For episode #35 we sat down with Madera from Leipzig to talk about variFocus, the inspirations for his tracks on Melted Recordings and his own strategies in these strange times. He also delivers a 60 minutes ambient mix to help you to calm down.
How are things going in Leipzig at the moment? What do you do during the lockdown?
10 years ago I moved to Leipzig and I stopped producing music shortly after. At the moment there is a kind of silence like never before. But in fact, like everywhere else, people try to keep things going and team up to start crowdfunding or offer streaming sessions. It’s important to go public about the bad situation of the culture and music scene.
For me personally, nothing changed that much. I try to keep my mind free and use my time to do something important. I eat healthy, read a lot of books and listen to more music than ever before. And I wear my mask wherever it’s needed. But to be honest I really miss a great night out with old school house music and longdrinks.
How is the techno scene in Leipzig on a normal day?
The scene in Leipzig is very active and diverse. There are many good clubs, musicians and labels. I guess it’s similar to Dresden. But I´m not so much involved anymore.
What I like about Leipzig compared to Berlin is the manageable amount of clubs. After my years of cultural abundance in Berlin I got really hungry here in Leipzig. I’m always looking forward to a musical highlight that take place once in a while.
What was the key moment that got you into house and techno?
There was no key moment for me. It was rather a process with several moments and influences.
When I was a child I listened to my dad’s radio. Later I watched the movie Beat Street. I was blown away by the beats and electronic sounds. So I came to Kraftwerk. And then there was MTV Partyzone with Simone and the Chillout-Zone. It’s such a cliche? Well, that’s the truth.
For what stands the name variFocus?
VariFocus was founded in the early 2000s as a open minded and non-commercial music label. It was more of a DIY thing with friends: Electronica, Mini-CDs etc.
Nowadays I use the logo for visual gimmicks only and I’m hosting variFocast podcast series.
The name came from a free plugin for Adobe Photoshop. I didn’t use it at all but it had some nice features with sharpness and blur effects. I thought this reflects the idea of the label very well. There was no specific genre. Every artist on the label had it’s freedom to tell a story about her or his feelings. So we try to set a new focus with every release or podcast.
From what do you draw your inspirations?
Moods, emotions, influences and experiences
Your last tracks under your artist namen Madera have been released on Melted Recordings in 2012. This is a long time ago.
“Reduc_” and “The Melt” have been produced right after moving from Berlin to Leipzig. I lived with 6 other people in a shared appartment. I only had my laptop, my bicycle and my headphones. After living in Berlin for 8 years I exactly wanted to make this kind of music.
Please name 3 artists that inspire Madera and tell us why?
Great photo artist, who through her play with her own femininity, sexuality and surreality wonderfully disturbs, challenges and amuses me at the same time.
through his incredible skills and his work on stage and in front of the camera
I just love the creativity in his music
But I also would name 3 other artists tomorrow. There are so many out there.
Do you have any tips to visit in Leipzig? Hidden spots to eat, listen to great music or just watch the sunset?
Best pizza in town!
cool culture centre with amazing music!
All the lakes in the south of Leipzig
best places for sunset
And try to catch a paddle boat and go to the rivers and canels.
What can we expect next from you?
I´m not producing any music at the moment. My hole setup crashed several years ago. I really loved making music on the computer. But for now I just work on the podcast series. Let’s see how this grows! Beside that I record a lot of dj-mixes at the moment that maybe will get released someday.
What is the idea behind the mix?
The set should help you to calm you down. In the last couple of years I really enjoyed discovering and playing ambient music. So the goal was to record a set only using chords, pads and effects.
So it’s the perfect time for ambient music .. autumn , the coming winter and of course the heavy influences of the Corona pandemic. Tracks like “Roll Off” by Rhythm & Sound can kind of absorb the shock. And then it’s the first Etui Podcast without beats …. I guess that’s the variFocus thing :)
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01 Loscil – Angle Of List – Kranky
02 Vainqueur – Elevation (Version 1) – Chain Reaction
03 Felix K – Scapes Pt1 – Alpha Cutauri
04 Rhythm & Sound – Roll Off – Rhythm & Sound
05 Model 500 – Starlight (Intrusion Dub) – Echospace [Detroit]
06 Deepchord Presents Echospace – Abraxas – Modern Love
07 Fluxion – Aviation – Chain Reaction
08 Ovatow – Phalaenopsis Dub II – Frantic Flowers
09 Babe Roots – World Struggle (Ambient Dub) – System Music
10 Basic Channel – Radiance I (Edit) – Basic Channel
11 Kit Clayton – Lateral Forces (Surface Fault) Track 7 – Vertical Form
12 Mind Over Midi – Divider – Diametric.