Firstly, what is the meaning behind the artist name “Trustless”?
The name “trustless” is actually the biggest flaw of my character. I used to always be late to school or the last guy to show up at a party. I’m great at forgetting the things I have to do and I am also quite a daydreamer, so when I was looking for an english translation for somebody, who is not reliable – trustless was the only translation and I actually loved it right away! I like the idea of my artist name, immediately putting the biggest flaw of mine on the table, so in a funny way I’m trying to be trustworthy from the start by telling everyone I’m a trustless person…it’s a fun play of words I really like!
What is your background and how did you get into music?
I’m currently finishing up my studies in media computer science and trying to figure out, where life itself will take me. Currently living in munich with my girlfriend and NWS-graphic designer Giulia and my senior dog (pomeranian) called Space (I have a cute little picture with him right here)! I’ve always been quite addicted to music, especially looking for unknown tracks & exploring new genres! I think my biggest influence in that regard was my brother. When he was around 20 he moved to Berlin and would quickly fall in love with techno and house music, which he would always show me, when I was visiting him – at that time I was 7(!) years old, so you can imagine how I was affected by all the music he was showing me. From Drum’n’Bass and Dubstep to EDM and 80s Synthwave, I’ve explored it all. Fast-forward to 2010, where the 18-year-old me started to go to festivals regularly and really fall in love with deep house & techno. Since that point, I never turned my back on this kind of music – probably because I keep reading too much into it, haha.
You wear a number of hats – DJ, producer and also label founder including A&R and online presence. Which is your main role, or the most important? Or do you carry out each to the same level?
Currently my love lays within my job of shaping a new label – it’s something quite special for me, especially when a loving community builds around the idea, that was solely in my head 2 years ago. As I finish up my bachelor soon, I started to also finish up music of my own – with a first EP in September releasing on Dream Culture. Simultaniously I started a new producer project with my buddy Quatri – he might have teased something on his own CC-interview and I’m here to tell you, that this is still very much a thing and we are working hard to show off the first productions this year! We have quite the same idea of where we want to go musically, so that is always the most promising base for a collaboration project! Last but not least comes the djing aspect, which I also love of course. Sharing music with others has always been a very important part of my life – long before I started djing, so this aspect will always follow along. So back to answering your question, I think I try to keep everything in balance, although for now – most of my time goes into managing our label.
You co-founded the brand “Nie Wieder Schlafen” (Never Sleep Again) – can you tell us the background of this – how did it all start and how did it develop into the community and record label that it has become today?
As this question came up a few times before you asking it, I was able to develop a tight story to tell the most important aspects, without boring you to death. The initial idea was quite simple – friends of my brother loved talking about music as much as I did and since we all pretty much started to DJ at the same time, we thought about starting a “DJ-Collective” in Berlin, to play a few parties for our friends. The name originated in the summer of 2013 – after a long night of dancing, we heard about David August playing in the morning as we were just about to go to bed – after a short discussion, we came to the (obvious) conclusion that simply never sleeping again (throughout the festival), will help us solve the problem and help us see every artist we want, haha. Later that “name” was picked back up and became what it is today. After throwing the first parties, I would start a Youtube Channel on my own, which would soon gain quite a lot of subscribers and people would start sending us music for the channel. In late summer of 2016 we would receive a demo EP from Modulo, which probably played the biggest factor in my decision to suddenly start a label. So in the end, everything came quite naturally and without any masterplan.
What advice would you give to anyone aspiring to start a record label?
I think in a time of uncountable labels, you need to ask yourself the question whether or not your label will bring something new to the table. I think, if you take a look at Nie Wieder Schlafen, you will recognize one important thing : The label is releasing music, that doesn’t really follow the industry standard.The reason I started a label was because I realized, that 90% of the labels in the underground scene simply played it too safe, too perfect. Only productions got signed, that were similiar to the music that was already released. Also, I already had a vague vision for the label and what I wanted to achieve – I was also interested how people would react to imperfect music, with more unique ideas and different approaches. Of course this is not the formula you, as a new label-founder, might follow – but just ask yourself this : “What is lacking in the industry?” – “What music can fill that gap?” – “Do I have interest in finding this exact music?” – “Do people tell me I have a good taste in music?”, etc. In my honest opinion, no one should be like “I wanna make a label” and then start a label. Instead, a day may come, where you think to yourself : “Why is no one releasing THIS kind of music” – that’s when you know, you could/ should start a label. It’s pretty much like inventing a new product – you will probably have no success, when you tell yourself “I need to invent a new product!” – but someday you might look at something and wonder “Why is no one trying to fix this problem” and that’s when you have the opportunity to invent something new.
