New direction of techno
Franki Juncaj aka DJ 3000 is a new musical force from Underground Resistance camp. He has just released a debut album - "Migration". We talked with him about his way to the electronic top and his original idea of fusing techno with world music.
- When did you discover electronic music?
- I discovered electronic music around 1990-91. I was in high school and I was use my brotha fake ID to get into a club called "St. Andrews Hall". And Mojo on the radio really opened me up to electronic music. I was a B-Boy growing up so I use to listen to Nucleus, Eqyptian Lover, Captain Rapp and early electro music before I knew what is was. At this time Cybotron album "Clear" was out and that was the earliest form of electronic music to me.
- Why did you interested in it?
- I got deeper into electronic music around 1994-96 when I was out of college and I use to go to clubs back in Detroit and there was allot of rave parties at that time and my cousin use to go to them and he would always invite me. That is where I would hear people like Mike Huckaby, Gary Chadler or Will Webb. It was great because you would hear techno-bass, electro, house, techno all at one party and it was fucking crazy because everybody just had a great time and there was white, black, brown and all types of people just partying!!
This was the time when I was hearing all this great sounds that I never heard before and it was so refreshing and exciting. Every time I would hear a track I would look at the record and write or down and go to the store and try to buy it on CD or tape because I had to have it. I found out that most of the tunes I was hearing was only on vinyl records so after a about two years of frustration I had to buy some DJ gear in order to get these tunes I needed.
- Why did you started to djing?
- I would have to say I started djing later than most people, I did not buy my first turntables until 1996 or 1997. There was a point after hearing all the tunes I liked and all my friends and DJs telling me that you can only get them on vinyl that I had to break down and buy some turntables just to play the tunes. Many of my friends were DJs so I would go to the club or party and I would watch them djing and think to myself "Wow I think I can do that too" so I went out and bought a pair off my friend that needed money and sold me his very cheap - thanks Jeff!
So after much practice practice practice I got a chance to play at a club called "Motor" opening up for DJ Bone, he is a good friend of mine and he use to play there every week and one night he needed an opening DJ and he asked me to play and of course I jumped at the chance. I was scared to death to play and of course I played really bad and did not know what the fuck I was doing and lucky for me I made it out of there alive. That was a wake up call for me because I was thinking it would be just like playing at home and it was not that easy so from that point on I practiced everyday until I could play well in a club and not make a fool out myself.
I would get gigs around the city at cafes or small clubs or lounges but it was really two places where I learned how to play and that was "Motor" with DJ Bone and place called "Lush" and both places were located in Hamtramck and just down the street from one another and me and DJ Bone use to do a Thursday night together and it was killer. These two places are where I learned and honed my styling of djing and to play how you want to play with no rules! I think the key to djing is don`t be scared to play something or how to play it, if you like the record drop that muthafucka and move on to the next one!
My friend Jay Langa is a good friend of me and Bone and I would always go to his house to practice and he would should me the right and wrong way to DJ and he would actually show me and teach me. Bone was more like trial by fire just get out there and do it and if you fuck up who give a shit just keep going and rock that shit. Between the two of them is how I think I got my style of how to play the records because anyone can djing but not everyone can rock a party or be afraid to play some risky shit and take chances.
- How did you know Underground Resistance collective?
- I was actually introduced to Mike Banks back in 1996 from my friend DJ Bone, he use to go the Submerge S.I.D store to buy records and get promos and back than it was very very difficult to get in and if you did not know Mike personally you were not getting in! Well after meeting Mike I use to go to Submerge and buy records when I was first djing because I figure I would go to the source and buy all the records I liked and they always had exclusive stuff too and that was always great. Me and Mike became friends and short time later I made a mix CD and gave it to Mike one day and he took the CDs and passed them around and he posted the mix on the Submerge site and it was also aired on some radio show in London or Laurent Garnier`s show and Mike was getting allot of feedback and one day Mike said "Yo Franki you need to make a mix CD for us - but you need a DJ name!" because at the time I did not have one. So the next day I went and mixed "Somewhere in Detroit Vol.1" and the day after I had given them the CD Mike Banks and Ade Mainor from Electrofunk Records say "We got you DJ name - DJ 3000". They had to explain to me because I did not know why they chosen this name, so basically the Submerge/UR headquarters address is 3000 and this was the new location and new direction and future for the company and at the same time we were releasing UR - Los Hermanos "Birth of 3000" and my mix CD.
