Local Rockstars: Steve Rachmad, simply Amsterdam's most important techno guru

Local Rockstars: Steve Rachmad, simply Amsterdam’s most important techno guru

Aug 28, 2012 |  by  |  Music
About the author
Ridz, advertises, produces indie/electronic music, performs throughout the Netherlands but ultimately always ends up at an Amsterdam based ensemble... then he blogs about all these things.

Steve Rachmad is probably the most important Amsterdam-based techno producer, DJ and remixer. By many, he is considered a father of Detroit techno in the Netherlands, respected in the world of electronic music for his deep, groovy sounds that tend to rest on impressive strings, melodies, funk and soul. His career has been reaching its highest peaks from 1996 up to the present time. Yet, it is somewhat less known that he has been in the music realms for over 25 years by now. I got the privilege to ask the techno guru a few questions.

I’m not going to start by asking who you are and what you do, most people in Amsterdam into electronic music know this by now. But I am curious, what is your secret to keep DJ-ing, producing, remixing, for like 30 years?
“Doesn’t it get boring at some point, some ask. The development of music, technology, other people’s music, my own inspiration, my machines, the crowds, those are a few of the things that keep me going. And for me personally, music can never ever get boring. I hear music, I feel music, I am music.”

Do you have a favourite day of the week to play? I’m asking this because dance events used to be something for Friday and Saturday nights, but nowadays there’s a serious amount of events during the week, daytime and especially on Sundays for example, like Sunday Groove where you’ll be headlining in about two weeks.
“I guess I don’t, really. But I have to be honest, I haven’t played a lot of Sunday afternoon sessions and also this time I’ll be playing a bit different music than I normally do so this will be a special experience for me. Looking forward to it.”

I will somehow try to make a combination of styles and show a little bit of my musical history

Originally, you’re a real techno DJ with a great amount of inspiration coming from Detroit, I’ve heard people label you as ‘Amsterdam’s techno guru’. Nevertheless, you’ll be playing more disco and house at this Sunday Groove event, so I’ve heard. Have your DJ sets evolved a lot towards this sound or have you always considered yourself more of an all rounder since the beginning?
“I think I was always an allrounder since the beginning. When I started to listen and buy music in the early ’80s there was no house and techno yet, meaning I grew up with different music. I can now sum up all kinds of categories but staying within ’80s dance music I listened to: electronic disco, italo, funk, electro, new wave, pop, and so on. So I’ll always be inspired by this period of time musically. Few people know that I also do ’80s disco sets and electro sets. I’m not sure yet what I will play but I will somehow try to make a combination of styles and show a little bit of my musical history.”

Do you prefer to play at an off-location, festival or in a club?
“I always like the variety of different situations and settings: sometimes a big hall and sometimes a small, nice and personal place. The variety is also a thing that keeps me going and keeps me from getting bored.”

What’s your favorite place to play in Amsterdam? And globally?
“In Amsterdam that would be Studio 80. I like that personal kind of atmosphere in the small space that it has. It brings back memories from when I had a residency at club Mazzo in the ’90s. It all feels a bit less business and more like proper fun with the guys there. That creates a nice familiar vibe for the artists playing there. Of course we do business, but in a very cosy way.”

After about five years of rumors concerning a re-release of your legendary album ‘Secret Life Of Machines’, it finally happened. Why did you decide to release it this summer in the end? And how has it been received? I guess the expectations were very high around the world.
“It was a combination of few things: fellow artists that told me to do it because it was still presentable and up to date; fans who missed out on the first release who really wanted it; next to that I saw some things that could have been better so I changed those “mistakes” and slowed down a few tracks because tempo-wise they wouldn’t fit in this period of time. In the meantime, the album got loads of nice responses from the old as much as the new generation of music lovers. And of course there’s always a group that didn’t want to see it being re-released and prefers it as it was, but we thought that would ultimately be a shame. Let the new generation have a piece of it too.”

Hypothetically, if you could invite any DJ in the world to play b2b all night with you, dead or alive, who would that be?
“I would look in the direction of a DJ who also has a wide perspective of music and could go different directions as well. That might be fun. Laurent Garnier perhaps?”

What’s your latest genius discovery (artist or track)?
“Not a genius discovery but a track I’m really into at this moment is Kindred Spirits from Roland Klinkenberg. A very nice and warm smooth vibe which in an old school way reminds me of a Larry Heard style production and in a present time it reminds me of how Deetron does his job.”

Finally, what does the (near) future look like for Steve Rachmad?
“The near future seems like it will be filled with a lot of travelling. I will be travelling to Ibiza, several places in Germany, Portugal and Switzerland, and also doing a few shows in Holland. After Amsterdam Dance Event, I have a month long Australasia-tour with several shows in Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong on schedule so far. In between I will have to fit some time to finish a few remixes and own productions that I still have planned!”

Want to catch him live in action? Don’t miss him at Sunday Groove hosted by Enrique’s Groove this Sunday the 2nd of September together with Fred P aka Black Jazz Consortium (US), Iron Curtis (DE), DWIG (DE), Steven Pieters & Khalil and Enrique’s Groove.

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