This week's selection comes from Connaisseur recordings head chef Alex Flitsch.
Kicking off with Patrick Chardronnet’s massive ‘Eve By Day’ in 2005, Connaisseur has gone on to become one of the most distinctive tech house imprints around. Based in Frankfurt, Germany, the label’s sound has something of its home city to it: like Playhouse or Cocoon, records on Connaisseur tend to be tuneful, memorable and yet still forward-thinking. Names on the books include Ripperton, Kollektiv Turmstrasse, Daso, Plasmik among others – if you’re new to the imprint, check out the new label compilation Grand Cru 2008 which is out this month.
Grand Cru 2008 is mixed by Flitsch, who runs the label and deejays the Connaisseur sound, which he says is all about “a warm feeling, timelessness, a certain emotionality and the freedom to break out of this formula now and again”. Flitsch’s RA podcast doesn’t feature much from Connaisseur – we like this humility! – but instead showcases recent favourites and old classics. It’s a deeply club-oriented affair that stands up with the best of this year’s mixes.
What have you been working on recently?
The main project we are currently working on is, of course, our upcoming compilation Grand Cru 2008. Apart from that, we have the first album projects with Kollektiv Turmstrasse and Estroe. Both are working on their respective albums, but unfortunately I can't tell you when they will be released yet. Furthermore, as I’ve recently been receiving so many great percussive, more tool-oriented house tracks, we are thinking of starting a second sublabel called Outiles du Connaisseur (The Tools of the Connoisseur).
As for myself personally, I'm currently spending time in the studio with some of our artists, with the intention of having a release in the future. I used to produce quite a bit in the 90's, I was even part of two releases at the time, but around 2000 I stopped making music in order to focus on my studies. It remains to be seen, if these collaborations will bear fruit.
Where and how was this mix recorded?
At home with my nearly 10 year-old equipment. Two Technics SL1210M3D and a Vestax PVC275.
Can you tell us a little about the idea behind the mix?
The idea was to present a cross-section of current favourites, personal essentials and some upcoming music from us. The result ended up clubbier than I thought.
Any big plans for the upcoming wedding? Ice sculptures? Guest DJs?
Quite honestly, apart from all projects mentioned above, the preparations for my wedding are the most time-consuming at the moment. I'm writing this two days before my big day, stressful jitters and happy emotional anticipation are keeping their balance. No ice sculptures, but we’re spending the day with our families and close friends with a great menu in a picturesque restaurant close to Frankfurt. For the night, we’ve planned a small but exclusive party with around 150 invited guests on a boathouse on the river Main in Frankfurt. As DJs we have good friends such as Audiofly and Afrilounge, as well as Frankfurt resident Sascha Dive.
Your second biggest passion is cooking. What's your speciality?
I would think recipes, which have been handed over since generations in my family. I come from the rim of the Black Forest in South-West Germany, close to the French border. The food in this area is famous in all of Germany, as it combines traditional South German dishes with French finesse. We have this very special recipe for Maultaschen (a sort of a big ravioli) in my family. It is hard work to make them, because when we prepare them, it is tradition in my family to make enough so that everybody joining the meal gets a sound portion to take home, as well. The last time I made them with a good friend, we made over 160 of them.
What's the toughest part of running the label for you?
At the moment, I would say to keep the passion in my work, even though the general sales situation offers no reason for it. In general however, I think it’s hardest to figure out your psychological approach to each artist. Some need carrot and stick, others no pressure at all and others again need a permanent kick in their asses. Especially when you have as many artists as we do, you must get to know your artists first, in order to see how to act towards them. This can sometimes be difficult, but it is also one of the nicest things of running a label.
What's up next for you?
My wedding. ;) And afterwards we continue with our Grand Cru 2008 Club Tour. We have some really nice gigs coming up, Claudia from Pearls Booking has really done an excellent job. At the end of May we will have nights in Cologne, Hamburg and Regensburg. Right at the beginning of June, we have a great label night at the Watergate in Berlin with Kollektiv Turmstrasse (live), Simon Baker, Afrilounge, Estroe, ZoëXenia and myself with an afterparty at the Club der Visionäre directly afterwards. And Sonar isn't that far away, either. Release-wise we can look forward to great releases this summer both on Supérieur by Andrès Garcìa, Chymera, Brendon Moeller and on Connaisseur by Wareika, Mark August and a remix EP for the only non-clubby tune on Grand Cru 2008, "On the Streets" by Federleicht. I have a good feeling for the summer of 2008.