So the DJ 3000 name was a DJ and name that can represent the entire Submerge sound and its labels and that was a heavy responsibility to carry because that is some huge shoes to wear! The first thing Mike said to me after giving me the same is "You better be ready for this because this serious shit" and now I have done 4 mix CD`s for Submerge and 8 records on my own Motech label and 2 projects on Underground Resistance and everything has been fuckin great ever Since. Thanks Bone for the introduction!
Submerge and UR is a family for sure! It is like your big brother that you love and hate at the same time. You get into fights and you agree and disagree and in the end when you need anything they are always there for you in the end no matter what. I own everything musically in my life to that family because without them I would not be where I am today and I will never forget that.
- Mad Mike Banks is a mysterious leader of Underground Resistance. What is he - as a person and as an artist - in your opinion?
- Mike Banks as a person is a great guy that will do anything for his friends/family when they need him. He is loyal and kind and has a great heart but at the time he will fuck you ass up is you disrespect him or try to screw him is anyway and that is what I like about him. He is a old school quiet guy that likes to keep to himself and live a simple life and make music and operate the business and make sure him and his family and friends is OK.
I owed allot to Mike because without him and UR and Submerge I would not even be here right now doing this interview with you as DJ 3000! He along with Gerald Mitchell has taught me everything I know about music and not only music but the business and we are good friends too and that is important to me.
Mike Banks as an artist - wow! He is in my opinion and not because we are friends and I work for Submerge and produce for them but, he is one the most important electronic artist that exist today in the world "PERIOD"! Yes I said it!!! Here is a guy that since day one has pushed the boundaries of electronic music and had never followed any trends but created one step ahead of everyone. The Derrick Mays, Juan Atkins, Carl Craigs may have more press and are talked about but in the end UR and Mike Banks make some of the most innovative music over the past 15 years.
The one thing I love about Mike's production is that he will always look for new ways to make new types of music and mixers of styles and sounds. Allot of time the people may not understand or like what he is making but in the end the music is pushing boundaries and you have to respect that.
He can easily make another "Hi-Tech Jazz" or "Journey" or "Dragons" or any of his past hits but you have to push yourself as a producer and grow and then does that and I think more people need to take note.
- As you mentioned you recorded 4 mix-albums for Submerge. What is special in that form of creation for you?
- I love making mix CDs for Submerge because the CDs represent the way I dijing when you hear me dijing live at a club or party. I think allot of DJs tend to program mix CDs from the first song to the last song and maybe they record them in a computer and edit and don`t do them live. I think nothing is wrong with that but what do you do when you see that DJ live at a club and he is boring and he sucks?
I live to mix my CDs live that way you get that excitement and spontaneity of the dijing and it feel it as if you were at a party. I am not saying I am the world best fucking DJ but I just try to give you a real mix CD that you can play in the car or home and have a good time with it and when you see me play in your town it is the same way, fun, exciting and surprises.
The Submerge CDs are always great for me to do because I get to use all Submerge products and also unreleased music from the Submerge artists. To me that is great because the buyer of the CD can hear new music that is not out yet and that keeps the CD fresh.
- Submerge started to be more effective upon the management of Ade Minor. Is he a master of its present success?
- He is a big reason for the recent years success because he has helped managed allot of the business that Mike Banks has had to manage is the past and now this free's Mike up to do what he does best and make music.
Ade Mainor manages to album projects and compilations and that is a big task and I have to say he does a great job with everything and were are all very proud to be part of this organization.
- You run own label called Motech. Is it easy to be a producer and label boss in the same time?
- Its does take up time doing both a label owner and producer but I do enjoy it because I know exactly what I want and I don`t have to answer to anyone. It is not that hard because I don`t release allot of 12-inches in a year because mostly the outlet of the releases right now is for my own production. I have released music from DJ Dex and Gerald Mitchell because they created a sound to fit the label format and the end result was perfect so I had to release it.
I have a few friends of mine that a working on 12-inches for me that should be out next year so that is exciting because I just released my album and I am touring and don`t have time to put together releases right now and this will help a great deal.
Also we are ever exploring new sounds a cultures so be prepared for some new styles for the new year to come!!!
- Why did you specialize in Detroit techno?
- I was raised in such a diverse of Detroit called Hamtramck and the area is heavily populated by Polish, African American, Middle Eastern and Indian and Albanians that this opened me up to music that I would have never heard before if it was not for knowing these different cultures and having friends of these cultures. There is something about the Albanian and Middle Eastern music I found so timeless and emotional that draws me to it and also so memorable too and the Detroit electronic sound is also the same way and that is what makes these genres so special.
