107 – Damiano von Erckert

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Although he may have been releasing records since 2011, ava. boss and Cologne based artist Damiano von Erckert has enjoyed some kind of break out year. With his first album being released in January, the genre hopping Mr. Pink, What Have You Been Smokin?, produced alongside friend and fellow Cologne based beat maker Tito Wun, we knew Damiano wasn’t just your average producer. His follow up record and debut solo album, the aptly titled Love Based Music is more of a work of art than a selection of tunes, and in addition to the hand made artwork, it even includes a short film which Damiano also directed and produced. With equal amounts of quirk and DJ friendly material found across the two pieces of vinyl, particularly the peak time ready “Housem” and funk infused “No Good Times”, the album is a complete package and has cemented Damiano’s place on one-to-watch lists around the world.

With his label ava. and its artists championing a new movement of sorts in Cologne, ‘music not bound by genre specific constraints’ has become the blueprint for the collective which includes Motor City Drum Ensemble and Murat Tepeli amongst others. Staying true to the message, Damiano makes his addition to the Deepcast an eclectic excursion, full of refreshing twists and turns that make for a fun filled listening experience suited to any occasion.

You have had a great year with your debut solo album Love Based Music being received with glowing praise around the world. What have been some of your highlights for the year?

Ohh there were so many nice parties I’ve played and met a lot of cool people. But I think one of my highlights was definitely Red Bull Music Academy’s ‘Revolutions in Sound’ event. It was in the London Eye. That was a great experience.

Have you witnessed a rise in house and disco music in Cologne since your label ava. has become more well known? Do you think the label and its artists have started a change in the perception of the city?

Hmm.. Well I think there are some parties in Cologne that got more into a mixture of House, Soul, Disco, Hip Hop and other genres which is really good and necessary to move forward. I don’t know if ava. started this change. Maybe.. You know I always tried to push ava. internationally. I wasn’t focused on the local scene which is pity sometimes. But that was the right decision otherwise ava. wouldn’t be known in other countries.

You are a big supporter of vinyl and although the earlier releases on ava. have now become available digitally, the main focus seems to be the limited collectors edition type vinyl with cool artwork and added extras. With the prices on Discogs becoming so enormous lately, have you considering repressing the releases, or would that defeat the original purpose?

When I founded ava. 3 years ago I just saved money for one record so it was a huge risk to do it and it would have been overrated to press more then 300 copies of the first release as a totally unknown label. Fortunately it was successful! Every cover is hand made, that’s the reason for no repressing with the original cover. It’s simply too much work. But there will be some represses in the near future with less complex artwork..

I know you’re into old retro films and soundtracks, you even released a movie with your album Love Based Music which feels like it takes reference from a Quentin Tarantino classic. What role did you play in the making of the film? It looks like it was a lot of fun to make.

Yeah it was big fun but also heavy work. I mean we made this film in two months. Starting with creating the script, finding the right actors, assembling a crew, finding the right places to shoot etc.. I learned how to use Adobe Premiere to cut the movie and a lot of other stuff. So this was crazy! This was simultaneous to organising the whole album. I think in German you describe it as “Mädchen für Alles”, which means in this case a mixture of being producer, general servant and commander. Hahaha…

You recently mentioned that you’ve completed work on Housem 2.0, the follow up to your track Housem (which sounds considerably more like a 90s record from the US than a 2011 record from Cologne). Did you take any specific inspiration for Housem? What can you tell us about the new and improved version?

Yeah of course I took Housem as an inspiration. My goal was to maintain the feeling of having a good time and happiness. We’ll see…

What can you tell us about this mix you’ve prepared for us?

Well this one here made a lot of fun to mix because there are so many nice records in it. Something to have a good time I guess!

What do you have coming up for you and the label?

My next EP will be released on ava. at the end of February / beginning of March next year. There will be a new record from Tito Wun and me later in 2014. Also I’m gonna play a tour in Australia and Brazil. I think i’m gonna play at Panorama Bar and Boiler Room London beginning of next year. A lot of good stuff!

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