Johannes Volk is a DJ and producer from Giessen, Germany. Known for his exemplary productions on labels such as Steffi’s Dolly, his own label Exploration and more recently, London’s Tief label, Johannes takes us through his beginnings and how he came to be the artist he is today.
“There was a lot of young people and a lot of music in Giessen including music from Chicago and Detroit and all the stuff from the UK; it was a big influence for me. I think I was 14 or 15 when I went to Liebing’s first party ‘Spinclub’. I experienced a lot of cool DJs from the UK, connected with people like Neil Landstrumm or Cristian Vogel. These DJs still play in Giessen from time to time. I’m not sure if I was interested in the specific sound I was listening to at those parties, but having a lot of cool parties in town was like a big social network. From the record store and the parties, I met a lot of people and a few years later I started making music and decided to send a few of my tracks to Jeff Mills.”
In 2003, Jeff Mills set up a small project alongside his main label ‘Axis’ called Mission 6277 in which he set out to release compositions from unknown artists. This proved to be beneficial for Johannes when he released his debut ‘The Mysteries Of Tharsis Montes’ EP on the label in 2006. At the time, Johannes only had an email account to communicate with Mills, no website or MySpace. Jeff Mill’s wife Yoko Uozumi advised Johannes to open a MySpace account, “for people to listen to your stuff around the world”. His talent was showcased and subsequently went on to release with labels such as ‘Dolly’, ‘Dontstop‘ and Cinematic Recordings.
“I was logged in for maybe three days. When I returned after 3 weeks, I suddenly had a lot of friend requests and there were so many people that liked my music or the same music, or had the same influences as me. The guys from Clone, Gerd-Jan Bijl, asked me for a few tracks, and when the next few releases came out, DJs like Mike Huckaby and Keith Worthy suddenly started to play my stuff. I also fist came into contact with Patrice Scott.”
“Patrice and I have many common things in the music we like. I got goose bumps when I first heard the synth in his track Analog Dreams. I made a remix for him a few years ago and still continue to work with him and his label Sistrum. I also have a great connection with Kosta Athanasiadis aka XDB, who lives 100 km away from me. We met at a common friend’s party and is also a good friend of Patrice Scott’s”.
“There was a time when I played with XDB in Tape Club in Berlin that’s not there anymore, and Johannes from Diamonds and Pearls distribution was there. He was the one that first suggested I should start a record label. I had a great guy from Australia, Dan McPharlin, that did the artwork for the first ‘Exploration‘ 12″. I think Dan works for famous firms like Nike now! I’d like to also mention Andreas Incze, which I now work with for the artwork. I paint the artwork, but he makes all the graphic stuff on his computer. That’s how the label got started and works really. My distribution is also very open minded; I can bring out records when I want and that’s the best way for me to do it.”
Johannes doesn’t believe in borders or geographical differences, his music is related with mental concepts, as he likes to call it ‘Conceptual Techno’.
“I was never really interested or focused in cities or nations music wise. For me the coolest stuff came from Detroit and what I really like is that artists would work with space and concepts most of the time; that sort of beat, with a funky bass… Artists like Herbie Hancock or Miles Davies have inspired a lot of techno artists from Detroit.
Johannes’ next releases include a solo EP coming out on Exploration, a remix EP for Efdemin’s new album on Dial in April, a release on ‘Construct Re-Form’ (a Parisian imprint owned by producer ZADIG) and has just released for London’s Tief label, which he specifically mentioned that “Corsica Studios and Matt Hesselworth (label owner) are such cool guys”. You can listen to Johannes extraordinary track ‘Glare’ via YouTube.
Johannes has also started up an event series with two friends in Giessen called ‘House of Fiction’, “to show young people that there’s good music out there, as there’s unfortunately a lot of bad electro house parties in Giessen at the moment”.
Johannes has also chosen five of his productions to share with us, “because most of them are marks a new chapter or turning point”.
- The Mysteries Of Tharsis Montes [Axis/6277] (2006)
- The Day We Met Again taken from ‘Our Mental Universe’ [Lifeworld] (2008)
- Interstellar Visions [Exploration] (2011)
- The Power Of A Vision [Dontstop] (2011)
- The Second Resistance [Dolly] (2013)