Groovetrackers: The first question to break the ice and this may sound a little silly, but why is it that so many guys want to marry you?
Magda: Hahaha, I really was not aware of this, so maybe you can answer that better… But I think guys like any girl who can play records or do something electronic.
GT: There is not much stuff that caries the name Magda…
M: Not yet but… 2005! I’m working on tons of stuff, a new Run Stop Restore ep and possibly an RSR album, a mix cd for minus, and my own ep as well. I also have a label with Troy called “underline” and the next release is coming out this week called “Wanda’s Wig Wax” with tracks from Marc, Troy, Jay Haze, and myself. Trust me, by the fall you’ll be sick of me ;)
GT: In March the first Minus Compilation will be released with tracks from you, Run Stop Restore and others. What can you tell us about the compilation? What can we expect?
M: It’s a compilation with tracks from 12 artists. I think it best defines the new minus sound and the direction it is heading. The tracks are pretty different. Some are more for listening while others are dancefloor jams which appeal to a more diverse audience than before. All in all I think it flows nicely together.
GT: On the compilation there are tracks from Run Stop Restore as well as tracks from Magda, what is the difference between them?
M: Run Stop Restore is a project between Marc (Houle), Troy (Pierce) and I.
I think the sound is unique because we come from different backgrounds and each of us puts our own twist on the same idea. Marc (Houle) is totally new wave and still hasn’t left 1983, I’m more stripped down minimal and Troy (Pierce) is even more abstract.There is a really nice balance between us which makes this project special.
GT: Do you prefer producing together?
M: It’s not really a preference, it’s just another way of doing it. We are really good friends and we are all idiots so I think it works out well. We have a good time.
GT: You say “all idiots”. Some people talk about Minus as “one big family”. How do you experience that?
M: All my experiences from day one, minus or not, have always been laidback. It’s never forced and it has never been a business thing in my head or anyone else involved. It has always been casual. You meet some friends, tell each other what you are working on and give each other feedback and then someone might say “Hey maybe we should put it out” or “god this really sucks”. It’s always relaxed and that’s why it works. It seems like most people I meet that are doing similar things are really nice and genuine people so it’s easy. It’s not like the bigger labels where they only care about money or whatever. We just like to get crazy and completely freak out to weird music.
GT: You don’t see minus as a big label?
M: No, I mean it is a small label but its growing. If you look at the releases, especially in the past year, it’s a bit all over the place. It ranges from super minimal to housey, bleepy, or total dancefloor hits like Mathew Jonson’s Decompression.
GT: So where do you get all your unreleased tracks?
GT: a big secret?
M: Most of them I get from friends or others in my travels and I do tons of edits that I can play directly from my laptop. It’s always five minutes before the show trying to finish everything. I don’t know why I do that, I really don’t. Maybe I like to stress myself out.
GT: It’s a great advantage that the new technology enables deejays to play mp3s directly from your computer using vinyl. In that way the audience hears a lot of new stuff which makes it more interesting and special to come and see an artist.
Absolutely and plus, there are so many new opportunities: Final Scratch, new mixers, gadgets, and software which all allow you to get really creative and go nuts. And I think it’s changing the role of the deejay. It’s becoming more of a hybrid of playing other people’s records and your own live stuff.
GT: What technologies do you use?
M: I use final scratch and now also Ableton Live with effects and the new Xone: 92 CTRL modified mixer. That thing is pretty crazy. You can really do everything with it. You can even use it like a keyboard and make melodies on top of everything… it’s amazing
GT: About 6/ 7 years ago you teamed up with Richie Hawtin. In an interview, he talks very positive about you and your friendship. How did you meet up with him and how did this influence you as a person and your career as a deejay?
M: When I first started deejaying I was trying to get bookings so in my mind I felt I needed to play stuff that would get me gigs. After some time, there came a point where I was like “This sucks! Fuck it! I’m just gonna do what I like and see what happens! I don’t even care if I get booked.” And that’s the point when I really got into minimal. That was around the time when Rich and I were becoming friends and… yeah, I was playing at his small club 13 Below in Windsor as a weekly resident. We got along because we are both influenced by similar kinds of music. A lot of old stripped down electronic stuff from the 80’s and early 90’s, industrial, new wave, and super freaked out minimal… and of course his sets I mean, some of the sets that I have heard in those years have really changed me. He is definitely a huge influence, he is years ahead. I’ve heard him very often, and even when I didn’t play, watching how he does things and seeing what works and what doesn’t was really amazing for me to see and learn. So, of course, big influence!
GT: So you say he is years ahead. Do you think you are?
M: I never really thought about that… Umm I don’t think I’m ahead or behind just off to the side a little bit maybe haha.
GT: You’ve seen a lot of the world already, can you share your thoughts about the differences in dance-culture between America and Europe?
