It's almost impossible to misinterpret what the childhood friends have done over the past few years musically, however. Since 2007, the trio have collectively produced one of the most consistent labels in a city that hardly lacks for quality techno. I've heard plenty of people claim "formula" when it comes to Fachwerk, but I tend to call it "consistency." It's easy to get jaded when everything that a label releases is—at the very least—top-shelf electronic music. But despite appearances, it's not that easy to make it.
Dehnert, Lindau and Rydell had been making music for years before Fachwerk began, sketching out ideas and sounds to see what made sense. Dehnert is the biggest name of the group in techno circles, having released on labels like Clone Basement Series, Echocord Colour and Deeply Rooted House. But that's simply because he's the only one doing music full-time at the moment. Both Lindau and Rydell are interested in devoting more time to music (and to releasing on other labels). It just hasn't promised to pay the bills yet in a way that makes sense for them to quit their day jobs.
Techno has always been a major passion, but it wasn't the only passion. Instead, it was simple friendship that brought them together in the first place. "At the time, the music was not really established. It was too early for techno music. First there was a friendship, and then we developed the same interests, the same point of view, sports, graffiti for a short time," explains Dehnert when asked about growing up in Berlin in the '80s. Soon after, though, clubs came into the picture. Walfisch, E-Werk, WMF, Bunker and, of course, Tresor.
"It was dirty," Dehnert responds when I ask him what made it so special. "It was not ready, it was always a building site, unfinished. The club was in the same situation as Berlin was after the reunification." It was also one of the places where you could catch American DJs from Detroit and Chicago on a regular basis, DJs whose style differed from what they were used to. Claude Young made a big impression. So did Blake Baxter and Armand Van Helden.
So the trio would throw a party every once in a while. But it was never anything more than fun—a chance to play some of the records they loved. It was only around 1999 that Dehnert realized that DJing wasn't enough. "I started to release a lot of white labels. I wasn't really interested in making a name for myself. I was just interested in expressing myself," he says. Some of those results can be heard on the Mumu label. There are probably countless others, in addition, that are all but impossible to track down nowadays.
Similar to back then, Dehnert's workrate is prodigious. Lindau and Rydell? Not so much. It took them more than half a decade of experimenting in the studio before anything saw the light of day. Rydell, says laughing, "Roman needs ten years for every EP!" Lindau: "The only thing I have to do is set deadlines, [I have to say to myself] this is the time you have to finish." I turn to Dehnert. "So he meets deadlines?"
"He needs a lot of deadlines."
It's been worth the wait. Lindau's scant production resume has yielded licensing requests from the past two Berghain mix CDs from Len Faki and Ben Klock. His techno tracks are imbued with a unique house bounce that allows them to fit neatly into sets of either persuasion. Even better, there is always something interesting going on. In a scene that so often rewards functionality over all else, I haven't yet heard a Lindau track that doesn't have a sound, idea or melody that raises an eyebrow. Even bog standard dub techno ("Fluide") or clanking industrial techno ("Can't Fix") sounds strange in his hands. The same goes for Rydell. "Unhasty," his contribution to a split release with Lindau in 2009, is jittery, unpredictable dub techno that taps into what made it so great in the first place. The middle of the stereo field on "Cette Nuit" seems so empty you could drive a truck through it.
Like most label collectives of this sort, all of the decisions are unanimous affairs. But there's rarely any disagreement. The trio's taste in techno is so similar that everyone simply knows when something is right for the label. That said, there's no house sound per se. Fachwerk in German is an architectural term for a type of timber-framed building. "It's where you have only the basis structure, and between the basis structure there is free space. I think it's the same with the label, the basis is techno and house and in the middle is free," explains Dehnert.
The freedom makes for a wide variety of sounds on the label, but the dark feel has made the trio's DJing talents more often than not requested at places like Tresor, Berghain and Arena in their home base of Berlin. Dehnert is a resident at Tresor. Fachwerk will have a label night at the famed techno club this month, after doing one at Arena only a few months ago. When asked about the differences between Tresor and Berghain, Dehnert quickly answers "the address" as if he's heard the question before. The label is often compared to Berghain, and while they love the place, they're eager to ensure that people know that they inhabit their own cosmos—not somebody else's.
As part of this, the trio are planning on taking Fachwerk on the road in 2011 to more places than ever before. Look at Lindau and Rydell's DJ tour dates coming up, and everything reads "Fachwerk Labelnight," taking them to Munich, Oslo, Copenhagen and Switzerland over the course of the next three months. Dehnert will also be touring later in 2011 as part of an album tour for Delsin, a label due to release his newest full-length early in the year.
When asked why Delsin, Dehnert asks why not. It's a constant theme in our discussion. Things at Fachwerk just seem to evolve naturally. There's no huge plan. No agendas. No missions. When asked why the MD2 releases were only dispatched in editions of 150, there is no solid answer. Just the reply that formats don't matter. "It's the music that matters."
Download: RA Label of the Month 1101 Mix: Fachwerk
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Filesize: 76.8 MB
02. Sascha Rydell - Unreleased
03. Roman Lindau - Raumgestaltung
04. Mike Dehnert - Umlaut 2
05. Mike Dehnert - MD
06. Sascha Rydell - A Plus Tard
07. Mike Dehnert - Unreleased
08. Roman Lindau - Simplicity
09. Mike Dehnert - The March
10. Sascha Rydell - Unreleased
11. Mike Dehnert - Unreleased
12. Roman Lindau - Contraste EP
13. Mike Dehnert - Unreleased
14. Mike Dehnert - Take Me To
15. Roman Lindau - Contraste EP
16. Mike Dehnert - Unreleased
17. Roman Lindau - Sonnerie