It’s no secret that Ireland’s techno scene has been popping recently, putting us on the map as a techno hotspot in Europe and attracting major international talent. One of the event organisers that helped make this possible is Mutate, whose modus operandi is to bring underground artists to the intimate setting on Dublin’s Eden Quay. Mutate has featured a delectable mix of acts so far, from home grown artists such as Jamie Behan, Sunil Sharpe, Defekt, RSCH14, to international acts, including Ø[Phase], UVB, Roman Lindau and Tripeo amongst others. Many good times yet to come with Abdullah Rashim, Inigo Kennedy, Lewis Fautzi and Amotik all lined up to play later this year.
Mutate’s latest collaboration is with Dutch born techno record label Dynamic Reflection, founded by Paul Boex in 2008. As insinuated by the name of the label, his purpose was to diversity and enrichen the techno soundscape. In the nine years since its conception Dynamic Reflection has had a host of impressive charted releases, offering a platform for both established and budding artists. In this interview we caught up with Paul Boex, discussing his motivations for starting Dynamic Reflection, and had a quick chat up with resident artist Abstract Division (Paul Boex & Dave Miller) and fresh talent Stefan Vincent, both of whom will be demolishing Dublin’s dance-floor on March 31st. Not to be missed!
Dynamic Reflection was founded with the mission of producing techno in its purest form. Do you think techno has become contaminated?
No, I don’t think it has become contaminated. In fact, techno is bigger than ever. True, there is a lot crap coming out, but on the other hand there’s also A LOT of good stuff being released. Especially from new young producers, new small labels, or older labels that have re-launched. I think that’s a good thing.
Your label name “Dynamic Reflection” would insinuate that music is a form of reflective expression. Would you agree that techno is an intelligent discourse on modern society?
Well at the time when we started the label, there wasn’t much good stuff coming out. That’s the whole reason why we started this. But now, almost 9 years later, the scene and the output is better then ever. There are lot’s of great parties, labels, artist and educated crowds out there… so yeah, I think we can all agree to that.
Dynamic Reflection’s outputs alternate between releases that are both digital and vinyl, and digital only releases. Why is this?
Since we get so many good demos in our inbox and we want to create a platform for young and hungry talented producers out there. It simply would be too expensive to release this only on vinyl. Because, even if you make good music, it doesn’t automatically translate into proper sales. In the past we’ve tried to do this with a few young upcoming artists, but that didn’t really work out the way we hoped, so to release some of the young unknown talents on a dedicated digital only platform is a nice alternative. We make sure it get’s in the right hands.
You have amassed an impressive list of artist releases over the years, of both veteran and burgeoning artists. Why do you think Dynamic Reflection attracts such a high calibre of artists, and what do you look for in unsigned artists?
I think a lot of people just like what we do and what we put out. Also it helps if you have a personal connection with the artists, that’s very important to us. Most of the guys that release on Dynamic Reflection we have a deeper bond with. Which also makes easier to ‘get’ music from them.
Paul Boex & Dave Miller
In comparison with many of that bangers being released by other artists, you guys have opted for a subtler blend of techno. Was this a conscious decision?
If you’re referring to that new distorted industrial techno movement, which is getting very popular these days? Well, that’s just not really for us we suppose. We produce and play what we like, from deep dubby stuff till old-school 90’s stuff and everything in between, but always with a certain level of quality. In our DJ sets the music is very well selected and we like to tell a certain story, where you take the people on a trip. That also means you have to kill your darlings sometimes, simply because it doesn’t fit the story at that point. It depends on the setting, the crowd, the timeslot and many other small factors.
Many of your tracks possess an inward tension, two conflicting forces with coalesce and result in a single coherent sound. To what would you contribute the level of mastery required to create this?
Well it’s quite rare to have a special chemistry between 2 people in the studio. Over time we both individually sat down in the studio with many different friends and colleagues, and most of the time that didn’t work out the way we had hoped. Although we both have different characters, somehow it really works well between us and we have that certain connection where it all comes down to in the studio. In fact it’s the same chemistry as we have on stage, which we are really happy with of course.
How do you prepare for a set?
Every week we get a lot of promo’s. So we dig for new music mostly once or twice a week. We also have a big collection of older stuff and we try to balance these two out in our DJ sets. Depending on the time slot and the show we try to estimate what to expect to encounter. If we play the warm up slot, we dig for deeper stuff. If we play primetime for a big crowd, we’ll bring more bangers. On the other hand, we never know exactly which direction we’re going to take or where it will end. Just go with the flow and see what happens. We think that’s also the beauty in it we suppose.
You began by producing your own tracks and it was only after accumulating a stock of your own that you began DJing. What led you to take this approach?
After a couple of years of releasing tracks I started playing out my music live, which was cool but I rarely got more than an hour to play out my music (which is actually kinda normal for a live PA), and next to that the dynamics of a live PA are completely different than a dj performance. Next to that I was acquiring loads of new music which I wanted to play out as well, that’s when I decided I wanted to be able to perform in the full spectrum rather than being sort of limited to playing in a certain bpm or style.
What prompted you to start producing in the first place?
I was only 19 when I started producing, just because of a genuine interest in electronic music. For me being on stage was never the plan to begin with. I just started to make music because I wanted to, I never had the plan to release music but eventually it started to happen anyway.
What machines do you have in your studio?
I have quite a modest setup as I work mostly digital, but next to ableton with a couple of vst’s I use the TR-8 a lot. I also have the Push 2, a System 1, a JX-03 and a D50. Also some novation controllers for playing live, and of course my RME fireface.