Podcast 551: Losoul
A master of the groove steps up.
Podcast 551: Losoul
A master of the groove steps up.
Few artists have been as instrumental in the development of minimal house as German DJ-producer Peter Kremeier (a.k.a. Losoul). Alongside fellow minimal exponent S-Max, Kremeier first caught steam with his Superbleep parties in the fertile Frankfurt scene of the ’90s, before debuting on Playhouse as Losoul in ’96 with Open Door, a 12″ that cemented his name as a key player on the pioneering label alongside peers such as Ricardo Villalobos and Isolée—the records’ demand over the years also led to a recent repress on Kremeier’s Another Picture label, which he launched in 2014 to reissue key records. Over the ensuing 15 years, Kremeier and Playhouse enjoyed a fruitful partnership that saw him drop over 20 releases on the label, including three full-length albums; while outside of Playhouse, Kremeier also delivered contributions to the catalogs of Klang Elektronik, Moodmusic, Nova Records, Freak n’ Chic, and Hypercolor. It was the latter that released his most recent long-player, Island Time, a seven-track collection of the types of alluring grooves that made him such a revered name in house music circles.
Like his productions, Kremeier’s DJ sets are subtle, stripped-back trips with a quirky edge; it’s an approach that puts the focus on the set as a whole rather than a reliance on obvious “bangers.” His gig schedule follows suit, favoring more intimate venues and underground institutions such as fabric, Panorama Bar, Closer, Club Der Visionaire, Womb, and Resolute, with appearances at Paris’ Rex Club and Romanian festival 3 Smoked Olives on the horizon this month.
Kremeier’s podcast for XLR8R gives a snapshot of his current modus operandi with just under an hour of sensual, funk-filled house music stripped to its core. It features old and new tracks from Schatrax, DJ Jes, Flow, and Losoul himself, connecting the dots from his jazz, soul, and funk roots to the timeless house sound he currently delivers.
How has 2018 been for you so far?
Pretty good. I was still doing the last touches to my album Island Time that was released in April and I can say I am very happy with it.
I played some very nice shows recently. There was the Australia and New Zealand tour in May and June, then I played an amazing show at Fusion Festival and also various gigs all over Europe such as a Resolute Party in Marseille, and some other shows in London, Lisboa, and Berlin, which was one of the beautiful Heideglühen parties.
Then I released new music by Sasaski Hiroaki on my label Another Picture. He does some deep soulful electronic tracks and I was very happy to have them on the label. Before Sasaki’s 12″ we rereleased one of my old classics Open Door that originally came out on Playhouse in 1996.
Earlier this year you released on Hypercolour, your first LP in some time. What’s the story behind the release?
Yeah, Island Time is my first album in nine years, which is a long time for sure! The last album came out in 2009 on my old home base label Playhouse. Although having been busy with releasing 12″s and remixes regularly, and even starting my label a couple of years ago, there was always the idea of a new album in the back of my mind.
I already had a quite successful 12″ released on Hypercolour before, so I was happy with the idea of dropping an album there. The label has a versatile back catalog and some solid skills to handle the music, particularly albums of experienced artists.
Especially during the last 10 years, I developed more of an artistic independence, which I think is crucial for a musician and producer’s work. Fashionable styles and retro blueprints are fun and maybe also sophisticated but I feel that bringing new or individual aspects to the table is a goal to work for, too. One can’t reinvent the wheel but I think as an artist you should at least work on that. This is one of the ideas that led me to the island idea.
How does it compare to your earlier work?
I think it all comes out of what you do in your life and work in general—the experiences and challenges. I toured around the world and had the chance to get in touch with many people and various cultures as well. I think it is good to step outside your own environment to understand things more directly. This can lead to a more authentic and conscious approach to the work of a musician and artist in general.
Over time, I always kept up with my studio work to improve my skills, also staying on my own path but working on ways to get where I wanted to—or, then again, to just let things go when needed.
To me, as a result, the music on the album is more intensive now and it has more of those subtle moments and spaces. At the same time, in all its vitality and emotion; it contains a more in-depth tranquilness.
So the album is also a document of my development to said artistic independence. Also, this can be seen in relation to that island situation. From this perspective, to me, this is one of my best albums so far. But, of course, I leave this to the listener.
When and where was this mix recorded?
I did it in my studio recently. It is pretty much the vibe that I currently play in a more deep but intensive situation in a small intimate club. But yes, unfortunately, I had no crowd around.
How did you choose the records that you included?
I was looking to capture the momentum of the sets that I play these days. This includes music from various eras that support that idea. It’s all in there: some classic cuts like the Schatrax one that I rediscovered on my shelves or that mental DJ Jes jam. Then there is some newer stuff that I got recently, such as the Times Are Ruff release. The new one by Flow on Tardis Records features some of the artist’s unreleased older tracks finally. I tend to avoid the seriously obvious. When combining old and new music, I am often surprised how well records can fit together that have maybe 20 years in between them.
On what equipment did you record it?
All music except the included album tracks is from vinyl records played on Technics 1210MkII. As the album was not yet delivered from the plant at that point, I had to play these tracks from a memory device. The mixer is a quite rare German broadcast mixer from the late 1970s that can be used as a DJ mixer as well. The mix was done in one go and was recorded into the computer where I did some tweaks and a bit of mastering to improve listening pleasure.
Was there a particular idea you were looking to convey?
I am usually out to create a mental atmosphere over time and develop it to concentrate its energy. Sounds abstract, no? But seriously, as I also found on the album, I am cultivating an intensive vibe that oscillates between what you would call fresh and trippy. Still, I am deriving from the background of funk, soul, and jazz music. So there are some related grooves and musical aspects in there which I love.
So what’s next on the horizon?
Well, quite some things are going on for sure. I’m going to play at some festivals in Romania and France during this summer and I will continue my album tour in Asia in September. Also, I am going back to doing live shows.
I am planning the new releases on Another Picture now and I have a few requests for releases on other labels and remixes pending. Also, it is overdue to rearrange my studio space but that’s another story.
Due to temporary issues regarding the GDPR, EU readers can download the podcast here.
01. Losoul “Echo Walk” [Hypercolour]
02. Will Hofbauer “One More” [Flexicuts]
03. Pete Bandit “Dirschauer” (Beatmix) [Times Are Ruff]
04. Haris & Dedan “Electro Oro” (Azad Rizvi Remix) [Laus]
05. Terry Hunter “GT’s Apples & Pears” [Vinyl Soul]
06. DJ Jes “Copulation” [Fresca]
07. Losoul “Square Down Smoother” [Hypercolour]
08. Schatrax “I Hold You Precious” [Schatrax]
09. Flow “I See You” [Tardis]
10. Losoul “Lava In You” [Hypercolour]