Rendered _ Interview with Ronny Pries
One thing that strikes me about you is that you have had loads of different phases in your life so far. What was it like when you first started DJ’ing and producing? What circles were you getting into?
Needless to say it was a process that evolved over years. I felt something like a need to express myself, or my creativity maybe. When finding out how to put music together (the expression “producing” is void here), I really caught fire. It was the same with mixing some vinyl for the first time.
You know, I’ve was an avid but lousy skater as a teen but kept going due of the challenging nature of it. The music was different as I had the impression of it being something i can master. Without breaking my legs.
Spent most of the time with Stereo Jack at parties, his studio or later on at the Boogie Park Studios. But not in the classic “nose-deep-in-substances” context. Actually, I didn’t even drink beer until I was thirty (not thirsty).
What were the high points?
Making a deal with Superstition Records alongside with Stereo Jack for our “Boston-based” fake project “Snitzer & McCoy” in ’97 was rad. I loved the label from the first release and becoming a part of it later pretty much made my day.
The same year I had a stupid oral surgery which restrained me from heading to the Love Parade. Was pretty pissed left behind at home instead. In the evening i turned on the TV (they actually covered the parade live 24/7) to get a glimpse of what was going on there. Turns out the track that Westbam played the moment I put the show on was our latest Superstition release alongside with Humate (‘Oh my darling I love you’). Priceless.
Any battle scars?
Being amongst the first DJs to play with Traktor Final Scratch during its beta test wasn’t always funny. If you check out one of those stupid vinyl vs mp3 discussions on Facebook or whatever you get an idea how it was to attend to a party and be the only guy with a laptop setting up his shit while another DJ was still playing (tried to avoid that but sometimes…).
In 2006 I was on the road with Bash Again from Berlin and decided to check it out. So at a huge venue, in more or less complete darkness, I pulled the wrong cable from the mixer at three in the morning. That awkward moment…
Haha. That’s always a risk! You must have seen a real change in clubs, DJ’s and trends over the years? Have things changed for the better or worse?
Pfff, tricky question. Trends in music-styles ebb and flow, don’t they? Even though I didn’t really ‘get’ some of those. Like the huge Minimal blurb or the current Tech-House thing. No offense though, probably lots of good stuff in there but I mostly don’t care that much. Now that I think about it, I wonder what will happen with the current ‘Industrial Techno’ movement and how my perception about it may alter. Then again it’s basically Techno after all.
And as far as technology advanced, I’m the last person to say anything negative about digital Djing. I supported the development as much as I could. Don’t really get the discussions revolving about it. Whoever claims that ‘real DJ’s use vinyl’ seem to have little clue about what DJ’ing really is about. That’s like neglecting Banksy’s art cause he isn’t using traditional paint. Moronic point of view.
What really changed was the public image of a DJ. In my honest opinion, there are DJ’s and DJ’s these days. The ‘true’ DJ’s do it by heart and other kind does for the sake of it. DJ seems to have become a job description, rather like ‘bank accountant’. How do you draw a line between those?
So was tapping into it and developing the DJ into a big brand the right approach? Did it happen organically and coincidentally, or was there a moment where a lightbulb went off in peoples heads?
Stuff like that just happens, doesn’t it? Someone starts mixing vinyls, others pick up the idea, push it further. It spreads. Certain folk make an art of it, developing it into a status with a swag lifestyle. Add three decades or so, make the tools available to everyone along the way, stir in the status and you’ve got the most reasonable way to generate income as musician today.
You end up in a situation where the lightbulb – as in challenge or art about Djing – barely lights up anymore. Back to Banksy again; imagine he had thousands of horrible but successful copycats. At a certain point, a new generation of people may dig the dabblers art without ever seeing a Banksy before. That’s pretty much the status quo of DJ’ing anno 2013.
Even though we mightn’t have witnessed the peak of this money driven DJ culture yet, at a certain point it will have worn off its magic and clubbers will long for guys with skills behind the decks, notebooks or whatever it is then, again. At least that’s what I pick up when talking to some younger friends of mine.