Rendered _ Interview with Ronny Pries
Haha – Brilliant! Good job you went swimming that day!! One of the things that brings us here is obviously your subsekt mix, but it also ties in with the relaunch of your label after a bit of a break for a few years? Will you tell us a bit about the label, its history, why you put it to bed for a while? Why start it back up now?
I made lots of tracked music that didn’t really fit into demos while the first netlabels popped up in ’93 – ’94. After doing releases elsewhere and makings friends with some of the scenes’ Technoheads, namely Martin Bauri Abrahamson, Ronald ‘Sero’ van Aggelen & Gijs ‘Dupont’ van der Brugge, we figured out a whack incognito concept and got .schleudertrauma. Started as first Techno-only platform in ’96. It was a huge success within the scene and involved some more reknown artists like Thomas ‘Inter Gritty’ Andersen & Thomas ‘Kretipleti’ Jaldemark later on. On the downside our names were never involved, so we switched to real names under the brand of _rohformat in ’98. The situation changed with the availability of more powerful computers which introducing new ways to produce music around ’99. Most of us weren’t using the traditional trackers anymore – hence a break.
Has the game changed in the time that you’ve been away?
A lot. Mp3 had its breakthrough and since it became much easier to produce music at home with just a computer, mp3 based netlabels started popping up everywhere. There were lots of discussions whether those were “real” netlabels or not, simply because the term was always used within a broader context of the demoscene and now used by people who were simply making music at home. Silly stuff that could keep you distracted for ages if you wanted to.
When starting all over again with _rohformat in ’01 as mp3 based netlabel, I was mostly taking care about it alone. Apart from that I became father, had my first daytime job, was busy mentoring Sebastian Redenz while setting up Thinner.cc, produced my first dubtechno album as rktic… But nevertheless I wanted to keep going with _rohformat. The label released tracks by original _rf artists and some new faces, such as Danny Andersen and a LP by Dave Ellesmere. I even released a _rohformat 12” which turned out disastrous due to certain shortcomings with a certain UK publisher…
Last but not least I needed to take care of some other things in 2006, there was simply no time left for running _rohformat on a steady basis. Plus DJs were mostly breastfed with music by Beatport and the likes during the following years. If you release free music, you mostly operate under the radar of the scene. If it ain’t got a price, it must be bad.
That is definitely something to be proud of, being the the first Techno netlabel. You’ve hinted there at some of the challenges to the concept.. Is it like starting from the beginning again?
No. It all came together like back in the days via IRC through networking on Facebook and Twitter. I hate this term, but I’m a synergy-affine guy and I need of exchange with others when I’m working on long- term projects. I was also waiting for music with real bassdrums to return which is the case now. Additionally, DJs seem to be much more open minded nowadays about finding stuff on their own via Bandcamp or other platforms. It just makes perfect sense to me.
In terms of IRC and the music.. was it similar to the relationship that people now have with social media / forums and sites like Soundcloud?
Yes, definitely. IRC was the only way to connect to others in real time. If you needed a news update you went to one of the scene chatrooms. The topic of those can be considered an early version of Twitter and served the purpose to contain the latest hot fuzz. And the two big FTP networks served all the files. You could also just connect there and browse the incoming folders for new music. Mind you, we’re still talking about legal .mod’s and .xm’s here. Guess you could consider that pre-SoundCloud somehow. Without pre-listening, comments or stuff like that.
Were releases pressed to vinyl, or did the Techno on IRC ever make it into clubs? Were people sharing files back then haha
Since trackers were mostly used by computer enthusiasts the audience was very limited. As far as I can say the netlabel scene didn’t matter much until mp3 paved the way. There weren’t too many connections to the outside world or even the clubbing scene for various reasons. One being that tracked music often sounded a bit dull and since nobody would ever ask how you produced your music as long as it sounded good. You could never possibly know if a record might have been made with a tracker.
Would be interesting to hear Alex Cortex about this. As far as I know he made a lot of his releases with the Amiga. There were also other artists from the demoscene/netlabel context like Lackluster, but I think they also had proper studios apart from only using trackers. Or at least they had a bit of hardware gear to add some boom to their music.
On the other hand, the netlabel scene wasn’t influenced by anything that took place in the real world..