Gregor Tresher began DJ’ing in the early 90s in Frankfurt under the alias Sniper Mode. He’s since built himself an impressive career in electronic music with a reputation to match. Anyone that’s familiar with his work will know that he is relentlessly focussed not only on beats, but on groove and melody; something which can often be surpassed when it comes to the industrial, German techno soundscape. With an almost unheard of attention to detail, Tresher consistently produces absolute uniqueness and driving intensity.
Gregor Tresher will be playing at THE PLAYGROUND‘s KOKO London show, 22 August. We interviewed him ahead of the event to talk music, melody and making his own label.
Thanks for speaking to us, Gregor Tresher. Where are you today?
I’m currently on a two week tour in South America and I’m waiting for a flight at Buenos Aires airport.
It’s widely known that your use of melody stands out from a lot of electronic music that’s out there at the moment, especially within techno. What is it that makes you want to maintain focus on these musical elements?
I’ve was a child in the eighties, so growing up with music and especially synth-pop from that era definitely left its marks, however I have always been into more dark and a bit melancholic music in general. So I guess you can hear that influence in my own music as well.
Are the melodies the first thing that materialise when you’re making music?
Not necessarily, but usually the melody is the ingredient that keeps me interested in working on a track longer than a day. I don’t have a recipe when making music, but most of the time I start with the beat and then try to find interesting musical elements.
Are there any artists in particular that inspired or influenced your interest in the ‘groove’ of a track?
The inspiring parts, for me at least, are the melody or the atmosphere of a track, not so much the groove. I would say the groove is a basic element that just has to be right. It’s the foundation of a good track, but most of the time it´s not the element that will make you remember the song. I listened to a lot of hip hop in the nineties and been a fan of DJ Premier’s productions. I even bought an MPC2000 at the time because it had this great shuffle function that made a beat really groove.
You, similar to a lot of highly regarded electronic artists, have your own label (Break New Soil). Why do you think this is the route so many choose to go down?
I founded the label because I was about to release an album and wanted to have complete control over it. I wanted to decide who to work with in terms of mastering, or who would design the artwork for example. If it’s your own label you don’t have to look on the costs so much, because in the end you basically pay for it yourself. If you work with someone else’s label things have to be more cost effective obviously, at least most of the times.
How would you say the label has progressed since you first launched it back in 2009?
It developed from a label just for my own music to a platform where I can release music I like from friends and colleagues. We’re at catalogue number 50 now, so we don’t necessarily release a record every month. The label progressed and grew in a nice and healthy way I think.
You can be found playing in clubs all over the world. Do you tend to get different reactions in different cities?
People do react differently in different parts of the world, but there are great clubs and audiences to be found everywhere in the world I think. It comes down to the people who run the place and the people that go there.
Do you have a favourite venue to play?
Well, quite many actually. just added a new one to my favorites last weekend, Baum in Bogota Colombia is definitely worth a visit, had a fantastic time there.
You showed Attack Magazine your studio set up a little while back and it looked pretty impressive. Have there been any new additions since then? What are your most frequently used pieces of gear when putting a track together at the moment?
It’s still pretty much the same; the last big purchase I made was a Roland System-100, which I have been using a lot ever since. The Synthesizer I use probably the most is my Korg Mono/Poly.
Who are you listening to at the moment? Any recommendations?
I’m currently listening to Kendrick Lamar‘s recent album ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’ which I think is amazing.
Do you have any upcoming projects/releases that we should be keeping an eye out for?
I recently did a remix for Laurent Garnier which just has been released and another one for French artist Oniris, that´s also been out a couple of weeks only. For the next months it´s all about touring for me. I plan to spend some time in the studio at the end of the year to work on new music.
Finally, what can we expect from your set at KOKO?
Well, we’ll see. Apart from checking new music every week and preparing it for use in my DJ sets, I´m not really putting together playlists or anything. Every night is different and I think it´s always a good thing not to be over prepared but to be spontaneous and to play for the moment. I think that’s what DJ’ing is about.
Gregor Tresher will be playing KOKO London, 22 August, alongside Oliver Huntemann, Juan Atkins, Gary Beck, Dubspeeka and Agents of Time. Click here for tickets.