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3/9 Michael Mayer

Ohrwurm pres. Michael Mayer (Kompakt Records, GER)

  • Mixmag Asia Staff
  • 9 March 2016
3/9 Michael Mayer

It seems that every Kompakt artist that we've featured over the years have always been superb shows, from Blond:ish to Hunter/Game and the recent birthday with Robag Wruhme & Scharre, this time Ohrwurm is proud to present the label's head-honcho, co-founder of Kompakt Records - Michael Mayer!


Visuals by: ALT.IMG (TheManCalledUncle & Boris)

Admission: RM35 (1st drink not included)
No bottle entry / No Guestlist

As a DJ, producer and remixer, Michael Mayer remains one of Germany's core celebrities in dance music. It's no secret that he spends his weekends traveling around the globe. It's likely throughout his career he's played in front of millions. Then, as a co owner of Kompakt, he spends his weekdays deciding what will be released on the label and working with the label's artists and overseeing Kompakt's distribution wing - the home of over 50 record labels. Amazingly enough, he manages to sneak into the studio on occasion to produce his own music and remix the likes of Pet Shop Boys, Depeche Mode, Foals and Rufus Wainwright. And of course there is Supermayer but more on that later. It's safe to say he loves being challenged and regardless of the pressure is never putting less than 100% of his heart and soul into everything he does.

1998 would be a pivotal year for Mayer and his colleagues - most significantly the birth of Kompakt but many concepts and ideas are professionally realized. Mayer together with Reinhard Voigt and Tobias Thomas united in the studio to record the full length Geben und Nehmen (Ladomat) as Forever Sweet. By this time Friends Xperiment had evolved to a series of parties called Lichtblick (together with Thomas and Riley Reinhold - now of Traum/Trapez fame). This would come to an end due to the inception of the now legendary weekly party Total Confusion at Studio 672. As a reaction to the state of the business and label politics the owners of Delirium felt the need to create their own arm of support for the music community. Kompakt was born - inspired by Andy Warhol's Factory, Kompakt was the realization of creating a complete outlet for creative freedom in the music business and today boasts a label, record store, distributor, recording studios and booking agency. Michael's first mix CD Kompakt Köln Presents Michael Mayer (Neuton) would herald this new age for Cologne electronic music.

With Total Confusion, Michael Mayer and Tobias Thomas established arguably the longest running club night in Cologne. Bringing with it is a unique formula for club culture that remains unrivaled and remains uncompromised. From the warm-up to the ecstatic peak, Total Confusion's focus is on the dramaturgy, and not only includes techno, house and ambient music, but also aspects of pop and even R&B. "The most wonderful challenge is to combine great party music as undogmatic as possible, and to find an aesthetic link between different music styles" states Mayer. Total Confusion was the stepping stone for Mayer's international DJ career. From there more Mayer/Kompakt residencies shortly followed which he holds to this day amongst them Robert Johnson in Offenbach, Fabric in London and Berlin's Berghain/Panorama Bar. The result is a network of locations and clubs that Mayer appreciates due to the fact " you can influence the club's style – and basically, it me attempting to export the Total Confusion party model into another club."

2002 brought the release of Immer - heralded as one of the decade's most essential mix CD's by the likes of Pitchfork, FACT and Resident Advisor. His flawless mix proclaimed a new dawn for techno and house. His 2003 mix CD for Fabric again proved that Michael was beating a different drum compared to the rest of the pack. He had finally brought the sound of Kompakt to a global level that had never been accomplished until that point.

Due to the numerous worldwide DJ gigs and responsibilities at Kompakt, Michael Mayer only finds time for his own productions at irregular intervals. Following a slew of 12'' releases, in 2005 he took the time off to produce his debut album Touch. Regardless if you are influenced by other people's music when creating your own sound, Michael Mayer strongly feels that "DJ music in particular is all about updating tradition – to look ahead and in the past, both at the same time". He takes his remixes just as seriously and regardless if it's Miss Kittin or Depeche Mode, he carries through with endearing qualities that resonate like a signature regardless of the style of music he brings to the remix. Mayer is renown for converting the mood and meaning of the original to it's opposite.

Though he remains dedicated to the 4/4 kick drum, Michael Mayer is by no means a techno purist but is constantly striving to look beyond one's own nose, to shift frontiers and to go in depth. His compassion to the scene, devotion to music and his craft as a DJ and producer has set him in a standard that few have been able to accomplish. "A DJ has a certain responsibility. He has to play progressive, contemporary music and combine it with the past. It is all about entertaining people, but you must not under challenge nor overstrain them. You must be subversive and play music that no one would have ever dreamt of listening to voluntarily at the club. You are both, entertainer and educator."

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