This week's RA podcast is a selection of minimal techno from Detroit's Derek Plaslaiko.
Few people in the United States would call it lucky to be born in the suburbs outside of Detroit, Michigan. But for Derek Plaslaiko’s musical education, it was a boon: with easy access to recordings of the Electrifying Mojo and the Wizard’s DJ sets, Plaslaiko learned from the Godfathers of Detroit techno. It’s served him well over the course of his DJ career, moving from opening slots at Midwestern raves to a coveted residency at New York City’s longest-running minimal techno party, the Bunker.
This month, Plaslaiko takes over another job: He’ll be touring the United States (and Toronto) under the banner of Spectral Sound’s “Death Is Nothing to Fear” residency. February, March and April will see Plaslaiko bringing his set of driving minimal out of the Big Apple and into just about every corner of the country. His RA podcast is a good taste of what’s to come. Over the course of an hour-and-a-half, Plaslaiko moves from tool techno by the likes of Alland Byallo and Takuya Morita to more melodic fare like Tiefschwarz’s edit of Einzelkind’s ‘Spam Bot’ and Audion’s recent remix of Matt John’s ‘Olga Dancekowski’. It may take a bit to get started, but hold tight: you’re in for a treat.
Why did you decide to move from Detroit to New York?
I moved from Detroit in July 2004 because I needed a change of scenery, and my girlfriend at the time was moving to New York, so I followed suit about five months later. When I moved, I was pretty convinced my DJing days were done. But, something happened and here I am still!
Well, my friends Kendra, Eva, and Lynell all have pretty big mouths and kept talking me up to their promoter friends here in NYC. So, I started playing more gigs around town and eventually met Bryan Kasenic (Spinoza) and he put me on at The Bunker. After that, Bryan and I became best friends. He was starting his Beyond Booking agency and asked if I wanted to be involved. From there, he was putting me on the legendary Wolf + Lamb parties in Brooklyn and things started snowballing from there. In Summer 2006, two of The Bunker residents were leaving, so Bryan asked if I wanted to jump on. I said yes, and now it's just us as residents playing host to what I feel is some of the best techno oriented artists out there. I love every minute The Bunker is open.
Any favorite Bunker memories that you can share with us?
There have been a lot of them, but the first one that comes to mind is Alex Smoke. Both times he has played, it’s been incredible! The first time was at our old location at subTonic. Bryan and I didn't know what to expect, and he blew the roof off that place! We desperately wanted him to come back as soon as humanly possible. We were lucky enough to have him back in November ‘07 and he was even better. People were going so crazy in there that night! So crazy, that he continued his set for about 40 minutes longer than he was scheduled for. I was due to go on after him. He wrapped it up around 3:35 and the people didn't even let up with the cheering for nearly 5 minutes! You just don't hear a reaction like that too often out of people these days.
What have you been working on recently?
Right now I am in the middle of a 15 (or so) city tour of North America for the "Death Is Nothing to Fear" Spectral Residencies tour. It's temporarily taken me away from my residency in Brooklyn at The Bunker for the next 6 weeks or so, but also giving me the opportunity to play in some cities I might not have ever played in before and meeting some great people along the way.
Where was the mix recorded?
The mix was done in one take at Beyond Booking HQ in Brooklyn. It was done on an Allen & Heath X:one 62, two Turntables, two CDJ-800's, and a Cycloops sampler.
Any chance that we'll see you in the producer's chair anytime soon?
Well, that’s the plan right now. I've been dabbling in the studio since ’99 but never released anything. I’m trying to set up some European dates for late spring, followed by some Japan shows currently being worked on for July. So, the next six months are all about touring and production for me. Hopefully, I will have some stuff come out by end of summer. Or, at least, that’s the goal.
Photo credit: Lindsay Victory