"These days I am interested in anything good that makes people move"
DJ and producer Johannes Albert has managed, in an uncertain musical moment, to find enough space, music and people to change the music landscape with an energetic and positive sound. We talked to him about his upcoming releases, his projects and, above all, about music. Close your eyes and let the sensations flow.
Hey! Where can we find you right now? How did you start your day?
Hey yourself! I am sitting in my office at home and doing some label work. I started my day with 70 push-ups and good coffee of course. Can’t live without. The coffee I mean.
How are you living the current situation because of COVID? Has your work been affected a lot? Do you think there is hope?
Honestly even for me as a rather positive person per say, I am losing faith at times. There is always hope but I don’t know. My work has been affected from day one. All my DJ gigs got cancelled last March and I basically lost 70% of my income. We got some financial help from the state here in Germany but nobody expected this shit show going on for more than a year. I am still here and I will be for a while but it’s getting harder each and every day. Especially mixed with all the darkness of the winter, mental health is going downhill. The thing is we trusted each other with the ever-and-ever ‘summer will be great’ mantra for the past months. Well now looking at the latest mutation info it seems the summer could get very boring too. Anyways - hope never dies. And I am pretty sure when the sun comes out again in April/May I will feel better. Like a lot.
I feel like the underground scene will continue to persist. Do you think we can go back to "normal" events and festivals?
Sure it will go on at some point. I am confident about normal events, it just will take some time. 6 months? 2 years? God knows. The question is will we dance at the same venues? People will always want to dance. It’s the most human thing to do. It’s only a matter of time. I am super curious about the future of nightlife. Nobody can predict how it will turn out. More small and intimate vibes again? More commercial and more expensive? Can’t say. We still have 99% of our beloved clubs and festivals. I don’t know if we still have them next year. Fingers crossed.
How have you adapted to recent circumstances?
Well I haven’t really. I mean I did an ambient album last spring which is a very good thing. Besides, I do a lot of label work. There will be more music than ever before. I need to keep myself busy. Sorted my record collection which I should have done 12 years ago! That is also a very good thing. Maybe I have adapted more than I think but haven’t fully realized yet.
What was your first impression on Alberto's EP?
Strong material for the dance floor!
What can you tell us about your remix on the Dandelion EP?
Liam got in touch and I checked out his Midnight Label. I always love a bit of Italo and hey when you get asked to remix a guy called Alberto, I mean I just gotta do it. My real name is Giovanni Alberto eventually.
What did you want to achieve with your sound of this remix? What concerns did you want to express?
Well I tried to take the main element of the track which is the melody you hear in the break and extend it. My way to go when it comes to remixing: I try to filter out the main thing of the original and take it somewhere else. I am always curious to maintain the original vibe but add my own musical idea to it.
Has your sound evolved a lot, since your first works? And where is your sound heading right now?
It surely has. When I did my first tracks around 2007/2008 I was more into the deep house sound of the time. Lots of sampling, lots of Rhodes and pianos. Over time I went more into a ‘synth’ 80s vibe I guess. Drum machine sound. Also I went a bit more big room. Which is a good thing. I mean there is no better thing than a crowd going bang to a track you made. I make music for the dancefloor, no more no less. These days I am interested in anything good that makes people move. Got some rave bangers ready folks!
Your music seems to be linked to places, landscapes and moments. What else plays a fundamental role in your music creation process?
Well well, talking inspiration. The dancefloor. The Club. The crowd. People! Unfortunately I lost that feeling a bit over the last year. Still raving in my mind though.
What is your current production setup and what instruments are essential for you?
I have a small studio room here in Berlin. I do love the sound of my room. It’s well balanced and got new monitors recently. On the production side I use Ableton and a lot of plugins like U-HE, Korg, Arturia, Roland, Waves and the likes. Samples. Got a bit away from the analog machines but still throw in the Alpha Juno or Korg Minilogue or the Novation Bass Station. I know it’s super weird, I love all these analog machines from the past but I prefer to use them on the computer. Comes in handy!
What projects are you currently working on?
A lot of label work actually. I got a lot of new upcoming music on my label Frank Music. We have EPs and albums coming up by Max Lessig, Felice, Mary Yalex and many more. Super happy to work with all these sweet and talented people.
What can we expect from you this 2021?
Next in line are the ‘Moon II’ album remixes part 2, coming in march. I am about to finish an EP for the ever reliable Live At Robert Johnson label. Working on music for Permanent Vacation. There are some remixes in the pipeline. Gosh I love doing remixes. 10 Years Frank Music Non-Stop-Power-Hit-Mix and Compilation are in the making. As said before I try to keep myself busy at all times.