As I started making music just a few years ago I did was most producers do and start making the type of sound that influenced them and me being from Detroit I wanted to make Detroit techno just like the producers that I admired like, Mike Banks and UR, Carl Craig to the 430 West guys and Transmat stuff. So my first two records were electro-techno tracks that were a bit dark and I guess traditional Detroit sound and it was not until my third record that I started the fusion of me culture and my world music background into my production. I have to thank Mike Banks and Gerald Mitchell for everything musically because they are the ones that had pushed me into blending the sounds of my upbringing and the surround cultures into the electronic music production I was doing. Mike and Gerald just simply told me "OK Cool Franki you making music now but use your Albanian/Balkan roots in your sound and show the world who you are where you come from - there is more to it than just making a track make something that is you and your own sound!", and ever since that day I have learned more and more about making this music and the style I am trying to perfect and learned more and more about my family`s history and also learned more about other cultures and sounds and traditions and all this is presented on my album.
I would say that the sound that I am doing can fall within the spectrum of a new form of world music of course and I hope this will cross over to world music listeners and open them up to not only Detroit electronic music but other forms of electronic music that falls close to the Detroit classification of sound. I love the world music genre and I do listen and buy allot of it too, I really like such labels like Crammed and Bar De Lune because these two labels do some killer stuff and take chances too and the label Six Degrees always does quality music too. These labels are a key examples of world music but you can also here the club influences in the production and I think that is key because it shows that they are not afraid to take a chance and that is exactly what I am about "No fucking rules, anything goes - just make some hot shit!". This is why I respect Underground Resistance so much because they always have done never what was in style or trend but pushed boundaries and genres and that is why I am where I am today and continue to produce for them because in the end they just represent good music and they could easily fall in to world music too, not all there projects but there is some if you go back and listen back to the tracks.
I think once you become stuck in a classification of style sometimes that is boring and that is not what I want to do. I want my sound to translate into detroitish sounding but also heavily world music sounding at the same time, I want people to hear this and think "Well he sounds like Detroit sound but it also sounds world", I want my sound to fall between both genres and in the end both listeners will be interested and also be surprised at the same time to the sounds in each song and styles too. The direction of world music has a very bright future and I think with the things I am doing and the labels like the ones I had mentioned that this will be the future of world and electronic too.
"We speak your language" is Motech`s motto that we make all styles of electronic music with world influences, Indian, Middle Eastern, Turkish, etc., just trying to rep electronic music from all areas of the world but with a Detroit sound too. We don`t stick to just dance floor tracks but also down tempo and broken beat to hip hop inspired beats and in the end just good music that any generation can listen to and appreciate it.
- You are among other UR-artists present on "Interstellar Fugatives 2" compilation. What was interesting for you in its idea of "positive chaos and negative order"?
- This is great concept for an album compilation and I am very proud to be a part of it! Positive order and negative chaos is positive chaos and negative order, both can`t exist without one another. The album shows both sides to the story and the music is so diverse it keeps your mind thinking in both ways because there are so many styles on the CD and that is what I love about it. There is downtempo tracks, uptempo, broken beat, melodic and harder electro-techno stuff too. The album explores all contradictions of music on two CDs because all these styles are different and if you read the story and listen to the music you will understand "It is right under your nose".
- You just released the first own album - "Migration". Why it is a compilation of your the best tracks from all years of your musical activity?
- "Migration" is my first full-length production album but it is not a collection of my best tracks from over the years. The CD has 17 songs and 5 of the songs are from previous 12-inch releases and I wanted to add these songs to the album so it will reach a different audience that has never heard my music before. Also the entire CD tells a story and concept and it was very important to showcase these songs within the body of work.
I have only been making music a few years so most people who are buying this album never heard of me or my music and they people that have heard of me are most DJs who own the vinyl release so there is a big difference in the two.
- What is the concept of this album?
- The concept of the album was to show my musical influences from Detroit techno to world music. I wanted to blend the two genres of music because I love the emotional feeling of Detroit music from the killer bass lines to the strings and pads and I wanted to fuse that with the funky percussion patterns of the Balkan sounds. These two styles together I knew would be a magical combination if done correctly and I think this album was just a introduction to the possibilities to what can be done and I am only just getting started!
Thanks to Mike Banks and Gerald Mitchell because the two of them were my teachers and I was the pupil and they would talk to me and show me the ways of how to go about it and It was a long journey and in the end I had to find myself in the music and this album represents me as a person and on each song what you are truly hearing is me! I am learning more and more everyday and I can`t wait for the next album to come out next year because I already started working on it and I am very happy with the direction of it.
