from that came techno.
Was a decision made early on after the discovery of electronic music to move into the production side of things?
Yes for sure I felt really passionate and more curious about what I was hearing, but I was young and had no clue of how to create these sounds or how tracks were put together. I was hearing all these sounds which were new and futuristic to me as opposed to now, where elements of tracks are easily known but back then was a lot different. I can remember hearing the track ‘Dominator’ and thinking “Wow what is this? Its like it is from a different planet. I need to have this”.
How would you describe your early years of producing and learning the trade?
It was around 90/91 I began to work towards producing. A really good friend of mine who was a bit older than me had a little studio. I would call over all the time to his place and play around and try to understand how everything worked. I would hear tracks in clubs and wanted to know how they were created and the sounds made. Some of my friends started getting into DJing but I thought it was expensive to buy records; instead I could buy one synth where I can make dozens of tracks. Of course I will still only a teenager and when I began my music making adventure and trying to learn the technical side of things and then there is the vocal side of things too and develop that aspect into my productions.
What tools you would have used to make tracks when you started out? Obviously back then its more or less all analogue?
I think back then it was more complicated as there were no computers and plugins so we only made analog music with synths and a mixing desk. But you also needed a lot of outboard gear like compressors and EQ’s to get tracks to sound club ready. When you are a student you cannot afford these things and try to work around it to get it where you think its sounds polished as can be. Some synths I had were the Korg Wavestation, Roland J800 but to create techno on these synths I feel was not as easy as it is today.
How would you describe the evolution and development of your studio?
I would my say my roots are are actually in Euroracks and modular systems. Of course like I mentioned growing up was all analogue but when computers started to come in around 2002 they offered all these possibilities like recording, mixing and editing all in one box. I thought to myself this is really cool what you can do with one computer. So then I started to sell everything because I was feeling this was the way forward for me. But after a few years begun the miss my old gear and began to think maybe not this was not a good way to evolve as a artist and performer so decided to return to my roots.
Your production style has always been consistent in what you deliver. Have you ever wanted to move into another style perhaps under a different pseudonym to mix things up a bit?
It’s very of complicated as I am not into house. I like different styles of techno and feel under my own name, I cover many moods, flavours across the spectrum of the genre. I also have this other project called Fixmer/McCarthy, which is more focused on EBM productions. This will be about as far a I go away from techno as I will never produce house.
You have a strong allegiance with CLR and Chris Liebing for many years. Could you delve more into your relationship with Chris and his label and where it all started from?
I meet Chris I think was around 99. He asked me to come and play in Frankfurt as he was running a party. This was around the time I began to get some recognition as an artist with one of my tracks Electrostatic being a big hit in Germany around then. So yes it was a long time ago now so we have become good friends and then as a booking agent on CLR agency. Even though my sound is not typical CLR I think it is nice to be different.
Your latest album came out on CLR this year. Can you tell us more about when you decided to do it?
I think you never really decide that OK this year I want to do an album, but my last was in 2010 on Electric Deluxe and time has moved really fast and my last one was almost over 4 years old. Then sometimes when you produce a several tracks, you decide to release just as a 12 inch because they have a continuity throughout and suit the structure of an album.
What did you want to convey before you starting the album. Did you have an idea of what and where you wanted to go?
Yes maybe there was a kind of vision for me to produce something maybe more away from the dance floor. Sometimes with an album especially now in the age of digital where you can pick the tracks you like and maybe never hear the full album properly, like you would when you buy it on vinyl. I just wanted to make music really for me, without a precise direction and create an atmosphere I really like. So I have made this with no self-compromise, which could be seen as a very selfish way of producing but that’s what I wanted.
To keep with your productions, you also have a forthcoming EP coming out on Jealous God. What can we expect from it and who is on remix duties?
Of course I like to make techno but I also like to produce more EBM style as well. So this will be more along the lines of this as opposed to the more hypnotic techno most will be familiar with and you would commonly hear from me. No there won’t be anyone on remix duty as I would prefer to keep the originals and that enough for me.
You have been producing many years, is there any artists you are very keen to collaborate with or do you prefer to work alone?
For me personally I would really prefer to produce alone because I can move at the speed I want to and work without that kind of pressure of working with someone. I don’t feel free and find my music is very personal and want to be alone. If I did collaborate I would prefer not to do with another producer but with maybe a singer as they can bring something different to the table.
You own and run your own label Planet Rouge with some quality acts and releases on it. Running a label is a very personal thing, what is your vision for it and what do you want to achieve out of it?
First and foremost I am a producer and this takes up a lot of time. So when you are a label manager you have to work on things like promotion therefore spend a lot of time on things which is not linked to the studio. But of course I get great satisfaction to release tracks from artist that I like. I don’t aspire to have a big label but more like a small family who are very similar minded and have individuality.
Who artists would you recommend to look?
I will always support Alexey Volkov as he is an artist I think has a lot of potential and who I am a big fan for his style. But I think he has his own sound and will only get better in my opinion. He will always remain as an underground artists I think but will do good things
When performing you are a live act and not a DJ. Can you tell us about your setup when playing?
