Interview: Rakom

The majority of producers in our industry spend several decades learning the art of music production, while few ever actually reach a level of skill that allows them to release on which ever label is atop their favourite genre.

For German techno producer Rakom, this happened at just 16 years old and the youngster has already released productions on labels like OFF Recordings, and Complexed Records.

This month he returns to his own Rakords imprint to release his new 5-track, all original, Volt Processor EP.

We caught up with him to ask about the tracks in his own words, how he feels about working with labels at such a young, what his parents think about his plans to become a touring DJ, and more. Get the full discussion below.

You’ll be releasing your new Volt Processor EP at the end of the month, talk us through the five originals on this one?

I made the intro for me to start sets in an atmospheric way, a little mystical and distorted. On “Artistic Statement” I wanted to pay dues to the birthplace of house and techno music: Detroit, Michigan. Motor City is all about steps on repeat and the main theme drives like an assembly line. The vocal sample was recorded in my studio: “Techno is one of the most far-reaching forms of electronic dance music.”

“Volt Processor” is my assembly of kicks, drums, a bassline, rides, and hi-hats with a peaking tone that varies. Intended to let the rhythmic beats do its job on the floor.

“Raw Disharmonics” is my first attempt at creating dis-aligned chords, as such that these become rather hypnotic. And my interest in techno of the past brought me to this style, with the break beat and rave theme. I can’t wait to play this in front of a crowd! “Binary Signal” is intended to appeal to the appreciation of techno that is a little more bouncy or groovy.

And it arrives on your Rakords imprint, what made you want to launch your own label so early on in your career?

My feelings told me, I want to produce music the way I would love to hear it in a club or coming from a stage myself. If I had released my first tracks on an established label, it could have been that the label would only find two out of the five tracks truly appealing, because it fits into their concept or style. I would probably need to argue or accept a compromise, or maybe let a different release go first.

My own label is more work and means more risk as well. But, I get the advantage of releasing what I want, and to plan the timing of the release and to me this is very important.

You’re only 16, though have already released tracks on labels like OFF Recordings and Complexed Records, do you feel any pressure when working with labels at such a young age?

I feel special, that both OFF Recordings and Complexed Records stand behind me or stand behind my production. It is not often that labels are open to fairly unknown producers. With both label managers I felt very comfortable as they are experienced and helped me with things that I did not or could not know at the time. They assured me my tracks were at a solid level, compared to similar releases.

And how do your parents feel about you pursuing a career as a DJ, compared to something more ‘traditional’?

I am glad to have their support. I am young, and the business has the potential to change so radically and quick. We should be convinced, or we should be afraid that it will.

DJing I like the traditional aspect, when I play a vinyl set. Playing a digital set asks for a different set of skills in mixing and I like that as well. Like everyone else I taught myself how to produce, and I do not want to stop there. Expanding my skills with images, with videos, with sound design etc. will be a good foundation for me to support interesting brands in their appearance.

My parents trust that I will be doing fine, I guess?! They have not expressed concerns – at least none that I have heard.

Which other labels might we expect to see you on in the near future?

Just in parallel to my first release on RAKORDS I released a track with my friend Drumcomplex for the Rave The Planet supporter series on Riot Recordings, the label of Franky Effe. I have no releases lined up yet, but I certainly hope to release on Soma or on Hayes, maybe?! But, who knows, others like Absence Of Facts?

And do you have a favourite record label?

I like the changing landscape of labels and find it interesting that new ones appear with interesting music and concepts. For current labels, I like Soma, Hayes and MORD a lot. And I appreciate past ones like Plus8, Synewave, and Kombination Research.

Lastly, which track from your Volt Processor EP should we listen to first?

I like “Volt Processor” and “Raw Disharmonics” best. As all vinyl presses are operating at max capacity the lead time till delivery has been quite long. In other words, I have developed again during that period. It might sound bold, but today I am already looking forward to present to you my following tracks.

Hope, we can remain in touch. Thank you very much for having me, it has been a pleasure!