Techno Interview – 10 Questions 2 – Alex Varveris / Abyssal Chaos
Techno Interview – 10 Questions 2 – Alex Varveris / Abyssal Chaos
01. Can you tell us more about your music history, do you have formal training, maybe something many people don’t know about you?
My music history goes way back, starting about 12 years ago. I started participating in the production of major techno events in my town Athens (Greece) bringing all the big international names of techno. Meanwhile at that first year of my existence in the music business, when I was just 18, I had started also studying in a UK university (with a department in Athens) marketing and business management. I took my master in both and knowing already almost all the big agencies/artists of the techno scene, I had already started working also in the music management for artists and labels. For almost 10 years now, I provide all kind of services (distribution, promotion, PR, press, management, agency/bookings) to A-class record labels and artists have worked with the plenty of world’s best and still continuing in full force. Meanwhile, I do plenty events as promoter/booker mostly in Berlin where I live the last 5 years but also in other big cities such as London, Amsterdam, Rome, Paris, Liege, Vienna, Athens, Stuttgart, Munich, Tokyo, New York, Chicago from the projects/labels I represent.
Nowadays I do about 150 high-quality events per year (I have many times even 3 in a day in different cities) with at least one big headliner each, working in about 300 releases per year and of course plenty of booking transactions of my artists at clubs all over the world. Last but not least, since I have been always a musician (drummer at young age), I started also my own artist project when I moved to Berlin: ‘Abyssal Chaos’ (my main alias for techno) where I play frequently and having already a bunch of releases, ‘A/V’ (a special ambient project with 3D visuals – acronym of my real name and ‘’Audio Visual’’) and the upcoming ‘Die Gesetzlosen’ (an EBM punk/industrial vocal-oriented band which I’m looking to start soon as long as I find a fitting vocalist). So yeah, my whole adult life literally, 14-15 hours per day without exception or vacations, is all about music 🙂
02. How did you get into the techno scene and what are your first memories of techno music?
As stated above, I was first into punk/rock music at age of 15 – being a drummer and lyricist at a small band – mostly anti-nazi stuff. I was literally a little punk with a big purple/green mohawk haircut and all that related style. At age of 16/17, I started going at the first illegal raves at some forests in Athens or Greek islands during the summer. I had my first clubbing a little after I was 17 when DJ Hell was playing at a very (in)famous club of Athens back then. I followed some events with Adam Beyer and Richie Hawtin if I remember well. But who made me stick into techno for life, was maybe my 4th or 5th techno party which I attended with Dave Clarke. I just wanted to be like him. That was 13 years ago. Some years later, I met him and even booked him 3 times already at events of mine. It’s amazing how life turns sometimes, right? 🙂
03. Where do you see the techno scene in 10 years? And how do you see yourself in 10 years within the scene?
To be honest, I didn’t like the average direction of techno the last years. It was very plain and boring – speaking about the majority of stuff which naturally was the most publicly known. I had to play/work along with it for the sake of the business but that soft tech-housey big-rooms techno wasn’t my personal style as clubber – as Alex. Now techno takes a new direction, to the real techno and to be honest I don’t care if anyone will get offended by those words. Techno becomes again aggressive, intense, wild, fast, rocking but still remains driving, groovy, uplifting. I’m extremely happy and satisfied where techno is now and those young people getting to know and follow more or less the REAL techno. I believe and hope it will stay like this for at least 10 years – and is playing at my favourite field finally which inspires me personally as well, I see myself in a leading position. All clues in current business show that at least this very moment.
04. Where do you most enjoying playing? Crowdy festival places or more intimate clubs?
I’m so not a festival person. Not as an artist. Neither as a clubber. I would prefer a small authentic rave-cave over the biggest festival again and again. I’m a person that really likes energy. I don’t believe in gods and/or religions. I believe in energy. At festivals the energy is very….spreaded out and sparse-y if you get what I mean. In clubs, the energy is much more gathered and that creates the party. My favourite clubbing experience (besides Berghain) is also my favourite DJ experience – When I played a 16-hour set at an illegal event deep down under the streets of Berlin in a steamy boiler room – no festival could even dream of the energy that place had – and I have been in many festivals. In case you are curious, here is my set from there:
05. Do you prefer to play live/dj or is it all about the music production?
As a person generally, I’m VERY obsessed with freedom or at least my perspective of what freedom is. It’s important as the oxygen itself for me, to be able to do whatever I want whenever I want – having always all possible choices. I’m really kind of a paranoid loonie for that matter. Same with my artist performances. I have a special hybrid ‘’3-in-1’’ setup which combines digital, vinyl and live. I use Ableton so I can have enough possible simultaneous channels where I will put a digital track (that I want to play but doesn’t exist in vinyl) as a ‘base’ each time, and I will add on top loops of other tracks and/or sound effects. On top of that, I have Roland TR-8 drum machine where I can add for example a kick or a hi-hat whenever I want. Connected to the Roland-TR8 I have Roland-TB3 for some acid sounds if I feel so and a ProCo RAT 2 distorter so I can distort/change for example the kick I put extra from the TR8. Last but not least, because I like to play (especially towards the end) some old-school gems or some tracks that exist only in vinyl, I do have also at least one turntable on my setup.
06. Tell us your most proud moment in your career to date?
I don’t feel like choosing any specific. There are many such as the first time I heard a track of mine being played at Berghain by Luke Slater, when I pulled off my 16-hour set, when I did successfully my first big festival with many headliners, when I see big artists I admired as a kid now wanting to work with me or/and playing at my events. I’m very happy with my daily life in general.
07. What music/genres do you listen to when you’re at home?
Besides techno, I like also a lot of ambient music which I as well produce it. I adore ambient music and I always listen before/during I sleep. I always loved classic rock music and as well I am very into industrial, new-wave, dark-wave and EBM (Electro Body Music). Fun fact: When I’m taking a long bath (I like girly baths lasting for hours by only the light of candles) I like to listen to some classical music. I have a small radio beside my bathtub always turned on in a classical FM station.
08. What parties and festivals should we not miss this year?
The ones your heart leads you too 🙂
09. Do you have any does or don’ts regarding tips for upcoming talents?
Patience. Persistence. Real hard work and not the easy-sleazy way most people do now by just hiring ghost producers and buying facebook likes. It might work unfortunately but they all fade-out eventually. Real talent and hard work, always shines at the end even if it takes time. Good things take time, right?
10. Can you tell us more about your plans for the coming 12 Months? Do you have any new productions/collaborations projects?
I am looking forward to start my EBM band I mentioned above as a ‘’new’’ project, I have in a couple of months the 50th release of my very own techno label which is a 4-tracker by myself called ‘’Catharsis’’ and many big weekly events are on the making already. Just keep in touch with my pages:
Again … thank you for inviting me. It was such a honor and pleasure 🙂
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