Having had a career spanning roughly fourteen years, you’d expect things may be slowing down for DJ, label-head and producer Joachim Spieth. To the contrary however, March of last year saw Spieth step things up a peg, setting up the vinyl frontier to his widely celebrated Affin label, with Affin LTD. Following its inauguration Affin LTD sees its thirteenth addition this week, with a dub-infused three tracker from Spieth himself scheduled to follow in November.
With this, and the sixth anniversary of the Affin imprint steadily approaching, we caught up with Spieth to discuss the history of the imprint, what it was like to have his debut release with Kompakt, and how he balances running a label with finding time to produce his own material.
Hi Joachim, so how are things? I believe I am right in saying the release of your ‘Dark Matter’ EP for Affin is not too far away, can you tell us a little bit about this?
Hi Theo, thanks I’m fine! “Dark Matter”, produced this summer is following my preference for Dub-Techno, like “Sensual” and some other tunes I made in the last two years.
As i already talked to Gez (Varley/G-Man) some time before I knew that in general he was up for a remix and this title seemed just to be the one to make it happen. In the same time D. Diggler and I met online and so after mailing some days I thought that he would complete this project in the perfect way. The 12” will appear in November and I’m curious about reactions & feedbacks from others. I’m really happy to have them both as we all share a love for Dub Techno.
How did you first get into production? You had your debut release with Kompakt which is a pretty impressive first move.
I was into music long time before I discovered electronic music. When I finally had a setup things worked out quickly. I released several 12”s on Kompakt from 1999 - 2004. My debut included some of my earliest tunes that I made. As I was a customer of their mail-order this developed just naturally, but sure, I was really happy that they gave me an option to present my ideas to a wider audience.
Your early productions seem to take quite a lot of influence from Minimal, whilst your more recent work feel more influenced by Dub, and Industrial Techno. Which records do you think have had the most influence on your productions over the years?
Ah, there were a lot of records that influenced me. It’s impossible to center it just on 4-5 EPs but labels that really influenced my music back in the days were Warp Records, all Hardwax based labels (Basic Channel, Chain Reaction, Main Street…), Kompakt (Profan/ Studio 1…) and also music from Detroit (Juan Atkins, Robert Hood…) Most of these imprints are still actual for me, so Techno for me is a longtime relationship besides from short trends.
What sort of things were you listening to growing up? Has Techno always been your focus musically?
No, when I was younger I was into Heavy Metal, later also Hip Hop and some other styles…
With such a hectic release schedule on Affin, is it hard to find time to work on your own tracks? How do you keep up with everything?
A long time I didn’t produce a lot, but since 2011 I’m working more constantly than before. Now I try to fix upcoming releases much earlier than in the beginning of the label, so that some weeks I mainly concentrate on selecting, writing press infos, communicate with the artists etc… and the time after I have more space to go on with my own projects. Moreover, I stopped listening demos as the roster is really big now.
What were your original intentions in setting up the label and do you think the direction has changed much over the years?
The main thing was to grow our own family besides trends and forces that some other labels seem to take care of. I wanted to be free with the music I release and I also got demos from good newcomers. The idea of founding a label was present a long time before I launched it. From the intention of what the label was meant to be it’s not a big difference between 2008 and now. But in the beginning the label was more open to different styles, this changed a bit in the last two years. Nowadays it’s more focussed on Techno.
Also, what was it that made you decide to setup Affin LTD – the vinyl outlet of the project?
It was clear that one day we would do vinyl but from the beginning of the label I first wanted to experiment a bit with different people & sounds, so that the style of the label was formed without too much pressure. I think it wasn’t a mistake as we already got good reactions and respect from a lot of people around. Affin never was a cheap digital label without any investment in it.
Speaking of Affin LTD, 013 starts shipping this week. How do you go about putting together various artist EPs such as this one?
With EXPAND (Affin 013 LTD) we have Alex Bau, Cleric & Unam Zetineb together on one 12”. The idea of these v/a 12”s is just to give a maximum of flexibility to the customers buying it. Bringing together different names also ensures to get recognized by different groups of people, so it’s a way of making connections.
There seems to be an emphasis on pushing new talent with the label, how do you go about sourcing your artists?
For a while the roster seems to be almost complete and more constant than in the early days. Most acts from the last 1-2 years were recommended by acts that already were in the pool. For me it’s not easy now to select material, because i get far too many demos. Therefore I also denied some good stuff just because it would be to much output.
Finally, as you mentioned earlier in our email exchange it’s nearing six years since Affin was founded, any special plans to celebrate the anniversary?
Have a look on it…. :-)