Technoir: Shining lights of the underground

Ranjit Nijjer is one of the inventors and co-directors of the Technoir brand, and has been a shining light in the Melbourne techno/electro scene for four years now. Alongside mates Tim Boyd and *Sam Master *K, they’ve been putting on some amazing parties over this time. With residents like Dee Dee, Tronikelesch, Simon Slieker, past residents such as Disko Pussy and past internationals like DJ Misjah, Woody McBride and Ignition Technician, it’s hard to miss a Technoir gig. The next Technoir party this weekend caps off four big years for the crew, and to mark the occasion ITM’s lingfish decided to get all the goss from Ranjit.

For someone usually putting on Technoir parties every few months, you’ve been quiet this year. What’s been going on?

Yeah this year has probably been our quietest one so far, by the end of 2008 we’ll have only done 4 parties this year. I guess there are a few things that have attributed to that… The scale of our last two parties has been a bit bigger than usual, DJ Misjah in February and Woody McBride in June, which means a lot more goes into them behind the scenes which can get a bit draining. Also the whole 2am lockout thing didn’t help during winter… Another major factor has been that the three of us (Tim Boyd, Sam Master K and myself) have all been off doing different things this year which have been taking up a lot of our time; probably most notably Tim heading interstate for 8 months! One positive thing that I think has come out of us taking it easy a bit this year was that I’ve been getting booked for quite a few gigs outside of Technoir this year which has been great!

Does this mean that the Technoir brand is dead?

Not by a long way!

So you’ve been playing other parties—what would you say your main musical tastes when out spinning are lately?

It’s hard to say really… A lot of the parties I’ve played at have had the broad heading of techno, but depending on the gig and the timeslot, what I’ve been playing has varied a bit. I have definitely been embracing the minimal side of things lately, which is a little different to the harder, “Party” Techno that Technoir is known for; but I’ve been loving some of the great tracks I’ve been finding. The main thing for me is that the tracks are fun and have a bit of kick to them!

Lets get nitty gritty. In headphones, Sennheiser or Technics?

Sennheiser all the way… I’ve only tried the Technics once and wasn’t too impressed… I love my HD-25s.

Vinyl or CDJ’s?

Both! They have their pros and cons and I think a mix of each is the way to go.

Club party or open-air?

Never played open-air to be honest; although Technoir might be able to change that over summer.

What kind of rig do you run at home?

I’ve actually only just gotten a pair of speakers set up for the first time in nearly 2 years! I’ve got 2 turntables, 2 CDJs and a mixer running through some lovely monitors at the moment. Makes for a lot of fun.

What other, trickier stuff interests you?

I think I’m always trying to improve my mixing and the general overall product that I am presenting. For the last year I’ve been really getting into mixing on three decks (I know some of the purists will say 2 CDJs and 2 turntables is not four decks!).

Where would you say the Technoir sound is these days? What is the direction?

That’s always a hard one to define I find. “Party Techno” is a term we throw around a bit but it’s somewhat of a simplification. Techno is definitely the foundation for what we do, but it’s not uncommon to hear some breaks, electro, minimal, house, anything that gets people up and moving! Also I’d like to think that the Technoir sound is always evolving and changing as the sound of the times change; as our artists continue to re-define their own sound; but at the end of the day, it’s all about keeping the party rocking!

How did the joining up with Mixed Messages come about?

I’ve actually known the guys who started Mixed Messages since they started a few years ago. From memory Tim and Myself played at some of their first gigs back then! It was something we were talking about for a little while and just decided to go for it! I really respect those guys and what they do; although it’s pretty different to what we do, I think the sentiment behind their parties and their desire to play great music is just the same.

It’s rare that Technoir put on a multi-room party. What’s the go with this VIP Room?

It’s something we always enjoy doing, as it means we get to get a lot more crew involved with the party, but it’s rare we find a venue that can accommodate us! Luckily Roxanne has three great rooms that we will be utilising on the night to full effect! This party we’re going to be showcasing some of the newer talent in Melbourne in the VIP room, as well as a few other special guests.

You’ve been spinning out now for what, four years? How would you describe the journey of your sound over those years?

Yeah this party will make it four years out and about; and a bit over 5 years since I decided to get into all this. As to the journey of my sound, that’s a funny one. In some ways it’s stayed very much the same thus far; from day one I wanted to play techno; and generally harder techno at that. But over the years there’s definitely been many diversions into other areas such as electro and minimal; however I always try and find a way to integrate these different flavours back into my original techno sound.

You mentioned earlier that your partner in Technoir crime Tim Boyd left Melbourne earlier this year for a stint up north. Would you say that attributed to less Technoir parties this year?

I think it did play a part to some degree, but I think it was also just something that was going to happen this year. However he has recently just come back into town so I thought it was only fitting we do a party to welcome him back to Melbourne; not to mention celebrate our 4th Birthday! Also returning to the decks in Melbourne on the night is Disko Pussy, she will be making her first appearance since February 2006!

So, the obvious question. What does the future hold, after four wonderful years of Technoir?

It’s always hard to predict the future, especially in techno! But as long as the people are out there who love it, we’ll be there doing our best to put on great parties for them!

Help Technoir celebrate its fourth birthday this Saturday November 15th.