- What folklore and techno have in common for you?
- Both genres are rooted in tradition and with no boundaries and that is what they have is common for me. That I why I try to blend music sounds from techno and the Balkans to the Middle East to India. All these sounds can be fused and I am trying to show people that it can be done and I cant wait to show the world what more I have to show!!
- Do you not afraid to use a lot of Arabian sounds and chants in your music in present political situation in USA?
- I am not afraid because "music saves live"! In the end of the day music can make you happy or sad and with all the bullshit in the world going on with war, gas prices, poverty, religion, race. Me as a producer and using different genres of sounds and show people from around the world that these beautiful sounds are recognized from other sides of the world that I think it is great and that is the whole idea behind me as a producer and it is the least I can do and I am very proud of that and I just want to make the people proud of the sounds I am using too.
I don`t discriminate to what sounds I use because I have Arabic friends, black, white, Polish, Indian and I don`t look at color race or religion and this has taught me the same with music because I find good in both and the people is this world should do the same because there is more to life than "war and hate"!
- Your parents are from Albania. Have you ever been there?
- My family is Albanian but we come from Montenegro the former Yugoslavia were many Albanians live. My family is from an area called Malesia is a small village outside of Tuz
and my family has lived there since 1862.
I have been to Albania early this year for a party and was an amazing time for me because I represent the entire Albanian community and they opened their arms to me and make me feel right at home when I was there. I also played a party in Croatia it was amazing too and the best thing about it was that they treated me as if I was one of them and from there country and they party was amazing because everyone was just having a good time and enjoying music and that is why I love doing what I do, no politics or religion involved just good times.
- Former Yugoslavia is in this region of Europe, which is destroyed by political, national and religion conflicts. Do you think that music can help people to unite?
- Music is the one thing that unites people together and I have experienced this first hand because of of my nationality. I have played parties organized by Albanians, Croatians, Serbs and I am Albanian and played all there parties and they did not care what I was but more proud that I am from the same region and almost same background and I am representing them and they are proud that one person is trying to make a difference with music and fuse our sound with techno.
I hope I can inspire more people from the Balkans that they too can produce this music they like and fuse the two genres because this represents them as a people and make your people proud!!
- Detroit techno always has strong spiritual vibe - your music too. Do you find an inspiration to creation in contact with God?
- God is with me everyday when I make music and allot of times without him there would be no music. I think music is God because without him there would be no me and when times are hard and even in the studio when times are hard and nothing is coming out the way I want it to and all the sudden the great music comes to life and it likes magic and it will happen so fast and the only person you can thank it is God!
AUTHOR: PAWEL GZYL
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+ Leafcutter John - The Forest & The Sea
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+ Current 93 - Black Ships Ate The Sky
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+ Eremite Records - drobny asumpt do większej eksploracji
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+ Grandaddy - Just Like the Fambly Cat
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+ OWL XOUNDS EXPLODING GALAXY - The Myth of Time - An Elastic Experience
+ ARCHIE BRONSON OUTFIT - Dead Funny
+ IRENE SCHWEIZER - First Choice - Piano Solo KKL Luzern
+ THE NECKS - Chemist
+ TUNNG - Mother's Daughter and Other Songs / The Pioneers
+ MR. ANONYMOUS - Mr. Anonymous
+ HENRIK RYLANDER - Formation
+ MICHAEL MARCUS TRIO - Soulifications / THE COSMOSAMATICS - Magnitudes
+ DEEP BLUE ORGAN TRIO - Goin' To Town - Live at the Green Mill CD / DVD
+ VARIOUS ARTISTS - Re-Bop: The Savoy Remixes / THE BASEMENT BOYS PRESENT MUDBOY JONES - The Basement Boys Present Mudboy Jones
+ ERNEST DAWKINS' NEW HORIZONS ENSEMBLE - The Messenger - Live at the Original Velvet Lounge CD / DVD
+ LUC FERRARI - Son Memorise
+ UTE VOLKER - Anthrazit - Akkordeon Solo
+ MUMMER - SoulOrganismState
+ JOHN PEEL AND SHEILA - The Pig's Big 78s - A Beginner's Guide
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WYWIADY / RELACJE
+ New direction of techno - interview with Franki Juncaj aka DJ 3000
+ Bez premedytacji - rozmowa z Andrzejem 'Kobrą' Kraińskim [Kobranocka]
+ Nowy wymiar - rozmowa z Natalią Grosiak i Dawidem Korbaczyńskim [Mikromusic]
+ Szczerość uczuć - rozmowa z Robertem Kałużą [Lotyń]