A flash from the past, DJ WestBam and friends talk techno in 1994

22 January 2015
Myriah Turner

Feast on this 1994 documentary cut with the legendary Germans Jam El Mar, DJ WestBam and producer Klaus Jankuhn explaining the motions of creating a techno record.  

It is a flash from the past, but it is still supremely relevant to today's scene. Technology has advanced and the spaces to produce and share have become much more vast. But down to the core of a good techno track, there are simple fundamentals that can be tweaked, sequestered and heightened.

The video opens with that super fitting, Saved By The Bell block lettering style, cutting right to the chase; "You can't film this — that's why they make videos with loads of dancers.. The truth is too boring." 

The studio engineering begins and before you know it, the steps to creating the perfect techno cocktail seems to be limited to one definitive foundation — you need a sound.

You are given a grocery list of quick tidbits that are the outlines to the craft; the bass drum and base line, hi-hats, loops and additional melodies.

It's a pursuit of adding up a great deal of things, a collection of sounds and pressures and then slowly shaving it down to the perfect blend.

"The work of production is really reduction" — DJ WestBam

Another statement that can be repeated today, in 2015, but was much closer to the bone when this video was produced — the emphasis on composition. "Just as in times of The Beatles, people are searching for songs, not just noise." 

The YouTube comment section has stirred up a lot of excellent points for present day artists.

"Now music is much more complicated and production standards are so much higher that its much more difficult to get your track noticed." — this strums up a thought that perhaps the accessibility to software may have subtracted a little of the sweat and time that had to be devoted to create such masterpieces. Perhaps a bit of creativity too?

The other comment that really stood out summed up that "artists" in the past used to focus on creating music. Engineers and producers were there to ensure the studio sound, and the mastering engineers to do the same to prepare the track to sound best on its medium - as mastering for vinyl is an art in itself. Artists these days are probably "jacks of all trades", when in the past people were specialists in one specific field for a lot of the time."

Myriah Turner

Myriah Turner

Toronto / Amsterdam
Myriah Turner likes her words shaken not stirred. A Canadian with a powerful pen, she is known for her poetic stylings on discoFlesh, her dreamy voice over and her constant contributions to the electronic dance music scene. Having a strong connection with Amsterdam, Myriah Turner is currently based in Toronto, with an endless supply of pens and paper.