There’s not much that Diynamic boss Solomun hasn’t achieved in the last seven years, both in terms of his trusted label and his own personal career. A shining example of an underground hero receiving the mainstream credit he deserves, Solomun and Diynamic’s story goes from humble beginnings in Hamburg, working hard to run the label with friends H.O.S.H and Stimming whilst opening the now world famous EGO club in the notoriously-cool Reeperbahn district of the city (once considered to be one of the vice capitals of Germany), to holding two residencies concurrently in Ibiza, running Diynamic festivals in Amsterdam and Brazil and even releasing a charity album of indie and crossover remixes, Solomun has worked hard to become one of Europe’s most sought after exponents of alternative, left of centre house music.
With that in mind, it’s no wonder that the wonderful chaps at We Are FSTVL have billed the German figurehead for their second festival this year, armed with one of the most stellar line ups of the year, comprised of some of the biggest DJs and acts in the world. Ahead of his appearance for the weekend spectacular.
Hi Mladen, thank you for the time to have a little chat with us. Last time we spoke to you was in August 2012 and a lot of things have changed since then. At this point your first season of the Diynamic residency at Sankeys was really starting to take off, and the next summer you added a personal residency at Pacha to your repertoire, with Solomun + 1. Could you tell us what it was like to hold down two residencies on the island at once? And how did you approach each differently?
My residency at Pacha was, of course a big challenge and there’s always a risk when doing such a step. That’s why I am more than happy that it all worked out so well.
You have to approach all residencies in the same way, no matter what club it is, with all of your heart and all your spirit. For me, personally, the challenge was to find some space and time for recovering, that’s why I had 2 weekends off in August and September, so I could relax a bit and go to the beach.
Did last summer help you decide which residency to continue with in 2014? And why did you decide to go with Pacha, as opposed to Sankeys where your Ibiza journey began?
Even before we brought the Diynamic roster to Ibiza in 2012, we had lots of offers from different clubs for a residency, but we wanted to start something new with partners who are also new on the Island. That was the special challenge for our Neon Nights residency at Sankeys. The people from Pacha made it very easy for me to agree on the residency there. They are very professional and experienced of course, since they’ve worked and been in business on the Island for 40 years. And I did Sankeys because the people who go to Pacha are not necessarily the people who go to Sankeys and vice versa. And last year, that worked out perfectly; I guess maybe 15% of the guests showed up at both events, which was great to see familiar faces in both clubs.
And yes, we decided not to continue with Sankeys this year but like my Diynamic-partner Adriano just mentioned in an interview with Ibiza voice a few days ago: the reasons for that are not for the public. After cancelling Sankeys without having a backup-plan, Amnesia offered us a residency in an amazing outdoor place called “Cova Santa” where we be hosting great Diynamic daytime parties from July to September, every Tuesday with our new brand called Diynamic Outdoor, where all our artists from the Diynamic family will play. All of the guys will be there: H.O.S.H., Adriatique, David August, Stimming, Kollektiv Turmstrasse, Karmon, NTFO, DJ Phono, Thyladomid, Magdalena, Ost&Kjex and of course myself from time to time.
Can we expect the same recipe for Solomun +1 this summer, or will you be doing things differently now that it’s your only night on the island?
The concept itself stays the same: a very special guest and I will both play on the night. Regarding my +1-guests, I am very happy that lots of last year’s names obviously enjoyed it so much playing with me at Pacha that they come back. Djs such as Miss Kittin, Ame, DJ Koze, Heidi and H.O.S.H and I am also very proud to announce new guests like Dixon, Claude VonStroke, Pete Tong, Guy Gerber, Anja Schneider, Andhim, Kölsch and Adriatique.
What particular memory makes you smile when you think back about last summer? What were the standout moments for you?
Honestly, spending the summer on a sunny Island, holding great parties & experiencing it all with good friends: this gives me a big smile when I think back.
You clearly have an extremely busy schedule performing all over Europe and the rest of the world. Is there one country and specific venue that you always love to visit and perform? Leaving Ibiza and Hamburg out of the question…
Of course it’s a gift to play at so many places around the world and if I would name all the places I really loved to play then the space of this interview would not be enough. From Berlin, the Netherlands, France, Spain, Italy, UK, Romania … all the great festivals, Mexico, Argentina and more and more the United States. I feel very blessed to have an amazing time in such great places all over the world. But it’s no secret that Brazil always has a special place in my heart; for me it’s always like a little homecoming when I am there. On Easter Sunday we will have the first Diynamic festival in Brazil at Warung Beach Club, so this is like a dream coming true for me. With all my boys in “the temple”: what more can I ask for?!
And is there still a country you’ve never played but would really like to?
Yeah – Bosnia, the country that my family originates from. I’ve never played there and at the moment we are working hard to make it happen, which excites me of course!!
Can you remember some of your first DJ gigs – how did it feel when you first got on the decks and played a crowd?
I will never forget one gig like 15 years ago, on the birthday at a friend’s place in the middle of the red-light district in Hamburg, St. Pauli. The windows were open and so the sound blasted out to the streets. At one point I watched out of the window and saw not only a little flashmob on the street but also a dozen prostitutes dancing while waiting for customers. This was a great picture!
You’re well known for playing a lot of eclectic party tunes, rather than sticking to a rigid house formula. Why do you like to incorporate these other styles – classic hip hop for example – what do you think it adds to your sets?
I am sure what you mean with eclectic party tunes, but if you mean that I am not afraid of playing a hip hop tune or an industrial ‘80s track from time to time when it fits, then you may be right. I am always between house and techno, but obviously both genres have changed quite a bit. What it is a good thing though is that those genres always move on in an organic way and remain in a state of constant evolution.
By running Diynamic and its sister label 2DiY4, as well as being the man behind EGO in Hamburg – does it ever feel more like business rather than music?
Fortunately my partner Adriano and my sister Magdalena take care of the business side of the labels and the clubs. Of course I am involved in everything but this way it allows me to keep my focus on A&R and music.
How do you keep challenging yourself and remain from stagnating?
Life itself is a challenge, I don’t have to say to myself: now you take another challenge. It just happens naturally, and of course I like it that way. And of course I only accept challenges when I have the feeling that I can make it at the end.
Do you have any spare time left? What do you like to do if you have any?
Not much to be honest. When I have some free time I like having dinner with friends and sometimes I enjoy only watching TV-shows on my laptop.
In a few weeks time you play at We Are FSTVL on the Sunday. What’s it like to be part of such a vast line-up and production. Is there more pressure, or less?
Of course there is always pressure when you see how many great artists will be there. But I always go out and do my thing, whether it’s in a 250 capacity club in San Francisco where I’m going to play later this evening or on a massive festival stage.
Most people got to know you over the last few years of your career, but you’ve been working in music much longer than that. Do you feel that you’ve learnt the most during your incredible success of the last few years, or did you define yourself best in your early years and have been going strong ever since?
I think it’s good that my career was like built up in a quite organic way, so I know the DJ business from scratch. And I can’t tell in what period I learned the most, because I believe in the theory that you learn every day – as long as you live. And from almost every day in the past I took some precious lessons along with me.
Solomun is playing at We Are FSTVL on Sunday 25th of May for the Eat Sleep Rave Repeat Stage alongside Fatboy Slim, Duke Dumont, Annie Mac and Tiga
More information about the festival and tickets CLICK HERE