Q + A : JOACHIM SPIETH
Alongside his qualitative contribution to the series, we sat down with Joachim Spieth to discuss some turning points in his long career, and to know more about the release concepts around the 10 years celebration of his Affin imprint … Enjoy the read
Alae RAMDANI | 18th December 2017
Hi Joachim, we are delighted to host you on Paradox, what have you been up to lately?
Hi guys, my pleasure, thanks for having me!
Your own imprint Affin is turning 10 years now. What was the reason for starting the label and where does the label name come from originally?
The reason for founding a label was to be free and follow my own path. In 2007 I joined a label that was found before and we tried to run/manage it (3 guys). I quickly felt that this wouldn’t work out. At the same time I got interesting demos so I decided to start my own label. I knew years ago that I would like to run my own label and after that experience I felt good to go for it. The label name has several meanings (in maths, marketing, etc). I like to use a word with different meanings, so everybody can guess what’s the actual meaning regarding the label.
How would you describe the artistic line of the label and its evolution all along its existence?
The first years were about to find out what could be possible. I did not follow a master plan, wanted things to develop more naturally… one landmark was to start releasing vinyl. (after the Affin 100 compilation). The biggest turning point was the year 2015. A lot of things changed in my life. Musically I was not really happy how things developed with parts of the label and my own music … so I found out again what is really triggering my emotions and which tunes were good tools, but not more… After this process I was able to move on with new ideas and less artists. To look back now I’d say that the Affin gained most of its depth and definition in the last 2 or 3 years.
As a label manager, what were the main challenges you faced from the start ?
The main challenge was to develop this label and that’s ongoing. Not to end up in an iteration loop always was very important for me.
What do you think about platforms like Bandcamp, where you’re hosting your label? Is this the future of the distribution in the underground techno scene?
Bandcamp is a nice platform to publish music for an interested crowd. I feel Bandcamp users are passionate persons and willing to dive deep into music and discover… Regarding the functionalities i’d like the search engine to be improved …
“I would describe my music as natural electronics”
I know it's hard to answer to that but if you had to pick out 3 favorite releases on your label, what would it be ?
Ok, it’s impossible... but ... a key release for the label is Reggy Van Oers “Pristine”, a timeless piece of music is Markus Guentner “Crystal Castle” album, and my album “Irradiance” integrates some of my influences and translates them into the “now”.
You’ve released your first LP few weeks ago on Affin and we really like the result! What made you feel it was the right time for your debut album?
Thanks for liking it! Actually it’s not my first album, but the first on Affin. My debut album in 2000 felt like a mistake shortly after, as it was not really an album (was more a collection of tracks than following an idea / concept). Because of that I was a bit afraid of doing an album. After I found Affin I was really busy running the label.... for some years I didn’t take enough space to work on my own music. But after my 2016’s EP’s “Evaporate” & “Layer” I felt confident to do an album because it sounded new to me. I discovered a different way how to produce music and after that things developed… For the album I isolated myself from getting too many influences. I was out in nature quite often, enjoyed the silence (in fact it’s not really silence)... and finally got closer to my music than it was possible years before. I’m really happy with the results and glad about the feedbacks that already came in.
By the way, we are curious to know what kind of setup did you use for this album?
I used Ableton live 9. That’s all. No external mixer, nothing… it was a challenge from the begin. I did not want to get lost by using too many different sources, it was a desire to focus on the music.
How would you describe your current music in words by the way?
Emotional, natural electronics.
Since the creation of Affin, your music was released almost exclusively on this platform. Was this decision made in order to protect the label identity?
I wanted to release most of my music on my own label, yes. But there was no rule. I never worked with too many labels at the same time and there should be a link / connection between an artist and the label. I don’t like to spread my music on countless labels. So if something develops in a similar way like with Kompakt in my early days, i’m open for co-operation.
The 10 years celebration for Affin comes along special VA releases. Can we say that the artists selected for those VAs represents the whole spectrum of Affin’s identity?
You mean the “Decennium” vinyl series i guess. Hmmm. good question. I thought about how to celebrate these 10 years and what could make sense. So I decided to do several things: releasing a compilation like “Serenity” to document the affinity to ambient that was a part of the label from the start. Another idea was to select a “10 years Affin “ compilation with my personal preferences. So this compilation is not a review on 10 Years musically, as most of the tracks were released in the last 2 or 3 years. It was meant to show some of my faves and shouldn’t be a compilation to present the whole history of Affin. Another component was my album “Irradiance” as my contribution to this anniversary. And the Decennium vinyl series is showcasing some of the artists of the last period and a few acts that I like at the moment … some of them will come up with more music in future.
How did you built the mix for Paradox?
3 decks and some faves , simple :-)
Do you have any connexions with the french Techno scene ?
I often played in France in the last years, so physically there’s a connection. Regarding artists as well. I see some new emerging people since a while and think that’s really interesting.
Is there anything that you find paradoxical in the techno world?
Yes, you can find a lot.
What artists/labels hold your attention in 2017?
Oh, good question. hard to say. i follow some people and i’m really looking for new music … but i don’t have a follow list..
What can we expect from you and Affin in the future?
We’ll have the third and final part of Decennium vinyl, an upcoming 12” from Svarog and there will be a remix 12” for my album with some interesting artists…. plus some things not to be announced yet.
Thanks a lot Joachim, hope to see you somewhere soon.