Upclose with Michael Mayer

What’s your area of responsibility at Kompakt and what’s your job like?
I take care of a multitude of things here at Kompakt—most prominently I’m the A&R for the label and its offshoots. This involves maintaining a close relationship with the artists, plotting out ideas or sometimes even helping out with the production work. I really enjoy my office life on the most part—it’s a healthy counterbalance to my nocturnal DJ life.

Share with us your thoughts on the current dance music scene.
Obviously, the scene has never been this big, colorful and successful. On the other hand, I’m under the impression that there’s sort of a backlash in terms of creativity. The underground mainstream became pretty formulaic as there’s a lot of history repeating going on. The house revival that is upon us doesn’t really push the genre into new spheres; most clubbers seem to prefer this conservative approach.

Do you think this is happening for other genres too?
Same goes for techno where it became so serious and uber-correct again … reminds me of the days when you had to wear a UR sweater to be credible. All this goes a bit against my nature as I’m always looking for new, exciting and unexplored ways to play 4/4 music.

Sounds depressing.
But there’s also a lot of light between the shadows. Among others, people like Fourtet, Matias Aguayo and DJ Koze radiate a sense of freedom and vibrancy. This year, I’ve been buying more music than ever. There are a lot of great things going on but it just got increasingly difficult to find them.
DJs and producers’ taste for music differ and sometimes they stake their claim on just one particular genre. What about you?
I’m a musical sponge, sucking up any kind of music that challenges and entertains me. This could be pop music from Sumatra, Indonesia (there’s some great stuff, really!), 60s psychedelia from Iran (check out the amazing Forge Your Own Chains compilation on the Now-Again label) or 70s disco funk from Namibia … I don’t care.

And in that sense, your music has always been deemed eclectic in every sense of the word …
I guess as a result of this constant quest for inspiration, my DJ-ing has become more eclectic. The ratio between functionality and musicality has changed a lot in favor of the latter. Anything goes as long as it’s fun—be it house, techno or disco; new or old. It’s the emotional intensity of the music that interests me most.
That was some mad speech chief! Right on so many levels. What about DJs that we should look out for?
Seth Troxler is really on top of his game and Rebolledo from Mexico is totally awesome as well.

It’s Zouk for you soon; is there anything we should be worried about? Don’t worry, I’m not going to torture the Zouk crowd with weird world music! I’m all set for a fun party at this beautiful club and it has always been a pleasure to come back.
Michael Mayer will be dropping some proper tunes on Sep 18, 10pm. Velvet Underground, 17 Jiak Kim St., 6738-2988. $28-35 includes two drinks.