Since first meeting Richie Hawtin back in Detroit and nearby Windsor, Canada during the 90s, Polish-born Magda has been close to the techno titan. When he started Minus, she was there; when he experimented with the Cube, she was there; when the minimal backlash came, she was there. But now the diminutive DJ is breaking free. Alongside fellow technoists Marc Houle and Troy Pierce, she will focus on reviving Items & Things in the coming months. So too will the trio put on events under the name Down & Out in various spaces around Berlin, whilst Magda herself speaks of a desire to get back in the studio and flesh out her so far solid, if not sporadic, back catalogue. Catch her playing an eight hour set this Saturday in London.
Dazed Digital: So your label Items & Things is recently rejuvenated – what made you focus on that again?
Magda: Sometimes it’s time for change and change is good. I felt it was the right time to move on and shift my full attention to Items & Things. I really believe in the label and its potential and its nice to have something you can call your own. I’m very motivated to realize all the ideas we have in a way that we like. It’s also a good feeling to come across inspiring and fresh music from young artists and know that you can serve as a platform to promote them to the world.
DD: What sort of music do you aim to release on the label? Is there a certain aesthetic you are going for?
Magda: We don’t have an agenda. The key is for the tracks have something unique and different whether it’s a catchy hook or simply a sound. We look for music that tries to push boundaries and not just follows current trends. For me, a groove is very important (in a loose sense of the word). That can be a dance floor 4/4 track or something much more experimental but it has to have that.
DD: You run the label with Marc Houle and Troy Pierce – does that mean every decision is a three way thing or do you each take care of certain things...?
Magda: That’s the great thing about it. Although we have many things in common, we are quite different. Marc is very old school new wave (doesn’t listen to music past 1984), Troy is more Goth and I veer towards an obscure old school electro/disco sound. However we all come from the Detroit area and have been influenced by that sound so the decisions we make do have similarities and must be made together in 100% agreement. This really works for us.
DD: What have been the biggest musical evolutions for you in the last 5 years – how have your tastes evolved since, say, She’s a Dancing Machine?
Magda: Wow that was so long ago I barely remember what’s on that mix. I feel my taste has always been a bit eclectic because of the various influences from Detroit. There will always be elements of Chicago, Detroit, experimental and minimal, and old school electro/disco in my sets, it just depends which of those elements I prefer at the time. Obviously tastes change a bit, I mean you cant listen to the same rhythms and sounds for 20 years without getting bored and searching for something fresh right? For me the fun part is combining these things into a new whole.
DD: Sure you’re not keen on talking about it but… have you or your label mates felt a backlash in the last couple of years since, for whatever reason, the minimal bubble burst? Have you re-assessed at all or…?
Magda: Oh definitely. That word got so blown out of proportion that it took on an entire new and strange meaning that is completely foreign to me. I have been in “minimal” shackles for a while because many people don’t actually realize that’s not my sound at all. It's ok, it doesn’t really bother me because it comes down to the events and the reaction to the music and people have been very supportive. It’s a great feeling. I will always follow my gut feeling when making music and DJing because it got me here in the first place and at the end of the day that’s the whole learning process and personal progression.
DD: What are you excited about in the future?
Magda: Too many things at the moment. We have so many ideas for the label and a great team behind us. Aside from the releases, I’m very excited to start organizing our “Down & Out” events. The first one was in Berlin at a secret location and it was a huge success. We really want these parties to bring back an old school underground feeling which we experienced in Berlin in the early 2000s. Other than that, I am itching to get back in the studio and produce, produce, produce!
A Night With... Magda at a secret London location; Saturday 13th August, 11pm - 7am.