Of course in the 90’s I gigged with a lot of gear, which I would bring with me. Then about 2000 on wards I started to use Ableton. Now I am back on hardware and have found a nice compact setup to travel with without the aid of a computer. I use 2 Octatracks, a Machinedrum, Dave Smith’s Evolver and also a Tetra.
Usually a live act plays for an hour or so as compared to DJs who could play for 8. Do you ever feel frustrated and wanting a play longer sets but for obvious reasons and restrictions cant?
No usually I play for over 1 hour or just over, but am happy with this. As a DJ you can travel in different directions and styles. But live it is your own composition and your own productions. So to play more extended sets maybe would be too much to suit a dance floor over an extended period of time. I think 1 hour or 90 minutes is perfect for this.
Has there been any disasters in the past when using hardware live?
Of course!! They have been a lot of disasters. On one occasion whilst playing the midi went out of sync when a machine was unplugged. I didn’t know what was going on and started to panic but this is all part of it.
You headlining for We Concur 1st birthday in April. How did this come about?
I was familiar with Corsica studios and knew this was a big techno venue in London. Then We Concur approached my booking agent and we felt we would complement each other and the party would be good for me.
What can we expect this Saturday night and will there be any surprises in store?
I will play my own productions obviously and some tracks from my new album but sometimes I don’t know what I will do. I will play unreleased music too and see what reaction I get.
You played a few times in London over the years. How do you find the London crowd?
Anytime I play in London I always love it and find there is an unexpected twist in the night so I like this about performing here.
Finally what else have you planned for 2015?
Yes I have a few things as mentioned there is a forthcoming release EP with Jealous God and then after the summer maybe in September a release on Plant Rouge and
the usual gigs in between.
Thanks for chatting to us today and best of luck with the gig on Saturday, all details can be seen below.
We Concur announce 1st Birthday with Terence Fixmer, Redshape & Woo York
April 18th 2015 will be a momentous occasion for a clued-up section of the London clubbing community, because bravely underground night We Concur turn one with a very special party. Returning to Corsica Studios once again, heavyweight techno tastemakers Terence Fixmer and Redshape both line up and play live, Woo York also plays live and resident Rachel Lyn returns whilst Bade Records hold a showcase in Room 2.
This event will be the first following a memorable showcase on New Year’s Day with Nina Kraviz et al, and will again be a hugely considered affair with extra production, top notch sound quality and a general attention to detail that separates the night from all others in the capital and beyond. The We Concur crowd is a discerning one that likes to do some serious dancing to no nonsense underground sounds and before now they have done so in their droves. Previous events have gone down with a bang at Oval Space and Crucifix Lane with the likes of Mind Against, Mano Le Tough, Clockwork, Job Jobse, Matthew Dekay, Matthias Meyer, Alan Fitzpatrick and Recondite all playing in their first year. This birthday, then, is sure to be a special celebration for those in the know.
And so to the line-up. One of the most important and influential names to emerge from the French electronic scene, Terence Fixmer has been a bastion of quality techno for over a decade. This event marks the official London leg of his new album tour ‘Depth Charged’, his first solo album since the highly acclaimed ‘Comedy of Menace’ in 2010. Since emerging on DJ Hell’s seminal International Deejay Gigolos imprint in 1999, many of techno’s biggest acts have sighted Fixmer as a major influence on their work, including Ben Klock and Tale of Us. With his live sets expertly incorporating his driving, dark productions, his first performance in the UK for over two years is surely an essential date for you diary.
The infamous man in the red mask dubbed The Phantom of Techno, Redshape has proven to be one of the most exciting names in techno since he arrived on the scene in 2006. The Berlin-based producer has united the scenes fans old and new with his rugged-brand of Detroit infused productions, his mask only providing more intrigue to his sets. An eclectic and versatile producer to say the least, his live sets take you through many forms of techno, always toward-thinking and never predictable. His 2012 remix of Martyn’s ‘We Are You In The Future’ perfectly demonstrates this, also gaining huge support from the likes of Koze, Adam Beyer and Tennis along the way.
The most exciting prospects in techno currently, the Ukrainian duo of Woo York have been causing a huge amount of hype in the last year or so. Having gained a foothold in the scene on well respected labels such as Soma and Planet Rhythm and remixes provided by Jeroen Search, Truncate and Edit Select, the duos tracks have received huge support from heavyweights in the scene including Marcel Dettmann and Ben Klock. With recent performances at Berghain and Tresor under their belt and the news of an upcoming release on Life and Death, We Concur are extremely proud to be welcoming them for a debut UK performance.
We Concurs latest and greatest resident, Rachel Lyn, returns after her highly praised set on New Years Day. Her sound is absolutely perfect for this lineup and will no doubt set the tone for the evening.
Last but not least, Bade Records host a Room 2 Showcase. A highly respected London-based record label, their tracks have been getting huge international support, with me and Thugfucker dropping their tunes, which all have a focus on an eerie, emotive undertone and perfect fit in with the We Concur MO.