M: First of all, it’s really small in the US but there are some really cool parties where people are very enthusiastic. On the big scale it’s kind of dead. The main difference is that people prefer to go to bars and pubs to drink and the music is kind of in the background. Here people really go out to dance and hear the deejays. That’s the impression that I have. Also, the atmosphere here feels more free politically than in the states. You can really feel it when you go back, it’s so restraining. Rules… you can’t do this, you can’t do that. In New York they even have “no dancing” laws. Small bars can’t have dancing or the police come and give tickets to people! That’s totally crazy! Shit like that, makes people not want to go out or bother making parties because it’s such a hassle. At the same time though, I feel it’s important to stay connected. I can’t just leave where I came from and say fuck it. I think it’s important for me to be here and to learn what I need to learn from what’s happening and then go back and play those things there. Just because it may not be so big there it doesn’t mean the people don’t care.
GT: Why did you even move to Berlin?
M: I was in New York and I got bored and I just had a feeling that I should go to Berlin because I love, I really love the music that comes from Germany.
So I went and immediately I felt free and relaxed and easy… It was amazing. It was the complete opposite of NYC. There were actually NO rules there! It’s like party anarchy or something
GT: Do you see Berlin as a Techno-capital of the world like Detroit was before?
M: It seems to be at the moment. In the late 80’s early 90’s the focus was on Detroit and those producers/djs influenced the world. The Germans took those influences and pushed it further creating their own thing that influences us now.
GT: What do you think of George W. Bush?
M: I think he sucks, I am not a big fan.
M: I think he is full of shit and he is ruining the whole country. It’s like we are regressing 50 years with him in office. He stands for everything I hate and he is a pretty unconvincing liar. I get angry just thinking of seeing his face on TV for more than 3 seconds. You know what I mean?
GT: …Yeah we know…
GT: Do you even like politics? Are you happy Poland joined the EU?
M: I try not to get too political. It becomes too stressful although I am happy Poland joined the EU because it means I can live in Europe now. Other than that, I’m not so attached to Poland nowadays because I left when I was young.
GT: How long did you live there anyway?
M: I was nine when I left, so I don’t know so much about the politics there right now. I think it’s difficult for Poland. Now that it’s in the Union a lot of foreign companies will come and buy out everything and increase prices and cause inflation.
GT: Which tracks are you gonna play tonight for sure? The Magda re-edit from…?
M: I have really amazing new tracks from a friend in Berlin, Matt John, and from a crazy friend from New York who releases under the name “Heartthrob”. His name is Jesse Siminski and he is the one to watch this year. He makes freaky, sexy, nasty tracks that make you want to do bad things.
GT: And from the released ones?
M: I’m not sure. I only have a 3 second memory.
GT: What was your strongest drive to become a deejay?
M: Hmmm… I don’t know, playing records for people I guess??
GT: We were looking for a more original answer but…
M: Ok, at the time there was no specific motivation, it was just a fun thing to do with friends but now I feel I have more of a focus. I have the opportunity to take the tracks that inspire me and present them in a way that hopefully people haven’t heard before.
GT: What besides being a deejay and producer makes you a good musician? What qualities do you need to posses to become a good musician?
M: When I think of good musicians I think of Matthew Herbert and Carl Craig for example. Although they are electronic producers, they really step outside of the norm and create something completely original which isn’t genre specific.
GT: Are you a computer-nerd?
M: I guess I turned into one over the years yeah -smiles-
GT: Not by answering emails!
M: I know I’m the worst! You know sometimes you get into working or get easily distracted and you just don’t want to touch email, but I am bad for that and I’m trying to get better.
The intveriew in the basement of Paradiso (Amsterdam)
GT: Since we know so little about you, please give a short answer to each of the following questions:
Favorite food: Sushi
Favorite movie (or genre): Dark Comedies, Documentaries, and Mockumentaries (fake documentaries) like Spinal Tap. No Wil Smith movies for me.
Favorite book (or writer): George Orwell - 1984, Murakami
Favorite holiday destination: someplace warm and away from everything
Favorite guitar band: Sonic Youth, My bloody valentine, Joy Division
What’s in your CD player right now: Anouar Brahem - Le pas du chat noir, its moody piano stuff, really good.
What would be your favorite vacation destination: Holiday: Hmm I really love Japan
GT: Because of the sushi?
M: Yeah that too but it’s so interesting in general. It’s a whole different world and I was really blown away by it. On the other hand I would love to go one day to some “rain-forest-remote-jungle-house” or something. That would be my ideal vacation.
GT: You didn’t get time to see the rainforest while you were on tour?
M: No not really, we saw parts of different islands here and there that were similar and really unbelievable but not the same, so one day I’d like to go.
GT: To finish this interview, is there anything we forgot to ask or anything else you want to share with us and our visitors?
M: I just want to say that it’s really nice to come here from America and find so much interest and support for what all of us are doing. I love to play in Amsterdam and I get really excited because the people get excited too and it feels nice. So: Thank you for your support everyone!
I know that sounds Cheesy! Please don’t make me sound like a hippy!
GT: No we won’t! Thanks for your time!
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