This week we feature a special guest for the Podcast, coming from Germany, Vera. During her childhood she was mostly surrounded by classical music and got her basic musical education by studying a few instruments. When she first entered a techno club in ’93, she found exactly what she had been looking for. Vera has steadily developed into the league of Frankfurt’s most prominent exports for house music, standing for sophisticated, deep, electronic dance music, somewhere between deephouse and techno.
We had the opportunity to talk with her, and we were pleased to find out a lot of nice things about Vera‘s past and future plans.
1. Hello Vera how are you?
I’m very good. Thanks. I’m happy we finally manage to release a podcast here. It took us a while…
2. First of all tell us a bit about the beginnings, how did Vera start her musical journey ?
It’s hard to tell, when music had it’s first impact on me. Probably already in my mom’s womb. It’s well known that embryos react on music and that it effects the development of the brain, and also that that music they heard will become some sort of blueprint for their musical perception. Anyway, with the dj-ing I started pretty late, at the age of 26 more or less. I went clubbing since the early 90s but as a passionate dancer, not as a DJ. I actually think that experience on the dance floor and listening to so many other DJs before I started myself had a positive effect on my dj-ing. I also collected all sorts of mix tapes and CDs and from time to time a bought a record too. I steadily followed the development in electronic music. Until a point came, when my friend Carsten (one of the owners of Freebase Records in Frankfurt) said to me “I think you should start dj-ing. I somehow liked the idea and so another friend of mine borrowed me his equipment and I succeeded very quickly in beat matching. That motivated me to continue and I started buying records. Shortly after I had my first gigs in bars and small parties. It all went pretty quick, I have to say.
3. How did you meet Miss Fitz/Maayan Nidam and what does Mara Trax stand for?
I met Maayan after having been in touch with her via myspace, cause I liked a track she made and I couldn’t find it anywhere. So I contacted her, and we kept in touch. Shortly after we met in Berlin and decided to jam a bit together. The result, our first track ever produced, is “get loose” and was the digital release part of our EP on Oslo.
I’d say as simply as the name stands for a fusion of Ma(ayan) +(Ve)ra, this is probably also what we stand for musically… a simple fusion of two DJs/ producers that play tracks they like and that express their musical influences in their productions (and friendship
4. Where do you get your fuel/energy/inspiration when it comes to production ?
Mostly from all sorts of music I listen to but also from good parties I’m coming home very inspired with a certain idea or vibe that got stuck in my head. And certainly inspiration also just comes from inside, triggered by emotions and thoughts. The art of other people, dancers, painters, writers is a source of inspiration too. Basically anything that touches me, inspires me as well.
5. Has something changed in the production process if you are to look in the past?
Well, the process is still the same, more or less. I usually start with programming beats and a bass lines, building the base of the track and later I add more stuff, synth parts, melodies, vocals, maybe a sample or a loop, effects…. I basically just jam and see where it goes. When I have the feeling I have sufficient sounds etc that would make a whole track, I start recording and arranging. I always worked like that, just that I got more and more confident producing tracks, I know my gear better and can say that I improved soundwise and actually also with anything else. But I’m still not where I’d like to be, I feel like I need to experiment more, expand my musical horizons and get more technical knowledge.
6. I think that the passionate electronic music listener will always try to find a smaller more intimate venue to express his feelings. Can you tell us a bit about your residency at Robert Johnson and what makes the venue so special?
I became a resident at the club in 2004. Roman Flügel had invited me for one of his Klang label nights. It was like a dream come true, cause already as a guest I felt that this place is one of the best spots in to enjoy music. And as I have been travelling and playing in many other places all over the world in the past years, I can say that it’s definitely one of the best spots on earth for clubbers and DJs.
One of the main reasons is the massive, very well adjusted sound system. Also the room/ dance floor itself has been acoustically improved on and on, to get the maximum sound experience. The sound is very warm, defined, dynamic and powerful. (And we all know, that having a good sound system is already half way to a good party.)
The club is very intimate, most of the people go there since years and know each other, which creates a familiar vibe. People go there because they identify with the club, it’s atmosphere and music in general, and not only when a certain DJ plays. You could say that the crowd had been very well “educated” by always having been offered quality music. And you can tell, that it’s the love to music and clubbing culture that makes the place so special. You can feel, that the club was created to be a playground for DJs and clubbers to enjoy music to the maximum.
7. Everyone is talking about the Romanian djs/producers these days, give us your opinion regarding this topic and maybe some names one should look after.
Actually I don’t want to name anyone particular. There are really a lot of talents around and everyone seems to be very passionate. In general I think “the Romanians” kinda created something new in electronic music. They definitely have very much been influenced by the music of Ricardo Villalobos, but they somehow developed their own, unique style. I would even say, it’s a proper sub genre. I’d describe it as dubby, experimental techno, with a touch of melancholy, kinda dark but beautiful.
8. When can we expect a new release and what are your future plans?
Hehe… very soon. The next is going to be a Mara Trax EP on Perlon, and it will be out now, beginning of march. Around May my solo EP on hello? repeat will come out. And there will probably also be another solo EP this year, maybe even before summer. I haven’t been releasing any EPs in more than two years, so it’s about time. But I didn’t want to release just for the releases sake. I wanted to progress a bit more before publishing tracks that I’m not really sure about. But finally the time has come, and I’m quiet happy about the EPs.
9. What does Vera like to do when she is not spinning the decks or producing ?
Well, I think I’m pretty much of a family/ social person, that likes to spend a lot of time with friends. Apart of that I have an interests in natural sciences, brain research, physics etc. also in spirituality, health & nutrition (which is all related). I’m also a big fan of contemporary dance and I like modern art. Whenever I have enough time I like travelling, preferably backpacking. One of my favorite places is India, where I have steadily been travelling since 1997. I always feel like going back there after a while, it’s like I somehow feel homesick for India.