How would you describe your sound – do you think your music falls into a particular genre?
I really think it doesn’t – I have a love for all kind of different vibes! What I can say though, is that I put atmospherics above everything else. Creating the atmosphere of a track, is the most valuable for me, as it is responsible for triggering the feelings of the listener – the reason why every human being can connect with music so well. It can guide your feelings or emphasize them. At the moment I have a huge favour for a more dubby & minimal approach to house music. Cutting as much high frequencies as possible, brings your productions into deeper realms and clears up a lot of space in the mix, so that your productions can breathe a lot! It also leaves way more room for interpretation and I generally feel like, the less you give the listener, the more he will fill the gaps. Something really interesting, that works for not just music, but every piece of art – like movies, paintings and more.
What is the coolest or craziest gig you have ever played & why?
Craziest gig, that’s a hard one to answer – I’d probably go with the first ‘Nie Wieder Schlafen’ showcase, celebrating the debut release as a label. We invited the very first family artists (Modulo, Sam Goku and Kotu) to Berlin, while also having no idea how many people would even attend the event and if it would flop. Fortunately, the club was packed and a queue was formed around the block – the whole experience was quite surreal and everyone dropped incredible sets. On the next day we had entered the Top 10 of Beatport and would soon hit 4 different number 1 spots. Meeting the artists, the successful party and the rise of our debut release all came together – so that particular weekend was truly special and set the bar high for us.
Can you tell us something most people won’t know about you?
As an eleven-year-old kid I managed to fall asleep and almost drown in the bathtub, luckily my dad was able to save me in time! One more reason to call myself ‘trustless’! :O
What do you have coming up in terms of releases and gigs?
My debut EP “Liana” is dropping on Dream Culture in september! It is a very simple & lighthearted release, that consists of collaborations with Kotu and LADS, as well as a truly stunning remix coming from Modulo. I’m also currently finishing up a remix for Yarni and another one for Padre. Last but not least, Quatri and I are currently trying to finish our first EP’s before sending them off to some labels we both admire!
Next to producing, I will be playing a few sets at Burning Man (August 27th – September 2nd) and afterwards we have a ‘Nie Wieder Schlafen’-Showcase at “The Ballroom Blitz” in Beirut! We’re also trying to get something going for ADE and another Showcase in Berlin! We still have planned a showcase in London and one further down the line in Paris! For now though, I’m concentrating on the burn, as we have an own camp (Never Sleep Again) to take care of. I can’t wait to be back in the dust again and I’m happy you will join us, too!
How did you put together your guest mix for the radio show & what have you included – any exclusives or surprises?
Yeah so this mix came together quite naturally – I wanted to start off a little more dubby as well as showing of some music of the family. Towards the end of the year the style and focus of the label will head into a new direction and the CC-radioshow seemed like a perfect chance to highlight this new approach. That’s why you will find 2 unreleased productions of Nie Wieder Schlafen right at the start. 2 tracks with a new and exciting style (which fits to everything I talked about before), that will hopefully surprise some people in a positive way! Next to those, we have a lovely new edit forthcoming on Oleeva Records as well as productions from our man Himbrecht and from the boys of ALMA.
Christian Löffler, a big inspiration for myself, has found it’s way into the mix as well as recently released music from Moodmusic and Afterlife. The mix is a little showcase of what’s up with the crew, rather than a fully-thoughtout mix, but luckily – I’m always best, when I don’t think about these mixes too much, as my “natural” way of selecting just feels more fluent, other than overthinking everything too much! I hope some will enjoy, what they hear! Thanks for having me Claire, was a pleasure to do this little mix and chat with you!
Listen to Trustless on the CC radio show –>