We speak to the enigmatic Raw Cuts label owner and producer about his upcoming set at Croatia's Garden Festival this summer
Expecting an abundance of flip flops and deep v-neck shirts, this year's epic line-up for the annual Garden Festival in Croatia features the likes of house / disco honchos Tensnake, Art Department, Mark E, and Jacques Renault, to legends like Larry Heard, Appleblim, Phenomenal Handclap Band, and Julio Bashmore, as well as a Mr Danilo Plessow - or better known to the techno masses as his somewhat misleading pseudonym - Motor City Drum Ensemble. As a lover and purveyor of vinyl, the prolific Berliner has always been adamant on bringing back the use of analogue equipment for a true techno sound, which can be heard across his unpolished tracks for his own label Raw Cuts that recall the heydays of Detroit.
Dazed Digital: Do you think living in Germany (or Detroit etc for that matter) affects the way artists produce techno/house music, or does it make no difference today with the internet etc?
Danilo Plessow: I guess it depends on where you live and how much you allow your surroundings to influence you. I grew up in a small town and think I actually benefited from that isolation (this was in the days where the Internet was still too slow to stream music etc), because this way I could kind of make my own discoveries and not follow "cool" things by somebody else. The Internet surely changed the way young people educate themselves in all sorts of things, but I guess at the end of the day "real life" is still what makes people act and believe what they do.
DD: You've played out in Eastern Europe/Croatia before? Have you been to Petrcane and if not what are you expecting from the festival?
Danilo Plessow: It's a lovely little place, I played Electric Elephant before. I guess this time the line-up is even more crazy, and I'll bring along my girl so I'm sure we'll have a good time and maybe also catch some sun and relax for once haha.
DD: What was your best DJ/gig experience you've had since you started playing out, if any?
Danilo Plessow: Meeting and playing after Roy Ayers in Tokyo was pretty special for me as he is one of my biggest heroes. But there's so much more...
DD: We spoke about the 'Ableton generation' and how easy it is to make [electronic] music these days... do you think the backlash towards it will become the norm or will it just continue to be this way?...
Danilo Plessow: I just think there has never been as much "generic" music as these days, due to the fact that people more or less just all use the exact same setup and sample packs. Still, it takes more than just real hardware to produce something with a certain substance, that's another thing people seem to forget. I'm not blaming people using Abelton, there is incredible music done with this software and just a usb keyboard, but it's how you use Ableton that sets you apart from the rest. In the 90s everybody used MPCs, but have you ever heard somebody complaining about a "generic" MPC sound? It's a combination of factors, not only a software.
DD: Being so loyal to vinyl, what do realistically think will happen to it in ten years time?
Danilo Plessow: Just this weekend Norwegian Airlines lost my recordbag and being hungover and tired I somehow lost my baggage tag, so chances are I won't get it back. Situations like these sometimes make me wonder why I still bring vinyl. But then again you play a certain record on a good soundsystem and it will just sound a thousand times better to you and make the evening all the more special. I don't think I can live without this feeling, so I guess you'll still see me playing records in ten years time. And believe me, I'm not alone with this sentiment.
Catch Motor City Drum Ensemble playing in Petrcane this July along the miles of beautiful beaches and banging boat parties. The Garden Festival, Petrcane, Croatia; 6th - 13th July 2011.