Hamburg's king of vinyl houses it up in a deliciously deep style on this week's RA podcast.
Despite his inauspicious beginnings as a gardener, Peter Kersten has spent the last decade becoming one of the main players on Hamburg's music scene. In that time he's notched up 12-inches for some of the world's most popular electronic labels—Kompakt, Mule Electronic, Ghostly International, Ladomat 2000, Sender, Spectral Sound and Smallville just to name a few. From wistfully romantic electronica to bumping deep house, Kersten's musical gamut runs far and wide throughout the sphere of electronic music, but his sound is a distinctive and recognisable one. Taking the ingredients of classic Chicago and Detroit productions, softening the edges and applying his trademark melodic sheen, Kersten's finished products often get you grooving whilst tugging those heartstrings.
It isn't just his productions that have elevated him to the status he currently enjoys, though. Kersten is one-third of the team that has helped to launch the careers of Efdemin, Pantha Du Prince and John Roberts via the Dial imprint, which managed to grab RA's label of the year accolade back in 2007 after a run of essential releases. For Kersten, selling vinyl is a serious business, and he's just helped to start Laid, Dial's vinyl-only sub-label, with a 12-inch from US deep house legend Rick Wade. Hamburg residents can even find him behind the counter at the city's Smallville record store, which he co-owns with Smallville Records owner Julius Steinhoff. Vinyl is also Peter's medium of choice when it comes to DJing, and for this week's RA podcast he's taken to his Technics to supply us with a selection of deep and grooving house cuts with a big Detroit influence. We caught up with Kersten by e-mail to ask him about the mix, the Dial residency at Panorama Bar and his Smallville record store.
What have you been working on recently?
I just finished my album Until Then, Goodbye for Toshiya Kawasaki's Mule Electronic label to be released in early autumn. It turned out to be a colourful mixture of ambient pieces, acoustic live takes and a few deep club tracks, and Stefan Marx did some lovely artwork. With the Smallville family Julius Steinhoff and me prepared a first label compilation; a series of four twelve-inches and a CD featuring tracks by Lowtec, Move D & Benjamin Brunn, Christoper Rau, STL and many more. Awesome stuff!
How and where was the mix recorded?
The mix was recorded in my studio in Hamburg in the backyard of our Smallville record store. It was a freezing rainy afternoon but I was still inflamed by my previous summer trip to Tel Aviv.
Can you tell us a little about the mix?
The mix is inspired by the early hours of a deep club night, when the magic is going to be built up and everything is open. I selected old and new all-time faves, deep and danceable - just lovely music.
How is your Smallville shop dealing with the economic downturn?
The Smallville record store was never a matter of finances, so the economic downturn does not touch us at all. Smallville is our office, where we plan all the weird things: labels, parties, record sales, bookings, journeys, and the shop is a great place to meet.
If you could pick anyone to release on Laid, who would it be?
I am always surprised by Dor Levi and David Lieske who are mainly responsible for the incredibe selection of artists on Laid: Rick Wade, Delano Smith, John Roberts, Fred P... awesome! Maybe some new pieces by Lil Louis would be great (wtf is this genius doing??) And of course: Theo Parrish! KDJ! Carsten Jost!
How is the Dial residency at Panorama Bar going?
We still have too much fun! We brought a whole bunch of the nicest DJs ever like Keith Worthy, Mike Huckaby, Dan Bell and Patrice Scott. For our next Dial all-nighter in August we invited the great writer Thomas Meinecke who is part of the band FSK and a lovely DJ too, and John Roberts will do a live set.
What are you up to next?
We'll celebrate Mule's fifth birthday at Panorama Bar on 26th of June with Henrik Schwarz, Tony Lionni, Toshiya Kawasaki and Tobias Schmidt and lots of excellent red wine which is going to be the next club drug. The day after I'll have more red wine at the Siestes Electroniques Festival in Toulouse with my buddies Swahimi and Isolée. Dial will turn 50 soon, a new club will be launched in Hamburg and in 2010 I'll have a couple of months off for rehab, I guess.