Deetron: Droppin’ the D-Tron Bomb
In a secret laboratory tucked away in Bern, Switzerland, scientists have invented an extremely lethal weapon of massive destruction using hyper-genetics and thought-control through tonalities and far-reaching frequencies. The project was labeled the ‘D-tron bomb’, but then was later changed to Deetron. As is usually the case, the power of Deetron fell into the wrong hands and the technology was implemented into a humanoid form. This mutation into a sub-class of Deetron was named Sam Geiser. Geiser was then raised by a jazz musician father and began figuring out the implosive elements of DJing through hip-hop and Detroit techno.This explosive DJing was to transition into a blur of music as tracks are cut, twisted and sexed into a conglomerate whole using three turntables and two CDJs. Initially, Geiser was picked up by Club Traxx in Zurich, a residency which he still holds. Zurich became Geiser’s portal to the ends of the earth and Deetron madness was spread worldwide. Releasing several tracks and EPs for such labels as Music Man, Phont Music and Cosmic, Geiser found himself morphing into various alter-egos, dating as far back as 1997. An explosive mix album ensued for Music Man in 2002, titled aptly ‘Deetron in the Mix’. Definitely a foreshadowing to this feature article.ITM’s Marquee Moon found the humanoid in Bern to discuss the current status of techno, the remoteness of Bern and the capacities of the Deetron bomb.
ITM – In what ways is your techno productions and DJing progressing that is fresh and new for Deetron fans?
Geiser – Recently I have been focusing on productions which go into a much deeper, musical direction and I have been working with quite a few vocalists and live musicians for the upcoming album as well. As far as the DJ-sets are concerned I believe I am progressing every time I am playing out. Overall I am trying to surprise the crowds and introduce them to my definition of good music.
ITM – You’ve been producing for almost a decade now. In what ways have your production skills and techniques changed since the beginning?
Geiser – The production process has become slower. I am spending quite a lot of time on every track I am writing. I find it more difficult to be satisfied with a tune nowadays. On the technical side I have changed quite a few things in my studio and I am working a lot more with software than I used to.
ITM – How do you keep from repeating yourself? In what ways do you rejuvenate, regenerate, and renew yourself in order to keep pushing forward?
Geiser – I am a tough critic to myself and I am playing my music to people from my personal surrounding and to people I respect and appreciate in order to get “third party” views and sometimes get creative input as well. During some periods I am not making any music at all. I usually take this time to re-think what I have been doing and to have a look at the music from a more distant point of view. Once I can feel the time is right I get back to the studio to finalize or rework the tracks. The places I visit when traveling around the world certainly assist me as well as I usually return home with a lot of ideas in my head.
ITM – You’ve often spoken on the fact that Bern is a relatively quiet scene and yet guys like Diego are releasing crazy stuff on Kanzleramt. Phont Music is based there and of course you’re there. In what ways do you think the solitude of Bern has influenced you?
Geiser – I always found it quite helpful to operate from a distant position to the scene in order not to get influenced too much by electronic music only. In the meantime it has become much more quiet even. There is almost no techno happening in the city nowadays. I always really enjoy it though when I come home from big cities all over the world and can go back to the solitude of Bern, as you call it, and work on my music.
ITM – You’ve released under quite a few monikers, such as Karakter, Procreation, Soulmate, etc, etc. What are some of the underlying common denominators between the different styles coming out of each moniker? What are some of the differences? Geiser – I cannot exactly put in words what the common denominators and differences are; I just usually decide under what moniker I will release a track during the production process. I can feel in which direction the track goes and which moniker would suit best for it. In more recent times I have been mainly focusing on the Deetron releases though and I am trying to gather all the different sides to my music under that project.
ITM – What is it about techno that particularly allows you a freedom to express the themes and emotions you want to portray in your music?
Geiser – It’s not particularly about techno really, I believe I could express my emotions through any kind of music. It just happened to be that way in my case so far. It could well be that I do an R&B track as well and express my emotions in that way.
ITM – In your live sets you wind up flying through so many tracks with your 3 decks and 2 CDJs. What do you think the importance of this is, when tracks can’t even be identified anymore in one huge live remix?
Geiser – Well I am just trying to use all possibilities which playing with records allows. It’s important to me to create something new with the tracks I use, to try and make new versions, to make the music more diverse and intense. Just playing record after record seems not quite enough of a challenge to me.
ITM – What is the importance of the DJ in modern popular culture?
Geiser – The DJ is important in modern popular culture because he/she can influence the crowds, introduce them to new things and I believe it’s a DJ’s responsibility to find a good middle way between entertaining the crowd and educating them as well.
ITM – In what ways is it important for techno to not be embraced by big business record labels? On the other hand, are there pros to techno sitting on a mainstream level with the general public? Geiser – The music always has to come first and has to be the main priority. Major labels think about profit in the first place and I have the impression that the quality of the music is secondary to them. Only once a certain track is starting to get big in the electronic music scene they usually pick it up, as it for instance happened with Knights of the Jaguar. I believe they just jump on board when something already is big and they know it will get the numbers; they are not interested to build up an artist’s career on long terms. The only pro I can think of now could be that the music reaches a much wider audience because of the massive distribution and promotion network major labels have but I don’t think an underground techno track will even with a major make it too big, it has to be a track which is crossing over to different genres.
ITM – What does the second half of 2005 hold for you?
Geiser – The main thing will be the album which should finally be released towards the end of the year hopefully or early 2006. The first single of the album will be released soon including a track I did together with singer Ovasoul7, who used to work with Mathew Herbert and Ursula Rucker before. Apart from that I am working on remixes for the Detroit Grand Pubahs and Smith and Selway.
12th Aug – Dream Sequence in Adelaide
13th Aug – Chinese Laundry in Melbourne
16th Aug – Melt with Kazu Kimura in Brisbane
19th Aug – CQ Lounge with Justin Berkovi in Sydney