We had the chance to talk with one of the pionner of what we can call Ethereal Techno ; Soul Button. The berlin producer has turned the heads of many since he launched his label Steyoyoke in 2012. Their talented team of DJ’s and producers have seen recognition from some of the industry’s biggest heavyweights and much of this can be accredited to the label’s quality productions. Eye catching cover designs has always been synonymous with the label and the innovation of their very own music genre ‘Ethereal Techno’ has thrust both the Steyoyoke sound and branding. You can listen to a mix concocted by Soul Button while reading the great interview we did with him. Enjoy !
WWD: Hey Soul Button, Thanks for joining us today, hope you’re well !
Doing well indeed. Thanks for having me.
WWD: Where are you in the world right now? And what have you been up to recently?
I’m currently home in Berlin. January and February are usually my months off from gigs even though I was just in Goa a few weeks ago. Taking this break during the year to lock myself in the studio and take care of myself and my private life is crucial.
WWD: 2019 offers a blank slate to artists, what do you hope to achieve in the coming 12 months in term of music? Any new EP or album on the way?
At the moment, I am working on tons of tracks and remixes but the main goal is my first album as Soul Button. It’s a project that I’ve had in mind for a long time but never had the motivation to start. Now I am completely into it. I have a strong concept and am working with different vocalists. I want to make an album which will reflect, both from concept and music, who I really am. So, everyday I sit in my studio and make what comes out from inside of me. It’s actually very exciting; producing an album is a journey. I think albums need to have a story behind it instead of just a compilation of originals tracks.
WWD: We’ve been told you have an upcoming tour in North America. What can you tell us about it ? How is your relationship with North America’s audience?
I’ve been touring in North America for four years now. I’ve seen many cities, clubs and have met so many people. California and Canada are my favorites. There’s always a lot of excitement going to the other side of the world to present your music. I’ve noticed that people in the US are not very familiar with Ethereal Techno but they do appreciate it a lot which is the most exciting part. Playing in cities like Salt Lake City, for example, and seeing the crowd truly enjoy a genre they have never heard before is quite fulfilling. Although, I am not a big fan of clubs that closes at 2 or 3am. In Berlin, this is when we think of going out 🙂
WWD: From Steyoyoke to Inner Symphony and Steyoyoke Black, you’ve become well- accustomed to operating in the label game. With the way things are going, is it the concept of label becoming solely an additional tool as opposed to a viable business for an artist?
Many years ago there were DJs who were amazing with vinyls and have never heard the word “produce”. Then all these DJs were at risk of disappearing because there was no space for just DJs and not DJ/producer. Now, it seems like there is no space for just DJ/producer, now they need to have a label. Maybe in 10 years you need to be a DJ, a producer, own a label, own a club and have a digital distribution company 🙂
I see many labels who are only focused on the career of the owner and not so much on the music. All the releases except the label boss ones are just catalogue. I don’t like this approach and I’m happy when I hear people say something like “Yes, they release some nice tracks sometimes but they have no concept behind it”. I say EXACTLY and the reason is because of what I just said. Everyday, artists are starting new labels more and more but only for prestige and not because they have a real concept of music. That’s the reason why dance music has become so flat because there are hundreds of labels who release all the same sound.
WWD: What can we expect from Steyoyoke in 2019?
We are all focusing on bigger projects. For example, Nick Devon & I are working on an album. In 2019, I will keep involving lots of new talented artists. I really enjoy working with these young, motivated geniuses. My goal was and will always be – only release good, quality music. I’m not interested in who the artist is. I am only interested if they make good music. Nick, Clawz SG and I want to make the very first Ethereal Techno sample libraries but it will probably take a while because everybody is really busy at the moment.
WWD: Tough question: Can you share with us your three favourite Steyoyoke tracks of all time?
So tough, but I will tell you 3 from Steyoyoke and 1 from Steyoyoke Black. 🙂
Nick Devon – Ode
Soul Button – Wraith
Clawz SG – Gwendoline
Dahu – Sedated
WWD: Since 2016, you’ve only released on your own labels, Steyoyoke and Inner Symphony. However, we hear that you have an upcoming remix on the Canadian imprint Plaisirs Sonores Records. What do you look for in labels when considering where to release your music, and what led you to become interested in the up-and-coming label for your new remix?
In the past I’ve made remixes for many different labels and then I realized that I was only cutting time for producing my own music. I decided to remix for Plaisirs for three reasons: First, because they really wanted me and my sound and my style in their label. Second, because I know the label and they do a good job in terms of art and music. Third, because I play some of their tracks and am compatible with their music style. I’m actually so pleased with the remix I made for them. It’s sick.
WWD: Should we expect to hear more tracks from you on other labels?
Yes, I’m working on it. My plan is to produce my album on my label and the next couple of EPs on other labels, but I don’t want to mention anyone now. I will definitely only release on labels which I appreciate and respect. I won’t release for fame.
WWD:We are curious about your past, when and how did your relationship with electronic music and production first begin?
My dad bought me the first Roland R8 when I was 16. I programmed drums for 2 years and thought I was making music. Then I realized that those were actually only beats. Then, I convinced my dad to buy me samples. I got an AKAI 900. I started to sample every noise I heard, loop it and make hard techno music. My first vinyl was released when I was 19. This was the beginning. No computers, only machines. Trust me, in those days, it was not easy to create music.
WWD: Do you have a production ritual? If so, what is it?
Not really a ritual but there are couple of things I have to do before I start. First, make tea, turn the phone off, take my shoes off and unfasten my belt.
WWD: Apart from music, what makes you happiest?
Spending time with kids. Adults are so boring.
WWD: Cheers for speaking to us today Soul Button,
My pleasure. I love answering intelligent questions.